Member Storage clean-out is coming in February

December 14th, 2016 by danbackslide

When you come into the shop, you’ll see some scary red signs all over the place:


The signs have got the basics on them, but you’re probably looking for more. Here’s a more in-depth explanation.

What’s going on here?

At our next quarterly cleanup, Saturday 2/4/2017, we’re going to completely clean out and rearrange the member storage area. All the nooks and crannies will be swept out, shelving rearranged, and probably a little bit more shelving added. To get this all done, we’re asking that everyone take their stuff home temporarily, by Friday night 2/3/2017. You’ll be able to start bringing stuff back in on Sunday.

Is member storage going away?

Not at all. We just need to get everything out of storage before we can get any meaningful work done. Also, there are new rules coming that changes the size of bin we’re allowing.

What? New bin size?

Yes. Bins will now be a standard model and size (Ikea Klämtare, which is 22.75″ x 17.75″ x 11.75″). That’s a little smaller than the 18-gallon size we allowed before, but not by that much. Having everyone use the same style bin makes them easier to pack onto the shelves, and ensures that everyone is getting the same amount of space. Bins will need to have their lids attached, no tall stuff poking up is allowed!

So where are these rules?

I’ll put a link up to the new rules as soon as they’re finalized. They’re mostly done, we’re just putting the last bit of polish on them. The basics stay the same: each member can have a bin; stuff that doesn’t fit in the bin has to be actively worked on; don’t store dangerous stuff in your bin. The new rules will formalize the process of requesting space for larger projects, and explain how we’ll be policing the storage room to keep things from devolving into chaos.

What if I can’t get my stuff out by the deadline?

If you don’t think you can get things out by Friday 2/3/2017, please contact as soon as possible. We’ll try to work something out. We don’t have a lot of additional areas to move stuff around, so we’ll work out details on a case by case basis.

Yes, another cleanup is tomorrow…

November 4th, 2016 by danbackslide

So the calendar says there’s a cleanup day tomorrow (11/5).

Yes, that’s right.

But didn’t we just do one of those like six weeks ago?

Yes, we did. But we’ve rejiggered the schedule of cleanups, and it was either put two close together or two really far apart. We chose close, because dirt never sleeps.

Why rearrange the cleanup days? I was just getting used to the old schedule!

The old schedule had two bad spots every year — the end of December (Xmas/New Year’s/assorted other winter festivities) and the end of June (one week before CONvergence, which many of our members are also involved with). That made at least two cleanups that needed to be moved every year. The new schedule is the first weekend of November, February, May, and August, which should keep us away from holidays and other fun distractions.

So, any focus for this cleanup?

Since this is the first cleanup on the new schedule, I’m expecting a light turnout. So I think we’ll focus on some of the smaller things that haven’t been hit in a while — get the lobby swept and mopped, do some classroom cleanup, maybe do some rearranging in the computer lab. It’ll be pretyy free-form, so come on by and lend a hand where you like. Thanks!

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.

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