When I was making my home shop, I really wasn’t interested in a 3D printer. I have had printers for years now, and was really used to the Ultimaker2+ in my class, but the cost outweighed the benefit at my house. I did not prepare or plan for a space for a printer. However, I have been really happy with my Chinese Ebay laser. I thought that Ebay might have options for Chinese 3D printers. For a 1/6 of the price of the Ultimaker, I could buy a machine that has roughly 4 times the build volume and has pretty good reviews. It is likely not as good as the ultimaker, but with some finicky love, I figured I could get some good use out of the build volume (12x12x15 inches). This was a fairly small investment into a printer that has a huge upside. I do not want to review the printer as the internet is crawling with them, but I will share what I build and what I can learn from it. It was very fast to set up and Cura had settings for the printer built in, so that side was easy as well. 2 things off the bat though, it really needs an enclosure in my setting (very cold and very drafty) and the enormous build plate glass seems warped in the center. It is lower in center than all 4 edges of glass. Luckily it was low. I just made a wedge for under the middle of glass and the problem was solved. I will likely make a more elegant solution later, but the internet reviewers were pretty accurate on glass warping. Until I make an enclosure, the raft curl is significant enough to hinder printing.
I want to share the thought and process to buying this laser. I wanted some certain things in a laser when I purchased it. I wanted to cut 1/4 plywood really easily, so I wanted a machine that “could” cut 1/2 wood. The bulk of my work would be cutting through 1/4 plywood. I decided that 100W can do 1/2 so I settled on 100W.
I decided to restart this site, just to keep all of the old posts but add all that is happening now. I realized as I left the shop class I taught that I still love making things. I have been teaching Kindergarten this year and have loved everything about it, but I go home and still love getting on some tools and making things. Most of these things focus on what I want in my classroom or for my kids, but really it’s a love of making and tinkering that drives this. I have picked up some equipment and I want to share my trials of this equipment and what I use it for. I have changed the domain name to reflect what I am doing.
I do a lot of googling for help and ideas and I am always looking for people’s home shops or makerspaces. Home shops tend to really focus on wood or metal. Makerspaces tend to really focus on groups of people collectively using equipment to get to their goal. I wanted to create the look and feel of the makerspace, but in a home shop environment. A place to make that wasn’t focused on a particular medium. The Home Shop Makerspace is a place that I, my kids or friends can make and do the fun of tinkering. I am aiming to write about what I am actually making and the troubles with equipment along the way. I bought some cheap Chinese equipment to recreate the tools used in most makerspaces, so this equipment is accessible, but can be very DIY or finicky. I would never have bought this equipment in my shop class as it could not have handled the variety of users very well.
I am keeping this site as a static site of the program I once taught. It gets enough traffic as a support to CNC routing, 3D printing and Plasma cutting that I am not ready to completely abandon it yet. I did drop the ownership of penguinmanufacturing.com, but picked up a new domain to reflect my new position. The Instagram on the right should still update to pictures of my current kindergarten classroom and if you would like to catch up on my current class, you can join me at www.kindermakers.com
Some links to specific documents may die over time. I will try to transfer them over to a more current google drive, but I kept all of those documents on my last school district email account.
I have long loved Topography and maps and love the visual you get by seeing the terrain topography. I also love how amazing Google Earth is dealing with the terrain. It seems magical to me. I wanted to see what we could do with the Google Earth. We have found .STL files of existing terrain, but I wanted to customize it to a specific location. The San Juan Islands. I tried this a few years ago, but the process was very involved and I gave up on some other pursuit. I looked at retrying hoping that someone had gone to the work of simplifying the process. I was in luck! I found terrain2stl. .Stl files are simply a triangulated surface of a 3D shape that is usable by almost any 3D software. I think of it as the .PDF file of the 3D world. It is complicated to manipulate once made, but easily transferable to post process for manufacturing.
Our lofty goal was to have a precision blank that could be made on our CNC machine that could then be personalized on the lathe or however the student saw fit. The problem with the blanks available is that they are fairly expensive, not customizable and the precision I was most interested in is the hole placement. Blanks available are not already drilled for holes. We were not aiming for a finished flute, but I wanted a proof of concept that the Slow air chamber and flute parts work, so we designed a working prototype that is actually a finished flute. It would be easier to test a finished product. The first test worked perfectly and the sound quality is superb, but it is royally out of tune and we are working as a class to devise a plan to create a prototype that we can move and individually tune specific holes. With this prototype we will be able to plan each individual note and customize each student’s flute to the desired key and scale desired.
A former student stopped by and he is pursuing a career in fabrication and welding.