Laser Cutter 101: Cutting Deeper

March 25th, 2015 by Orkraider

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use the super aweseome laser cutter at the Hack Factory, this is your chance!

I’ve scheduled 3 classes so far, and there are still spots left. I’ve run over 50 people through this class, and everyone who’s had an opinion said they thought it was a great class.

If you’ve peeked in the laser cutter room, you’ve seen our laser cutter. It’s a very capable 90 watt Full Spectrum Laser, with a 24″ by 36″ cutting bed.

The laser can cut a wide variety of materials, from paper, cotton fabric, acrylic, plywood, cardstock, leather, and a host of other things.

It can also engrave or etch on glass, metal, stone, and a myriad of other things.

I’ve used our laser for making christmas presents, custom signage for events, costume parts, custom game boards, the list goes on.

Here are 3 sample projects I’ve made.

First, a custom designed set of tiles and pieces for the game Carcassone, laser cut and etched out of plywood and acrylic:

laser cut carcassone tiles

Second, a phone case cut out of layers of plywood, and etched with a map of Westeros from Game of thrones:

game of thrones phone case

Last, a set of light up stackable wooden castle blocks that were used as a target for the Ballista of Doom at a Science Museum event:

castle blocks

Links to classes on eventbrite:
Saturday, April 4th from noon to 5 pm

Wednesday, April 8th from 10 am to 3 pm

Saturday, April 11th from noon to 5 pm

If you have any questions about the classes or the laser, please let me know.


Twin Cities Maker is going to Milwaukee Maker Fest 2013

October 14th, 2013 by Orkraider

Click the pic to see it launch!

Twin Cities Maker is going to be showing our stuff at Milwaukee MakerFest 2013. I’m going to be bringing the little tiny trebuchet of doom, and a variety of other small items that I can fit on the bus with me. If you have any ideas for a great project or small object that can travel with me to Milwaukee, let me know!


Last bow making class of 2012 on Sunday Dec. 16th!

December 10th, 2012 by Orkraider

I’ve decided to sneak in one last bow making class before the world ends on the 21st of December.

This class happens this Sunday, December 16th, from 10 am to 6 pm, at the Hack Factory.

If you want to be ready for the end of the world, prepare for the zombie apocalypse, have the perfect accessory for your Hawkeye or Archer costume, or fancy yourself as the next Katniss Everdeen, this is your chance.

Below is a link to the class:

You can be like this guy: Archer at Lake Calhoun

All the details about the class:
Introduction to Bow Making

Learn to make a fully functional American flat bow!
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FoshayBuchet 2.0

January 1st, 2012 by Orkraider

FoshayBuchet 2.0
Last year, I made a Trebuchet shaped like the Foshay Tower as part of our series of Twin Cities themed siege engines. When I built it, I didn’t really know much about trebuchets, woodworking, or making physical objects in general. After having made a few more trebuchets, and some other objects of various kinds, I decided it was time to rebuild the FoshayBuchet. It’s not complete, as all the decoration on the Foshay Tower shaped throwing arm has yet to be done, but the mechanical bits are all in order.

I first rebuilt the shroud for the throwing arm, making it more a more accurate representation of the Foshay Tower, as far as ratio and proportion. The old shroud can be seen hanging from the ceiling.
The original used 2 5 gallon buckets for counterweight. I replaced those with a wooden counterweight bucket which should hold quite a bit of mass.
I added a wooden carriage with wooden wheels to the base, so that the engine can be rolled into place, rather than dragged. The carriage also improves the efficiency of the engine, by allowing it to move back and forth a bit while shooting. This allows the counterweight to fall closer to vertical, resulting in a more efficient “Hurl”.
I brought the FoshayBuchet outside briefly for some test shots. With about 150 pounds of counterweight, and what was supposed to be a 1.5 pound sand filled fabric ball, I got a new distance record for this engine of 37 yards.
I’m hoping this distance will grow as I continue to improve the machine, add counterweight, and fine tune all the details.
I’m hoping to be hurling outside the Hack Factory on Saturdays if there’s light and it’s not too nasty.

Introduction to Bow Making Class

September 4th, 2011 by Orkraider

Introduction to Bow Making

shooting an american flat bow
learn how to make a fully functional american flat bow!

The fee will be $60, $45 for the class itself and $15 for materials and the tools, both of which the student will keep at the end of the class. (the tools and materials, not the money.)

This class will be open to 8 students.

Register and pay at Eventbrite:

The class is going to cover the following:

a brief history of bows and archery in warfare and other uses

a brief survey of the types of traditional bows

a brief history of the English longbow, it’s design, and construction

the American Flatbow, it’s origin and design (This is the type of bow that participants will be making)

A description of the types of design variations and additions that can improve the look and performance of an american flatbow, but that will not be taught as part of this introductory class

Types of wood used for wood bows, and their characteristics

The plusses and minuses of red oak, which will be the wood used for this class

Tools used for bowmaking, including hand tools and power tools

How to execute the design and construction of a red oak american flat bow using the described tools, materials and design.

A brief description of what archery “tackle”, or gear, is needed to actually use a bow, including bow strings, arrows, forearm protection (vambraces), finger protection (archery tabs or shooting gloves), quivers, and bow cases.

The class will take place over the course of 6 hours.

Each participant will be provided with all the materials and tools needed to make this bow.

The materials will include exactly one red oak board per student, of dimensions 1.5″ by .75″ by 6′, selected by me.

It is my plan for each student to end the class by leaving with a fully functional bow.

Due to the fact that the students will be making the bow, and that wood under tension sometimes breaks, I can make no guarantee that this will be the case, but I will do my best as time, money, and materials allow.

The class will cover making this bow both with and without the use of power tools. The use of power tools will be optional for each student, with the caveat that while it’s very easy to make a bow fast with power tools, it’s also very easy to wreck one fast too.

Once the bow itself is completed, you will need at least a bow string and arrows to use it, at the barest minimum.

I might be teaching a class on arrow making, or “fletching”, down the road, but that’s a different kettle of fish.

Arrows can be bought locally, and I’ll be providing information on that.

Strings can also be bought locally, but I will offer finished bowstrings as an option, seperate from the class, at a cost of $10, made by me.

Saturday, what a day

February 12th, 2011 by Orkraider

I stopped in at the Hack Factory today to work on a couple projects, and found it was chock full of Makers! Here’s a wrap up of what I and my fellow makers were working on today.

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Just another manic Sunday

February 7th, 2011 by Orkraider

Lots going on at the Hack Factory on a Sunday!
Click through for a roundup, and here’s a taste:
Hosted by

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Making a Bow, part Two

December 31st, 2010 by Orkraider

I’ve now had a couple days where I’ve been able to spend some time working on bows, so here’s part 2 of Making a bow. Brad was kind enough to bring in a much better camera, so here’s a pic of the front profile of the bow as it stood at the end of part 1:

front profile
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Making a Bow, part one

December 20th, 2010 by Orkraider

I’ve been threatening to blog what I’m doing at the space for a bit now, so here goes.

Today I decided to start making a pair of bows, as christmas presents for my brothers.

These are going to be made out of red oak, using some 1″x2″x6′ boards I got at menards.  They’re going to be self bows, which means each is made out of a single piece of wood, with no gluing.  I’m shooting for about 50 to 55 pounds draw weight at a 28″ in draw, which should be doable with this wood.

For starters, I picked through all the boards, looking for one that was straight, with no bowing or cupping:

the Mona Lisa

a nice straight board

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