Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Open Challenge: Broken Makerbot

Ever since we got our new UP! 3D printer our old Makerbot 3D printer has been sitting on a shelf collecting dust. We benched it because we never got it to print successfully for more than 20-30 minutes at a time and never could figure out what the problem really was with the extruder. If you’re feeling adventurous come in and see if you can fix it! We’ll give you unlimtied time with it (during open hours) and as much ABS plastic as you need for it. Should you manage to fix it we’ll figure out some kind of prize.
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Website Security Update

I’ve updated several modules and the core files of the Drupal install. The good news is that this should cut down on the spam messages we’ve been all suffering. The bad news is that this may have set your user navigation links back to their defaults.
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Selam Alem – “Hello World” – The Amharic Alphabet on the Laser Cutter

I wanted to be able to make Amharic letters and phrases quickly on the Epilog laser cutter.  Cutting a path is always faster than rastering an image, so I downloaded the Fidel, and then modified in Inkscape to create letter stencils.  These characters were modified such that “loops” (as in an “a” or “b”) do not fall out when cut with the laser, but remain attached with a thin filament.  Thus, letters and phrases can be cut out rapidly in wood, cardboard or acrylic, and used as signage or for a stencil. The well known “Hello World” phrase (Selam Alem) was chosen for this first test.  A translation may be found here. I have attached the .svg file (modified in Inkscape) so you may try it out yourself!
Hello World (Selam Alem)
Attachment Size
amharicTableOnlyPrint.svg 777.46 KB
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Kilroy IS Here

This project combines the well know image of “Kilroy Was Here” with sensor driven data aquired via an embedded microcontroller. The Kilroy image was captured over the Internet through a  Google search, and then processed in Inkscape to a vector based .pdf file.  This outline was then cut out in 1/4″ plywood with a 50 Watt laser cutter.  Two modules were installed in laser cut  “press fit” openings, including a PIR (Passive Infra Red) and an ultrasonic distance sensor.  Kilroy would appear to be warding off the evil eye with the PIR sensor on his forehead (which turns red when movement is detected). His eyes are comprised of an ultrasonic distance sensor.  When motion is detected with the PIR, the ultrasonic distance sensor begins to display telemetry between Kilroy and a person or object in front of the computer.  The attached movie shows a screenshot of this output, which was written in the arduino Integrated Development Environment (see attached file for code).
Kilroy IS Here
Attachment Size
killroy_IS_here.txt 1.49 KB
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Open Lab for people 10-16 years old

In her TED Talk, Ayah Bdeir (the creator of littleBits)  said “We want to encourage a world of creators, of inventors, of contributors. Because this world that we live in, this interactive world, is ours.” Help encourage your kids and bring them to the Fablab on Saturday January 12th from 10 until noon. This month is an open lab with no planned projects, so bring your ideas and have some fun making things. We would also like to take a little time to talk with the kids about what they would like to get from their time at the fablab this year. The CUC Fablab is also considering forming a youth council and we would like to see if their is any interest in participating in this venture. As always, please let us know at jeffhoward0@gmail.com if you can make it. Jeff and Isabella
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Business/Operations Committee Meeting Announcement

Join us for an open discussion this Thursday evening – all are welcome! CUCFL Champaign Urbana Community Fab Lab 1301 South Goodwin Avenue Urbana, IL 61801 AGENDA Business/Operation Committee Meeting Thursday December 13th @ 5:30 PM I. DISCUSSION ON OPEN HOURS Winter Break Hours 2012 – 2013 (proposed) CLOSED on Sunday 23rd, Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th of 2012. Happy Holidays! REOPEN Sunday 30th 1-6 pm CLOSED Tuesday January 1st 2013.  Happy New Year! REOPEN Thursday January 3rd, 2013 using established hours of T TH 6-9 pm and Sun 1-6 pm* * Pending Review of Spring staffing & hours – Bob has suggested we put together a schedule for January (and beyond) II. UPCOMING EVENTS On Monday January 7th Mary K will be leading a group of area educators (approximately 20) on an introduction to the fab lab from 9 am to 12 pm.  Volunteers are needed! Mercedes & Virginia have been teaching Inkscape classes at the Don Moyers Boys & Girls Club, and would like to continue these efforts next year. Volunteers are needed! III.  UPCOMING PROPOSALS (SUSTAINABILITY) The fab lab is considering making application on the following: Discovery Seminarhttp://provost.illinois.edu/programs/discovery/FundGuidelines.html Assemble a proposal for a 2 hour fab lab “Internet of Things” seminar for Fall 2013, due date January 11th 2013* * The deadline of January 11 is for the UNIT (I^3) to submit the proposal Urbana Arts Grants  http://urbanaillinois.us/artsgrants Assemble proposal for fab lab volunteer arts training program, due date January 16th 2013 Any interested individuals who would like to participate in the proposal writing process are encouraged to attend IV. PROPOSAL FOR A CUC FAB LAB YOUTH COUNCIL Whereas so many youth have been attending the fab lab during our Sunday afternoon open hours, it has become apparent that it would be a great benefit for youth to have the opportunity to organize themselves into a self governing structure within the fab lab environment.  A Youth Council would propose student projects & events to our volunteer base, who would undertake the necessary arrangements for staffing of the lab. This Youth Council would also serve as the point of contact for area youth who have questions about the fab lab, or who otherwise wish to become involved. V. MISCELLANY – INVENTORY, VOLUNTEERING, LAB TECHNOLOGY / TRANSFER,  FUNDING a. Can we talk about the pricing of acrylic, there seem to be various ways to set the price markup and we want to make sure that we all agree on something (Mercedes) b. Volunteer recruitment – we need to get more people more involved, if possible (Jeff) c. Listservs – inventory, control and use to engage new volunteers (Jeff) d. I’m working on transferring out the old computers, training UFL tech volunteers, and transferring the new 3D printer (Jeff)
d. Funding – how much money do we have, do we need to purchase anything (Jeff)
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I made my 2012 Halloween costume at the Fab Lab!

Back in October I used the big vinyl cutter to create my Halloween costume! I attended a Halloween party that also celebrated the fall birthdays of three friends. The party was themed for the states they were born in: Missouri, Tennessee, and California. My costume matched all three, with Dr. Pepper from Missouri, Mountain Dew from Tennessee, and Orange Crush from California! Everyone at the party thought it was awesome, but I ended up taking it off pretty quickly when I realized it was impossible to sit down. Slight engineering oversight. 😛 This costume was the first thing I have ever made in the Fab Lab and it was so much fun! I highly recommend anyone who needs to make…well…reallyanything stop by the Fab Lab and check it out! – Kathryn T.
The full getup: front
The full getup: back
Orange Crush
Mountain Dew
Dr. Pepper
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Kids to Invade the Fab Lab

In a recent blog post Maggie Thrash wrote “A common misconception is that hacking=accessing other people’s computers (see: any movie or news story about “hacking”). But the true meaning of hacking is much broader– it’s about problem-solving, rejecting limits set by outside forces, curiousity, and a true DIY spirit. In tech terms, it includes reverse engineering (taking stuff apart to learn how it works) and modifying electronics to suit your own needs and to answer your own questions. I like this video of Limor Fried (one of the most influential electrical engineers in the world) where she describes a hacker as ‘not somebody who breaks into something, but somebody who breaks out of something.'” If you are between the ages of 10 and 16, grab an adult and join us at the CUCFL on Saturday Dec. 8th from 10 until noon where you can take that first step towards making your electronic devices do what you want them to do. We will be doing a simple soldering project to introduce everyone to the electronics area of the Fab Lab. Since there are a limited number of soldering stations, we will also be exploring how to make a 3D object using 2D pieces cut on the epilog laser engraver by cutting and assembling the Pteranodon kit. There is also an excellent tutorial for making a press fit box available here if you do not want to make a dinosaur. There will be a $3 charge for the soldering kit, and the pressboard for the Pteranodon kit is 50 cents. If you are going to try a press fit box you can purchase the necessary materials at the lab for a very reasonable cost. Please remeber that space is limited, so if you are interested in attending, please contact me at jeff.howard0@gmail.com.
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