Blog 2017

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You can read about previous activity at What we did last year

2017-05-16 Tuesday

  • Dan took some photos and video for us to use at Ham fair - showing the equipment that we can't take to the fair - may also have been for our new website?
  • Paul and another member were doing battle with some sort of gearbox - I didn't determine its end use.
  • We laser cut an allotment sign from scrap perspex, then moved onto wargaming tokens, then to some name tags for school kid's book bags.
  • Paul was printing Groot on the 3d printer with mixed success, out of polywood filament.
  • Carl, Gareth and Jon practiced making balloon animals!
  • Michael dismantled a chrome-book to find out why a socket was erratic, and discovered some very small solder joints - I think a new socket was ordered?
  • Jon put the batteries required for Ham Fair on to charge. Also the laptop booster battery.
  • We discovered a flood on the floor of the loo - the water heater leaks slightly - the outlet pipe must be left over the washbasin otherwise we get a puddle!
  • Ryan has put up an electric hand drier in the loo - just needs connecting up (proper hookup via fixed fuse-switch, metal conduit to ceiling junction. Plug cable attached for test only.
  • Attendance tonight = 13

2017-05-09 Tuesday

  • Ben & Gavin putting finishing touches to the model plane. Should soon be ready to fly
  • Colin got a bit of help with making Firefox run more smoothly
  • PaulB successfully combined potato flour with silicone to make a rubbery cover for his smartphone. That's a process worth documenting for others to follow
  • Bartek donated a number of CNC router bits. Used, but still got some life in 'em.
  • Andrea, Emma and Dan looked at the Wordpress installation, and discussed the Ham Fair poster
  • There was a GPS receiver which got connected to an Arduino. It started receiving satellite positional information instantly. It looked so easy!
  • Arduino was talked about by several people. Is it time for us to organise an Arduino teaching session?
  • PaulB, Jon and others opened up the laser cutter's extractor fan enclosure, and found a lot of dust. The extractor hadn't been working very effectively recently, and that's why. Debated the possibility of changing to a different type of extractor fan. No conclusion that I know of.
  • Ham Fair not far away now. Planning, anyone?

2017-05-02 Tuesday

  • Less crowded today, but just as good an evening as ever.
  • Gavin and Ben were putting finishing touches to the model plane. We attached the wings and assessed the centre of gravity. Some small adjustments remain to be made, and then we are ready to see it fly!
  • Tim had 3D printed an acoustic amplifier for any mobile phone. It worked really well. Who needs Bluetooth speakers?
  • Paul B showed Yaroslav how the 3D printer is used.
  • Chris asked for training on the laser cutter (I don't think he got it though, sorry).
  • Colin had a problem with an old Thinkpad laptop, and Tim worked through it with him
  • Cal and IanB worked on a stagelight which wouldn't start up. Parts of it are working excellently, but the problem couldn't be solved in one evening. To be continued.
  • Tim brought in an obscure Akai audio device, and was impressed to find that Cal was already very familiar it. What are the chances of that!
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2017-04-25 Tuesday

  • We had a short talk from Andrea on Wordpress - an excellent tool for setting up your own website without writing any code and without need for technical knowledge. Wordpress can be configured as a website, blog, shop or forum with a wide range of plug-ins which extend the basic capability. Connectivity with the social networking websites can easily be achieved. Andrea offered to assist any RML member who wants advice, and she can be contacted through our mailing list.
  • Sheena and Cathy both brought in laptops that were running Windows painfully slowly. In one case, Dan found there was a background service hogging much of the processing time, but no-one knew how to throttle it back. The other had a memory card not properly connected, so it was limping along on 2GB instead of 6. We put that right and the laptop felt a good deal better.
  • Kevin has been working on a laptop with a dead screen. He got a replacement screen of a slightly different type but with much the same connections at the end, and after two goes, third time lucky, he got it actually working! High five, Kev!
  • Dan discussed Wordpress with Andrea and later with Emma. Longer term it would be good to replace the RML website front page with a Wordpress version, with the existing wiki linked to it.
  • Arthur is still working on a switching power supply from last week. This week he gave Imi some assistance with Linux, but could not understand why the laptop could not see the RML WiFi. IanB was puzzled by the same thing, but later in the evening the question got resolved.
  • Charlotte had an evening of stitching small birds in felt, but also told us the story of the Banana Surprise. It's too awful to repeat here.
  • Nick was investigating how to interface to an encoder switch, which has a lot of contact bounce. IanB promised to offer software he had previously written for an encoder input.
  • The 3D printer was going to start on a 14-hour print, of an acoustic amplifier for a mobile phone from Thingiverse, for Tim. More about this next week, maybe.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-04-18 Tuesday

  • Arthur is designing a variable-voltage, switching power supply
  • Dave was shown more about OpenOffice
  • Ryan had a Type 706 (Mk2) telephone apart, thinking of reviving it
  • Kevin was working on a laptop with a blank screen
  • Alexandria and Leticia both used the laser cutter
  • Chris made an Arduino mount using the 3D printer
  • Nice to see Kris again, he arrived with several used computers for us
  • Kevin's thinking about building a bike repair stand.
  • Attendance tonight = 11

2017-04-11 Tuesday

  • Ryan helped revive a couple of dying PC's
  • Kevin tried brazing a bike component
  • We were joined by Leticia who was lasering some materials as part of her PhD
  • Jon delivered the laser cut holder for the lathe parts
  • Arthur was assembling some sort of power amplifier
  • Welcome extended to several new faces, we hope you are inspired to come back again
  • Arthur and IanB taught soldering to someone who asked.
  • Three RaspberryPi computers with touch-screens were here. These were configured for assisting people with senile dementia, part of an ongoing project by David Penney, who was visiting us today.
  • PaulB repaired Phaedra's bee-costume glasses, making a new hinge and fixing in optical lenses.
  • The 3D printer ran, but I know not what was printed.
  • Attendance tonight = 22

2017-04-04 Tuesday

  • Five new faces, thanks to the Craft Fair and Ryan's talk. Hope to see you regularly!
  • Looked at a laptop with a hard disk problem
  • Jon continued cutting bits for the lathe accessories holder - more success this week, it now needs sanding, varnish, and final assembly.
  • CNC router did some routering - holding down the material to be routed still needs some work.
  • A flat Li-on battery was revived
  • More felt birds were stitched
  • Tim showed us his formerly defunct battery electric screwdriver which he has now tidily hacked into a mains-powered useful tool.
  • Laser cutter was given a spring clean, all the smoke residue was cleaned from the vents, and the stray chads of cut material vacuumed out of the honeycomb and from the tray below.
  • We were left a tin of chocolates - mmm!
  • We actually had TWO pints of in-date milk - Tea was drunk!
  • Attendance tonight = 16

2017-04-01 Saturday

Ham Library Craft Fair

  • Thanks to the efforts of Vina, Nick, Ian, Jon, Paul, Ryan and others, Andres was able to book a table at the craft fair to show our possiblities.
  • Vina did some lovely egg baskets with some chocolate eggs in them.
  • Nick and others developed the eggbot which was used for children (and some adults) to decorate some plain white eggs. It was a great success!
  • Andres did some "limited edition Ham Close Coasters".
  • We got contact with some possible new members.
  • Two laptops that Ryan fixed up where there to take up for any donation money.
  • Lessons: forgot to bring flyers and HUG membership forms, a nice looking mantel piece would make it look nicer, a day that is not so near school holidays might be better. Having a more varied items would have helped!

2017-03-28 Tuesday

  • Ian still wasn't here and our record keeping didn't improve!
  • We had two guests from a local school, who are thinking of setting up a makerspace for their pupils
  • Ryan tinkered with the PC pile - he is giving a talk on Makerspaces in Richmond on Thursday -
  • Andres demonstrated how quickly the space fills with smoke when the fan for the laser cutter does not work, Jon and Andres identified a faulty fuse, replaced it and cleared the smoke.
  • Vina and Ben made felt bees.
  • Arthur recovered a couple of computer power supplies for a project.
  • Nick & Jon tinkered with the eggbot - Jon cut and tapped an adaptor in the lathe. - still a bit wonky!
  • Gavin & Ben progressed with covering the model plane.
  • We had two visitors with a broken Mac - Paul's idea of heaven? they will return next week with something to put any recovered data on.
  • Andres returned the playstations that we tested to the MIND shop - did we tell them which bits didn't work? The leads were left behind! Two new speaker type things appeared from the same source?
  • Last Tuesday of the month talk was Jon demonstrating the use of Polyurethane resin and silicone moulds to produce small batches of parts.
  • Vina engraved some gifts on the laser.
  • Carl and his Penguin appeared late on
  • Phaedra came to collect the bicycle that has been stored in the loo for weeks, it was missing! replaced with 5 folding paste tables? - eventually bike was rediscovered.
  • Phaedra did the washing up - is definitely welcome back!
  • Attendance tonight = 17?

2017-03-21 Tuesday

  • Ian wasn't here and our record keeping suffered!
  • Paul helped a new member 3D print a case/stand for a Rasberry Pi Camera.
  • Paul helped another new member laser cut a stencil.
  • Nick & Jon tinkered with the eggbot
  • Charlotte continues with crafting small felt creatures, next up an elephant.
  • Jon, center drilled some bolts using the lathe - could have done with a chuck that can close on a 1mm drill.
  • Konstantin and Nick discussed the merits of very expensive wire crimpers.
  • Gavin & Ben progressed with covering the model plane and tested Jon's geographical knowledge.
  • Imi was looking for an expert in video editing - I'm not sure if he found one?
  • Andres and a friend popped in.
  • Paul reviewed the functionality of some playstations that we had been given, most worked.
  • Attendance tonight = 13?

2017-03-14 Tuesday

  • Jon continued to create comed-boxes on the laser cutter
  • Gavin & Ben progressed with covering the model plane
  • Charlotte continued with her impressive collection of hand-crafted birds
  • Ryan spent most of his evening reviving a specialised Windows98 computer for a visitor
  • Mark demonstrated a homebrew midi synth based on Arduino and Propeller and laser-cut a new panel for it
  • Nick and Paul were involved in building an Egg-Bot in time for Easter, using the 3D printer
  • We had a donation of surplus-to-requirements PC parts from Serena. Thanks!
  • William was making sense of his music system based on a Pi Zero
  • Tim had an old battery-powered screwdriver that needed a new lease of life. He will be converting it to make the world's first mains-powered portable screwdriver. We will be around to give further help and advice.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-03-07 Tuesday

  • Jon laser cut a very fine plywood box for holding spare parts for the lathe. Needs the floor and a few more little bits cut to finish it off.
  • Paul B had been practising on the lathe during the week, and we now have the 4-jaw chuck.
  • Welcome to Chris, making his second visit here. He was given an introduction to 3D printing.
  • Paul B received a vintage Mac, and assisted in the disassembly and repair of another Mac
  • Peter devised a way of driving an antique voltmeter using a model control servo
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2017-02-28 Tuesday

  • Simon was using the laser cutter
  • Gareth was programming a Mono as a binary clock.
  • Jon assembled an impressive comb cut box (pictured)
  • Nick used the CNC router to engrave tracks on copper laminate, producing a printed circuit board using milling in place of etching. He went as far as assembling this board, powering it up and testing it, all in the same day. The PCB will be used to provide programmable speed control for the CNC router. At present the spindle speed is set manually.
  • Charlotte continues with crafting small felt birds, probably destined for a mobile.
  • We ran out of glue sticks for the glue gun, at about 8PM. Charlotte ordered some more from Amazon and they were delivered at about 11PM the same evening. Impressive.
  • Vina looked into how easy or hard it would be to adapt the programme on the TimePeace clock. Also showed us some felt crafting which she had been teacing to Ben.
  • Ben was meanwhile progressing with covering the plane fuselage, and Sasha continued making an air pump, using some discarded helicopter parts, a valuable source of gears and motors.
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2017-02-21 Tuesday

Carl and guest
  • Another evening of great activity. Peter Harris called in see us (maker of the crazy coffee machines) and he showed some photos of his creations.
  • The model plane is really in its final stages. Ben started covering the fuselage.
  • Nick made some progress with the instrument control panel he's making.
  • Charlotte continued creating small animals in colourful felt.
  • The lathe and Jon were getting on fine for a while. Then one of them needed to take a break. But really, Jon is on his way to becoming our resident expert.
  • A little inconclusive discussion of holding an Arduino teaching day/evening. We will return to this idea.
  • Between them, Nick and Paul B devised a way to CNC mill a block of wood, making a base for Vina's illuminated bottle. There was smoke at one point, but fortunately we have no smoke alarms.
  • Hello to Imi, Ryan, Dan and Kevin.
  • Simon was using the laser cutter and getting good results.
  • Carl dropped in carrying the beginnings of a giant penguin. It will be covered in paper-mache (should that be papier-maché?) but it was a bit wonky at the feet.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-02-18 Saturday

  • Jon popped in this morning to investigate why the shutters didn't close - there is a switch on the other side of the door frame to where the up/down controls are located - this provides power to the shutters! We could take the fuse out for the window shutters to see if it kept Little House a bit warmer on cold evenings?
  • Jon's real purpose was to have a practice with the lathe after training last weekend. He has a couple of model railway wheel forming tools imported from Germany, however they needed a holder to fit our quick change tool-post, so a length of hex bar was cut down, faced off in the lathe, bored to a suitable diameter to take the tool cutter, and then a hole was drilled and tapped for a grub screw to retain it - unfortunately he couldn't find a small enough Alan key to tighten the grub screw, so wheel re-profiling will have to wait until another day.
  • Attendance today = 1

2017-02-14 Tuesday

  • The CNC cutter was going through its paces. Jon brought some board for 3-D cutting practice, and Nick made egg-shaped recesses in a spare wooden chopping board.
  • Nick 3D printed a perfect control knob, despite it being modelled in OpenSCAD which he doesn't like.
  • Charlotte was crafting small birds.
  • William's digital anemometer is getting on well, with a bit further yet to go.
  • The laser cutter is working a lot better since the tube was replaced. Both Jon and Simon had some successful sessions on it.
  • Mono is a touch-screen and micro-controller package. Carl had been sent one, and Gareth has programmed it as a binary clock, showing year, month, day, hours, minutes and seconds, all in binary.
  • Saw a beautifully-made rosewood pinhole camera brought in by Iain. He's wondering about adding a motorised shutter lever, remotely controlled by a Bluetooth link to a mobile phone.
  • Fixed a 'Sun Jar', an ingenious use of solar panel, battery and LED to catch and store sunlight, for use after dark.
  • Hello to Jean L, who came in to see how we were getting along
  • Konstantin has 3D printed a case for the Universal Component Tester.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-02-11 Saturday

  • Jon, Ian and Paul had a day of Lathe training from Alan White.
  • Almost no actual cutting took place but the lathe is now set up parallel and we have some clue how to use it.
  • Homework was set!
  • We now need to practice some of what we were taught.
  • Alan is happy to come back and give another starters session, or an improvers course later in the year, can accommodate 3 members around the lathe - please ask Jon if interested.
  • Attendance today = 3 members plus the trainer = 4

2017-02-09 Thursday

Special arts and craft day

  • Vina brought here Arts and craft equipment for making greeting cards.
  • The theme was clearly valentines day.
  • Some original and professional looking cards were made.
  • With little training Andres made two cards in 2 hours and have to very satisfied costumers.
  • Vina of course was able to do 10 more in the fraction of the time!
  • Attendance today = 2

2017-02-07 Tuesday

  • The CNC router cut a test piece on MDF. Result: needs better clamping of the workpiece.
  • The laser cutter produced a coffee-bean logo on ply, and cut some plastic sheet
  • The 3D printer was making control knobs for an amplifier project
  • The biplane is now a 3-wheel propeller-driven car. We ran it round the car park and it moved quite impressively.
  • The other plane is waiting to have the fuselage covered, then it will be complete.
  • We have this big box of broken helicopter parts - Please plunder it for motors and gear-wheels. Anything left will go for recycling.
  • Thanks to Jon for doing the housekeeping this week. Someone has to. A rota would be more fair.
  • Welcome to a couple of new faces. Hope to see you regularly.
  • Carl's bike's rear light let him down again. IanB and Carl combined forces on fixing it up properly, involving wire, solder, gorilla glue and hot-melt glue. It earned the RML 100-year guarantee. (Terms and conditions are: If it goes wrong during the next 100 years, you have to fix it yourself!)
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-02-02 Thursday

  • Emergency light testing: we failed so we will be getting new lights. A recommendation will be set in to have extra emergency lights in kitchen and cloakroom.
  • is working on the 2 extruder 3D printer
  • Andres started 3D printing half a heart
  • Attendance tonight = 3

2017-01-31 Tuesday

  • We tried the suggested 7-minute talk format:
    • Carl spoke about his method for removing a verruca and was persuaded to show his related TV appearance
    • Andres spoke on Open Street Map and about ways of adding paths and trees.
    • We had an open discussion with the outcome that talks like this would be held on the last Tuesday of each month
    • Next talk: Maybe Gareth and Vina
  • Nick continued to get the router working, and had brought water for the cooler
  • Nick took another look at the CTC 3D printer. We really need some help from Matt on that one.
  • Des called in with a heap of broken remote-control helicopters. We could salvage some small motors, perhaps.
  • Openstreetmap is needed in Scotland!
  • Showed where the sewing machine is and some nice textile found in the loft.
  • Previous vacuum cleaner taken down from the loft to be donated to Mind.
  • Andres Reviewed all the outstanding projects that he knows about with a young member.
  • 3D printer now working! the problem was the protection tube was shoved into the feeding gear. Not good!
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2017-01-26 Wednesday

  • Nick did massive job on CNC
  • Andres removed the inner tube of a unicycle.
  • Ian pop by to get some bits for the model airplane.
  • Attendance = 3

2017-01-25 Tuesday

  • Sascha continues to build a pump, using a Dremel cutting wheel
  • Ben has condemned the biplane as not airworthy. It will be converted to a prop-driven three-wheel car.
  • Jon was laser cutting acrylic sheet for 00-gauge models.
  • Nick looked at driving the CNC router, then looked at the problems with the CTC 3D printer, and finally tried out the unfinished 3D Delta-printer.
  • William was making an electronic anemometer, one with no moving parts.
  • Good to see Dan, Konstantin, Imi and Carl
  • Carl is considering giving an explanatory talk on Binary to primary school-children. Will he get his message across?
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2017-01-17 Tuesday

  • Mended a USB microscope
  • Fixed a faulty laptop
  • Sascha has started building a pump, laser cutter, drill press and lathe have already been used
  • Nick, Paul and Jon discussed the laser power problems.
  • Nick helped Jon turn a 2d AutoCAD drawing into a 3D .stl file using fusion360
  • The model plane tail was covered in Solartex
  • Welcome to three new faces today
  • Anthony gave a 30 min talk that generated a lot of discussion
  • Andres put some draft blocker on the glass door. A young maker helped!
  • Vina, Kevin and Andres discussed about repairing leatherwork (a coin pouch).
  • Discussed about joining forces with a certain department of Kingston Uni.
  • Attendance tonight = 21, maybe many more. I lost count...

2017-01-10 Tuesday

  • Very busy tonight
  • Further progress on the Tomboy model plane - the tail assembly has now been skinned by Ben and his dad
  • Spontaneous group discussion and analysis of modern consumer router hardware between Ryan and three new RML members
  • Jon and Terry discussed model railway items, Jon is developing his own kit and the first 'approval' castings have arrived.
  • Sascha shadowed Jon at the laser cutter then made his own keyring.
  • New member Jaroslav diagnosed a faulty electric fruit juicer controller
  • PaulB helped a HUG member transfer his files from a failing hard drive to a new one
  • Dan made an appearance holding up a mobile phone and looking makerspace brilliant
  • Kevin refurbished a laptop for a nearby resident
  • Jon and Paul discussed the cause of poor laser performance, Paul cleaned the lenses, and together we measured the laser power, our 60W tube is only delivering about 30, and by the time it reached the lense it seemed to be down to only 14 - no wonder everything is taking so long - a prolonged session of test firing and adjustment of mirrors ensued - net effect TBC.
  • We left one of the heaters on overnight :( - new project to set it on a self timer required!
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-01-03 Tuesday

  • Good progress on the Tomboy model plane by Emm and Ben
  • More instruction in the ways of Linux by Ryan, for Emm and Ben
  • Kevin had a problem laptop that might have been past repair
  • David W brought a laptop with trouble at boot-up. The Hard Disk was put under analysis by SpinRite, a process that might still be in progress.
  • Three new faces today, with interests in 3D printing and robotics. We hope to see you all regularly.
  • Carl arrived late, after a hard day's work. He was interested to see the mechanical binary counter prototyped by IanB.
  • Attendance tonight = 12

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