<PSA> I’ll be taking my life offline for a couple of months </PSA>
I might have said (on Facebook), that I’m not going to write anything for the Blog this week.
I’ve been really busy with University and I had to prepare myself mentally for parting with a good friend. Even though this is not a Blog about my feelings, I want to go into this story, it is especially important for me, and it might teach you a lesson or two too.
So last year, in the Summer, we first met, we didn’t really have anything going for each other, so our paths parted. But this year, this year it got real, very real.
I am a couple months in pouring my heart into this whole maker-thing and just generally indulging in things I didn’t dare to do or “make” *huehuehue, FUNNY!*
So what happened so far?
Some of these things were successful, some were… well, I learnt something, but none of it really served any purpose other than trying what I can do and getting comfortable with these things, it worked!
Two things changed since, and because, I started:
Well hello there again, has anyone noticed I’ve been gone for a while?
[Out of the crowd: “Noone cares!”]
Fu** you, I’ll continue regardless!
Ok good, now that tha’s dealt with, let’s proceed:
So I bought a couple of wood planks to proceed with my Longboard project, but they have been way too small because my local hardware store has a crappy selection. Also, I’ve been craving a Whiteboard for a while now, but they are quite expensive, so after I found out that there is such a thing as Whiteboard-Film, I decided to make one.
No fancy machines involved in this one!
So this week, I’ve been out for a beer with a good friend of mine, which I rarely see.
I told him about some of my ideas to start a business (I am a passionate economics student after all, and that won’t change in the near future). Well, most of my ideas include sharing the plans, or handing a lot of the design process over to the customer himself. He did not understand that at all, his first instinct was closing the ecosystem off.
And that is what most people instinctively want to do, their reaction to open source business models is “Isn’t it impossible to build a business when you are sharing AAAAALL your secrets?”or “Fool! Keep the know-how to yourself!”
And to a certain degree, they are right. Let’s start with some basics and try figuring out what open source can do.
Hello there again!
Remember my Longboard-project? [Link here]
Well, in continuation of that project, I went to Happylab yesterday, with a roughly sketched file to CNC-mill the shape of a Longboard out of a ply of wood. I say “the shape of a Longboard” here on purpose, because the cut thing will not be useable as a longboard whatsoever. The thing ply I got is a 5mm thick 600×600 mm made from beech. That shit’s going to break quite rapidly (I guess) and it’s not the right length either, but it’s enough to experiment with it!
The goal of this project is quite the pragmatic one anyways: “Learn how to operate a CNC-Mill”. Mistakes are welcome and expected!
Still haven’t been working on anything at the Fabrication Laboratory…
I know I suck.
But wait! I did other stuff! What if I told you that there is a magical place, with Unicorns puking rainbows and playing Laser Tag… Or something along those lines.
Well, semi-seriously now, what I have been trying to get into the last few weeks is a place called “ImpactHub”.
I did not, or am not doing this because I am shit-bored, I am doing it because I think it could be incredibly helpful/the second component of my misdeeds to support the “Maker Movement”.
I don’t know if it is necessary, or even wanted, but I want to bring the 2 communities, the Maker-community and the ImpactHub-community closer together.
So what is an “ImpactHub”?
Hey and Hi again,
unfortunately, I have not really had any time to do any cool stuff at a Fab Lab =(
A lot of exams, a lot of being sick. Not fun at all.
I had time to think of some cool stuff though! I’ll talk about my brainfarts if you don’t mind! (they don’t smell, I swear!)
Actually, a couple weeks back already, I took the workshop on the CNC machine at the Happylab.
The first thing that popped into my mind there is using said CNC machine to fabricate myself a Longboard.
Alive it is, indeed!
But how was it brought to life? What is going on behind the scenes? Is it all magic happening there? I hate to disillusion you, its not literally magic.
I should have studied the last few days. Why I tell you that is because everyone knows that productive stuff can come out of that, except for the stuff that should actually be done.
So, I browsed Kickstarter (of course) and if anyone did that in the last few days/weeks, you will have noticed that there is a ton of 3D printers raising some money there.
One of them specifically caught my attention though. I told you about the different types of printers here (not so sure if all of it is till or ever was accurate) some time ago. This one uses Stereolithography to harden a resin. Here comes the cool part: It is only 100$! And it is called the Peachy Printer, how cute!
Modelling with Blender, yep. Don’t start crying already, it will be alright, we’ll go through this together!
(I dearly hope you got the sarcasm.)
So, right now I am trying to model myself a nice Trinket, I have been toying around with the idea of making myself a model of the Bastion-Crest, because I loved the game so much and I’d like to hold something of it in my hands.
So I started modelling with Blender, which I decided on using/learning even though it is quite the daunting program to use, I think it is the most powerful and I can do nearly everything with it, so let’s get on with it, I’m going to try giving you all the steps I took in designing it. Let’s go then:
Even though it doesn’t have a lot to do with the “Maker-Movement” per se, I’d still like to talk about another quite amazing service.
Let’s take a look at the concept of shapeways.com for a second. The special thing (besides the whole 3D printing magic) is all the service around it. The company lets you upload a file and takes care of all the procurement, production, shop and logistics, which enables you to focus on the design only. Even if you do not want to sell your stuff, it is still a huge thing, because it gives you access to production techniques you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Shapeways does that for 3D printing, but last time we talked about the Vynil cutter and that you can create cool T-Shirts with it, so let’s take a short detour in that direction.
Its Wednesday again people!
And we are continuing our weekly ritual of taking a Workshop at the local Fabrication Laboratory. This week’s attraction: The Vynil Cutter!
Its purpose is quickly explained, cut some foil following a Vector, a path. The reason for me even mentioning that it cuts along a Vector is for you to understand what that actually means.
Have you heard of Shapeways yet?
No? Well, you should most definitely change that and I will gladly help you out!
When I first heard of 3D printing I was amazed. Remember my first post? I wanted to print myself a coffe-cup and all kinds of other awesome consumer goods, and for whatever reason, I wasn’t even thinking about how hard it would be to actually print food-safe ceramics. Think about it for a second, it takes around 2000° C to manufacture ceramics!
Now that you know how impossible it seems, have some magic!
Shapeways is a service where you can upload your design and have it printed, now that in itself is nothing amazing, but the fact that you can have all of that done in an amazing array of materials is what makes it, not just special, but mind blowing.
You can check out the full list of 3D printable materials here.
The materials include stainless steel, ceramics, gold plated brass, silver, full color sandstone! You might find some other amazing ones there, either because I left some out or there are new possibilities when you are reading this.
The founders could have just ended it here, but no!
Today’s visit to the Fab Lab started by bumping into the group of new guys and girls taking the tour through the Lab for the first time, just as I did a couple weeks ago. I am still amazed by how many people come there and sign on every Wednesday, and how diverse they are.
Shortly after I sat down there, a guy I’ve seen a couple of times at the Fab Lab came up to my roommate and asked him what tool the workshop was on today.
Well, my roommate speaks German, but not really that kind (quite the strong local dialect), so I jumped in and told him.
He is somewhere between 40 and 50 years old and just had this “eager-to-learn” grin on his face, to be honest, he looks like an odd fellow but he is incredibly nice and motivated!
Cheesy line coming up! Watch it! “Never judge a book by its cover.” Yeah. I just did that. I’ll have to take a shower now.
I’m back in full beauty!
As I might have said at some point back in the days of this ageing blog, there is a workshop for a different device every Wednesday evening at the happylab I “belong to”.
After a 2-week workshop break because of…. to be honest, I don’t know why and I don’t really care.
Back on topic: This week, it was the 3D printers turn to shine and I am about to tell you what I got out of it.
The presentation started with a disclaimer which went something like “We just assume that you already have a 3D printable .stl-file, because explaining how to model stuff would make this presentation go way overboard.”
That’s cool. I still don’t really have a clue how to design now, but I do not think that this is going to be a huge problem with all the know-how floating freely on the Internet!
So we went right down to the technical stuff of what our cute “Dimension BST” can do. Let’s go then, shall we?
Unfortunately, I have been a bit off rails lately.
But don’t you worry, I m back and trying my luck on using a laser cutter! (not that anyone missed me by any stretch of the Imagination =P)
So I have been working on an Event and had some private trouble, but well, shit happens, and sometimes said shit needs/deserves a lot of attention ;).
Now, in continuation from where I stopped a week or so ago (I could check the date but I am too lazy). I went back to the Happylab the next day with my nice little minion file prepared to see some laser cutting action!
Exited as I was, I stormed in, and, hold your breath!
Of course, the machine was in use at that moment. That was to be expected though, because it’s the time where architecture students have to finish their Projects, so the laser cutter is in heavy use.
So I went up to the guy there, and smacked him in the face!
Everything went well, except me forgetting that today is a holiday in Austria, well well, silly me.
Let me start a bit earlier.
This morning I started making my first design to be laser-cut.
So the guys at the workshop yesterday gave some examples of different materials that are perfectly suited for Laser-cutting. One of them is called “Laserply”. It is basically a plasticy-ish plate that has a thin layer in a color like blue/red/yellow etc. at the top, and the core of it has a different color (they have black and white as far as I know).
You could check out the different variations in the store if you wanted to. ;)
It seems quite basic, but by burning away the top layer (engraving), you can make the core show, which allows you to do 2-colored Laser-cuts.
So as soon as I saw the yellow one with the black core (which looks awesome with text engraved), I thought of designing one of the minions from the movie “despicable me”, and so I did.
This file should be printable now, without going into detail: The black lines and areas are going to be engraved, and the incredibly thin red outline you can (hopefully) see there will be cut.
With a ton of enthusiasm, I went to the “Fab Lab” to have it cut. Well, normally you can buy the materials right in the Lab itself. Unfortunately, today was a holiday in Austria, so the guys running the shop were not there. =(
Cool thing though is that the only 2 people in the Lab at that time immediately offered to lend me some of their materials. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make any use of the stuff he offered, so I left.
So yesterday was my first visit to a “Fab Lab”.
“How was it?” – you zero readers of this blog ask. (I don’t have a problem talking to myself, doing it all the time anyways =) )
First thing you’ll notice is that it is not as shiny as the pictures on the website suggest. But thats actually a good thing, it means that people are actually working there, not just staring at the machines. There is architects Laser Cutting their projects for University, there is something “baking” in the 3D-Printer for the next 6 hours, and someone is working on the CNC-Machine, I could not figure out what he was working on, but he made something!
So how do you start? Do they just let you go berzerk on these expensive machines and hurt yourself?
Quite the rhetorical question eh?
First of all, a bunch of surprisingly quiet and shy people gathered up right after the entrance, made up from all kinds of people.
I saw two 16-year-olds, a couple art and engineering students, and some “home-improvers” or DIY-ers that were 50 years plus old.
Next, we got a tour of the “Fab Lab”, which ended with me signing on to it of course.
Next thing right after signing on was the first of a series of what they call “Workshops”.
No, I didn’t misspell *cough cough*!
Due to most of this equipment being quite expensive and basically being out of date after one or two years, it is quite unlikely that any of you is going to get him or herself a 3D Printer right now.
Don’t worry though, there is other ways of getting access to cool tech like that, and to even more cool stuff!
What I am referring to calls itself a “Fab Lab”, these hold an array of flexible computer controlled fabrication machines. They are aimed at making the ability to fabricate almost anything accessible to anybody who wants to.
Said “Fab Labs” usually have one day a week where anyone can come and toy around with the equipment, even if they are not signed on to their ridiculously low-priced subscription plans. (With the one I know, it’s 3€ a month for access during the opening hours, and 19€ extra if you want a key! 24/7 access!)
Well, today will be the first day I step into the “Happylab”, let’s see how it works out.
If you are as excited about this as I was when I first heard this, you can check out if there is one near you on the MIT’s website, here is the link: