This free workshop was a super fun pride project held on June 15th at the Golden Gate Library.
So this was an ambitious workshop where each person got to make a few pieces of custom laser cut jewelry out of wood or leather.
We learned a lot at this workshop. With a bit of restructuring, I would be interested in doing this again. All proceeds went to the new serger fund.
A brief overview of the recent happenings in the laser room for April 2018.
December 7th we started a new meet up for Fusion 360.
The group brainstormed on tool-path creation and resolved to develop an understanding of multi-stage CAM processes that can be used on the various mills, routers and cutters at AMT.
We had a terrific time at the hangout. Matt our 3D Printing steward and five others attended. All were quite experienced Fusion 360 users, in contrast to most of the previous Fusion meetings which tend to be weighted toward newcomers. I think everyone present was a AMT member.
We opted to pass the projector cord around and look at all of our projects as a group. Another approach might be to break off into twos or threes; maybe we’ll try it that way next time.
- Bob showed us some renderings of cool guitar designs he’s been working on.
- Rachel (aka Dr. Shiney) showed us a guitar body a client of hers needed cut; we struggled together for a while trying to figure out Fusion’s 3D tool-path generation. I think something like this would be a great thing to get Taylor’s input on: A multi-stage CAM process including facing, profiling, and 3D carving.
- Emory gave us a quick look at his own CAM project, which involved re-mounting the workpiece to cut both sides: tricky stuff.
- Chelsea showed us her silicone casting project. She’s come up with a pretty elaborate flask and core to be 3D printed. We’re all anxious to see the results, but those are going to be some long prints! I recommended smaller test pieces to get sizes and clearances right and generally experiment with the process before committing to the final design.
- Matt brought along a bunch of finished projects you’ve probably seen before if you’re a regular at our Thursday meetings; nothing new, but all done in Fusion 360.
What Got Upgraded
Our beloved Smaug (AKA the laser cutter) recently got quite the upgrade. More documentation and details will be published to the wiki but here are the highlights:
- New controller
- New HV power supply
- New LV power supply
- New drivers
- New ground connection
- Massive maintenance overhaul
- New interlock on the hood
- New seals
We also upgraded the electrical in the room to support the laser program and ease of use. (One switch to rule them all!)
What still needs to be done
There are two things we need to do before opening the laser up to member use. The first is build a new fob box to control access and collect data for billing. The second is develop education for user. We have a team of people working on the videos and materials to help users explore what is new about how the laser works. While we have a few folks working on the fob box we could use some support.
Both items are underway… join the conversation on slack.
How the new laser program will work
For both new and existing users not only is the software new but also how the fob box will work. Membership and a current certification will be required to fob in and use the laser. Additionally if you have overdue laser bills it may effect your ability to access the system.
New users will still be required to take the AMT Laser 101 class. Once you have completed this 1.5 hour class you will be provided a link for a short online test. Once you have taken the course and passed the test you will be certified to being your adventures in laser cutting.
If you have been certified to use the laser in the past your certification will still be active until October 25th. After that all old certifications will expire. To maintain your certification you should access prepared materials on what is new then take a short online test. Passing that text will renew your certification on the laser.
Human beings are conditioned to remember negative things more readily than positive. When it comes our laser the times it is not working stick out much more than the times it is. I got curious about how often it was really down vs how much it “felt” like it was down. So I went searching the logs for the real story.
What I found out was that for a heavily used volunteer run and maintained piece of equipment out laser does pretty good. When you factor in the make and model, years of community use and that it is all run and managed by volunteers 80% up time is nothing to sneeze at. This is thanks to great stewardship by Peter and a lot of effort by dedicated volunteers.
Charred wood dust mixes with the glues in plywood and protective tape to stick to the inside surfaces of the laser cutter. Over time, this contributes to the smell in the laser room. A chain smoker who never bathes isn’t the best roommate, so lets go over a few cleaning steps for the AMT laser…