The Two Shelves

Like many hackerspaces, TOG accepts a lot of materials, donations, parts, and junk that Might Come In Usefulâ„¢… sometimes so much that there’s no room for actual hacking. The problem is so common, there’s even a Hackerspace Design Pattern for it: the Old Hardware Pattern.

For the last year, we’ve been running a version of the two-shelf system, in which items left around the space are put on the shelves for collection or eventual disposal.

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Need some 5 1/4″ disk drives? Or a laser-cut ball bearing race?
SWAG. Very important.
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Lost and found.

Does it work? Kind of. Lost items are reunited with their owners. Unused items inspire new projects. Semi-regular photos let members check the shelves from afar, workspaces are cleared with impunity, and there’s a slow but steady flow of junk out of the space.

And yet, the space is still full of stuff… 😀

TOG at RUA RED Digital Week

TOG members and collaborators had three stands at RUA RED’s Digital Week. Paul ran a Learn To Solder workshop, where participants created their own “I Can Solder” LED badge

Paul teaching soldering (Photo by Joseph Carr)

… Tríona and Becky ran the TwitterKnitter and yarnbombed the venue with knitted tweets

Tríona and the TwitterKnitter

… and Niki showcased her electronics/felt collaboration with Cheryl, including the Neckpiece that Predicts the Weather.

The Neckpiece That Predicts The Weather (photo by Joseph Carr)

Thanks to RUA RED for hosting an excellent event!

Printing printer parts

TOG’s laserjet printer was mostly working, but the two buttons on top were stuck and unusable. Each button was supposed to have a little right-angled lever connecting it to its microswitch. The problem was that one lever had come out of its mounting, and the other one was missing altogether.

Button mechanism removed, showing where the missing lever should be.
The large button has its lever; the small one doesn’t.

Missing. Gone. Not rattling around inside the printer, or sitting in a corner of the classroom. Just gone. But we have one lever left. If only there was some way we could make a copy of it…

The part is composed of a few straightforward shapes which were modelled in OpenSCAD.

Part, sketched diagram and calipers.
Measuring the part for modelling.
OpenSCAD screenshot
Building the model in OpenSCAD.

Then the design was printed on the 3D printer.

3D printer head and half-finished print.
Printing in progress.

The first print didn’t work because there was too much of an overhang. The second, improved design didn’t stick properly to the bed (small fiddly prints benefit from a brim). The third one came out nicely.

L-R: original part, two failed prints, successful print
The learning curve.

After cutting away the brim and overhang support material, the new part fits under the button…

Same button mechanism, now with two levers.
Good as new.

… and the printer buttons are working again.

Grubby, but working, printer buttons.
Printer buttons working again.

(And if your HP2200dn has also lost its button levers, the STL file is up on Thingiverse.)

TOG Wins A 3D Printer

Thanks to LulzBot, TOG is getting a shiny new TAZ 3D printer!

LulzBot TAZ

TOG’s entry in their giveaway described how we could create 3D printed parts for the TwitterKnitter – and then share the designs so that anyone with a knitting machine like ours could print a TwitterKnitter add-on. LulzBot, who are all about open hardware, liked the idea enough to select TOG as one of 12 winners. We’re anxiously waiting for the TAZ to arrive and planning more printed projects…

The TwitterKnitter

One of TOG’s projects for the Dublin Mini Maker Faire 2013. This 40 year old, entirely mechanical knitting machine was upgraded with servos, electronics and laser cut parts, and spent the day knitting tweets sent by attendees.

Empisal Knitmaster 321
Originally designed to take knitting patterns from punchcards…
Oh yes.
… so we upgraded it.
At the TOG stand at Dublin Mini Maker Faire
Fixed that stuck line :)