Friday, 21 February 2014

Big Catapult

I can't sell these catapult kits because I've been struggling to cut the 6mm ply reliably. I think the 50W laser could do it if I was more patient and I turned the speed down but then I worry about black edges on things so I've held off on producing them. An opportunity arose to use Derby Makers new 100W laser so I took a bunch of wood up there to cut mini machines out. We struggle with there software, it was rather unintuitive and lacking in official manuals, user generated online help or even a name to actually identify which software it was. By the time we got something working a lot of time had passed and we decided the best way to salvage the day was to create double sized catapult in the same vein as my other double sized items.

We doubled everything, using 2 sheets of 6mm ply for the frames giving us a catapult made from 12mm wood sheets. We wound the skein as far as we could slotted together some ammo and let the projectiles fly across the lab. As fun as it was, doubling everything up on fires the projectile the same distance, presumably maths could have predicted this. The machine gives a healthy clonk when fired and you definitely don't want to have your fingers in the way when this one goes. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Improved Extraction Phase 1.5

Not really extraction but this was part of an idea to solve the same problem. On a recent trip to the Derby Makers (more on that later) I was able to draw and print a quick and easy 3D part. The idea is that extending the nozzle should bring more of the air assist air down to the surface of the work and I would get cleaner cuts (the whole point of this exercise). I made the nozzle attachment intentionally long with the idea of cutting it down, I forgot that the red dot beam alignment would be blocked so with a quick after market modification it was ready for testing. 

I think it did help with reducing the char marks on the work. I think that when my bigger air pump arrives that will probably help a lot more. The biggest downside is that the 3D printed plastic just holds the residue on the surface so when I accidentally bumped the work into it, it left a large brown smudge across the top which was far worse than any of the smoke staining so I'm going to rate this one as a moderate success with room for improvement.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Busy Times

Leicester hackspace is currently forming. Their grand opening will be on the 1st of March, over in the makers yard feel free to come along.

Sadly for me it's taking up a lot more of my time then I was hoping it would. It's left me neglecting this blog so sorry about that and some of my other projects. It will be great to have a space nearby and to be able to run workshops over there. As you saw I already made benches for the space, but there's still workshops to plan, a laser to set up, mailshot and flyers to create. I could spend all my time on it between now and then and still not get done.

So in other news I'm running a Cambridge workshop on the 2nd of March (because I'm a sucker for punishment). This will be for making miniature marble machines. I'm taking Machine #1 and Machine #4 and a bag full of motors as optional upgrades and I'm hoping it's going to be a lot of fun.

Finally and most importantly my laser tube has gone again, this felt like a very short lifespan since the last one. A conservative estimate would say 500 hours instead of the 1200 we're supposed to be getting. New tubes are ordered (one from ebay, one from our laser supplier) but until one gets here I just can't cut anything new and my pre workshop stock dwindles due to online orders. I'm going to be extra busy when it does finally arrive (hopefully today)