Ace Monster Toys at Maker Faire

Christian explains the magic of making

Ace Monster Toys will have a presence at Maker Faire this coming weekend. This is a first for us as we went through our founding process just around the same time Maker Faire happened last year, elected our board last June, and got our space at the end of July. We did attend the East Bay Mini Maker Faire but this is our first really large scale event.

We'll be in the Fiesta Hall (oooh, sounds fun!) in the hackerspace area. Willow over at Jigsaw Renaissance arranged for a bunch of hackerspaces to share a common large room for our booths, which is cool. Right now, we expect to have a working copy of the DIY Book Scanner that we've been working on for the past few months and beta kits of it to be sold to a few people. Myles has been working on a laser cuttable version of the platen and other key pieces. We'll be selling these along with some bags of parts to help people build their own. This is our first attempt to do so.

Bookscanner Prototype

I expect that we'll also have the makerbots and a few other things there. AMT members will be staffing the booth during the open hours of the faire and I plan to be there from opening until 2:00 PM or so on both days.

- Al

CMKT 4 Visit and Workshop at Ace Monster Toys


The circuit-bending rock band, CMKT 4 paid a visit to Ace Monster Toys this last Thursday. CMKT4 plays a rather different sort of music, which you can hear over on their Reverbnation page.

The guys (Zach, Austin, and Jeff) rolled up and worked with a bunch of our local monsters on building contact microphones. This involved taking a piezoelectric sensor, soldering some leads directly to the crystal element and the brass border on it, attaching wires, and gluing this into a bottle cap. The other end of the leads as soldered to a standard audio jack, which was also put into a bottle cap. Copious amounts of hot glue and a fair amount of liquid plastic (to seal the sensor) were added to this mix.

You can see some of my pictures below and on my Ace Monster Toys flickr set:

Laser taking a boat trip

We've received word at AMT that our 80 watt laser has left its homeland of China and is now wending its way across the Pacific ocean towards us. The expected due date is somewhere around May 26. This means that we should begin getting it set up the week after the Maker Faire.

This is big news for us. This is the most expensive piece of equipment that we've gotten and it took an investment from a group of people in order to purchase. It is an Exlas 1280 80 watt CO2 laser. It has a 47 inch by 31 1/2 inch cutting area, which is HUGE. It also weighs in at almost 800 pounds. It is so big that we're literally putting in a wider door to the back room of our shop area.

When it was put onto the ship, we were sent a few pictures of it, which I include below.

AMT 80w Laser - 1

Cacti and succulents tableau

This fits right into the "things that should not be THAT expensive, but yet they are" series.

Today's thing is this:

Beginning of Clonedels at Ace Monster Toys

Today, we poured our first set of clonedel pieces for the upcoming set of Reprap Prusa 3D printers that we’re going to make at Ace Monster Toys. “Clonedel” is what people have been calling the Reprap printers where the pieces normally made from printed plastic are made from molds, instead. The printing of these parts on another printer, such as the makerbots we have at AMT, takes about 14 hours. Pouring them takes about 10 minutes plus pulling them from the molds and letting them cure.

You can see some of the first set pf poured parts below.

As it turns out, the molds had a few flaws in places, being either too rough or having some air bubbles, so we weren’t able to pour all the parts with the level of detail that we really want or without damage. We’re going to clean up some of the pieces and I’m going to print a few more on the makerbot in order to make a new mold for those pieces. Almost all of the larger pieces are fine and they take the longest to print so this is still an overall positive.

Over at Metrix: Createspace, where we acquired the molds, you can see that they’ve been working on building many of these as well:


The end result is a 3D printer that is much smaller and simpler than the makerbots we’ve been using in the space.

I’ve also had RAMPS boards made to act as the electronic brains for these in a fetching purple. I and others will be soldering components to these sometime in the next couple of weeks.

The end result of all of this is that we hope to go from having two makerbots in Ace Monster Toys and a couple more in the homes of members to, eventually, a dozen or more of these either in the space or in member homes.

We’ve also just ordered our 80 watt laser (with a four foot by three foot or more work area) from China for the space. This will give us the ability to laser cut acrylic and plywood sheets, opening up a whole range of work possibilities.

 - Al

Solar Power Workshop this Saturday at 11:00 AM

The Solar Power Workshop that we wrote about before is happening this Saturday, April 23, at 11:00 AM at Ace Monster Toys. Myles will be doing a morning session and an afternoon. The first will focus on how solar systems work and the second will be people working to build their own wiring harness using Myles' panels. At the end of the day, people will have a working wiring setup and know what panels they will need to get for their needs.

Come and be empowered!

- 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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