This is the legacy site for Ace Monster Toys!

This site served us well for many years but all good things must come to an end. This site will remain up in order for existing members to login to edit the wiki or manage their old accounts.Visit the new site to learn about Ace Monster Toys or become member.

AMT Book Scanner is Complete

The Ace Monster Toys Book Scanner

A year ago, Ace Monster Toys member Myles and I did a bunch of work on a DIY Book Scanner based on a variation of Daniel Reetz's design to make it more lasercutting friendly (see this). We took beta kits of the these to the 2011 Maker Faire and generated a fair amount of interest.

This last fall, Daniel went to the Open Hardware Summit and unveiled a much improved book scanner design. A few weeks after that, he gave us a set of mostly complete parts for the wood framework before moving away. Just a few weeks ago, he announced the near final revision of these.

The parts that Daniel gave us kind of languished a bit in preference to other projects but AMT has been very interested in Daniel's call for a book scanner in every hackerspace. Recently, a new member, Ben, had a pressing need to scan a rare book before returning it so we got a fire lit under us to finally finish the build. As a result of this, Ace Monster Toys now has a fully functioning book scanner in its space. It isn't the final revision design but it works and works well, using the new bicycle brake design for triggering the cameras, thus bypassing the need for hacked firmware as long as you can lock focus on the cameras after setting it for your books.

In the process of doing this work, Mike from AMT, who owns a shopbot, figured out how to do the routing on the current design and we expect to be able to produce more frames from 4'x 8' sheets of plywood on demand. I'm going to get a couple routed out to do a build of this design.

Visitors to AMT can now non-destructively scan books that they own, provided they bring some windex (for cleaning the glass as it gets dusty quickly) and some elbow grease. The next step is to build a light enclosure (pun intended) around it to keep out the horrible UV lights in the space. Think of it as a small black tent for our modest scanner.

I want to thank Daniel for all of the work that he's done on book scanners over the last few years, as well as Ben and Mike for doing work at AMT on the builds.

I've put a photoset of the AMT book scanner up on flickr as well.

- Al
Cross-posted from my blog

The Minish Cap

One of our members has been lasering lots of awesome stencils for decorating the boring plywood walls of his house. Here's Link just after being cut:

Time lapse of meeting night

3D Printing Competition with Prizes


The “3D Printing for Science” Design Challenge at UC Berkeley

Get your design 3D printed! Additional prizes for the winning entries!

Take a look at the competition flyer, download it and post it somewhere!

Have you ever been in the middle of an experiment and realized that you have run out of a laboratory supply staple? Ever wish that equipment Y or consumable X was made just a little differently? Or are you creative enough to design a fully new kind of laboratory tool or gadget? Here is your chance! Submit your blueprint designs to the 3D Printing For Science Design Challenge at UC Berkeley.

The competition is open to all designs that are applicable for use in science and engineering laboratories. If you want to get involved, but are unsure what’s needed, check out the “Suggested Problems” below. Join the printable revolution!

1) DIY Alternative: A 3D printing blueprint for an item that can replace a commercial product or a specific component of a commercial product used in scientific laboratories or in scientific/engineering research. Especially helpful if this part tends to break or get lost.
2) Novel Gadget: A 3D printing blueprint for a novel item not commercially available that is of use in scientific laboratories or in scientific/engineering research. Invent! Imagine! Print!

Important Dates
January, 2012: Competition opens
April 30: Last possible day to submit a design (11:59pm PST)
May 10: Final winners are announced

The top 5 entries that fulfill the rules in each category will be printed on a 3D printer by Tekla Labs.
The top 3 entries in each category will be awarded an additional prize:

1. Kindle Fire or DSO Quad Oscilloscope* AND $200 worth of toolbox supplies*
2. Kindle Fire or DSO Quad Oscilloscope*
3. $50 Maker Shed Gift Certificate, Subscription to Make Magazine ($35 value)
*winner chooses item(s),
**AND ALL PRIZE WINNERS get 2nd design of choice printed on a high-end commercial printer.

Who can enter: Anyone!
Details & submission:

3D engravings via Laser

One of our members is working on a method of making 3d engravings on the laser cutter. He has been experimenting with various methods and one he has come up with is multi pass engravings. Parts of the image that you want deeper get engraved on multiple passes, which removes a bit of material each time. Here's a test engrave, note that the resolution is low in order to save time during the test, actual engravings can be more detailed.

AlgaeLab Home-Grow Algae Workshop

Including Hands-On Training with the Spirulina Kit!

Taught by Founder and NASA Scientist Dr. Aaron Wolf Baum

Sunday, March 4th , 2012
Ace Monster Toys 
6050 Lowell Street #214
Oakland, CA (near Berkeley and Emeryville)

Grow plentiful food and fuel in small spaces.
Algae reproduce exponentially, but do not require land, soil, or fresh water. They can be harvested every day, producing much more than land crops, and some of them (e.g. Spirulina) have amazing health benefits as food.

You can grow algae too — in your own home — and we will show you how!

Come to the Hands-On Home-Grow Algae workshop series. Go home with your own Personal Photo-BioReactor and everything you need to grow your own Spirulina superfood algae in your own home!

One personal algae photo-bioreactor in one sunny window can provide enough spirulina to significantly supplement the diet of one person every day. Larger installations can provide biofuel and organic fertilizer, and perform important services, such as cleaning up water, and eliminating greenhouse gases from exhaust.
In addition to an introduction to an overview of algae farming, and a discussion of the practicalities of setting up your own farm, we will have an extended hands-on section of the workshop where I will show you how to set up and run your personal photo-bioreactor kit — it’s easy!

Special offer: along with the workshop, all participants will be able to take home a one liter bottle of live spirulina culture to start your own tank or pond — this alone is worth the course fee…

Course Fees:

Workshop plus Spirulina Kit: $299

Workshop only: $99

The kit includes tank, heater, air pump, air diffuser, air tubing, valves, starter and make-up nutrient powder mix, pH testing, harvesting tube, harvesting cloth, clips, plug timer, and 1 liter live spirulina – everything you need to get started growing your own superfood spirulina!

Send payment via PayPal (, or by mailing a check to:
420 Fairmount Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

To receive the personal photo-bioreactor at the workshop, be sure to pay at least a week before the course date so that materials can be ordered… See you there!

If you have any questions, write them at

Tekla Labs presentation @ Thurs Jan 26rd meeting

Tekla Labs will be announcing a 3D Printed Design Competition at Ace Monster Toys. Some of the designs already produced by them and their affiliates will be presented. They will demonstrate the Cell-Scope (CellScope Inc.), a cell-phone based microscope constructed of 3D printed parts as well as off-the-shelf components, and a centrifuge built from an egg-beater! More plans and information are available at: and more information about the Cell-Scope is available here: .

Tekla Labs is a University of California student run organization whose goal is to address the needs of researchers in developing countries in need of quality lab equipment. Tekla Labs is developing the plans necessary to build and test this equipment out of commonly available local materials or cheaply imported materials. Though in its early stage, Tekla Labs has already generated excitement from laboratories in such diverse places as Egypt and Panama.
Where: Ace Monster Toys Global Headquarters
When: January 26rd, AMT meeting is at 7:30pm, presentation starts at 8pm

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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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