How to make an “Omaha Maker Group” patch!

Our embroidery machine can embroider text and borders very easily thanks to our wonderful donor.

If you are unclear at any step, please consult the babylock manual for the machine. It’s in the drawer labelled “Embroidery Machine Manual”.

You will need at least the medium hoop for our standard patch.

 

Cut a piece of fabric about 3/4″ larger than the hoop. Cut a piece of embroidery stabilizer that same size. Place the stabilizer over the inner portion of the hoop. Place the fabric over both of these. Then place the outer portion of the hoop over all of that, ensuring the post holes are opening towards the floor and the right-side of your fabric is on top. Flip this over and gently tug the fabric and stabilizer taut. Cinch down the hoop and tug fabric and stabilizer even more taut.

On the machine, ensure the embroidery foot, embroidery needle and embroidery arm are attached. Turn on the machine (do not attach the hoop to the machine yet). When prompted, click/press the “Check” button. The machine will do a calibration.

Hit the white “Embroidery” menu button on the screen.

Click on the on-screen button with a bunch of shapes. This will allow you to create the border. Select the rectangular option and then the solid bold line. On the next screen click the “layout” button. On the layout screen, click the size button, and resize the rectangle to 4.5 cm x 6.3 cm. When you’re finished, click the “End Size Changr” button. Then orient it however you’d please. You’ll need to match this orientation for your words.

If you have not done so, thread the machine with a bobbin matching your fabric (or your top thread) and the top thread in the color of your preference. OMG’s official patch has a dark purple border with a white fabric background.

Now, attach the hoop to the machine.

Lower the presser foot and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have a border.

Clean up the extra few stitches the machine puts in the middle with a seam ripper.

Click the white “Embroidery” button on the screen. Click the letters with the serifs. Assuming your border is the OMG dark purple, click on the “L M S” button until “S” is highlights, and then type in “Group” (lower-case letters are in the visual tab below the upper-case letters). Now click “Layout”. Orient the words with your border. Next, position the needle near the bottom middle of the interior of the border. If you’re doing math, it’s 0.2 cm from the bottom.

Again, lower the presser foot (if needed) and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have the word “Group”.

Switch the top thread out to light purple. Click the white “Embroidery” button on the screen. Click the letters with the serifs. Click on the “L M S” button until “S” is highlights, and then type in “Maker” (lower-case letters are in the visual tab below the upper-case letters). Now click “Layout”. Orient the words with your border. Next, position the needle near the bottom middle of the interior of the border. If you’re doing math, it’s 1.5 cm from the bottom.

Again, lower the presser foot (if needed) and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have the word “Maker”.

Switch the top thread out to bright blue. Click the white “Embroidery” button on the screen. Click the letters with the serifs. Click on the “L M S” button until “S” is highlights, and then type in “Omaha” (lower-case letters are in the visual tab below the upper-case letters). Now click “Layout”. Orient the words with your border. Next, position the needle near the bottom middle of the interior of the border. If you’re doing math, it’s 2.25 cm from the bottom.

Again, lower the presser foot (if needed) and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have the word “Omaha”.

Lift the presser foot and pull up the hoop. You now have a completed embroidered pattern! Remove the fabric from the hoop. Removing as much of the backing as you can. Cut a piece of iron-on adhesive to fit the size of your patch. Attach this with an iron per the adhesive’s instructions. Peel off the paper backing from the adhesive. Carefully cut out your patch!

Now, clean up the extra stitches the machine added between each letter and you’re done! Iron-on that patch wherever you please!

Results from The Great Drill Contest

As promised, we tested some drills. The testing wasn’t exactly scientific, but the results pass the smell test and provide some interesting insights as to the relative value of different drill types.

Spoiler alert, no equipment was visibly damaged in the collection of this data.

Read on for all the gory details. Continue reading

New Cooling for the Laser Cutter – Part 1

Last Thursday, Ben and Kevin started experimenting with a proper closed loop cooling system for the laser cutter. This is something we’ve wanted to do for some time, as it’ll make the laser easier to move and less likely to spill coolant all over the floor (again). The big push now is that the existing coolant pump is getting noisy, so it’s an ergonomic consideration 🙂

Most of the parts for this build were sourced from the junk pile, including the reservoir, fan and pump. We bought a cheap ebay radiator and a bunch of plastic fittings.

At this point, we’ve got a few slow drips to chase down, and need to figure out how to enclose the system, but as evidenced in the picture, it cools pretty well. Ben is using a blowtorch on that piece of copper tube (our stand-in laser tube), and it’s cool to the touch immediately after removing the fire.

Toner Transfer Testing


My wife ask about me lasercutting a sign for some friends, but at the time she ask, our laser was still down for repairs. I remembered Ben doing a toner transfer project several years ago, so I googled it up, and it turned out to be easier than I remembered.

This isn’t intended to be a tutorial, but the general steps are as follows:

  • Print Design on a laser printer (mirrored)
  • Sand wooden surface (I bought a prefab plaque at Michaels 40% off)
  • Tape paper to surface so it doesn’t move around
  • Apply acetone (a little goes a long way)
  • Remove paper before toner bleeds everywhere.
  • Apply clear finish

This was my first try at toner transfer ever, and the photo below wasn’t my final product. The toner doesn’t soak in very deep, so it’s easily sanded off for another attempt.  I ended up resanding and transferring 3 times, due to incomplete transfer or smudging (as below).

Lighter weight paper seemed to work better (the paper at OMG was quite a bit lighter than what I had at home, and worked great) as it didn’t want to soak up so much acetone, and transferred more completely as a result.

Once I was satisfied with the transfer results, a quick coat of spray lacquer finished the project.  Setup, drying and cleanup took the majority of the time and effort here. Total hands-on time was about 15 minutes.

Gingerbread Teaser

While we’re waiting on the “good photos” from Garrick, enjoy these two less good photos I snapped of some our members’ handiwork.  As always, we had quite the turnout for this event, with several members bringing friends and family to play along.

A special thanks to Sarah and Jeff for helping make it go off without a hitch, particularly in the processing and emergency procurement of our frosting supply.

Spice Rack

This is just a quick and dirty spice rack I put together for my wife. It’s a piece of plywood (supported at an angle by a chunk of 2×4) with some maple cleats glued and stapled to the front. Figuring out the size and placement of the cleats took the longest (Thanks Ben and Eric), but the entire project only took an hour or so. I wasn’t originally going for a documented tutorial, so the pictures are just of the finished product. Someone else’s measurements would vary anyhow, given the sizes of their cupboard and its contents. It’s the thought that counts, right?

New Ryobi Tool Center

It’s been a few months now, but I’m finally getting to documenting the tool storage wall we built. I found a plan online to build some PVC drill/driver hangers, and adapted it to carry the grinder, glue gun and angle drill by their battery holders.

All the tools in one place!

The slanted pipes below the drills are some spare PVC cemented to a piece of Sintra (which is also PVC, so I used pipe solvent). These tubes, which have since been labeled, hold cylindrical tools, such as our rotary and oscillating multitools and apparently a caulk gun.

If you’re in the market for some drill hangers for yourself, we have a fancy jig built (for 3″ pipe, but 4″ works too), so c’mon down and build some for yourself!

Raspberry Pi NES Build

Over the years I’ve played around with the Raspberry Pi to see what I can get it to do. I have limited programming skills and rely heavily on the opensource community and how-to documents.

The most successful projects I’ve done with the Raspberry Pi have revolved around using them as DNS and VPN servers. I also have them running with a monitor and wireless keyboard/trackpad combo in the basement utility room and garage. The screen on my phone to look up something in those rooms gets to be a little small and I’m usually using the phone as a flashlight so having a full sized monitor comes in very handy.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while is build a portable gaming machine. Something that could easily go in luggage and look decent to the TSA as it gets scanned. I tried putting something together in 2013 with a Raspberry Pi B first gen, but struggled with lag and the controller setup. As luck would have it, I’ve had an extra Raspberry Pi 3 Model B sitting around I’ve been trying different projects with, but haven’t found the one until I read about RetroPie again.

Continue reading

“Gingerbread” “House” Event – 12/19/2017

Hey gang, it’s time again for OMG’s annual Gingerbread House event. Note that this event has no actual gingerbread (we use graham crackers) and few, if any, “houses” in the traditional sense. In the past, we’ve seen locomotives, hobbit holes and skyscrapers.

This years’s event coincides with the regular meeting on December 19th. As usual, doors open around 5:30pm and people are usually around until 9 or 10pm. The start time is nominally 6pm, but realistically people will arrive and work on their construction whenever on that evening.

Frosting “mortar” and whatever decorations leftover from last year will be provided, but please consider bringing a box of crackers and some things to decorate with.

This is traditionally an “open house” sort of event, with folks bringing friends and family. The holidays are for group gatherings, after all.

Hope to see everyone there!