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June 14 2017

Visitor project: Dominion storage solution

Dominion is an award-winning deck-building card game that has ten expansions released as of this writing. There are a wide variety of proposed storage solutions to the problem of toting about several thousand cards and sundry mats and tokens, and Sherwin decided it was high time he moved on up from the method he had been using to a proper receptacle.

First, a look at the final product:

Wooden box sitting on its edge with the word "Dominion" etched in stylized text on its face. Open wooden box displaying contents consisting of rows of Dominion cards separated by labeled dividers.


We managed to fit about 3700 unsleeved cards along with the other odds and ends in with room for further expansion. The dividers make every card easy to locate and access, and the box dimensions keep the whole package relatively compact and portable.

Our starting point was an ad-hoc solution that involved storing each set of Kingdom cards in separate pockets on 9-card sheets, with the base cards being held in deck boxes and the tokens in a bead container, all of which were piled into one of the original game boxes and wrapped in a tote bag. This system worked for a time, but as further expansions were released, both box and tote showed increased signs of strain, neither having been designed to hold more than one game or expansion at a time.

Old, beaten Dominion Intrigue box sitting on a wooden table, overflowing with sleeved dominion cards. To its left sits a threadbare Dominion tote bag.

The sheets can be seen overflowing from the game box, which barely squeezed into the tote

The box had already been replaced once before, and when the replacement itself began showing severe signs of wear we began looking into other options. We debated building one out of lumber, but eventually settled on using a case that had been tried and tested in other storage solutions for our first attempt.

We knew that we would require some sort of organizer to keep each column of cards in line, and laser-cut some test pieces out of cardboard to check the fit.

White paper sitting on a mac laptop keyboard with seemingly random numbers and lines scribbled in blue pen. White paper fills the page. In black pen, there are lines an measurements scrawled over the page. In the upper left sits the bottom half of a pencil and a set of mechanical calipers.

Determining the dimensions of the caddy and how to fasten them

Seen from above, the right half of a wooden table is covered in two disjoint halves of a wooden box, the left is covered in white paper. Strewn over everything is a set of cardboard inserts which are white on one face and brown on the other. Wooden box with cardboard inserts fills the page. There one small stack of Dominion cards sitting in each of the six columns.

Assembling the mock caddy, then testing the fit of the cards
We also planned to engrave the game’s logo onto the box using the laser cutter, and had two waxes and two stains we wanted to try. The case came with a tray insert that was made of the same wood, though unfinished, so we did a test burn both before and after applying the four coats to observe the effect. We also removed the hardware from the case and sanded off the veneer in preparation.

Strip of birch plywood with two blury laser etched dominion logos filling it's length runs across the center of the picture. Behind it is the metal latice of a laser cutter. Wooden rectangle sites atop white paper. The words "Hello World!" are laser etched into four rows filling its left half.

Mocking up the logo and testing burn parameters for the wood

Blue nitrile gloved hands which come from the right side of the frame are rubbing dark wax into one of four rows on a wood box which sits on white paper. Wooden box with the words "Hello world" etched in four rown down the left side, sits on white paper with a bright light shining down on it. The wood has been stained in four rows with increasingly dark wood stains / waxes going from a golden honey colour to a brushed black hue.

Applying the coats of wax and stain to the test piece
The logo we used had too much background and shading for a clean burn. We ended up using Pawel Pawlak’s Dominion icons to generate an appropriate vector image of the logo and banner outline for the laser cutter.

Sheet of white cardboard on a metal grate in a laser cutter behind dirty glass. There is a blur of a moving laser cutter head over the center third of the cardboard. The beginning of an etching of the Dominion logo can be seen as a pale brown on the cardboard's surface. Sheet of white cardboard on a metal grate in a laser cutter behind dirty glass. There is a blur of a moving laser cutter head over the center third of the cardboard. A completed etching of the Dominion logo can be seen as a pale brown on the cardboard's surface.

Testing the final logo
After finalizing the dimensions of the caddy pieces and wax choice, we then cut the pieces out of clear acrylic, assembled and affixed them with acrylic glue, burned the logo into the case cover, then applied the coats of wax.

Corner of a light brown wooden box fix the lower two thirds of the frame. A sheet of clear acrylic, the height of the box, cuts a single internal column on the left hand side. Light wooden box sits atop white paper at a slight angle filling the upper two thirds of the frame. The box is divided into six columns by strips of clear acrylic which are the same height as the box itself. An additional strip of clear acrylic rests atop the left edge of the box hanging prosperously over the side.

Assembling and checking the fit of the final caddy
Light brown wooden box sits in middle frame at a slight angle atop white paper. It is mostly covered in a honey brown wax. The Dominion logo is etched in its center. Two hands connected to arms which lead off the top of the picture, are wearing blue nitirle gloves and rubbing additional wax into the surface.

Applying the wax to the case exterior

To minimize cards sliding around and give them a cushion, we cut a segment out of poker felt and glued it to the bottom with spray adhesive. We attempted to replace the stock hardware with sturdier options, but found the wood to be too thin to support any of the screws from the cabinet fixtures.

A rectangular wooden pallet has two small squares of green felt glued to the bottom right corner of the palette. A jug of wood glue, can of spray adhesive, and hand holding a hot glue gun are just out of frame. Light wooden box with a green felt base rests on its edge, filling the frame. The box's inside is divided into six vertical columns by clear acrylic. Two hands in the upper right of the frame can barely be seen screwing something into its side.

Testing different adhesives on felt samples and reattaching the hardware to the finished bottom
Finally, after completing assembly of the box, we had to transfer the actual game components from the old box to the new one. We created the divider tabs using sumpfork’s Dominion Divider Generator and had them printed on cardstock and trimmed at a local print shop.

Warm brown wooden box sits in the middle of the frame at an angle resting on butcher paper on a wodden table. The Domnion logo is etched in its center. Brass clasps are affixed to its front along with a leather and brass handle. Open light brown wooden box resting on butcher paper on a wooden table. The bottom of the box is green felt and it is divided into six columns by clear acrylic strips.

The finished box ready to receive the game materials

Resting atop a wooden table which fills the frame, from left to right there is a stack of two sheets of card sleeves full of Dominon cards, the bottom half of a Dominion box full of card sheets which are them selves full of Dominion cards, the top half of a Dominion box with three stacks of dominion cards, a light wooden box which is open, with a green felt bottom split into six columns by strips of clear acrylic, one of the columns is full of dominion cards with a second one about half full, and finally five stacks of white card paper which are barely in frame. On the right side of the table there is also a jumble of empty card sleeves. A wooden table runs at a sharp angle from the top left to the bottom right of the frame. From left to right there are: sheets of card sleeves full of dominion cards, the bottom half of a dominion box half full of full card sheets, the top half of a dominion box with three stacks of dominion cards in it, a light wooden box which is open, its base green felt, divided into six columns by clear acrylic the left most of which is full of dominion cards and dividers, finally six stacks of white card stock with dominion rules text printed on them.

Moving the cards into their new home
A light wooden box sits dead center, filling the bottom half of the frame. Its open lid fills the top half. The box is filled with dominion cards arranged in four of the six columns and separated by white card stock with card titles. The second to left column contains little plastic bags of glittering bronze tokens, and the last column is about half full of cards separated in the same manner as the first four.

Ready to play!

NYCR Members Kari Love and Matthew Borgatti teaching Soft Robotics and Bioinspiration at ITP Camp

Robots are neat, but everyone has one around the house these days. From Roomba to Alexa, there’s an army of soothing plastic helpers to help you look up actor names and eliminate your least favorite repetitive tasks. Aren’t you curious what is out there chasing the horizon of robotics, on the seam between the artificial and the biological?

Well, that’s what you’re going to learn if you’re one of the lucky ITP Camp attendees this year. Our members Kari Love and Matthew Borgatti will be teaching a class on Soft Robotics and Bioinspiration this week at NYU’s ITP. It will cover how they – real actual researchers in soft robotics – perform research, build prototypes, and solve problems with inspiration from biology. It’s also got hands-on prototyping and playful learning for everyone excited by design and creative process.

From the course description:

Roboticists frequently find inspiration from the incredible evolved forms of nature, and translate them into fresh thinking and solutions. This workshop invites you to explore this fast-growing domain where biology and robotics collide.

May 29 2017

We’re open for Craft Night

Holidays? What holidays! Resistor will be open as usual tonight for Craft Night / Knit Knight.

May 16 2017

Visitor projects: the most excellent blanket

Hey NYCR visitors – have you done something neat lately? Let us know, so we can blog about it!

Julia learned to knit in December at NYC Resistor. And then, uh….this blanket happened. Julia, you’re amazing. Students outshining their teachers, etc.

I can vouch for this blanket being extremely cozy. You’re looking at 30 skeins (6,540 yards!) of yarn and 1,040 tails that needed weaving in. It comfortably fits three people.

If you want to make your own blanket, the Infinite Rainbow Throw pattern is free from KnitPicks.

Don’t know how to knit? Wish you had more knitting time? Join us every other Monday for our Knit Knight, 730pm-930pm. We’ll teach you – beginners get their first pair of needles free. (You don’t need to be as intense as Julia in order to attend Knit Knight, we promise.)

May 08 2017

Interactive Show Preview: Dance Dance Running Man

dancerun

Join the fun at the NYC Resistor Interactive Show this Saturday, where you can play Dance Dance Running Man by Colleen AF Venable, Eric Skiff, and Astrida Valigorsky:

Dance Dance Running Man revives the dance-game classic DDR as dystopian chase game. Keep those feet moving while the chasers chase from behind the arrows and Arnold keeps them at bay. Featuring images from the film and pro-level DDR pads, you’ll be dancing for your life!

Come play with it yourself at The Interactive Show on May 13th! Tickets are just $15 in advance ($20 at the door), and the libations are on us. Get your tickets now!

ezgif-2-857b32491a

Interactive Show Preview: Who Do You Love

00004IMG_00004_BURST20170504124126

Come to the NYC Resistor Interactive Show this Saturday to see “Who Do You Love” by Adelle Lin, Olivia Barr, and Matt Pinner:

A deplorable reality television host rises to power by exploit people for the sake of entertainment. He uses a nightmarish cacophony of violence and catch phrases to control his audience. In The Running Man this media mogul shouts, “Who Loves You and Who Do You Love?”

Who Do You Love is an interactive sound installation that samples Donald Trump saying the word “China” in phrases from his campaign and presidency. The interface device for the installation consists of three acrylic towers, dispersed through the space. Each tower houses three buttons where players can activate the sound from different locations. Pressing a button triggers the Commander and Chief to say “china”, “i love china”, “i know china very well”, or “china all the time”.

Burst_Cover_GIF_Action_20170211233509

The phrases overlap each time a button is pushed to create an ambiance of garbled memetastic catch phrases. The towers encase a teensy audio shield, teensy 3.2, xbee, and our custom oshpark pcb. the devices connect to each other using these 900mhz xbee radios and light up clear acrylic portions with led sequins when buttons are pressed anywhere in the space. The new echo of “China” is channeled into the exhibition room’s speakers or through headphones. Multiple players of Who Loves You collaborate to compel the distortion of Trump’s reflections on China into noise.

We hope this raises some discussions about your feelings around entertainment media and representative governments.

More info on Github.

Come play with it yourself at The Interactive Show on May 13th! Tickets are just $15 in advance ($20 at the door), and the libations are on us. Get your tickets now!

April 28 2017

Interactive Show Preview: Panorama Lamp

Here’s another Interactive Show preview, this time of “Panorama Lamp” by Kirill Shevyakov, Alexander Savvy, and Paul Koch. Check it out in action in this video.

Panorama Lamp Panaorama Lamp panorama lamp video

The Panorama lamp is a tribute to a monumental Soviet architecture. Inspired by a colossal concrete curves and extraordinary aesthetic of USSR structures this lamp is a miniature replica of a soviet movie theatre. The surface of the lamp is divided into 70 units creating a 360 degree visual grid. Each unit encompasses an LED which forms a vast “canvas” for various interactions, light sequences, and data visualizations.

Come play with it yourself at The Interactive Show on May 13th! Tickets are just $15 in advance, and the libations are on us. Get your tickets now!

April 26 2017

Interactive Show Preview: Red Rider

Time has been flying and we’ve been frantically getting ready for The Interactive Show. It’s just 17 days away! Here’s a preview of “Red Rider” by Ranjit Bhatnagar and Colleen AF Venable.

-1

Red Rider

A modern take on Little Red Riding Hood with a NYC twist. The story is told in six voices, each giving their version of what happened—including Red Rider (the fastest bike messenger in the city), the now-vegan Wolf, the Lumberjock (who always gives 110%), three very bizarre little pigs, and a maybe-not-so-sweet-and-innocent Grandma. Find the six listening stations and see if you can you figure out what happened to the Wolf.

Tickets are just $15 in advance, and the libations are on us. Get your tickets now!

There’s still time to submit a project before the May 1st deadline, contact us!

April 14 2017

April 22nd: All-Day CryptoParty

Photo by Huck Magazine.

Photo by Huck Magazine.

CryptoParty returns to NYC Resistor on April 22nd, 2017 for a night of learning about your digital defense in the age of mass surveillance from Fort Meade and Madison Ave. Stop by anytime between 3PM and 9PM and enjoy snacks and skills from a variety of online security practitioners and researchers. We’re hosting a full day mix of and hands-on-help with everything from vetting a good VPN to navigating Tor and Signal.

If you’ve never been to Resistor before, check our Participate page for more info, including the Code of Conduct. Hope to see you there! If you’ve never been a CryptoParty before, please check out the CryptoParty Guiding Principles.

When:

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 3:00PM – 9:00PM.

Where:

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

April 12 2017

Get Your Tickets for the 2017 Interactive Show!

runningman-invite-facebook

We’re just about a month away from the 2017 NYC Resistor Interactive Show on May 13th! This year’s theme is The Running Man. The 80s 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! Got a project you want in the show? Elements from similar 80s flicks like Barb Wire, Cherry 2000 and Max Headroom are also a great idea. Submit your project by May 1st!

Don’t have a project but want to relive the futures of the past in the present! Get your tickets to the show today before they sell out!

When:

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 8:00PM – Late.

Where:

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

April 03 2017

Interactive Show CFP deadline is May 1st

Projects are starting to roll in for the Interactive Show! We’re going to set a deadline of May 1st for project submissions. If you have something you would like to show off, contact us.

runningman-invite-facebook

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.

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