The Wonders of Laser Cutters

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There are a few tools that every makerspace will probably have: a 3D Printer, a CNC Router, and a Laser Cutter. Our space has 2 out of 3, but that last one, the Laser Cutter, is something our members and community has wanted access to for a long time. There is certainly a lot a maker can do with a 3D Printer and a CNC Router, but the the 3D Printer is limited to plastics, and the CNC Router takes some finesse to get good results. A Laser Cutter is more hobbyist and beginner friendly for cutting out designs for assembling or engraving on a wide variety of materials. It’s an excellent design tool for students and professionals. You can see a bunch of sample projects in this video from Origin Laser.

That’s why we’re organizing a fundraising campaign through our website! By going to this page, or scrolling down a little, you can donate money towards the purchase of a laser cutter for the makerspace! There are various donor levels to say thanks and allow those who donated to have access to the laser cutter once we have it. Please check it out today and donate if you can! Even a dollar will help!

Laser Cutter

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Donation Total: $35

New Pottery Equipment! Soon, Classes!

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Thanks to a generous donor we now have a nice big potter’s wheel, currently residing in our garage by the Bike Bench. This pairs greatly with our kiln, which we’ve had for about a year now. With these two combined you can now start making pots, mugs, jars, and more at the makerspace!

For those interested in learning we will soon have a class on working with clay and doing firings in our kiln. The potter’s wheel may require a one-on-one class, and will have to be scheduled by interest. If there’s a class you’d like to hear about when its scheduled, see our Class Waiting List page and fill out the form there.

More CNCs in progress

More CNCs in progress

Paul and Alex are working on getting this thing working! When it’s all together it should be a CNC Mill, great for making all your metal parts.

This hardware was donated awhile back and like many projects collected a healthy patina until this week. When we took it out of its dusty resting place, we did a assessment of what it needed. Turns out most of the machine was there, but it needed one leadscrew for the Z axis, and a couple more motors.

Luckily for us we like to save parts for a rainy day, and we happened to have TWO leadscrews that were bigger than the original and TWO motors. Paul did some machining to the various parts to accommodate the new leadscrews and nuts, which took a half hour on the Bridgeport. The new nuts were epoxied in place (the originals were threaded in), and waited for it to dry.

Now most of the hardware is in place, the rest is electronic! It came with a HobbyCNC control board and a power supply, but we need wire for the motors. We’ll likely also need end-stop switches. And the final crucial component is the spindle… which it did not have. May have to scavenge through the parts bins for a good spindle!

If you’d like to contribute to this build, you can make a donation here to help us get new parts!

What Wood Andrea Works With

Our Wood Shop is probably the most popular part of the Makerspace. It’s pretty obvious why, out here there are tons of hobbyists and professionals working with the wood that is in great supply. There’s also just something about wood working and the culture of New England that goes well together. The DIY spirit is well-entrenched in the people around here.

Below are some photos of projects one of our members has put together with the aid of our Wood Shop space and tools. These are all works by sculptor and artist Andrea Thompson. You can see more of her work on andreathompsonart.com. Andrea comes to our wood shop infrequently, but when she does it’s usually with a fairly big project. The boards you see below were sanded down on our Performax Drum Sander to get them good and cleaned up. With most of them being over 5 feet tall, it made things much easier to feed the boards through the sanding machine compared to palm sanding them.  The tall planks themselves are from oak beams salvaged from the Boston Navy Yard after 200 years of underwater storage.
She has dubbed these pieces A Live Oak Dreams of Going to Sea.

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These are part of another series she made with tools from our wood shop. The boats are made of cedar and had their rough shapes cut out on the bandsaw; some of the cedar came from our handy neighbors at Ricci Lumber.
She calls this series The Unlikely Vessels

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See more of Andrea Thompson’s work

See the next Intro to Woodworking class and other classes

Classes mid-March

We’ve got a nice variety of classes this next couple of weeks. Take a look!
Learn Soldering, Photoshop, Wood Working, and CNC Routing!

New to this lineup is our Intro to Photoshop class, taught by Matthew Doherty. Matt works out of the Button Factory and has done a lot of digital editing work professionally. He has also done some impressive projects here such as a mobile changing room for surfing and refinishing a large canoe with fiberglass resin.

March 8-12 2016 preview