EMS received a generous donation at the end of 2014. The board decided we should spend that money on some new tools for our members. After a discussion in the EMS Discuss mailing list, we opted to spend some money on two things.
CNC milling machine
Those things seemed pretty high up on the list for many members, and as it happens some members were already working on these things. This decision will allow us to fund the projects and hopefully expedite them.
CNC Milling Machine
Several members have been working hard to repair a recently-donated CNC milling machine. You may have seen it on the large desk inside EMS. The most recent problem has been with the motor driver circuit boards. The driver chips keep burning out. They’ve already been replaced once, but the problem has repeated itself. The team has decided to purchase new controller boards instead of trying to continue debugging the old ones. We are going to use EMS funds to help the team purchase the parts they need to get the machine up and running. We’ll also spend a few hundred dollars on proper tooling for the machine when it’s ready to go. This way we’ll have everything we need to make use of the machine.
Bob has been building his 40 Watt laser cutter for over two years now. The current status is that it’s almost ready for use by other members. He’s still working on some of the software but he’s got a plan formulated for that. Also, you may have noticed a hole cut in the rear wall of the EMS shop over the last week or so. This hole was approved by the landlord and installed to provide adequate ventilation for the laser cutter once it’s up and running. An exhaust fan was already installed as well. Bob also needs to build a custom table to hold the laser cutter up at an appropriate height, while also leaving storage space for cutting materials. He’s going to be a bit busy working on his Eugene Maker Faire project in the coming months though, so if anyone would like to lend a hand with this project please reach out on the Discuss list.
On February 1, 2014, I (Rick) got together with another EMS member (Ellery) to build a modular Olympic Lifting Platform. The goal was to build a platform that could fit in our garage. The standard 8′ x 8′ size would be much too large, so we cut ours in half. The other problem is that moving a full sized 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood is very difficult without access to a truck. It also would be very difficult to move, reposition, or stow away at that size. We therefore designed our platform to be modular. The center platform is 4′ x 4′ and each side piece is only 2′ x 4′. This allows us to transport the whole thing in one SUV with one person if needed. We can also easily move it off of the floor if we ever need to reclaim that space. The resources and space available to us at EMS were very helpful in completing this project.
Always awesome to link to fellow EMS members and their stories and use of the EugeneMakerSpace commons. Ben Hallert fellow EMS member and friend ( https://www.facebook.com/ben.hallert) posted this story to his Facebook feed a few days ago and I think it’s worth sharing it’s best use case story this year value for EMS membership.
Ben’s story begins..
I had a productive day at the shop after work yesterday! For the last few weeks, my car has grumbled at me about half of the time I used the brakes. I say grumble because it didn’t quite match any other description; it wasn’t scraping, it wasn’t screeching or shaking, it was just… grumbling. “Grrrr…” I figured there must probably be a pebble stuck between a pad and the rotor or something and it was slowing properly, so when I got around to it I took it to the Eugene Maker Space (http://eugenemakerspace.com) to fix up. Pulling off the front right wheel, I went to loosen some bolts that hold the caliper on when I discovered the source of the problem: Somehow, one of the two bolts was _missing_. Completely gone! I could rotate the caliper in place with little effort because it was only half attached, yikes. This is unacceptable! Whoever did my brakes last was clearly a complete and utter careless moro- I paused. On contemplation, I realized that I was the last one to touch these because I had replaced the pads a few months ago. In a sudden spirit of “can’t we all just… get along?” reconciliation, I magnanimously decided that failing to properly tighten that bolt was an understandable mistake and certainly not worth obsessing over. Let’s let bygones be bygones and all that. A quick walk down to Autozone got me a replacement bolt and we were off and running.A backstory on these brakes; as I mentioned, I had replaced the pads but I had known for the last year or so that I really needed new rotors. The rotors are the big metal discs that the brakepads squeeze against to slow you down and they can get worn. When they get worn and get grooves in them, that wears the pads out quicker and it’s a dirty cycle. I had actually needed to replace my pads twice, both when I was broke, so I had incurred extra expense overall as a result. As someone once told me, ‘there’s few things more expensive than being poor’. But this time, I had planned ahead and had gotten new rotors and by damned, I was going to replace them. To get the rotors off, you remove the calipers (the things that squeeze the pads against the rotors), a thing that holds the pads themselves, and then just pull the big metal plates off the hub. This sequence really looks better in writing than the reality because of that last step. “Just pull the rotors off” implies that the rotors have not rust-welded themselves to your car as mine had done. I knew the theory but had somehow never actually pulled rotors before so I spent the next 45 minutes alternately hitting it with a mallet, watching instructional YouTube videos, then hitting it harder with the mallet. After watching a less useless video, I did something new: I grabbed a shop torch and started heating parts of the rotor near the center (where it was bound up). If it hadn’t been for the helpful encouragement of some guy back east, I would have been worried about setting my car on fire but apparently this is ‘the thing to do’ so after heating and hitting and burninating, I eventually got it off. I’ve got to say that having a shop with shop resources was pretty nice. Need a torch? Sure, here we are. Clean floor to crawl around on under car? Beats a cold and wet driveway! Penetrating oil for removal and clamps for resetting the calipers? We gotcha covered. One of the best parts of the whole thing was that I was really kinda stranded until I finished the job. If I was at home and the rotor wasn’t coming off, I would be totally tempted to go inside and play on the computer until it was too late (Better put the wheel back on, I’ll try another day!) but being stranded in West Eugene was a good motivator to just get it done.After a couple hours total, I had both rotors replaced (with fresh new pads, why not) and hadn’t set my car on fire even once.Community shops like this are awfully nice to be a part of and I look forward to our upcoming move. We’ve currently got woodworking tools, metal lathe, a welding table, 3D printers, a soldering station, community workspace for big projects, and more. We’re in the process of finding a bigger place to allow for growth and increase our capabilities and it’s going to be an exciting evolution. I’ll post more details as it develops and invite anyone who’s interested in learning more about the space to contact me. Now… how well did I tighten that new bolt? I guess I’ll know what to do if my car starts grumbling again. ————
This is a video of our cat with special dietary needs using her RFID feeder. It is made from an hacked cd-rom drive and an Arduino with a RFID reader attached. It also uses a PIR (Passive InfraRed) sensor to make sure it doesn’t close on the cat. It has actually saved us considerable money as the food is very expensive and the other cats love to eat it, so both a fun and very useful project!