This month has been busy with planning for my Really Important Project. As part of it, I needed quick prototyping with fast turnaround (cheap would be nice, too!)
Wondering what a HackerSpace is? Imagine a big room or two with band saw, sander, many, many more power tools, vinyl cutter, a few computers – and a 3D printer and Laser Cutter! The 3D printer is a Cupcake Model, with a bed size of about 4×4 inches, enough for a gear or two. However, playing with the laser cutter (actually, watching others play with it), I rethought my project in terms of flat pieces, instead of 3D printed pieces. The laser cutter is fast, clean – and although it stinks something awful cutting wood and acrylic – a much better way to prototype than 3D printing.
Fast forward to last weekend, when I finished my ‘official’ training on using it, and now I’ve spent an intensive week reworking my project to be built out of thin 3mm (~1/8″) pieces of Acrylic cut and snapped together (or in a very few cases glued – I’ve just tested ‘Crazy Glue’ and it bonds great, although I’m told pure Acetone would work as well). The result I hope will be a simple to use/share demo of my idea.
In any case, I’m hoping for a hot weekend of laser cutting, and later, as they offer more classes, learning other techniques (I won’t catch this weekend’s class on forging, but possibly when it’s available again…)
In the meantime, if you’ve wondered how you can get access to saws and other tools locally, or just needed access to a workspace ASAP, check out Victoria’s MakerSpace/HackerSpace. Whether you join or just drop by for a day (at $20, quite a bargain), you have access to a wide range of tools, and knowledge from members. Better yet, sign up as a member – your $50 monthly fee goes towards a good cause, and makes it possible to get even more and better tools!