Aside from the daily grind of cutting and packing enclosure kits, I like to work on some other creative projects. Here are a few of the things that I am currently working on (with circuit design and programming help from Craig).
This little project is for a local performance troupe that is planning on doing a show focused on fire. It was fun to take out the Unimat Machine Lathe to make the nozzle.
The unit will have some different modes, indicated by LEDs around the nozzle. One of the modes will be for a small flame about the size of a regular lighter or a little bigger to allow for the lighting of cigarettes and fire breathing.
The final form of the Flame Glove unit will be a small pack worn on the waist with the silicon hose going up the back and down the arm to a leather glove with the nozzle riveted to the palm. The amount of gas being let out will be controlled by a flex sensor in one of the fingers of the glove.
This is a project I've been wanting to do for a while. The same guy that is in charge of the performance troupe is doing some art for a pop up restaurant and one of the things he is doing is making an "angel like" costume and we thought it would be awesome to make some articulated wings for it.
This is a half scale model of the wing structure that I printed on our Oni 3D printer that we are beta testing for a local guy Tom, who designed it. Here is a link to his website: Oni Technology
In this special Halloween update I'm sharing some of the stuff I made for the occasion. I had a bit of a skull theme going this year. It started when picked up a number of cheap skulls from some trappers at the KC renfaire and I using them for a couple projects for Halloween. First off the Halloween wreath:
It's basically just a grapevine wreath, a few artificial flowers, and a few small skulls held together with wire and hot glue. The jaws of many of the skulls were free moving so I hot glued most of the jaws in place at their base to keep them together. It might need some additional garnish (I'm thinking snakes... yeah snakes), but it looks fairly creepy so far. I really like the deer skull centerpiece.
Next we have my attempt at a new tradition in addition to the Halloween wreath, the Halloween tree:
It's basically just a fallen limb with holes drilled in it and pose-able black stems from Hobby Lobby stuck in and the bases of those stems reinforced with floral wire with a little moss thrown in. It's all stuffed in a small metal barrel we had around the space. Of course after it was assembled and posed I threw some more skulls on it for decorations:
I like the asymmetry of the whole thing. The twisted and gnarled limbs really give it some character. Hopefully I can find a place to stow the thing over the next year so I can make some nice creepy ornaments for it when I pull it out again.
Lastly, since there was already casting stuff being used in the Hammerspace monster maker classes and I needed a welding mask, I threw this together:
On the right is a failed cast, from which I learned that Alumilite, at least in reasonable volume, is not good of slush casting as it sets up almost instantaneously. The base design was done by my friend Hannah:
From there I blended the design a bit with a coyote skull. Here's a pick of the sculpt in progress:
It's meant to incorporate a pair of welding goggles and have space for a respirator so I can wear it while watching the plasma cutter work. Here's the latex mold with plaster jacket after the clay's been removed and a couple pours have been done (thanks to Dave at Hammerspace for helping me make the mold and do the pour):
I originally had the goggles in the sculpt but I messed the threads up on the first pour so I cut them out on the second pour and glued an extra set I had in place:
Here's a pick of the test fit (cast in Smooth-Cast 320) before painting:
Here's some pics with the respirator in place after Brandon Mohn airbrushed it up:
I threw this on together in a couple days so there's a few things that need to be fixed so I'll probably get another pull off the current mold and keep it around for when I actually want to fix it up. The goggle components actually threaded into place with the first pour so I'm optimistic about incorporating goggles into future sculpts. For now I'll probably just add a second elastic band a bit higher up from the goggles to help keep it from sliding down my face when not using a respirator, but other than that it's pretty usable in it's current condition.
Two weeks ago I had the privileged to speak at the inaugural Kansas City Open Hardware Group (kcohg.org) Conference. The event was set up and hosted by CCCKC (c3kc.org) and the Kauffman Foundation (kauffman.org). I made up some glow badges for the event (seen above) and, in the spirit of the event, released them under CC over at our Thingiverse page. Head over there to get the design files as well as the details of the components and assembly!
Also if you want to check out my hastily prepared talk check out the video below. I actually start up at about 18:00:
So last week we had a little bit of a fire in the small cutter. What you see above is the bottom side of some stock that I was cutting that ignited. Luckily I was watching it so it only was burning for a few seconds before it was caught and the fire was handled. The fire was entirely under the material being cut so it went undetected for a little bit (in fact the top side of the above sheet is warped but not burnt in the slightest compared to the bottom).
The vector grid delaminated a bit so it's toast and the connector for the rotary attachment got a little charred. The Delrin slides at the back of the machine that the downdraft ports the Z-axis tray ride on got more than a little melty as well (pic below). After closer inspection it looks like the dusk accumulated in the back of the machine ignited as well.
Fortunately nothing above the stuff being cut was effected and the optics were just fine. The flames were easily controlled with the squirt bottle I keep handy around the cutters and we've got a proper CO2 extinguisher if things get really bad. I didn't have a lot of material in the catch tray to act as fuel, but enough that a flare up turned into a little fire. We've got an extra vector grid on hand so we were back up and cutting withing 2 hours after checking everything out. Thankfully with a quick call to Epilog and I can get replacements for everything damaged as well.
It looks like either the different masking material of the frosted acrylic I was cutting or insufficient air flow at the active cooling tube might be the culprit. The compressor was reading 30 psi, but much less than that was getting to the actual head. I tightened up a leaky fitting after the dryer that helped but I'll be giving that entire system the once over this week. Either way, I'm glad that even after 4 years of running the cutters I still walk over and check them every couple of minutes when it's operating and always make sure someone's watching them when I can't because this flare up could have turned into a full on fire rather quickly.
In the months were it's gone radio silent here, we've settled in to a new home at Hammerspace. We've got 400-ish square feet of cluttered awesome:
Me and Jordie have our respective work areas set up and are kind dug in by this point but we're hoping to rearrange things to get us a little more floor space in the future.
We've also got some new toys, not the least of which is this gargantuan laser cutting machine:
The laser's 120 watts so it can slice through 3/4" stock easily and it's got a cutting area of almost 4 feet by 3 feet for nice big projects. I'll be reviewing this guy in depth here shortly.
We're going to have some more new toys on the way soon as well, including a new 3D printer setup to supplement the Replicator we've got now and a CNC plasma setup! We're really looking forward to expanding our metal fabrication capabilities and seeing where that takes us.