Minne-Faire 7: Breaking Changes

May 19th, 2016 by danbackslide

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve decided to scale back this year’s Minne-Faire event a bit. Saturday evening’s after-party has been cancelled. In its place we’re going to have a members-only party and cookout. All members of Twin Cities Maker are welcome to attend; it should be rather low-key and friendly.

If you’re coming to Minne-Faire, we’re running from noon until 5PM both Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Careful with that lid, Eugene.

May 3rd, 2016 by danbackslide

I think the laser cutter has been feeling lonely — it keeps coming up with ways to get my attention. The left-hand hinge and the right-hand gas spring both gave out last night, resulting in a lid that wouldn’t stay open. It also wouldn’t close correctly, which kept the magnetic safety switch from activating, which in turn resulted in panicked emails to the laser team.

I’ve applied a couple of bodges to get the laser cutter up and running again, after a fashion. Firstly, I’ve swapped the center hinge into the left-hand position, so that the lid will open and close properly. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the broken gas spring to stay connected, so while the lid does open, it’s heavier than you’re used to, and it will not stay open on its own. In its place we will temporarily make use of the Official Laser Lid Propper-Upper:
propper-upperA true wonder of science, that. It shouldn’t be needed for very long; I’ve got measurements of the broken bits, and I’ll get replacements ordered as soon as I can find a source of non-crap parts. (The parts that broke were themselves replaced mere months ago. They were the best crappy Chinese parts we’ve ever over-paid for.)

On a brighter note, the replacement water chiller should be arriving this week, so we can soon say goodbye to Mr Beepy!

There is joy in Laser-ville!

April 25th, 2016 by danbackslide

kablooiePictured at the right is our test run with the new laser power supply. On top of the coaster is the cause of the power supply failure. That’s a Fairchild Power Switch module, or rather it used to be. That little bit on the right is supposed to be the front face of the piece on the left — it’s been blown clean off. I’m figuring there was some sort of power surge on the supply line; we’ll be getting a power conditioner to protect the new (and significantly beefier) power supply.

After the power supply was swapped in, we took a bit of time to really clean out the laser cutter. In particular there was some schmutz on the focus lens which took some patience to get cleaned off.The laser is now running much better than before. In fact you might have to adjust your settings a little bit, the laser seems to be cutting and engraving with a bit more gusto!

I ordered the new water chiller this evening, after getting some funds shuffled around to cover the larger-than-expected shipping cost. So we should have a fresh water chiller soon-esque.

Thanks to everyone who helped get the power supply in and the laser cleaned up and ready for use! I have of course forgotten all of your names, because I am bad that way, so remind me who you are and I’ll update this post. Egoboo all round!

Oh, and I’ll get the Laser Cutter Basics class rescheduled ASAP. If you were registered for the canceled class, I’ll send you an email to confirm the new date.

Minne-Faire 2016: May 21 – 22, 12pm – 6pm

April 23rd, 2016 by danbackslide

minnefaire2016-poster-letterMinne-Faire 2016 is coming soon! Our annual festival of science & engineering & art & technology is on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, from noon until 6pm. Admission is free, and it’s open to all ages. Come by and see the wonderful things that Twin Cities Maker members and our friends are making!

Also, on Saturday night after the main show has ended, we’ll be having a party with music, and fine company. The after-party (or perhaps between-party) starts at 7pm, and is strictly for ages 21 and up — sorry kids!

We’ll have a list of exhibitors up in the next few days. Stay tuned for more…

There is no joy in Laser-ville

April 20th, 2016 by danbackslide


TL;DR: The laser cutter is down, parts are expected to arrive Monday 4/25.

Sadly, the mighty laser cutter has struck out. The high-voltage power supply that drives the laser has blown out. A new power supply will be ordered tomorrow morning, along with a new water chiller — one that actually chills water, rather than one that slightly cools water.

This of course means that Friday night’s laser classes are cancelled. I’ll get them rescheduled as soon as we have the laser cutter back in operation.

I’ll post here on the blog as soon as I have any updates on delivery and installation. Keep an eye on this space!

Update 1: 4/21/2016@1811

The power supply has been ordered, just waiting on the shipping notice for the delivery date. The chiller’s shipping costs put the total a little higher than expected, so I’ll be ordering that in the next couple of days, once we get some funds shuffled around. (The chiller would have shipped separately from the power supply in any case.)

Update 2: 4/22/2016@1816

The power supply has shipped. I have a tracking number, but no estimated delivery date yet. It’s coming by USPS 3-day Priority Mail, so I’m figuring it’ll arrive on Wednesday — good timing!

Update 3: 4/23/2016@1453

All hail the efficiency of the US Postal Service! The expected delivery date is Monday 4/25! I’ll be at the shop by about 7pm, so if anyone wants to help get the power supply installed, feel free to come on by.


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