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March 26 2017

Laser cut Fractal Puzzle

Team effort

THe Gosper Curve is a self-similar fractal that can be turned into a visually interesting, yet very difficult puzzle on the laser cutter. With all of the pieces the same color it is nearly impossible, but a bi-color version is a doable challenge. You can move the slices (in blue in the SVG file) around to vary the puzzle or change the difficulty; the current version has lots of very similar pieces to make it full of “garden paths” that require frequent back-tracking when the solution almost works.

Laser cutting Gosper curves
More details are posted on trmm.net/Fractal_Puzzle and the design files are thing:2204078 on thingiverse.

March 22 2017

The 8th Annual Interactive Show: Call For Projects

It’s that time of year again. Spring is supposedly in the air and it’s time for another Interactive Show! This year’s theme is The Running Man. The 80’s dystopian future sci-fi takes place in 2017 and has so many great campy elements. Who can resist lo-fi graphics, spandex costumes, hexagonal decode systems, and a villain in LED studded armor? The projects practically create themselves! Elements from similar 80’s dystopia flicks like Max Headroom are also a great idea.

So save the date for May 13th and drop us a line to submit your projects! Projects don’t necessarily have to be on theme, just something you want to show off at a party.

therunningmanposter-cropped

runningmanintro

runningmanbakersfield

runningmanperimeter

runningmanhexagon

runningmandynamo

runningmanfireball

February 27 2017

ShopBot Furniture Making by a Woodwork Dilletante

Recently, I moved to a new apartment, and this presented me with a problem. You see, some years ago, my wife and I bought a nightstand when we had space for just one of them. Now, we have space for two, so we needed a second one. Of course, that nightstand has been discontinued for years and years. We could have purchased two new nightstands, but that seemed like a waste. Fortunately, we have a ShopBot and a supply of plywood – so I took it as a challenge to make a nightstand that was as close to the original as possible.

A nightstand that is now discontinued.

The original nightstand, made by a retailer popular with recent college graduates, that isn’t Ikea.

There were some design requirements from the outset:

  • The finished piece has to look very close to the original.
  • The finished piece must not have rough edges or visible joinery, just as the original doesn’t. My own tolerance for plywood furniture where the edges of the wood are visible is quite high, but my wife’s isn’t.
  • The finished piece should hold up as a daily-use piece; it should be solidly built.

I started out by taking dimensions from the original and then modeling it in Fusion 360:

I started out with just the faces, without any joinery. Next, I added in tab-and-slot joints, with idealized corners–that is to say I didn’t include the fillets that let the tabs actually fit together. Adding the tabs is kind of a tedious, manual process, but the best way I’ve found to add them all in is detailed in this YouTube video.

Tabs

Once I had everything laid out in Fusion 360 I exported the vectors for each part to a .DXF and exported it over to VCarve to define toolpaths. I know that Fusion has a full-featured CAM suite, but I’ve found that VCarve is slightly better suited to the ShopBot–it has everything I need and nothing that I don’t. At this stage I laid out all the parts on one sheet of 1/2″ plywood and added the fillets to all the interior corners, as well as hold-down tabs.

Then it was time to actually run the cut, which was probably the easiest part of the entire operation.

 

Once that was done, it was time to part the pieces off from the parent stock with a hammer and chisel, then sand down the flashing left over from the hold-down tabs.

Next, I dry-fit the whole thing together to make sure everything lined up the way that I expected.

 

I found a few tight spots in some of the pockets for the tabs which I had to sand down — the tabs and slots were drawn to be a precise fit, so a little bit of irregularity in the wood surface can cause a very tight fit. Once I was convinced it all fit together, I glued it all up and clamped the assembly together overnight. Unfortunately I didn’t have clamps long enough to get all the way around the parts so I had to rely on gravity to do some of the job, which ultimately resulted in a couple of gaps, though fortunately they are hard to spot. I was happy to see that the fillets on the corners the tab pockets were almost invisible as well.

That’s a bucket of sand.

 

Once the glue had fully cured overnight and the clamps were off, I set about applying edge-banding. Edge banding is a notorious pain to apply properly, and to make matters worse, I couldn’t find any locally that was close to half-inch, so I had to spend quite a bit of time with a blade, block plane, and sander to get all the edges flush. I found this video by The Wood Whisperer to be a helpful guide, since I’d never used edge veneers before.

Once I’d trimmed and sanded the veneers, it was time to move onto finishing. This was by far and away the most tedious and tricky part of the build, and the one where I made the most mistakes. I went with Minwax Polyshades in Espresso, which appeared from the samples to be about the shade I was looking for. In order to get anywhere close to the right shade (which was, frankly, still too light by the end) I needed four coats.

After the first coat, it looked like this:

The finish was really hard to control, and tended to go blotchy and drip very easily; I forged on, hoping that further coats would smooth things out. Once the first coat had cured overnight I gave it a once-over with #000 steel wool and then added another. After the second coat, the color deepened and looked like this:

After the third coat, it looked like this:

And after the fourth coat, it looked like this:

The shade was still a bit light, but the surface finish was very shiny and I thought that adding a fifth coat would turn everything into a plasticky mess so I stopped at four.

I added the drawer rails:

And then installed the drawer

And there we go! Here it is in situ. The dog was a bit mystified:

So, what did I learn – what went well, and what could have gone better?

What went well:

  • It’s absolutely possible to use the ShopBot to create professional-looking furniture – at least as far as the cutting and joinery goes. The key things here are the blind pockets for the joints and slightly proud top and base that help to hide the fillets which are often the hallmarks of CNC furniture.
  • The result is sturdy – it’s not wobbly in any axis, and the frame holds up nicely to shearing forces without bending.
  • The edge veneers look pretty decent. I could use some more practice in getting them straight, and the corners are the most obviously-dodgy bits, but I think they came out well. They’re another key to making plywood look like real wood boards.

What didn’t go so well:

  • The surface finish isn’t that terrific.
    • There are some dust particles trapped between layers of polyurethane which I should have caught. I think they might be fragments of steel wool from between coats.
    • If I was choosing a finish again I would have gone with a traditional stain and then two or three layers of polyurethane, probably in a satin or semigloss finish rather than this straight-up gloss. Having the darkness and shininess tightly bound to one another makes it very hard to get the finish right. It’s also a recipe for mess-making since everything is very thin and runs all over the place.
    • The finish, as mentioned, is a bit light – staining separately would have let me control that more precisely. I probably should also have done some test runs of the finish before applying it to the final production piece.
  • There’s more of a gap than I’d intended between the top of the drawer and the top of the table. I must have mis-measured at some stage. I should have have the ShopBot pre-drill the pilot holes for the rails. I don’t know what I was thinking.
  • Using just tab-and-slot construction and glue was probably a bit aggressive, since “no fasteners” wasn’t in the goals I set out for myself. It would probably have been fine to sneak in a few screws here and there to keep everything flush and in line, and nobody would have been any the wiser.

If you’d like to try this out yourself, I’ve made Fusion data available here.

I’m looking forward to building more furniture now that I’ve made a bunch of mistakes and can avoid them next time around. I’d also love feedback about other pitfalls! Give me a shout on Twitter or in the comments.

Guy Dickinson is a member of NYC Resistor who habitually takes things to bits and sometimes builds things too. You can follow him at @gdickinson.

February 21 2017

Wifi Weather Display Wall Art

Matt said he wished there were more projects on the blog. Well I published a project! It’s a Wifi weather display for the coat hook area of my entryway that helps me pick outerwear and shoes. I used an Adafruit Feather Huzzah ESP8266 wifi board, seven segment display, and some NeoPixels built into a shadowbox frame. Full tutorial with code, circuit diagram, and plenty of step by step photos is on Instructables.

February 10 2017

Motors class on February 25

We’ve got a motors class coming up on February 25th! Make Things Move: Intro to Motor Control with Arduino is a three-hour intro to the wonderful world of motors. From RC cars, Robot Arms, or 3D printers, this class gets you started learning how to use a variety of motors. Learn about the different types of motors and make them move! This class will combine a discussion of motors best-practices as well as hands-on experience controlling them with an Arduino. Ticket price includes all the supplies you’ll need (and get to take home!).

Tickets available on Eventbrite.

February 09 2017

We’re open tonight

Come brave the snow and the cold, and join us for Thursday Craft Night – we’re still open as usual.

February 05 2017

Advanced Laser-Cutting Class on March 5th

We have a new laser class coming up on March 5th! This advanced class is geared towards people who use the laser often and/or want to understand how to get the most out of the machine. Laser Cutting II: Optimize Your Laser Cutting will cover a variety of topics – from re-sequencing your artwork files in order to reduce cut time, to when to use different focus levels for specific cutting tasks.

Please note that you must have taken a previous laser-cutting class at NYC Resistor to qualify for Laser Cutting II.

Knit Knight is taking a break this week

Your Knit Knight teachers are taking the night off! Don’t worry – NYC Resistor will still be open as usual for Craft Night on Monday 2/6/17, so you’re still welcome to come and knit.

You can check our calendar or the EventBrite event for future Knit Knight dates.

February 03 2017

February Make-Along: Chocolate Molds

Our February Make-Along, Custom Chocolate Molds, is happening on February 19th! Learn how to create your own custom molds from everyday objects using re-usable Composimold. We’ll show you how to melt down chocolate and make some delicious creations together.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

February 02 2017

Pocket Party: This Sunday, 3pm

NYCR member Kari Love is leading our first -ever Feminist Pocket Party this Sunday, February 5th, from 3pm-5pm. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Come learn how to make 1 pocket variation in a low-key class+hangout environment. This session will focus on in-seam pockets (aka side seam pockets).

pockets

All materials to make practice pockets along with some kind of pocket-themed snack will be provided (bring your own clothes to alter if you’re feeling ambitious). Ability to sew a straight stitch by machine and seam rip are recommended, but not required, skills.

January 31 2017

Intro to Arduino Class on Feb 18

Our Arduino class is back on February 18th. Want to get into physical computing but don’t have any previous electronics experience? Great – this is the class for you. You’ll learn to program your Arduino, use a breadboard to prototype simple circuits, and work with sensors and LEDs.

Get your tickets on Eventbrite!

January 18 2017

Feminist Pocket Party on February 5th

Our first Feminist Pocket Party is happening on Feb 5. People who wear women’s clothing are plagued with an unjust lack of pockets! Time for us all to learn to level the playing field. Come learn how to make in-seam pockets in a low-key, class + hangout environment.

pockets

July 09 2015

July 15th (Wed): NYC Mesh Meetup

Nanostations

This Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 6:30pm, we’ll be hosting NYC Mesh, a group who are building a community-operated mesh network consisting of Wi-Fi router “nodes” spread throughout the city. The mesh network has no central server and no single internet service provider. All nodes cooperate in the distribution of data, serving as a stand-alone network in case of emergencies. Stop by if you’d like to find out more about the NYC Mesh and perhaps add some nodes to grow the mesh in Brooklyn.

When:

July 15h, 2015 6:30pm.

Where:

NYC Resistor (between Bergen and Dean)
87 3rd Ave. Floor 4 (use this OSM link if you’re Richard Stallman)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

(Optional) RSVP on Meetup.com.

July 01 2015

HackFriday 2015

Wearables class at NYCR
What is a better holiday activity than a picnic in the park or reading the internet all day at home? Spending the day inside soldering, sewing, programming or laser cutting something great with other nerds! This Friday NYC Resistor is having our third #HackFriday event, an open day for you to come hack on your projects with us. The space will be open from 10am on 3 July and everyone is welcome.

NYCR vendingNYCR things
If you don’t have a project, don’t worry! You can buy an Arduino from the vending machine or browse through our free parts in “Thingsgiving” to find some inspiration!

June 16 2015

July 1st (Wed): CryptoParty!

Much like CryptoParty Berlin, we also have Club-Mate!

Since our last CryptoParty in March, crypto tools remain confusing to use, so we’re going to host another one! Join us and some experts talk about how to use privacy-enhancing tools like VPNs, Tor, and Signal. Bring your laptop and your crypto-curiosity to Resistor on July 1st, 7:30 pm for hands-on help with end-to-end secure communications, anonymous web browsing, and general good practices for online privacy with folks that have been using this stuff for slightly longer than most.

No need to RSVP; This is a free as in free-beer and free-dom event! Feel free to bring snacks though, and check out CryptoParty’s Guiding Principles to get a primer on our chill vibes.

June 13 2015

Open Hardware Summit – Submit a Proposal

The call for submissions to the Open Hardware Summit is now open!

This year’s Open Hardware Summit will be back in the States in Philadelphia, PA on September 19, 2015. Now in its sixth year, OHS brings together an inquisitive and active community of open hardware hackers, manufacturers and theorists for a full day of talks, poster presentations, and after hours socializing. If you have not been before, come. If you have been before, isn’t this the year you should submit a proposal to share your knowledge and perspective?

Proposals will be reviewed in a double-blind process by experts in the field and the roster of speakers determined by July 31, 2015.

Read the detailed call for submissions for instructions on submitting a proposal.

May 29 2015

Come Meet the PixelWeaver!

Stop by this Saturday and see my latest creation – the PixelWeaver. It’s a hand-cranked, fully-mechanical display driven by a Jacquard-style punch card reader. Read the full write-up on my website and check out the video below!

May 26 2015

A Sneak Peek at Some Interactive Show Installations

#drowing at Art Hack Day.

#drowning at Art Hack Day: Deluge. Photo by Margarida Malarkey

The sixth annual NYC Resistor Interactive Show is coming up this Caturday at 8pm. We have an overly generous baker’s dozen artists building a show fit for both organic and robotic party goers. We mentioned a few in our previous post, and here are a few more…

Our musical guest is plants! Not a band name, its actual plants that play instruments. Kirk Kaiser’s Plant Controlled Robot Bongos as well as Amy Cheng with her Plant Cyborgs are bringing the party, vegetation style, with their biohacks.

Kinetic Duck

Do you like ducks? What’s a party without ducks? How about robot ducks! We got one. Join the trip in Jakob Theileis’s Kinetic Robot Farm.

A photo posted by David Huerta (@huertanix) on May 21, 2015 at 9:37pm PDT

Are you the mutant savior? Find out at the Reformed Church of Robotron, by regional bishops Adam Mayer and David Huerta. It’s totally not the Church of Robotron from Oregon. They are heretics who have gone astray and we are the true church. You think otherwise, blasphemer? Beat our high scores to prove it!

The NYC Resistor Interactive Show is taking place on…

May 30th, 2015
8:00 PM ET – Late

…at…

NYC Resistor (between Bergen and Dean)
87 3rd Ave. Floor 4 (use this OSM link if you’re Richard Stallman)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

May 25 2015

No laser night tonight

chairface_moon_sticker-p217483163803015319qjcl_400

We’ll be closed tonight for Memorial Day. See you at Craft Night on Thursday. Have a great holiday!

Don’t forget our 6th annual Interactive Show is this Saturday!

May 06 2015

INTERACTIVE SHOW: May 30th 8PM, be there!

Robotic Future Party Zone

Mark your calendars! Our annual interactive art show fundraiser is coming up on May 30th and it’s going to be totally ~cyberbananas~. New York’s partiest interactive artists will be showing off their latest explorations into the future, sometimes with robots! Tickets sell out fast, so bump it up to 88 miles per hours and reserve yours today.

Tickets available online or at the door: $15

May 30th, 2015
8:00 PM ET – Late

NYC Resistor (between Berger and Dean)
87 3rd Ave. Floor 4 (use this OSM link if you’re Richard Stallman)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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