Planet Nottinghack

25 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Lion Head


Another foam shield emblem, I got the impression the lion in the crown was taken from somewhere and the antlers added after, the antlers were a little thin and flimsy after cutting.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 25 June 2016 08:05 PM

24 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Foam Phoenix


Many moons ago I wrote about how I was trying to cut this shape and was failing, I don't ever remember writing about the success. I've cut dozens of them since then so here is the most recent stack of phoenixes, phoenixii (? would it be a flame of phoenix?)


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 24 June 2016 05:36 PM

23 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Foam Gryphon


Eldritch sent me a whole bunch of requests for laser cutting, Plastazote is really good for cutting and these basic images come out well.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 23 June 2016 05:32 PM

21 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Paper Prototyping


The big thing occupying my time currently is the vanilla box. I'm slightly outside my comfort zone with metal work but it's always good to learn new skills. We're getting the box CNC cut so I can already do the drawings but I'm learning about bend radii and powder coating etc. The case is made from sheet metal with bends in appropriate places and I'm able to make prototypes out of paper to make sure it all fits together correctly. Having these physical models really helps to visualise where everything is going to go.




by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 21 June 2016 05:26 PM

Matt Little hackergotchi for Matt Little

Portable PV Power - 800Wp System

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We were asked, by a good friend from Wild Stoves, to produce a portable solar PV off-grid power supply system.

Wild stoves supply equipment for efficient outdoor cooking on wood. They run workshops on efficient burning of wood and sell equipment at a number of festivals over the summer. We had been asked to add solar to their 50's caravan a few years ago.

They wanted to be able to provide higher levels of energy to the festivals they attend, but wanted all the equipment to be portable, all parts to be moveable by one person and to fit within a specific space (within a Range Rover and then under a caravan).

Together we designed a 3 box unit with 200Ah of Lithium Iron Phospate batteries at 24V DC, an 800W solar PV array with MPPT and an 800W inverter unit. This also has battery montioring, various controls for the outputs and 12V outputs for each box.

 This post covers the design, build and testing of this system.

Read more...

by matt@re-innovation.co.uk (Matthew Little) at 21 June 2016 05:06 PM

20 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Slide Latch Box


A few weeks back I investigated various latching box mechanisms with minimal success, mostly it felt like they were trying to flex the material in the wrong direction which lead to snapping. I tried to make a sliding lid on this box to test a latching mechanism. The lid is a basic sliding lid but when it is fully closed, protrusions on the lid push the side walls out and latch it into the closed position. The walls flex with with the grain of the material so it is pretty sturdy and should last a long time. It's not the best box in the world because the lid is very tight anyway and it doesn't need to be locked into place but it's a successful test nonetheless. (svg here







by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 20 June 2016 05:14 PM

19 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Leather Woggle 3


Finally I tried a woggle with an image engraved onto it. The world scout emblem is readily available on the interwebz in vector format so it seems a logical choice. Leather can engrave really nicely if you get the power settings correct and this one picked out a lot of details. Dominic poppered it again for me.


That was my little detour into leather woggle making, here are the files if you want to make your own. (svg here



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 19 June 2016 04:48 PM

18 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Leather Woggle 2


Making customised items is extremely easy with a laser cutter so putting text onto a basic woggle is simple to do. The text should probably have been smaller is it was more visible from the front but we can sort that next time.


I've done a minor bit of leather working in the past but I don't have any tools for it so I called Dominic in for support with these woggles. He had some poppers handy and the right tools for the job and was able to do it for me in minutes. The poppers come in 2 parts and there are 2 types so 2 different tools. The tool fits in or over the popper and the top half is hammered into the bottom half where they form one piece. Dominic also had a special dimpled 'anvil' to hammer into which helped with the curved poppers. 

 




by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 18 June 2016 04:42 PM

17 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Leather Woggles


Eli has just joined the local Beavers group, it inspired me to laser cut up some leather and turn it into fancy woggles for their neck scarves. The first one is a very simple design but it's often referred to as a magic braid, the three strands in the design can actually be plaited to make a weave pattern. Many moons ago my scout woggle was like this so it was cool to actually make my own in the same style.


 


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 17 June 2016 04:07 PM

16 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles Fishy


Finally a fishy and if this seems fishy to you it's because I bought myself a weeks worth of blog items with a single night of drawing, all queued in advance so by now my future self will have made something a bit more involved. As promised here is a bundle of vector art for those shapes. (svg here)

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 16 June 2016 05:15 PM

15 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles Rocket


Maybe the relative scales are a little bit off, 

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 15 June 2016 05:13 PM

14 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles Piggy


Does what it says on the tin (is this too much like spam?)

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 14 June 2016 05:11 PM

13 June 2016

Matt Little hackergotchi for Matt Little

Renewable Energy Kits for Schools

 We were asked by Nottingham City Council to design and produce a selection of renewable energy demonstration kits for use with school groups of various ages. They needed equipment which could be easily assembled and taken apart, but were still configurable to a number of different designs.

These are to be used as part of a day of activities about resources, energy efficiency and renewable energy. They wanted kits to demonstrate the concepts of solar electricity, wind power and hydro (water) power.

Here are photos of the designs we eventually came up with - this included small solar car kits, wind turbines with adjustable blades and a micro hydro turbine.

 

Read more...

by matt@re-innovation.co.uk (Matthew Little) at 13 June 2016 08:14 PM

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles Froggy


The eyes look a little weird on this one but I think it's the double reflection, it's quite prominent in the photo, less so in person.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 13 June 2016 05:04 PM

12 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles Planet


A cute little planet with a shooting star.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 12 June 2016 05:02 PM

Matt Little hackergotchi for Matt Little

Latrine Logger Unit

No image

The Latrine Logger was developed for Water For People.

Water For People is an international non-profit working across 9 countries to bring safe water and sanitation to 4 million people.

Water for People want to see communities break free from the cycle of poverty and spend time growing, learning, and thriving, instead of walking for water and fighting off illness.

Following on from testing a prototype unit, we have done many improvements and have supplied the Latrine Logger - a data logging unit for monitoring pit latrines.

Read more...

by matt@re-innovation.co.uk (Matthew Little) at 12 June 2016 01:53 PM

Open Source Building Management System PCB

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We worked recently with our friends at T4 Sustainability to produce some Raspberry Pi breakout boards for their Open Source Building Energy Management System (oBeMS) project.
oBeMS is a project to produce an integrated building management system which comprises of sensors, actuators, control and monitoring systems.

Read more...

by matt@re-innovation.co.uk (Matthew Little) at 12 June 2016 09:16 AM

11 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles Snake


Cartoon animals and space themed mirrors, the kids love them.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 11 June 2016 10:26 PM

10 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Radius Guides


Another useful tool for the tool box, radius guides. You can press these up against any given curve to measure what the actual radius of the curve is. It's not something you need very often so being able to create a set cheaply like this is rather handy.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 10 June 2016 08:03 PM

Vernier Caliper


Some of you may have already seen over on Just Add Sharks, but I laser cut some vernier calipers from 3 layers of 1.5mm birch ply, it's fully functional and nearly as accurate as my actual calipers. All the files are available from there.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 10 June 2016 07:52 PM

09 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Mirror Tiles


Hazels nursery had some very funky mirror tiles on, it inspired me to make some of my own, just simple illustrations but they came out pretty good. It's just 3mm mirror acrylic, they'll be an artwork bundle at the end of the series. 

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 09 June 2016 10:26 PM

Puerto Rico Market Tray


I had another shot at the Market Tray last night and I'm much happier with the result. The original test tray used 4 layers stuck together but it's hard to make sure they're all aligned and misalignment can snag cards when they're tilted. The last market tray avoids this by having the dividers vertically and keyed into the base but it's a bit slow to assemble. I compromised, this tray has a 3mm base and a 9mm top layer, by making the top in a single cut there is no snagging issue and I only have to align 2 layers together. All the names cut from 3mm and were glued onto the base afterwards to provide tipping points. These will go up in the shop in a few days time.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 09 June 2016 07:18 AM

08 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Puerto Rico Trays


The market system in the game Puerto Rico takes a long time to set up, so what it really needed was a try to hold all the buildings in place that can be easily taken in and out of the box so I made one. Each space is capable of holding up to 4 buildings and has a wedge underneath each tile so that you can press down on one side and easily remove them. The remaining gap was dedicated to the bank as per the original tile board. It's all made from 3mm poplar and takes a bit of time to assemble so I think I'll be tweaking it again tonight but not bad for a first effort.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 08 June 2016 09:02 AM

07 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Tray Tester


Bonus points for guessing my next board game trays.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 07 June 2016 11:40 PM

06 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

SSR Switch Box


Twice recently I have forgotten to turn on the air pump for my laser, the result was acrylic gunk all over the nozzle and I narrowly avoided cracking a lens. The Leetro controller has the capability to turn the pumps on automatically with the appropriate hardware. I connected up a Solid State Relay to the Y1 output on the controller, this SSR will switch 240V @ 25DA so is more than capable of turning the extractor fan and air pump on/off. I made up a little switch box to give me somewhere to easily plug things in without modifying their leads. 

It's a simple arrangement and functioned as intended, the problem lies with the leetro controller. It turns the air off between layers and immediately after cutting. Ideally I need some smoothing and maybe a 60 second delay between the output turning off and the air turning off. Something to work on in the future I guess.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 06 June 2016 07:41 PM

03 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Tubular Burr Box


This tubular burr box is a bit more complicated than the previous burr puzzle, made with 6mm poplar I got the fitting just snug. Pay particular attention to the orientation of these parts, it makes all the difference. (svg here)



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 03 June 2016 05:22 PM

Criss Cross Cube Burr Puzzle


Extending my detour into the puzzle realm I found some nice and simple burr puzzles that could be lasercut, the first is this Criss Cross Cube. I thought it would look good in acrylic so redrew it and cut one myself. This is 5mm clear and the puzzle has quite a lot of slack in it, the whole thing could be shrunk a little to make it a bit more snug. (svg here)




by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 03 June 2016 08:18 AM

01 June 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Byte Box Puzzle


I found this Byte Box Puzzle while looking at laserable boxes last week. It's a very clever mechanism, 8 switches flip into either the up or down positions, in the correct position the whole lid can slide to the right slightly and then be lifted off. It's a byte box because their are 8 switches and therefore 256 possible combinations. The two switches on either end are fixed and are used to hold the lid down regardless of the other settings. (svg here)







by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 01 June 2016 09:59 PM

31 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Marble Run 4


A new curvy track piece for the marble run (svg here)



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 31 May 2016 02:12 PM

30 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Marble Run 3


Apparently having the marbles spew across the table wasn't that helpful either, those previous slopes are still fun for making the marbles skip tracks but it really needed a catchment tray on the bottom. These also make the towers a bit more stable as they have a wider base. There is a little kick to the track at the bottom to make the marbles go round the disk rather than jam at the bottom (svg here)


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 30 May 2016 12:27 PM

29 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Marble Run 2


The kids were quick to point out that the marbles weren't leaving the run so they couldn't get them back, also the number of paths were limited because you had to use whole runs so I made some spacers and outlet pipes. Now the marbles will run out the bottom of the run (and across the table). Also arranged for skinny scraps (svg here)



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 29 May 2016 10:07 PM

28 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Marble Run


I copied the classic kids toy to make some of my own marble run pieces. It's a simple design which goes together with a little glue, it's scaled for 10mm ball bearings. I added round disks to the top and bottom of the pieces, this allows them to be rotated to any angle to create more interesting structures. The whole pattern was set up to be one long thin strip, this means it can fit into the skinny scraps that are left over from most projects. (svg here)







by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 28 May 2016 09:36 PM

Material Storage Shelving


I made the most of a sunny day to pull everything out of my garage and restack it into a sensible order. I bought some shelving a few months bock and had all the materials on them but because they were crammed at this end (where the crates are in the photo) I was unable to actually pull sheets out of them, I shuffled them round and gained myself a whole bunch of material shelves. Some of the materials do stick out a little but nothing too serious. I even managed to empty 4 crates which is why there is a such a big stack.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 28 May 2016 09:01 PM

27 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Latching Box


This box from thingiverse user Noloxs features a latching lid and angled hinge arrangement to hold the lid open at an angle. I scaled it to 3mm and made it from poplar ply. The hinge arrangement is a little bit sticky but definitely works to stop if from falling back. I'm not sure about the latching arrangment, as soon as I pushed the lid onto it the pegs snapped so that definitely needs to be stronger (or have less force on it) I'm still learning a lot about what works and what doesn't. (svg here)




by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 27 May 2016 04:30 PM

25 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

SD Card Holder


This little container for SD cards has a sliding lid with latching detents to hold it in place. It's a nice little idea and I had seen someone with one at a maker faire before. MDF is a fairly nasty material for these things as soon as I push the lid into place the detents actually tore slightly (the bottom photo shows the weak points). The case I saw at the faire was actually one of these remix cases made in acrylic which is a better material and the detents are about 50% longer. Because the originals aren't shared in the svg file format I took the liberty of extending the detents in my copy of the file. (svg here)





by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 25 May 2016 09:19 PM

24 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

U-Box


I was looking for inspiration when I stumbled across this U-Box from Stanford Graduate School of Education. It's an interesting project with some great features, I didn't calibrate things correctly so my box is a little wobbly and loose, the assembly clips are definitely clever. The files are shared in multiple formats on their site but as ever... (svg here)


The lid rotates round 270 degrees on these large disks, the lids can fold down flat against the side of the box which is a very neat feature. 


An extra shim of material is affixed to the underside of the lid so that it fills the gap when the lid is closed. In the closed position the lid clips into place with a slight friction fit. 


Here is one of the assembly clips, it springs into place once into the gap and a second spring on the top pulls it out of the gap so it pulls tight.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 24 May 2016 09:20 PM

23 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Working Dice Tower (with plans)


The final challenge for the dice tower was to make the baffles stay in the tower when picked up and to make them extend into the new catchment tray. The solution came in the form of a living hinge, a small flexible section at the bottom of the baffles that could slide out into the tray. Small lips on either side stop the baffles from falling out of the tower, but are small enough that the tower can still fold flat. I'm sure there are many things that could be improved upon so please let me know if you build one or make any changes (svg here




by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 23 May 2016 10:10 PM

22 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Collapsing Tower


More excessive use of pin hinges allowed me to create a collapsible tower. The previous designs spewed dice all over the table which was a bit irritating so this one had a catchment tray to stop the dice. Some of the pin hinges are 'L' shaped which allows the second layer to fold over on top of the first one. This first collapsible tower exhibited a few fundamental flaws. With no base to the tower there was nothing to stop the baffles falling out the bottom when it was moved. Also with the new catchment tray there is nothing to stop the baffles from sliding out of the front of the tower either. I made one last revision to solve these issues and tomorrow I'll share the files (thanks for being patient)


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 22 May 2016 09:12 PM

Group Symbols


I was asked to make a stencil for a group called the Wardens in the Lorien Trust, I pointed out that the design had lots of islands and wouldn't make a very good stencil but as they wanted to paint them onto their shields I noted that I could laser cut the foam instead so here we have laser cut foam symbols to go onto shields (in two different sizes so they can see which works best)


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 22 May 2016 07:46 PM

21 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Massive DM Screen


After posting my dice tower prototype to my geeky gaming friends on Facebook I was asked to make a DM screen. The idea fit well into the existing tower design, I could make a double tower, one pointing in and one pointing out, and separate them with the actual screens. Once the screens and baffles are removed they can all fold up neatly and be placed inside the tower. This design makes copious use of the pin hinge and is way too time consuming to be put into production, it needs a new hinge type integrated into the design 





by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 21 May 2016 08:28 PM

20 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Baffling Improvements (Dice Tower 2)


I knew I could get the baffling to be a lot flatter, in theory the thinnest it could be is the same as the material thickness. I replaced the hinges with some of these pin hinges that I've used previously. These were a bit of a faff to build but very effective at slimming the design down. These baffles fit the test tower perfectly and we very easy to remove. 



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 20 May 2016 08:01 PM

19 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Dice Tower 1


Way back in July I was trying to make a dice tower, there are a lot of laser cut dice towers available online and they all suffer from issues in one way or another. A lot of them use friction fits which will eventually wear down, some use expensive magnets and still take a while to set up so I started looking at my own design.

 
A dice tower is just a box that could potentially fold flat, the only thing that stops it folding like a regular box are the baffles that the dice fall down. I built a basic box tower but made my baffles removable. When inside the box the baffles push against the sides of the box and holds the whole thing rigid. When removed the baffles fold flat alongside the box.


As a concept it worked fairly well except the baffles didn't fold particularly flat which is why I carried on developing the idea rather than blogging it at the time.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 19 May 2016 07:52 PM

Vale Box


Ruth drew me an amazing piece of art to go on the top of my vale box, vale happened at the weekend so now I feel like I can show it off to you guys. It's done with traditional pyromancy rather than lasered but it's lovely, exactly what I wanted for the box.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 19 May 2016 08:49 AM

17 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Geek Cake


This is the cake that the flux capacitor ended up in, it takes elements from lots of scifi series and shows. There are lots more pictures over on facebook. Halfway down the cake you'll notice some coloured pillars between the layers, we realised that we could turn the transparent cake frame into mini lightsabers so I illuminated them with neopixels and made them turn on/off over time.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 17 May 2016 08:56 PM

Welsh Masters Belt


As a very rush job last week I made a belt for the welsh regionals of colossal mania. It was last seen headed off to be painted and glued, when a photo surfaces I'll post it up here too.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 17 May 2016 08:40 PM

12 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Quick box


I wanted a quick box for Vale this weekend so I knocked this up from 6mm poplar, the joints are all a little bit tight and I have a weird feeling my laser isn't cutting vertically again. I wanted the lid to be secure so I put two more hinge points onto the lid. I'll gloss over the inscriptions as its too complicated to explain :) (svg here)



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 12 May 2016 07:55 PM

11 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Right Angle Brackets


Dominic has been a fan of these assembly brackets for some time now, he even went as far as making a set and posting them onto thingiverse. I had to glue some wood sheets at right angles to each other and these seemed to be the right thing for the job so I cut myself a set too and glued everything appropriately. Pretty useful but mine were only 6mm thick to tended to flick themselves flat until I got the second clamp into place.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 11 May 2016 06:27 PM

09 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Drawing To Engraving



The third and final project from this years maker faire was a webcam capture program that would easily digitise children's drawings and then send them down to the laser cutter for engraving. The webcam holder with led lighting to illuminate the drawing. I used a c# wrapper for the open CV library to capture images from the webcam, a little bit of filtering to remove pixels that weren't black enough. The image was then converted to G Code, and transferred to a GRBL controller that was wired into the Greyfin laser cutter. The G Code simply drives the laser to the next black pixel and burns a single dot for each pixel, repeat for each black pixel in the image.


The program ended up being a bit of a mess as it evolved throughout the course of the weekend. It's got some nice features though such as the ability to capture or load an image for engraving, automatic detection of GRBL devices on the serial ports and free text sending to control GRBL directly. I've attached the code here should you want to achieve something similar (Source code)


One good thing that did come from the code was a simple program to save and load GRBL settings to a controller or a text file. I managed to overwrite my settings by accident and this program allows me to save them all in a text file and then send them to the controller in a few clicks, similar things probably exist elsewhere but this is my version. (Source and Executable)

Below the cut is a veritable rogues gallery of all the artwork that was done over the two days
Read more »

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 09 May 2016 11:05 PM

07 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

vanillabox Prototyping


Over at Just Add Sharks we're building our own laser cutter and that means design revisions and multiple prototypes. I'm sure you all saw our previous version built over the course of a weekend and intended to test several design choices, such as the gantry mounted tube and the grbl/visicut software combination. We threw together an acrylic box full of interesting curves and features but when I got it home it felt very impractical. The curve on the lid was pretty wonky and I felt we needed to go back to the drawing board to design something we could actually build in quantity. With two weeks to go till the maker faire and a broken laser it was a pretty big task, but I'm very happy with this new revision.


The first significant change was to rebuild the gantry, the previous build used a large box section but that was replaced with a single sheet, the rail gives it strength and the stepper and drive belt can be fixed to it with minimal change. The laser tube mounts on the back half of the gantry, I flipped the tube to fire to the right so that the origin can be in the top left hand corner (like computer coordinates). The wires were routed in different directions leaving all the high voltage and pipes running through a cable guide on the right hand side and the signal wires running through the left hand side. On the right hand side the water/air pipes can just run straight out the back of the box.


The gantry rails were moved onto the side walls of the cutter, this makes it fair easier to lift the gantry up to the top of the machine and gives a nice large cutting area free of obstructions. The two walls of the laser cutter hold the rails, stepper motors and belts, all of the electronics are mounted on the reverse of the wall. The three main precision parts of this build can now be cut from simple flat sheets of metal. The laser cutter is actually functional with just 2 walls and a base to hold them apart, it would be very wobbly but all the essential alignment items are held tight on the gantry.


The design splits up the electronics into the two pods on the left and right of the machine, all the mains powered things are in the right and all the control electronics are in the left. The only wires running across the box are 24V supply for the steppers/controllers and the right hand Y axis stepper motor wires. A single curved panel over the pod provides some style as well as easy access to the internals when required. Lights mounted on the walls provide good illumination throughout the box.


This version of the vanillabox is functional, we're due to get some cutting videos up shortly. The final box will obviously be made of metal (due to wood flammability issues). The lid will undoubtedly change and be replaced for a metal piece with a laser absorbing window. My challenge now is to get the box drawn and professionally manufactured so we can finalise the price tag.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 07 May 2016 11:16 AM

05 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Wooden Spoon


With most tournaments the last place person gets the wooden spoon prize, 'Insert Funny Name Here 3' is no exception so I duly engraved the inside of a spoon again. I was impressed by how well the laser coped with the curved surface.





by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 05 May 2016 09:04 PM

04 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

More Trophies


Last week I ran some more trophies up for a guild ball tournament. The 'Who Cares Who Wins' podcast guys ran their 'Insert Funny Name Here 3' tournament and wanted trophies for all the various prize places. I squeezed them in shortly after I fixed my laser and have held them off until now partly because I forgot about them.




by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 04 May 2016 09:03 PM

03 May 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Limit Switches


I had a few projects based around this sea bass test rig and the keen eyed amongst you may have noticed that this is actually sea bass 2. This time I needed some limit switches, this is to test the homing functions and software limits available in GRBL 0.9j. I set it up so that both switches are fixed on the framework (rather than x moving on the axis), this means I have to Home the Y axis before the X axis but it works pretty reliably.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 03 May 2016 10:21 PM

29 April 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Flux Capacitor


I needed a quick and dirty flux capacitor prop so I threw one together from laser cut parts. There are 4 LED's under each arm of the Y shape and they're connected to a Digispark board to make them flash. The whole thing runs on battery power. If I had more time and inclination I'd weather the paint effects slightly, round some of the corners off on the wires and recut the top panel but for now I'm pleased with the effect. (svg here)





by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 29 April 2016 08:40 PM

Extractor Fail


After doing all those funny materials for the sample wall last week I guess my extractor fan must be clogged, smoke started creeping out the front of the machine and I realised how full the cutter was. I decided to plough on because I needed to get the jobs finished so I opened the lid, bypassed the switch and opened the garage door. This was the vast plume of smoke that came off one of my useless machine kits. So yeah, these things make a lot of smoke and some of it ultimately creeps out when you open the lid. More pics to follow when I get to the route of the problem.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 29 April 2016 01:59 PM

26 April 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Team Rembrandts Case Modding


Inspired by their foray into laser cutting Team Rembandts came back later in the afternoon to get some more cutting done. This time they decided to cut their logo into the lid of the PC case and insert orange plastic into the gaps. The panel was made from ABS plastic and we only had one shot at it, I overcooked it slightly but the final panel still came out really well. This may also be the last shot of my wooden bowl as I forgot to collect it back from them at the end of the day, no big deal I'm sure it would have been firewood in a few months time.



by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 26 April 2016 05:49 PM

Case Modding


The guys from Cooler Master UK were exhibiting at the Maker Faire, they were making some amazing case modifications and had cut one of these spars out completely by hand. When they realised we had a laser cutter they bought their files down to us and we cut the rest of the spars for them. There are 2 slightly different designs, I overpowered the cuts and the whole thing took about 20 minutes but it sure beats doing it all by hand.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 26 April 2016 08:40 AM

25 April 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Sample Wall


There have been a lot of hexes produced over the last week and you're probably wondering where they are all going. We wanted to demonstrate all the materials that could be cut on a laser like the Vanilla box so we gathered them all together and put them onto a sample wall. Each Hex tile is placed loosely into the framework and held in with a wide border. The bottom border section contains a label for the material and where applicable who sells the material. One final hex contains text describing what the wall is about what we're demonstrating on each tile.

Gluing this all together took a whole day, last week was a long week and I haven't even mentioned the 'big' project yet :)






by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 25 April 2016 03:25 PM

Polypropylene Samples


I did cut all 8 of the polypropylene colours available from Kitronik but I was running up against the deadline and I glued some of them down before I took the photos. Polypropylene is a weird material, it is laser safe and it does cut but the edge is never very nice, it also doesn't really engrave and it tends to warp while cutting. It is a good material when you need something thin and flexible.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 25 April 2016 11:12 AM

Plastazote Samples


These samples were cut from coloured plastazote foam, Techsoft sells a multipack containing all eight different colours. I've cut a fair amount of this foam before with all the LRP weapons and it's my favourite foam material to laser. It actually feels like it cuts correctly rather than melting away from the beam.


by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 25 April 2016 09:07 AM

24 April 2016

Martin Raynsford hackergotchi for Martin Raynsford

Microbit at the Maker Faire


I just got back from the UK maker faire, having a laser cutter on display means we can cut things for people while we're there. This morning Kitronik asked us to make an adapter for their micro:bits. The Maker faire badges had holes for attachments already and this adapter allowed the micro:bit to be hung from the maker badge.

by noreply@blogger.com (Martin Raynsford) at 24 April 2016 09:46 PM