Our resident 3D printing guru Brandon is in a contest to design a new Vertical X axis.
Please go and support him by liking his project on Thingiverse here!
We have finally gotten the Makery Mendel to print properly!
So far we have printed a huge camera mount to connect Kevin’s camera and bike. Also, we have made a couple of new gears and linear bearing mounts to upgrade the ‘bot.
However, we are in need of funding for more plastic. The roll of PLA we are using is almost out, and a new spool will be about $65 plus shipping.
Here are some pics of stuff printed so far.
This week I took a simple camera lens from a $3 film camera I got from a thrift store and attached it to a cheap Canon body cap after drilling a hole in it. The result was a bit surprising once it was attached to the camera. Since the lens gets so close to the sensor, it made an inexpensive macro lens.
Kevin was kind enough to bring down his nice crucible after I brought in my furnace body. The crucible is just barely small enough to fit inside the body with about 1/2″ clearance on either side.
I may try to increase this slightly, as the sides aren’t perfectly circular anyway. I’m just not sure how to ream it out without destroying it.
So I spent an hour or so making a tool for the upcoming aluminum smelting sessions. I came up with a nice set of tongs that fit right around the body of the crucible. It fits nicely between the body and the sides of the furnace, but you sometimes need a bit of finagling to get it in, or out. All in all, it works pretty well.
I loaded it up with a bunch of aluminum scraps we have, as tightly packed as I could make them, and the tongs seem to hold it just fine.
I was finally able to get my medium size furnace moved out of the shed, and into the Makery. This was used at my previous residence to melt aluminum with a waste oil burner I built from scratch. I have a feeling that it will eventually be converted to a propane, or propane/oil hybrid burner here at the space.
This is the inlet port that it cast right into the side. It takes a 1.5″ OD pipe and locks it into place with a small bolt tapped into the side.
A nice view of the inside, where there is a small plinth block to keep the crucible off the bottom, and the burner inlet with the venturi tip installed.
It has a chamber about 7.5″ Diameter and 8.5″ depth.
I’ve decided to take the plunge.
Lacking basic cooking skills for much of my bachelor life, it occurs that rather than thinking of the endeavor to procure tasty food as a time consuming chore, I should think of it as an opportunity to experiment in a chemistry lab. To that end, I’ve recently fallen in love with and purchased a Sous Vide setup.
Now, I realize its not very “Maker” of me, but I did purchase (instead of make) a very precise temperature controller, the Sous Vide Magic. For this project, the maker bit is in the cooking, not the constructing of the device. So there.
The Sous Vide Magic marries up nicely to a dumb (no fancy electronics) rice cooker, in this case a $30 10 cup Black and Decker. The temp controller allows the user to set the temperature and time, then controls the electric output to the cooker to control the temperature. A highly accurate temp sensor sits in the water bath filling the cooker.
To this bath the scientist must add a vacuum sealed plastic bag. If you’re not familiar with sous vide, this should set off alarms, but never fear: we’re cooking at low temperatures for long periods of time. The plastic won’t melt. Additionally, I’m using vacuum seal-able ziploc bags, which contain no BPA to leach into my food and turn me into a woman (BPA acts as a synthetic estrogen in the body). Bases covered.
We must vacuum seal the food (sous vide is vacuum in French, so I hear) in order to both fully expose it to the water bath on all sides, and of course, the food you wish to cook is kept in the bag so as to keep it from being soggy in the water. Simple enough.
The first experiment was a simple “Patio” steak. I cooked it at 140F for 90 minutes. The steak came out medium, tender, and quite juicy, as all its original juices remained in the plastic bag. The added benefit was a minimum of mess, as I simply threw out the bag when finished. The seasoning (simple black pepper), though minimal, seemed to be amplified. In the future, I would consider cooking for even longer, as this particular cut can be gristled and this would tenderize it more. Also, I plan to buy a creme brule’ torch so I can sear the outside of the steak briefly before serving next time. Moderate success!
Next test: Sous Vide coffee. Stay tuned.
As an electronic newbie, it pleases me to say that my first electronic circuit project is complete and functional. You too can learn to solder!
In light of the recent catastrophe in Japan, I decided to construct my own geiger counter. These kits can be purchased from Cheney Electronics.
After one afternoon of acquainting myself with basic electronic components (thanks to Brandon, Jason, and Dave for the help) and melting metal like a madman, the results:
As you can see, at sea level cosmic radiation is relatively low. However:
At altitude, the radiation level increases significantly. Luckily, I haven’t had readings like this while scanning objects on the ground. In the event of encountering a radioactive agent, the clicks would actually be significantly higher than this.
Currently there is a project on Kickstarter whose goal is to set up a network of geiger counters to inform the Japanese populace about radioactivity in their country. Check it out!
Today was a pretty full, if short, day at the Makery; It started around noon, when the power was out as we arrived; It turned out to be a circuit breaker that must’ve tripped overnight somehow.
Once power was restored, work continued on both the robotic arm controls and the partition wall that now divides the overhead door area from the “kitchen table” area. The partition itself is made up of 5 4’x8′ panels, which are pinned and bolted together, and then painted.
Brandon also made quite a bit of progress on the “dis-armed” z-axis of the robotic arm he’s been dissecting. Using an Arduino and an old Traxxas speed control, he had the linear actuator going pretty reliably, though the speed control might be missing some magic smoke now… A short video of the arm is here.
Well, nobody thought to take any pictures of the construction, so we only have a couple phone pics of the finished bench and tables. I think they came out pretty well.
Also, David supervising.