One of the most frequently used pieces of equipment at LVL1 is the laser cutter.
The laser is capable of cutting through a variety of materials including wood, plastics (such as acrylic sheets) and even textiles such as felt.
Here's a few sample projects you can try:
Frequently you'll be instructed to create a vector file which is simply a set of geometric shapes the computer or laser cutter can understand and move the laser left, right, up, down at specific speeds. You may be asked to use Adobe Illustrator (part of Creative Suite) or LVL1 uses the freeware version called Inkscape which you can download and learn to use.
After designing your file you can then follow the direction on the equipment's WIKI entry to load and operate the laser. Further directions.
So get your pattern, obtain your material and get cutting!
You can find our open ours through our Google Group or find more information on getting involved.
Last night I made LVL1's hackerspace passport using our Full Spectrum Engineering laser. It really was not that difficult. I used Chris Cprek's LVL1 logo image for the stamp. It is the Plenary Gear logo at the top left of this page.
I used laserable rubber for this project. Even though it is low-odor you can still smell it. It smells like burning rubber from a car.
To laser the image, I took the original image and made it black and white. I removed the blue background and cleaned it up a bit using Gimp. I then imported it into Inkscape where I mirrored the image. The letters have to be in mirror image or it will not stamp correctly. Next, I 'printed' to the laser cutter. The Full Spectrum Engineering interface to driving the laser is pretty darned good. If you are reading this post and do not have a laser, check out Full Spectrum, they are a real good value for your money and highly recommended.
For the laser settings, I raster printed the image using 50% speed and 100% power. I tried to cut the rubber around the image, but the rubber does not cut well at all. I tried multiple passes and everything. I ended up using an exact knife.
I also cut a wooden back for the rubber out of some 1/8" baltic birch plywood scrap I had laying around. I used double stick tape to tape the rubber onto the plywood backing. Easy. Finally I hot melt glued a handle onto the stamp. Interestingly, the handle came from the Louisville Slugger Museum and it is a scrap from when a baseball bat is cut out on their lathe.
I used a stamp pad from office depot which worked well and Jon was able to stamp his passport for the first time! I also made another stamp with the Lady Ada graphic from Adafruit. That also came out well.
Today, as I wrote the post, I saw that Becky Stern from AdaFruit posted an excellent 'how to' on stamp making... http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2012/04/03/how-to-laser-cut-your-own-hackerspace-stamp/. It is funny how sometimes you discover someone is doing the exact same thing as you! AdaFruit sells Hackerspace passports if you need one.
Cute little Makerbot cupcake holder!
Introducing a useful SOPA- The Stop Online Productivity Avoidance box.
After having an extremely productive day on January 18th, I had a thought: What if every day were January 18th? Well, at the push of a button, now it can!
The button, switch, and display are wired to an Arduino. The Arduino communicates with a python script running on the router, which controls a Squid3 proxy blacklist. In SOPA mode, the whole of the internet is my oyster. In NOPA mode, however, distracting websites like reddit, hacker news, and hackaday are blocked. This isn't very useful without a great deal of self control, however. In weaker instances, nuclear mode must be employed. Turn the key switch and press the button and all distracting sites are blocked for one hour. The only recourse is to restart the router, but the router requires 15 minutes to restart, blocking the entirety of the web for the duration. Overriding nuclear mode is not appealing.
All code is posted online at https://github.com/Zuph/SOPA-Box
A video demonstration and more pictures of construction lie below the break.
...continue reading "A SOPA you can get behind"