Open house July 18th 7-9:30pm!

We are throwing a full on open house complete with drinks and food. AMT hackers will be on hand to explain equipment and show off projects like:

  • Laser Shooting Gallery
  • Sous Vide (yummy)
  • Sewing with LED's
  • Lasers... cutting and etching things
  • Guido the CNC engraver
  • Midi controlled Glockenspiel
  • and whatever we get up to in the next month
  • Figure out what you might want to make next

Come on by learn about the space, meet the makers/teachers or just hang out and play a game! RSVP on meetup or on facebook! (rsvp not required, tell your friends, drop by!)

Radio Shack contest voting is live!

Vote! Team West: Byte Blaster

Byte Blaster 

A few months ago several members of Ace Monster Toys worked together to create a laser pointer shooting gallery as an entry into a Radio Shack / Popular Mechanics sponsored contest. If you saw our booth at Maker Faire then you saw the awesome results of that collaberation. Well, the contest is now live and I suggest you check out the voting site to give yourself and Ace Monster Toys a chance at $1000 prize.

Smaug Lives!

After some very careful bubble removing work (pictured above), we fired up the laser and it lased! We successfully burned a spot on a piece of paper. Still to do:

1. Hook up current meter, to ensure tube isn't being over-driven

2. Clean & Align mirrors & lens

3. Level the bed (might already be ok)

CNC Progress - Guido Lives!

GuidoTerry did an awesome job diagnosing Guido and getting it to function again.  The power supply on the laptop had been blown.  He cobbled together a new one as a temporary solution but a permanent replacement is still a necessity.  Per Terry's post to the listserv, we're on the hunt for a power supply for an older Inspiron 8200.  The current supply should be used for charging only with the laptop off/sleeping.  Unplug it before powering up the laptop and run it on battery power only.  Terry also found loose connections on the board so fixed those as well.  We still don't yet know why the power supply on the PC blew.  The controller does provide optical isolation for some pins but there may still have been some other spike sent back up the line.

 

He also pointed me to the working EMC2 config file and I'm using that to rebuild a new GRBL config and firmware.  Turns out the pinouts were matching but the timing of the step and direction signals was waaaay off.  So kudos to Terry for getting the diagnosis right and teaching me how to improve my debugging skills.  Guido also has a new handheld pendant for manual movement but pinouts don't match (shocker!) so we need to debug the DB15 connector and rewire the jumpers.  Terry has posted his findings to the wiki and I'll provide updates shortly with all the GRBL changes.

 

This lesson also gives me hope for the big CNC router because the behavior I saw on Guido with GRBL was similar to the behavior on the big CNC with GRBL.  One axis moved albeit with a lot of vibration and the other axis made a lot of noise but moved not a whit.  I've posted to CNCZone to requesting anyone to share a working EMC2/Mach3 config file.  Because a datasheet for the main IC hasn't been located, we've got no easy way to reverse engineer the signal timing.  Next step is to try with an oscilliscope to monitor the motor signals and trace the signals all the way to the IC from all inputs and outputs.

 

Finally, a big thank you to Sky and concrete Aaron.  Sorry, Aaron, I've not managed to learn your last name yet, I promise to do better!  Sky volunteered to help trace all the connections from the DB25 back to the controller box.  He and I were able to verify all the parallel port pinouts.  Aaron volunteered and did a really great job cleaning the sprocket rail on the gantry.  It made a huge difference to the point where I can move the Y belt by hand with a bit of pressure.  I have no idea how long you spent cleaning the beast but thank you!  If anyone else wants to help with the machine, there are several workplans on the CNCRouter page: http://wiki.acemonstertoys.org/CNCRouter.  Jump in and let us know what you're tackling!

New AMT 2012 Board Elected!

At yesterday's annual election meeting (and BBQ), Ace Monster Toys elected its 2012-2013 board of directors. The winning individuals in a complex voting process (with no fraud!) were:

  • David R
  • Chris Cook
  • Rachel 'Crafty'
  • Anup
  • Terry aka 'Meh'

Details can be found on the wiki.

The board will be appointing a new president as Al has stepped down (happily) from that role after 1 1/2 years in favor of new blood.

Congratulation to the new board. Now time to get to work, slackers!

Zcorp z402 powder printer acquired

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Ace Monster Toys may be down a laser right now, but we have acquired a Zcorp z402 powder printer. This prints 3D objects with various powder materials. There are groups at UC Berkeley and the University of Washington experimenting with alternative materials and hacking these printers as well.

Stefan, our resident Romainian, went down to Long Beach to pick this bad boy up. We found it on Ebay for a steal and did a pledge drive to acquire it with a bunch of people chipping in. The best proposed name for this machine so far is "Dusty."

We had this to the large CNC router we acquired last month and the currently needing a new laser tube 80w laser cutter, thus improving our available tools at AMT!

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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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