Hello TC Makers,
The Board would like to first and foremost thank you for giving us the time and your input as we try and thoughtfully move to a more open maker space. The survey results, comments, and conversations we have had with you over the past few weeks reflect the polarization seen in the wider community over COVID-19 prevention and vaccination. Based on your feedback on June 20th 2021 we will move to align more closely with current CDC guidelines:
There will be more movement to open TC Maker up in July and August as we work with the area managers to re-assess capacity limits and update the scheduling system in Clubhouse. What won’t be changing anytime in the near future are our fellow TC Makers that are immunocompromised or unvaccinated. As vaccination rates have soared in Minnesota leading to decreases in COVID-19 infection and mortality, what is being overlooked is a surge in cases amongst the unvaccinated and immunocompromised (Business Insider article). In fact, the infection and mortality rates in the unvaccinated are as bad as it was in December 2020 and the emergence of new variants, such as Delta, merit continued concern (CDC surveillance program).
If you are immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or have any concerns related to safety and accessibility please contact the board to discuss your specific situation by emailing the board. We’re actively exploring how to make our space more accessible to all members and it would be helpful to learn more about individual situations and requirements as the Boards conversation progresses.
Again, thank you for your continued input and we look forward to seeing everyone in TC Maker in the near future.
TC Maker Board
Long overdue…Highly anticipated…Possibly the worst kept secret…Biggest investment to date…
Thunder Laser USA – Nova 51
The Nova 51 was selected from three options presented to the Board by the Laser Shop to increase capacity, expand capabilities and decrease maintenance time. Thunder laser systems have a reputation for being dependable mid-range laser cutters that can stand a lot of abuse and are backed up by excellent customer support from Thunder, USA. The order is being finalized and we expect delivery in 3-5 months.
The addition of the Nova 51 to TC Maker will necessitate a few changes as it is too large for the existing laser room. The space committee has proposed that the current classroom be subdivided into a small kitchenette, electronics workspace, multipurpose room, and much larger Laser Room. This is where the Board would like your input and help. If you have any suggestions on what the space should look like or want to help with the build out please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
Also, with the rapidly rising cost of construction materials, lumber is up 188%, the Laser Shop has started a GoFundMe page to help offset some of these higher than anticipated costs. Our community needs your help to support making this area of Twin Cities Maker a better place to make, share, & learn. Please help by giving financially, volunteering for the build, or just cheering our team along.
If you are able to give financially please use the following link:
Stay tuned for more updates on the Nova 51 and shop improvements. The Board and our dedicated shop managers and volunteers have lots in plan for 2021 as we slowly re-open and can come together again as a maker community.
TC Maker Board
Annual Membership Meeting On ZOOM: Saturday, October 3
We’ve scheduled our annual meeting for Saturday 10/3, starting at 1:00pm .
To keep everyone safe we will be holding the meeting and election remotely. You be able to attend the annual meeting via Zoom, look for more meeting information to come.
We’ll go over the previous year’s financial s and major happenings, and talk about future plans. We’ll also be voting for two Governing Board seats that are up for reelection this year. There will be more information coming out as we get closer to the meeting date.
Which brings up a couple of sub-points:
Nominations for board positions are open
Have a member you think would be an excellent leader for out organization and want to nominate for the Twin Cities Maker 2020 Election? Please do email [email protected].
Eligibility Requirements: Any member in good standing and 18 years of age or older may be nominated to the Board.
The board terms are for 3 years and will expire in 2023.
Want to know what a board meeting is like? All of our meetings are open to members! The next board meeting is Tuesday 9/8, starting at 6pm here: go.tcmaker.org/boardmeeting .
The meeting agenda is also open
Got something you’d like to discuss at the Annual Meeting? Let the Board [email protected] know that too! We need to get the agenda at least mostly set by Friday 9/25, so please submit your items before then. There will still be the chance to bring things up at the meeting, but 9/25 is the last day we can get it onto the agenda that will be sent to all members. (Why do we send it out to all members? We want members to be involved and state law says we have to!)
Want to get Involved another way? We have open shop positions that need Leaders to fill them.
These positions are an excellent way to make a positive impact on the Twin City Maker community, the lives of others in it, and those who are touched by it’s impact.
Shop General Manager
Robotics Team Coordinator
Marketing Team Volunteers
Position details and responsibilities can be found on our wiki here: https://wiki.tcmaker.org/about_us/org_chart/start
Hello and thanks for reading my blog!
At the time of my last posting I had only 2 sections of my Musical PVC Bench completed. Again, many thanks to the TC Makers volunteers who helped me get to that point!
Every section is now welded together. You can see in the attached photo that I still have some sanding to do (mostly of excess PVC cement) and that it will need to be painted in order to hide markings and solvent stains as well as to protect it from the sun.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help with final steps will be welcomed. Remaining steps are sanding, spray painting, finishing paddles, attaching paddles, welding/cutting metal anchors & bolting sections together by Sept 22.
Willing to help? Email me at [email protected]
A couple of weeks ago I posted an invitation to join my effort to build a musical bench of PVC. Thank you to TC Makers Becca, Bill D, Bob G, Colleen, Jon, McSteve, Roxanne, Scott and Shawnuk for their generous help over the past 2 weekends.
Because of them I now have a paddle prototype, 4 sections cut, 2 sections in welding progress and one section complete!
My original plan was to have the bench finished by last night—not even close! Several complications arose as we started to build:
1. Two circles = 0 surface area
Fellow TC Maker, Steve M, pointed out to me that before I began solvent welding, it would strengthen the bond if I increased the surface area where each pipe intersects.
I tried using the band saw to shave off some of the pipe exterior and flatten the places where each pipe meets another but that was really messy and slow.
Bill D generously made a jig for me to use with a router which tremendously speeded the process back up.
2. Four inch diameter pipes are not musical
My friend Shawnuk stopped by the Hack Factory to help me work out details before I geared up to start building. As soon as he saw my 4” diameter pipe samples, he pointed out that they would have to be much taller than bench height in order to make a musical note.
We tested this out and he was right. Luckily, I had purchased only one pipe. Recognizing that a 2” diameter pipe would probably work, I had to re-draw my design in Sketchup. In order to keep the bench reasonably large, I now need to solvent weld 270 pieces!
3. Welding pipes takes TLC
TC Maker, Colleen, can solvent weld better than anyone else I know. She showed me that although bungee cords and rubber bands can be helpful to hold pipes together as they dry, as the welded section grows there is no substitute for just holding the pipes in place until they are dry enough to stand on their own. This really slows the overall process when I am working alone.
Please stay tuned for future volunteer opportunities!
Hey, thanks very much for checking out my blog!
Last week I promised to discuss the influence of Chuck Taylor shoes on my chair design. However, I need to take a short break from my rocker to create a bench for a block-improvement effort in the Dayton’s Bluff Community.
In this post, I will describe the bench design and invite you to help build it! Interested? Shoot me an email at [email protected]!
All participants will learn how to solvent weld PVC. The skill is used to build many exciting maker projects from potato launchers to musical instruments like the ones played by the Blue Man Group. In fact, the bench that we build can be used both for rest and to play a few tunes while waiting for the bus!
To make construction easier, I designed the bench in 6 sections. Each section is 39 inches long and 19 inches wide. Five of the sections are identical (just oriented differently) and one section is unique. Once I have all of the sections on site, I will bolt 3 pipes from each section to 3 pipes in an adjacent section.
The design uses PVC pipes of 5 different lengths with the longest pipes serving as the legs of the bench. Standard bench height is 18 inches and each section of the bench has four 18 inch-long pipes. Placement of these bench legs will be important for balance and stability.
Please contact me at [email protected] to help build a bench for a better block in the Dayton’s Bluff community!
Hey, thanks for checking out my blog! Last week I promised to write about creating the exterior of my chair. Below, I describe my thought process around editing the seat shape, choosing a color and an exterior finish. I also discuss the mistakes I made and how I corrected them.
First, I needed to ensure that the ergonomic seat I had just carved from spray foam and covered in body filler would be comfortable for any adult. Minne-faire was approaching, so I decided to display my unfinished chair in order to collect some data about the comfort level of the seat and whether or not I needed to edit the shape. My carving mistake was quickly revealed: every woman who tried the seat loved it and every man found the back half of the center ridge too high! Oops! Luckily, that was an easy fix.
Second, I considered the color. I could not decide between bright orange and white so when I invited visitors to try out the seat, I also asked them to vote for a color. Their choice was clear: classic bright red!
Third, for a sleek, contemporary look I decided to give the chair a fiberglass finish. Most of the chair received one layer of fiberglass and 4-5 layers of resin. The seat and back were coated with 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and 5 layers of resin. Between each layer I sanded the resin from 80-150-220 grit which turned out to be a mistake. Each non-final layer of resin should only be sanded to 80 grit so that the next layer will easily adhere.
The extra sanding did help by yielding a perfectly smooth surface before applying the next layer of resin. However, despite the smooth application surface, each new layer of resin consistently produced substantial mars & dents. I seemed unable to pour a smooth layer of resin which made me wonder if I was ever going to be happy with the finish.
I thought that using fiberglass resin would negate the need to paint the chair because the resin can be tinted with universal pigments (the kind that your local paint store uses). The hardware store where I bought the resin threw in the pigment for free and I combined them in a plastic bucket. The resin color looked perfect in the bucket! But once on the chair I realized that resin is super translucent because it contains no opaque base. Therefore, the 2 different colors of body filler I used on the seat were very visible, even through 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and resin!
If I ever do this again, I will make sure that the color of my chair before laminating is consistent throughout. With an even-colored base, the tinted resin and fiberglass cloth would have been adequate coverage. Still, to get a smooth surface I would have to spray the resin rather than pour or brush it on.
The difficulty in achieving a smooth surface combined with the translucency of the resin made me realize that I must paint the chair. After pricing High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint spray guns ($180), primer spray guns ($50), paint ($100), and the rest of the equipment I would need to do the job myself, I decided to save some money and have my chair painted at an auto body shop ($250). But this will be my final step and there is a lot more to do before I get there.
Next time, I will discuss the influence of Converse All Star sneakers on my design.
Thanks for checking out my blog post! As I promised in last week’s entry, this week I will reveal whether or not I solved Frank Lloyd Wright’s design problem. The Origami Chair famously has a tendency to tip forward; especially as the sitter scoots forward in preparation for standing up. Wright’s solution was to add anti-tipping feet; he added metal caps to make the extra pieces look more intentional.
My thought was to make the front feet larger, providing a greater surface area and, therefore, a lesser proportion of the sitter’s weight on the front corner of the feet. Good idea?? I originally made the feet about 4″ long (a 25% increase from the FLW model) and then sliced off a couple of inches from the bottom of each side of the chair, doubling the length of the feet. Result??
I still had a tipping problem. The seated person wasn’t in any danger but the experience of getting up from the chair could still be a bit startling–not a desirable quality for a chair!
I considered tossing the chair out and moving on to another project until a fellow member of Twin Cities Maker mentioned that a chair with a tipping problem might make a great rocker. Thus began a new design!
So, next I carved a model rocker out of polystyrene foam.
Determining the arc of the rockers turned out to be quite a research project. Eventually, I found a simple formula for finding the length of the radius of the circle from which the arc should be drawn. That is seat height x pi. I brought my model and 2 tubes to a steel-bending expert.
Next, I made several steel plates to screw to the feet and tail of the chair so that I could connect the chair to the rockers.
Positioning the chair, just right, onto the rockers was challenging. If there is a next time, I will get help holding the chair as I weld it to the rockers.
Next week, I will discuss creating the exterior of the chair.
Over the next several weeks I will post photos of my rocking-chair project as it progresses. I welcome your feedback and hope that you will help me find a name for this chair.
My design is inspired by 2 sources: the Frank Lloyd Wright Origami Chair and the Converse All Star sneaker. I’ve always wanted to re-design the Origami Chair as an updated, cool lounger. The Converse reference came later, after hours of observation, when it struck me (and my friend Ann who stopped by the Hack Factory for a critique session), that my placement of masking tape around the rockers was reminiscent of a pair of red sneakers (more on this in a future post).
A few years ago I made a large, black lacquered version of FLW’s Origami Chair and I kept one for my own home.
Using the chair at my home, I started my new chair by tracing a pattern onto poster board. Then, I made another pattern about 2/3 the size of the large one, tweaked the proportions and used that pattern to cut the plywood.
Once I assembled the plywood pieces I carved an ergonomic seat and back out of spray foam. To create a smooth surface, I covered the carved foam in body filler and then did a lot of sanding.
Next week I will discuss the main design problem with FLW’s Origami Chair and whether or not I solved it.
Michael from Nootropic will be teaching a class on how to solder his Hackvision kits.
Hackvision is a simple, retro gaming platform based on Arduino technology that you can assemble and connect to your TV. You can write your own games and make your own controllers!
If you’ve never soldered before, this is the class for you! This course teaches through-hole (90% of electronic kits) soldering and is recommended for the beginner. This is a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder through-hole components. Soldering can be daunting for the first solder joint, then the 2nd solder joint is not so bad, and by the time you’ve assembled the Hackvision, you will be quite confident and proficient in basic soldering skills.
Classes take place at The Hack Factory. We provide all the tools, irons, solder, parts, and seats for up to 8 students.
There is a minimum age requirement of 8 years old, but other than that, anyone is encouraged to sign up. We teach people all the time with no previous soldering experience! You do not need to be a member of Twin Cities Maker to attend.
Prerequisites: None! Just bring yourself. The class price includes the cost of the Hackvision kit.
What to bring: TC Maker will provide all the tools, irons and solder.
Proceeds above will go to help keep TC Maker, support the space.
Time and Place: Saturday Feb 25th 4:00pm to 6:00pm with a break for Pizza (it will be extra $$ but, good)
Cost: $30 (This is a great deal, the retail price is $33, and doesn’t come with the hack factory to solder at, and no Michael to be taught by.)