Quarterly Cleanup tomorrow (12/27)

December 26th, 2014 by danbackslide

CleanupHope everyone had a good holiday! But now, it is time once again to clean up the shop. We’ll be doing our winter Quarterly Cleanup tomorrow (Saturday 12/27), from 10AM to 6PM. If you’re available, please stop by for an hour or two, or more, and help get everything nice and shiny again. You’re probably tired of hearing me say it, but more hands really do make for less work. There are also rumors of delicious food, for those who help…

And a reminder: The shop is closed during Quarterly Cleanup. So no project work, just cleaning!

Party time — the laser cutter has returned!

November 7th, 2014 by danbackslide

rejoicingLet the dancing begin, for I am happy to report that the laser cutter is back in service! The flow sensor has been replaced with a brand new unit which doesn’t spray water all over the floor. And as a bonus, the e-stop switch has also been fixed, so feel free to push the Big Red Button (though not too hard, for it is new, and we want it to feel welcome).

Everybody say thanks to Jude when you see him — he was the guy who crawled into the laser cutter cabinet to replace the flow sensor.

The laser is down. Please do not panic. [EVEN MORE UPDATED]

October 25th, 2014 by danbackslide

UPDATE 11/5/2014: Unfortunately the parts were delayed a bit, but I just got a shipping notification. Delivery is scheduled for Friday 11/7. We’ll get everything installed as soon as we can!

UPDATE 10/3system-down1/2014: Full Spectrum Laser has just received a shipment of flow sensors. They will be testing them this afternoon, then they will send out the parts either later today or (more likely) Monday. Shipping is via two-day air, so I’m expecting to get them sometime on Wednesday 11/5.The calendar will be updated to block out the time until then. Thanks for being patient, folks!

Original post:

Sadly, it is my duty to report that the laser cutter is down until further notice. The coolant flow sensor is leaking from its body. We will be contacting the manufacturer on Monday morning to get a new flow sensor (good thing we paid for the extended warranty). This post will be updated as soon as we have an ETA on the repair parts.

Project updates, macro and micro

August 2nd, 2014 by danbackslide

Time for a couple of updates:

The lobby is closed for now

The floor in the lobby was painted and sealed on Friday. The sealer will need at least the weekend to cure, and possibly longer than that. So, until further notice, the front door is locked and the lobby is off limits. Don’t even think about trying to go in there! You can get into the shop through the yellow metal shop door, or the dock door if it’s open.

To stave off your curiosity, here are a couple of teaser pics (taken before the floor was painted):

Scanning Electron Awesomescope!

This morning I met up with the SEM’s former caretaker, and he fixed a couple of mistakes we made while setting it up. Then he showed me how it works. So we now have a functioning scanning electron microscope!

That said, please don’t try to run the SEM without first being shown how it works. It’s a complex scientific instrument, easy to break if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ll will be working out the training details, and there may be a SEM party somewhere in the near future.

Here are a few photos for you to drool over in the meantime:

Science! Is Afoot

July 16th, 2014 by danbackslide

A while back I was contacted by Bede Willenbring, a research chemist at H.B. Fuller. He was getting some new equipment for their lab, and wondered if we were interested in getting a scanning electron microscope.

A Scanning. Electron. Microscope!
Obviously the correct answer in this situation is “Yes sir, please, sir!” Arrangements were made, and just a few hours ago we rolled a Cambridge Stereoscan 260 into its new home.


As I write this, McSteve is working on getting it hooked up to the 20-amp circuit in the classroom. We’re hoping that by later this evening we can get Cammie (for that is her name) powered up. After that? No idea, really. If you know how a SEM works, why not swing by? (Mr Willenbring has offered to give us a hand with it once we have power, but more brains are always better!)

I want to extend a huge thank you to Mr Willenbring and H.B. Fuller for making this possible. For great science!

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