MakeIt Labs and FIRST Team 151 join forces

What do you get when you cross a group of smart, dedicated and talented high school students with a place where people come to Dream, Learn and Make? A great collaboration.

MakeIt Labs, New Hampshire’s first and largest Makerspace and a 501c3 non-profit, and Nashua FIRST Robotics Team 151 are excited to announce that Team 151 will be using MakeIt Labs' facility as their new home base. Team 151 will also serve as a liaison to other FIRST teams who need help and access to the laser cutting, 3d printing, plasma cutting, and other resources available at MakeIt Labs.

One of MakeIt Labs' goals in moving to our new facility at 25 Crown Street, in partnership with the City of Nashua, was to find a way to contribute more back into the community. When personnel logistics prevented Team 151 from continuing to be hosted at Nashua High this created an opportunity to do just that. Students and advisors of Team 151 met with the board and many members of MakeIt to brainstorm on options that would work for everyone involved and a plan was formed.

Many former FIRST team members, including some Team 151 alumni, number among MakeIt Labs members. All of them credit programs like FIRST for building their interest in technology, and recognize the need to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities in school-age programs to build opportunities for the future. As part of the makerspace community, students will have the opportunity to explore and interact with all different types of technology and assist in outreach programs that benefit other non-profit organizations. Their energy, enthusiasm and determination is contagious, and their new ideas and perspectives benefit the larger community of makers.

The transition to Team 151’s new home will be a new experience for all of us and we thank the students, parents and MakeIt Labs members for their patience and assistance as we find our footing and regain our momentum.  We would also like to thank Northeast Delta Dental for their generous support of MakeIt Labs which will help offset costs of getting Team 151 up and running in the new facility quickly and easily.  We encourage other area FIRST teams to reach out and partner with us as well - the FIRST tenet of “gracious professionalism” is something we all strive to embody, and it is our intent that this partnership opens new doors for success - not just for the students of Team 151, but for everyone.

For any questions please contact:

MakeIt Labs - Adam Shrey - info@makeitlabs.com
Team 151 -  Mary Joles - mjoles@comcast.net

Grand Opening

Grand Opening

Thanks to generous donations from individuals and businesses, and many thousands of hours of volunteer labor, we have successfully opened our new building at 25 Crown Street!  We will continue to settle in over the next few months, but all of our equipment is moved and all of our workshops and equipment should be fully operational soon.  Sincere thanks to everyone who has helped us get this far.

We hosted a gala grand opening event on the evening of February 25, and it was well attended by many state and local dignitaries, our friends and families, and more than a few curious folks from the local community. 

In particular, we were honored by an appearance from New Hampshire State Governor Maggie Hassan.  Governor Hassan toured our new facilities and gave an excellent speech which smartly wove the innovation and creativity that we foster at our makerspace into the overall fabric of New Hampshire's economic development.  The Governor also had the honor of "throwing the switch" to officially open our new space, which kicked off the rest of the evening's festivities.  Guests enjoyed live music, games, socializing, and delicious food and beverages provided by some of our favorite local establishments.

25 Crown Move Update 2/13/16

25 Crown Move Update 2/13/16

It has been a busy few weeks over the new building! We have 95% of the clean space moved as well as ~85% of the dirty space, automotive, etc. 

We have formally announced the grand opening of 25 Crown Street for Thursday February 25th at 6pm. 

There is still a lot of work do to get things ready for the grand opening. Any current member or volunteers are encouraged to come by February 20th and 21st, as this will be our last big work day before the grand opening.

25 Crown Move Update 1/4/16

25 Crown Move Update 1/4/16

2016 is going to be an amazing year, especially at MakeIt Labs. We have started our big move to our new building only a few hundred yards down the road. 

We have completed 95% of the cleanspace move and are currently moving the dirty space over in "chunks." Stay updated with our facebook page for the latest info!

If you haven't seen it, here is the new cleanspace, pre-move!

25 Crown Move Update - 10/17/2015

25 Crown Move Update - 10/17/2015

If you've been following us on Facebook or our mailing list, then you have probably seen that we are moving to a new space just down the street!

Where we are now

Thanks to the generosity and support of dozens of individuals and small businesses, we were able to raise enough money to make this build out and move possible!

We have been working on this deal since early spring 2015 and signed the lease on the 31st of August.  Physical work started immediately, and we have cleaned the majority of the building, restored most of the plumbing, HVAC, and fire systems, renovated the kitchen, and humanely evicted a raccoon. We won't go into great detail in this post, but there were many things missing or broken in most of the buildings systems that have now been corrected. 

Crash Course Raspberry Pi: How to Do Stuff!

Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST)

This class will be a fast introduction on not only how to set up and use your Pi but how to program it to do something useful and fun.  Blink an LED?  Move a motor?  Read a switch?   All great and there are other things like Arduino that do a good job at this.  Where the Pi shines is that it is also a “real” computer and makes it easy to get information from the internet and to share information.

Be sure to purchase the $60 Pi kit with this class, tickets are here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/crash-course-raspberry-pi-how-to-do-stuff-tickets-14204101851

Laser Cut Jigsaw Puzzles

Acrylic Close

MakeIt Labs recently had a 3'x4' 80W CNC laser cutter move in.  This is an amazing tool that can be used to create all sorts of wonderful stuff out of wood, acrylic, leather, and many more materials.  If you're interested in learning how to use it, check our class listings for the next training session and sign up!

Laser cutting a jigsaw puzzle is a project that I started experimenting with yesterday.  A friend found a simple puzzle template and sent it to me as an adobe illustrator file.  I then converted it to dxf and imported it into the laser cut software.  From there I can easily resize and rotate it to fit the material.

I tested a couple materials and methods.  First up was 5.5mm thick plywood.  For the initial attempt I sprayed a flyer with adhesive and stuck it to the wood, then put it on the cut table face up.  This cut fine, but there was a lot of scorching on the "image" around the cut lines.  I don't have a picture of this test.

Next, I tore a page out of a magazine and stuck it to the wood the same way.  However, this time I put it face down in the laser.  This turned out better, as the vacuum table was able to remove more of the soot before it deposited on the image.  There is still some discoloring though.

Here's a shot of the back (the side that was up while cutting):

And this is the front:

Finally, I tried using acrylic since it produces no soot when cutting.  In this case I coated the "top" side of the photo with adhesive and glued it to the acrylic.  This way you look through the pieces to see the image and it gives a nice effect.  As an added bonus, the back of the page I took out of a magazine had another great picture on it, so this became a reversible puzzle.

Here's the back (another nice photo!):

Notice the little black dots along the cut paths?  Those are caused by the laser reflecting off the iron honeycomb cutting bed.  This can be avoided by placing the piece to be cut on plastic egg crate (the white grids you see on overhead fluorescent lights) to elevate it above the table.  Still, not too bad.

Here's the front:

The reflectiveness of the acrylic makes it hard to photograph well, but it turned out pretty nice.  The spray adhesive had a slight effect on the image, but a higher quality spray (or one that wasn't 5 years old) would probably take care of this minor issue.

Here's a close up:

Nice clean edges, and no burning!  Future improvements for this project will be a more varied puzzle template with more pieces, using actual high resolution photographs, testing cardboard stock more similar to what typical jigsaw puzzles are made out of, and using a protective, lightly adhesive paper to prevent burned edges.  Stop by MakeIt Labs any Thursday night for open house to check out the laser cutter along with the rest of our awesome equipment!

Friday, April 25th, 6:30pm - The Future of MakeIt Labs.

In case you were not in the know - this Friday at 6:30pm is our Town Hall meeting which is open to all of our members.  We strongly encourage you to attend, especially if you've been "out of the loop", curious as to what's been going on,  or are simply wondering where the space will be going down the road.   Please check your MakeIt email for more information, and we hope to see you this Friday!


Make: Ultimate Maker Vehicle Challenge

main_v3.1

We were asked by Make: to design the ultimate maker vehicle. Despite being invited only 4 days before the deadline, several of our members put a ton of effort into crafting a submission. Well, we made it into the finals! The top 3 will be decided by internet voting, with the winner and runner-up chosen by Make.

Grand prize is $10,000, 2nd is $2,500 (Laser cutter anyone?).  

We need every vote we can get, and each person can vote once per day, so please go here and vote for us (5 in every category) EVERY DAY http://makezine.com/maker-vehicle-challenge/#view/19038/1651738

Mach 6 Project

INFO SESSION, THIS THURSDAY AT 7PM!

Jason, one of our newest members, likes model rockets.  We're not talking about the cute little $15 hobby store variety most of you are familiar with.  In the time it takes one of those toys to creep its way up the launch rod, Jason's rockets have already broken the sound barrier.  Probably twice.  (Click images for big).

These rockets are serious business.  How serious?  They travel to space (and back), and require special clearance to launch.  SPACE!
Jason has an ambitious project in the works.  He wants to create a rocket that will travel Mach 6 (That's over 4,500 mph).  The best part?  He wants YOU to get involved and make it a group project.  There are many areas of expertise needed to pull off this record breaking feat, and anyone can help.

If you don't think this is all kinds of cool, please stop reading and immediately do some self reflection.  For the rest of you that want a part in building something that travels 1.26 miles  per second and 60 miles straight up, make sure you're at MakeIt Labs this Thursday at 7pm for the Mach 6 Project information session

Jason will bring samples of models that have broken mach in the past as well as a motor sample of what this hobby can turn into.  He will go over his plans so far, as well as ideas he's had and problems he's come across.  If you think you can help out, or even if you're just curious as to what a real deal model rocket looks like, please show up. 


Member Project: Brad's Thermostat Control Button

Problem: Brad often had to go downstairs in the middle of the night to adjust the single-zoned thermostat when the bedroom got too warm. 
Solution: Giant button he could reach over and smack to dial the temperature down a couple of degrees.



More precisely, giant button that communicates with a Linux Server via a PIC USB Controller so that the Linux Server can use a Python script to contact Honeywell's cloud based control, and have it talk to the thermostat over WiFi to tell it to dial the temperature down a bit.

This is exactly the kind of over-engineered, Rube Goldberg-esq solution to a household problem we love to see at MakeIt Labs. 

Read about the whole project on Brad's page

We think it's great when members document their projects, and will gladly highlight them here.  If you'd like us to feature your work, or if your project is still in the dreaming-it-up phase, send an email to info@makeitlabs.com and we'll do what we can to help bring it to life!

Planty

Planty

For as long as anyone can remember, there has been a plant of some sort growing out of a hole in the floor near the middle of MakeIt Lab's dirty space.  Affectionately dubbed "Planty", this hardy fellow has never been watered or cared for aside from occasionally having an orange cone placed over it for safety.  It only receives sporadic florescent light, never sun, and it is consistently subjected to all sorts of unintentional abuse.  A couple years ago the floor was acid washed.  Planty just shrugged it off.  Most recently Planty was buried under a pile of metal stock for 3-4 months, yet sprang back to life once it was uncovered this past week.  Anywhere else this bit of greenery would probably be a weed, but we like its indomitable spirit, so Planty stays put.

MakeIt Better Day - August 17th

It's time for another MakeIt Better Day! 

We will be organizing work areas and tools, setting up new features (like a high-end explosion proof negative pressure chamber), improving infrastructure, and cleaning out useless junk to make room for useful junk!  We have plenty of projects planned out, we just need you to lend a hand.  Whether you have more experience than Bob Vila, or aren't clear on which end of a hammer to hold, there's something for you to do.  Anyone is welcome!

Details:
Saturday, August 17th
10AM-5PM (or later if we have the momentum)
Free Pizza for helpers

Build Night, sponsored by Instructables

We're excited to announce that Instructables is sponsoring a build night at MakeIt Labs on Tuesday, May 21st, starting at 7pm.  This event is free to members and non-members, but space is limited, so please reserve a spot by claiming a ticket.

The intent is that this will become a regular monthly event, with different creative materials featured for each build night. 

This month instructables will be supplying us with Bare conductive paint

Instructables will also be buying everyone pizza, and we know how much you like pizza (empty boxes are our chief export). 

In return, we will be creating awesome instructables featuring a variety of the projects that go on at MakeIt.  If we produce enough high quality posts, we will also be eligible to receive some really cool equipment like a CO2 Laser Cutter, Industrial Sewing Machine, A/V Package, 3D Printer, Electronics package, or CNC Router! 

Come by on the 21st, get fed, try out some neat conductive paint, and make stuff!

3D Printing Resources

From all of us at MakeIt, we had a great time participating in the NH Science Cafe on 3D Printing last Wednesday night.  To further the knowledge exchange, we have put together a list of resources for some of the things mentioned during the discussion.
 

By far the best resource is Make Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing.

The second resource I would suggest anyone visit is Thingiverse. There you can get a sense of all the things you could download from the web and print on day one (or at MakeIt on our Makerbot Replicator 2).

Below are some links for more information on some of the most popular printers, software, and websites to start exploring the wonderful world of 3D printing.

Hobbyist Printers

Makerbot http://www.makerbot.com/
Rep-Rap http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
Ultimaker http://ultimaker.com/
Printrbot http://printrbot.com/

Commercial Printers

3D Systems http://www.3dsystems.com/
Stratasys http://www.stratasys.com/

3D Printing Service Providers

Shapeways http://www.shapeways.com/
Ponoko https://www.ponoko.com/

Online 3D Model Repositories

Thingiverse http://www.thingiverse.com/
GrabCAD http://grabcad.com/

Software

Design

SketchUp http://www.sketchup.com/
Autodesk 123D http://www.123dapp.com/
Tinkercad https://tinkercad.com/
Blender http://www.blender.org/
OpenSCAD http://www.openscad.org/

3D Scanning

123D Catch http://www.123dapp.com/catch
ReconstructMe (uses Xbox Kinect) http://reconstructme.net/

Slicers

Skeinforge
Slic3r
KISSlicer

Printer Control

ReplicatorG
Printrun
Makerware
Cura

Stop by our open houses Monday and Thursday nights to explore 3D printing as well as the many other maker tools available in our space.

3D Printing comes to MakeIt!

The holidays came early this year with the arrival of our brand new Makerbot Industries Replicator 2!


Unlike many of the other 3D printers geared at the hobbyist community, the Replicator 2 requires very little tinkering, adjusting, and tweaking to get high quality prints.  Here it is, hard at work printing a stretchlet:

Here's that stretchlet, along with a length of chain, nut&bolt, and comb that were all printed as test pieces on the day the machine arrived.


Access to the Replicator 2 will be free to Pro members provided they have completed the required 30 minute training course.  For Non-Pro members there will soon be a workshop posted to our Eventbrite listing.  There will be some PLA (the type of material it uses to print objects) available at MakeIt for trying out this amazing new technology.  If you have large projects or anticipate doing a lot of printing, you will need to supply your own PLA.  If you'd like to learn how to create your own 3D designs, there is a 3D Design With Sketchupworkshop scheduled for December 15th.

Please see the wiki for more information on this printer.

Stop by for our open house on Monday and check out the new 3D printer!

Electric Motorcycle Group Project

We're in the early planning stages for our first organized group project.

Goal: Convert a Kawasaki Ninja 250 into an Electric Motorcycle

You can follow the project on this page here

Pre-Project Meeting: Tuesday, December 4th, at 7pm

Email me if you're interested in learning more about this project.  Participation will be open to members and non-members alike, as well as motivated high school students.