Earlier this week, Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I held a preview event for Making Social Change, our Sociology + Making course, as part of FLC’s Social Justice Spring events. We decided to create some drop spindles and spin some yarn, based on an activity Erica Tyler (Anthropology) developed as part of last summer’s Making Across the Curriculum faculty professional development program.
We cut the whorls using the laser cutter (which has been christened “Danger Scissors”)…
Note the engraved design, inspired by Gandhi’s spinning wheel. Diane cut the dowels using a good old-fashioned chop saw…
…after which she and Erica taught us how to turn wool into yarn.
We also walked students through some other digital fabrication techniques, using the same spinning wheel motif source file to create objects using the Carvey, vinyl cutter, and 3D printer. Looking forward to helping bring this course to life in the fall!
Max Mahoney (Chemistry) and I have been working on version 2 of some UV LED boxes for use in a cyanotype photography activity. We’ve been talking about these for a long time, so it’s nice to finally get to building.
Each box will have three 10 watt 380 nanometer UV LEDs arranged on a piece of aluminum bar stock. We were able to build up the prototype in about a day, working out some of the details about the access hatch, and the arrangement of the lights and so forth.
We also used the new laser to engrave one of the side panels.
Today Nicole (student) helped out mass producing three additional boxes (for a total of four).
As it turns out, these LEDs get HOT, so we brainstormed some fan arrangements, and settled upon a design. We quickly developed a diagram using Illustrator, running a paper prototype on the laser to ensure that our measurements were correct before engraving and cutting the final piece out of 1/4 hobby plywood.
Looking forward to getting these buttoned up and in use at the end of the week!
The laser was installed yesterday, and while makerspaces are more about culture, community, and possibilities than they are about machines, this thing sure is a sweet machine. 🙂
Following the install and orientation, we spent the better part of the day cutting, engraving and scoring wood, paper, and acrylic. Once we got the hang of it, CJ (student) and I decided to push the machine with a test cut through 3/4″ pine.
Ryan and Rick (foreground above) assure me that this much flaring is normal, especially with material this thick (and without air assist, which we’ll probably be adding as funding permits).