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:  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


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!


Laser is down

We had a short in the laser tube a bit over a week ago. Until we get a replacement tube from China (or locally) and do some diagnosis, the laser is offline.

Adam Savage on Why We Make at Maker Faire 2012

This is a wonderful talk by Mythbusters' Adam Savage from Maker Faire 2012 on why we make.

Maker Faire 2012


Maker Faire 2012 was another success for Ace Monster Toys. We had a booth at the 2012 Maker Faire all weekend, next to Noisebridge and other local and national hackerspaces.


A number of members volunteered to load items in and out, we had new banners made by Rachael with LEDs added by Chris, and brought the Glockenspiel, Book Scanner, and Shooting Gallery to display, along with Garratt's Bilibots and Aaron's hotwire cutter and lamp.

Al has a set of his photos up on Flickr and more should be forthcoming as well.


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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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