Message from the President
Things are certainly improving.
We now have The MakerBarn open on a limited basis and members can get back to work on their projects. Soon we will be able to relax the access so we can get back to having classes and train new members on the machines.
Speaking of machines, the Executive Committee has approved the purchase of two new laser engravers. These units will replace the lasers we currently have. The new machines are 100 watt lasers with 24” x 36” capacity. They use the same controllers as our current machines, so any files you have generated on the old machine will run on the new machines. Only power and speed may change due to the more powerful laser.
If you have any ideas for demonstrations or classes post your ideas on Slack. If you would like to teach a class or do a demonstration, we would love to hear about it.
This June marks our fourth anniversary. I wish we could throw a big celebration, like in years past, but this year has been different. It’s been tough, so I want to thank all of you who have stood with us through this
George Carlson, Acting President
We hope to see you back at the barn soon during our soft open month of June and when you arrive you will notice some changes.
• Masks: Everyone must wear a mask before entering the Barn and for the duration of your time at the Barn. Please bring your own.
• Two’s a crowd: We want to practice social distancing while also allowing for making. So let’s keep it to one member using each area at a time, i.e. one member in the laser room, one member in the sanding room, one member using the sewing, one doing wood working, etc.
• Members with guests: Guests and children are asked to stay at home until we have reliable information that shows the Covid-19 danger is considerably reduced. We are not there yet. Safety and health of our members is top priority.
• Use Sign-up Genius : Please do not come to the barn without reserving time to use equipment. It’s easy now to go the website and click on
the new Sign-Up Genius icon. There you may reserve equipment in one hour blocks. You can always call 832-663-6390 and the manager on duty will confirm your time as shown on SignUp. We are all going to need to be respectful and considerate of one another during this time.
• Kill it!: Germs that is. Cleaning up after yourself just took on a whole new meaning. We are asking you to bring supplies to disinfect before and after in your workspace. We will try to have some hand cleaner and wipes available, but it would be best if members could bring their own. Wipe down safety glasses, door knobs, on/off switches and control knobs, keyboards, and most importantly, DO NOT USE WIPES ON METAL EQUIPMENT as this can damage the tool surface. Just wash your hands with soap…often.
Have you checked out MakerBarn’s new library?
You’ll find dozens of woodworker and craft magazines (the plans never get old) and lots of ideas for new projects in our library corner upstairs. Many thanks to members who have donated and those who built this new space.
Upcoming Events and Classes:
Hopefully, we will soon be able to have get-togethers at the barn to have hands on classes and other events. Here are a few that we have planned, as soon as we can get a safe start date:
Building a Frequency Counter: In this class we will solder a simple device for the digital measurement of frequency. This will be a great accessory for the Function Generators we built a few months ago. The cost of the kit is $5. It is an easy kit and good to learn soldering skills.
Designing a Circuit Board Demonstration: Of course, learning to design a circuit, layout a printed circuit board, and cut out the circuit board on the small CNC router cannot be taught in a single night, we can do a demonstration of the process. We will use Eagle (part of Fusion360) to draw the schematic and design the circuit board. Then we will use CamBam to read the Gerber circuit board file and generate the G-Code for the router. Then we will use the Mini-Chop CNC Router to produce the circuit board. If there is sufficient interest, we can have a series of classes in the future teaching each step in the process. This is a free demonstration.
For the artistically inclined, the Retro-Photo Class. In this class we will hand out a Holga 120 film camera and a roll of black and white film to ten participants. The Holga is a cheap plastic camera that shoots medium format film. The photographers will shoot the roll of film during the following week. We will then process the film at the barn and scan the B&W negatives. The beauty of the Holga is not its sophistication, but its simplicity. It has a single plastic lens that causes some distortion and vignetting. This makes it much like using a cheap box camera from the 1950’s. The $20 fee will cover film and processing.
We are also looking for an individual familiar with the computer language Python to teach an introductory class. Python can be run on almost any computing device and is relatively easy to learn.
New North Bay Dust Collection System Installed!
Utilizing equipment donated to us by Tenaris Corporation and some generous members, plus some 3D printed items made in the MakerBarn and taking “advantage” of the recent pandemic driven shutdown of the MakerBarn, a new dust collection system has been installed in the North Bay. The system collects sawdust and wood chips generated from the re-saw, chop saw, dado saw, wood lathe and the CNC – as well as an independent vacuum ‘shoe’ near the CNC and a floor pickup near the wood lathe.
Hopefully this system will result in a significant reduction in the amount of dust and debris that collects around these pieces of equipment – resulting in a much cleaner environment for us to work!
This system includes sliding gates located near each piece of equipment allowing the system to be isolated from equipment not in use, thereby maximizing dust collection efficiency. The materials are fed into a common container located outside the barn on the north side (near the storage container).
The system is operated via a mechanical timer mounted on the column immediately adjacent to the CNC. Members utilizing the equipment incorporated in this system should open the sliding gate near the equipment being used and then activate the timer by rotating the dial to the desired amount of time needed to operate (up to 60 minutes). Once you finish your work, be sure to close the sliding gate.
Because the vacuum is located outside the barn, when operating the system it is very quiet inside the barn. It is hoped the timer
will minimize the potential for the system to be left running for an indeterminate period of time when it is not needed.
The vacuum providing suction for the system is very powerful and we believe it is fully capable of handling the load generated from all of these components – even if they were being operated simultaneously. However, should it be deemed necessary, the system is designed such that without a great deal of cost or effort, we can install a second vacuum and split the system into two independent systems.
Feedback and comments are, as always, welcome. Please direct your comments to the barn manager on duty or via MakerBarn Slack General Channel.
Here’s to a cleaner MakerBarn!! Enjoy!
(Ed. Note; A big thanks to MB Manager Jim Barron who spent many lonely hours at the barn making this happen while we were “away”!)
George Carlson, Director and President
Jeanie James, Director
Greg Radliff, Director
John Buckley – Newsletter Editor