I concede the last hopper was too complicated, annoying because I'm seriously out of time to get everything done. I redesigned the hopper to be 6 very long tubes, skinned in paper again to save material. This one holds about 400 ping pong balls rather than the desired 500 balls but in testing I managed to get all my 150 balls out of the hopper in just 10 seconds, well on target for emptying all 400 in the 30 seconds of shooting time allowed.
365 laser cut items in 365 days. I provide the files so you can make your own copies and if you don't have access to a laser then I sell most items too.
Missing an svg file for an item? Have a suggestion for something? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Now that I'm making assembled versions of the useless machine and no soldering versions (where I do the soldering for you). I find myself trying to solder up 10 pcbs at once so I whipped up this quick little jig that will hold 20 units at once allowing me to solder them quickly and easily.
Friday, 17 April 2015
I managed to get the skin on the hopper last night. 32 individual sections allow the balls to move freely into the cannon, simply rotate the wheel and drop the next stack into the barrel. It's interesting in theory but it's taking way too long to build so the stacks are only half as tall as they should be. 2 of the stacks were warped, I couldn't figure out why so I just cut them out.
Thursday, 16 April 2015
While trying to build the skin for the inside of my hopper I needed to cut a lot of paper to the right size. I perforated the sheets to make them fold and fit the hopper perfectly but they were taking 5 minutes a time to cut, 5x 32 makes for a long and tedious evening. I decided to try and cut multiple layers at once. It's been a very long time since I last tried this. Previously I tried it with my HPC 3020 which made a real mess of it, the Just Add Sharks lasers have better air assist and better extraction so I was optimistic.
I was able to cut through 3 sheets at once, but it definitely had some issues. The top layers of paper were actually blown around by the powerful air assist. This could be easily remedied with appropriately placed magnets. The bigger issue is that as you get to the bottoms layers there is increased smoke staining. So this method is really just quick and dirty and sometimes that's all you really want but if you're trying to make anything important you should always be aiming to cut 1 single layer in 1 single pass.
I need a massive hopper to hold all the ping pong balls I intend to fire as part of the MFUKLC. I'm trying to maximize the material still so I've built up this frame work to hold 500+ balls. It's been made from 2mm mdf. I can use the extra 1mm of material in paper so I can skin the inside of the hopper to stop the balls from falling through the gaps.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
With the new box design I was able to revisit the double useless machine, this was always a bit temperamental and so was taken out of the shop. This version solves all of the previous issues, it uses the same geared motors and the same brackets as the single machine rather than modified servos (which were the cause of previous issues). The box is the same glueless design so it's really fast to put together and although I haven't been able to squeeze a PCB into here yet but the electronics have been improved. The little switch on the side turns the machine of once both arms are back inside the box.
Monday, 13 April 2015
My useless machine design has had a complete overhaul and this is now my best product to date. The new design features a PCB for the electronics which makes it quick and easy to solder, The box is a completely glueless construction and clips together in just 2 minutes, there are just 3 screws holding the components together. Back EMF braking stops the motor dead so the machine doesn't just use the limit switch as a mechanical end stop (unlike other designs)
The new kits are available from my web store in 3 different flavours, "Soldering Required", "No Soldering" and "Assembled". There are also 2 more variations due out before the end of the week.
This new design has some clever features. The lid hinge is now made up using the sides of the box, the flap rests on top of the sides which prevents it from falling back into the box. The motor mount is a single piece which stretches between the top and the bottom of the box. The PCB can accommodate screw terminal connectors for the motor and battery which allows me to sell a 'No Soldering' version of the box. The skin clicks into place using the clips on the bottom of the sides, the tension in the living hinge sections keeps the skin in the hooks.
Project #4 still ticks over in the background but this project has actually been in development for a few months now and needs to be released in time for the UK Maker Faire in just 2 weeks time. The kits are cut and the stock is ready to go.
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
I love laser cutters! I've done a few repetitive projects recently, like catan, and I've grabbed a handful of clamps, brought them into the lounge and done all the tedious gluing in front of the TV. The clamps normally live on the cross bar in the garage and as I was sticking them all back on again for the umpteenth time I realised I needed a hanger. Something to hang from the cross bar that all the clamps stick to, this way when I want all the clamps somewhere else I can just take the hanger and move them all at once (svg here)
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
I managed to fit all of the laser cutter components back into the box again. Getting the cover on was a significant step towards seeing where everything will fit. Sure there are cables strewn all over the place but they can be routed round as required, finding the space for each of the boxes was the important part. The high voltage PSU and the Stepper motor PSU all tuck into the gap on the right hand side of the case. The stepper motor drivers and control board can fit along the front edge of the machine. Now I just need to drill more mounting holes and shorten a whole bunch of wires.
I have totally managed to remove the lower half of the machine and the only thing I've lost is the ability to engrave boxes (or at least I have to engrave boxes slightly differently)