Main Laser Turn On

We have successfully fired the laser! And cut some awesome shapes from cardboard! Anyway, I think some more calibration might be needed, I felt like it took too much power to cut the cardboard. And there's some issues with the z drive skipping, which hopefully will all be fixed just with some application of quality oil. Here's a video clip of a moose being cut out:

Python cancelled tonight! (6/21)

Sorry folks, I'm cancelling tonight because I have to deal with this:

See you next week, when we talk about mysql.

We have laser!

Our Exlas 1280 laser has arrived from China. It came in a very large crate to the Port of Oakland this morning, which was then transported to the space by David, Stefan, and Aaron. Al helped with the unboxing and it was moved into the space.

The laser is currently in the back room of the downstairs shop area. David and others plan to run tests to check all of the wiring and connections before it is powered on at all. At that point, we'll align the beam and do a number of test cuts. People should expect that it will be at least a week before it is available for cutting.

A reminder that there is a wiki page with details on costs, etc. including the laser manuals that people will be expected to read! Prepare yourselves!

We also need suggestions on what to call the laser. "Big Red" is right out.

 - Al

New Ace Monster Toys Board Elected!

On Thursday, June 16, 2011, AMT held its second board of directors election. The first one was done at this time in June, 2010, before AMT had a space, incorporated, or many members. It was just a hope and a dream.
Since then, we rented a 1,600 sq ft space in north Oakland, incorporated as a California nonprofit, gained a bunch of members, and have run many classes and workshops, as well as building out our space.
The new board, as elected by the general membership, is as follows:

  1. Al Billings (member of previous board)
  2. David Rorex
  3. Stefan Hristu
  4. Christian Fernandez (member of previous board)
  5. Cliff Biffle

As you can see, two of the board members were on last year's board and three are members who have joined since that time, which is a pretty good mix of old and new.
All Hail the Board. Bow before them!
 - Al

AMT has Kinect finally

Ace Monster Toys gang...in THREE DEE

AMT has finally caught up with all the other kids at the cool hackerspaces and bought a Kinect for hacking upon. The above image was taken by Cliff using his cool "Kinect Viewer" software that he wrote. He has a true 3D version as well for people with funny glasses.

Aaron's RC Plane Talk on June 9, 2011

P1010972
Aaron shows one of the planes he built

Aaron did a talk on the basics of remote control planes at AMT after the weekly meeting yesterday, June 9. A number of us have been talking about building an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone using some of the materials from DIY Drones for the electronics portion (they use arduino based autopilots). The main barrier is not doing the electronics but actually knowing how to fly an RC plane well. Electronics we are good at! Building a plane with a couple of hundred dollars of electronics plus cameras and parts is no good if you crash it the first time you fly.

Aaron has a lot of experience as a hobbyist doing RC planes and offered to do a talk explaining a bunch of the basics to people. He went over the basic ideas in RC planes, showed how he had built his own planes out of foam, as well as showing one of the ready to fly planes that he had bought and modified.

Following the talk, we got to play with Aaron's RC plane flight simulator and find out just how horrible we all really are at flying anything in real time. After crashing repeatedly, I was convinced that a lot of practice in the simulator will be necessary before much flight.

P1020011
Aaron coaches Costa on RC flight simulator

- Al

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Ace Monster Toys is a non-profit hackerspace based in Oakland, CA, dedicated towards education, hacking, and maker culture.

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