Monday, January 28, 2013

New Makerbot Software.... Smoother, Faster, and Quieter!

  This past week I have been busy firing up my Makerbot Replicator  3D printer once again after a long absence.  I had upgraded my software on the Replicator only to find that changes had been made that I was not aware of.  Good changes that managed to get me messed up trying to print simple parts.  The new upgrade in the firmware now made my Replicator run faster but erratically at the same time. Kind of a good bad thing if you know what I mean.  This actually turned out to be a very good thing as I had not printed anything on the Replicator in a couple of months due to my moving and getting the new Tinker's Workshop set up.  With doing the upgrade I started doing research once again online to catch up to the rest of the Makerbot world.  This is what I had found.
  Last October a couple of gentleman had developed a new version of the ReplicatorG software. (This is what is used to tell the Makerbot Replicator or any other 3D printer how to print parts.) They call their version ReplicatorG - Sailfish.  I did my homework on this software and managed to get my Replicator upgraded again with this newly developed version ( # 039 to be exact).  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set  up on the Replicator with the supplied instructions that I had found online.  It only took me around 20 minutes to upgrade everything and get the Replicator running beautifully.  
  The Makerbot Replicator out of the box prints at around 40mm per second.  With the new upgrade of ReplicatorG - Sailfish my machine is now running at an astounding rate of 200mm per second!  Five times faster than before.  With this amazing speed also comes smoother printing with less vibration and with this the noise level has been reduced by what seems to be at least half.  The prints are finer and now my Replicator is running like it is a totally different machine.  
  To give you an example of printing speed, I had to reprint a couple of parts that I had managed to break today.  (My fault not the machines.)  The original parts each took two hours to print.  When I reprinted the parts after the upgrade I was able to print both parts now in two hours.  I had cut my print time in half!  For more information about ReplicatorG - Sailfish go to the following link.

  At this link you will find the information that you will need to upgrade your Makerbot too!  You won't regret it as it is well worth the little effort that it will take to make you machine get up and fly when it is printing. Here also is the link you will need to download ReplicatorG - Sailfish to your computer.

Just click the "Download" button to get the version that will work with your computer and 3D printer.  If I had known about this software when it came out months ago I would have downloaded it immediately and saved myself a lot of time printing parts.  Don't wait any longer than you have to.  Pure and simple.... get this software upgrade as soon as possible.  You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A New CNC Machine Monitor And Keyboard Desk Planned

  While setting up the new Tinker's Workshop I find that I now need a place to put the computer monitor and keyboard that I use to run my CNC machine.  In the old shop I simply placed these pieces on my large work table that sat next to the CNC machine.  With the new workshop this is not possible as the work table is now on the other end of the room and makes the idea useless.  So I need to make a new desk to hold the computer monitor and keyboard. 
  I have been working on the new design for the desk over the past week or so using my CAD software and have come up with something that I think will fill my needs.  

  This is the new computer monitor desk that I will be putting together. I found a design online that was similar to what you see here but was more elaborate that what I wanted.  I used some of the ideas I found in that design to make my own so here it is.
   The desk top surface is 36 inches from the floor with an area that is 29 x 18 inches in size. This will give me a good space for the keyboard along with room if I want to write something down. I wanted the desk height to be so that I could use my shop stool and sit at the desk comfortably and not have to stand while using it. The drawer makes a nice place to store paper and pencils if I need them along with anything else that is called for while running the CNC machine.  The design evolved from over five or six different designs that I worked on over the past week or so.  I wanted the holes in the sides and back of the desk just to give it a nice touch and get away from having the desk looking like a podium.  The casters on the bottom of the desk will help if I ever should have to move the desk in the shop along with the CNC machine. 

 The vertical arm on the back of the desk will hold the monitor in place easily.  The addition of the two vertical 2 x 2's  on this arm will stiffen everything up and make it nice and solid. The arm will be bolted to the back of the desk using 1/4 inch bolts.

 On the vertical arm will be another pivot arm that I found on Ebay for a good price and will allow the monitor to be pivoted and moved from side to side should the need arise. 

 This pivot arm is mounted to the back of my 19" monitor that I removed the base off of.  This was an easy task to accomplish as it was only a couple of covers and four screws to get the base removed.  The pivot arm is made for this type of mounting and so almost any monitor can be used for this installation.  

Here is a few good photos of the actual pivot arm that will be on the new desk.  It only cost me around $15 for the arm on Ebay with free shipping.  Works for me. I still have to crunch the numbers to figure out what kind of wood to use on the new desk.  This will be used in my workshop so it does not have to be made out of oak or teak or something else that is more expensive than it needs to be.  I want it to look good but not cost me an arm an a leg to put together.  As I said earlier I had gotten some of the ideas for the desk from another site that I had found but their desk ended up costing them around $400 to make.  A beautiful desk to say the least but I do not want to spend that kind of money for my design.   Here's the site for the desk that I used for ideas for my design.

  This will actually be the first project in the new Tinker's Workshop.  I think it will be worth the effort as it will be another piece that will fit in well with the shop and help me get the CNC up and running again.  So it will be a nice addition to the shop and another interesting project to post here.  Stay tuned.

A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place

Yesterday I completed installation of the large pegboard assembly in the new Tinker's Workshop.  This work was simple enough to do but would have been easier if I had another pair of hands to hold parts in place while I was mounting them on the wall.  The first three pieces were nothing more than  six foot long 1 x 2's that were mounted horizontally and leveled on to the wall with wood screws making sure that they were spaced correctly for the three 2 x 4 foot pegboard panels.  Once these pieces had been installed correctly all I needed to do was mount the three pegboard panels again with screws making sure they were lined up with the three 1 x 2's.  This is how it all turned out. 

Looks like a display for a store with this photo.  I like the fact that I have a nice place to hold all the clamps that I use in the shop along with various other tools that are needed when I want them.  Notice also the new phone mounted to the left of the pegboard.  Something I did not have in the old shop.  Saves me having to run upstairs to answer the phone when it rings at always the wrong time.

This photo gives you a good view of most of the shop and the new 4 x 6 foot pegboard adds the convenience of having the tools at the ready when I need them.  Also this large pegboard makes good use of the new wall that was just installed in the workshop.  Along with this pegboard is and additional 2 x 4 foot pegboard mounted on the workbench.  This gives me a total of 32 square feet of pegboard to mount tools on.  It all means I'll just have more room for the tools I have been dreaming about and now have a proper place to store them when I can afford to buy them.  My dream shop is coming together. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Tools Are Being Moved In!

  Another big step toward the completion of the new Tinker's Workshop has taken place today with the moving in of the tools that have been sitting idle, disassembled, and scattered about waiting for the renovation to be completed.  I finished the painting of the new shop yesterday and so today I spent most of the day assembling the workbench, band saw, scroll saw, and the CNC machine.  Along with these pieces I had to move in the drill press and started sorting out some of the hand tools for the shop.  Here is what it looks like with most of the big tools in place.  Hopefully I will  not have to play musical chairs or should say musical tools with the shop in the future.  Just will have to see how the set up will work out.  

With the newly painted white walls and good lighting the workbench really stands out.  Even got the stereo dusted off and fired up after a lot a long absence. I just cannot believe I have this great space to build my next big project in.

The CNC machine is assembled once again but it will be a  little while longer before I will be able to use it as I will need to put together a small desk or stand to hold the keyboard and monitor.   I am really happy that I have all the electrical outlets that I put into the shop.  Makes it a lot easier to plug in all the equipment without extension cords. The white curtains will have to go though.  Just does not fit the new shop at all.  Need something a lot more industrial looking to match the rest of the shop.     

  This is a good shot of all the tools in place in the shop.  The table saw in the middle of the photo will remain as you see it here.  This will allow for cutting of large or long pieces of wood without having to moving anything in the process.  What needs to be built next for the shop is a large work table that I will use for my fiber glassing projects.  This will be placed pretty much where I was standing when I took this photo.  The work table will be 4 x 8 feet in size.  This will be a great addition to the shop.  I also have to find a spot for my hot wire table for my fiber glassing projects.  I will more than likely build another base similar to what the miter saw is sitting on to hold the hot wire table.  Along with all of this I will mount a large peg board on the wall that is shown in the middle of the photo. This will be 4 x 6 foot in size.  It will give me a great space to hang a lot of my hand tools. 
  The workshop is coming together nicely now. I only have to touch up the white paint here and there and install the doors.  Once this is done I will have to make up a new sign to hang on the wall.  "The Tinker's Workshop"..... in big letters of course.  When I get it put together I'll post it here.  Lots to do and now a great place to do it in. Another good day to be sure!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Latest Workshop Progress Is A Visual Delight

 I wanted to get this update out tonight as it has been a week since my last post.  A lot has been happening in my life this week with all that has been going on with the workshop project and my family.  Some of it good and some not good at all.  So I am more than happy that this week has passed and I am still moving along on the building of the new workshop.
  With that in mind I wanted to show you the progress that has taken place over the past couple of weeks with these photos to illustrate my point. 

 Here once again is the stairway that I started with at one end of the workshop that needed to be closed up.  I removed the 2 x 4 post and railing that was not needed. 

 Next came the installation of the new wall.  Already looking a lot better and with the setup framed and ready for the door at the end of the shop.

Hard to believe that this is the same room after painting the ugly green walls with white primer today.  A couple more coats of white paint and and it will be ready for the door installation. 

Here the new lighting was installed so that I could see what I am looking at while working in the new shop.

  Here again is the same shot with the green walls finally primed in white (What an improvement!) with the ceiling panels in place and the ugly carpet removed for good.  The single door was removed and the new larger doorway has been framed and ready for the new double doors that have been ordered.  So things are moving right along and the doorways are ready for the new doors when they arrive in a couple of weeks.
  The one thing that I noticed today while priming the green paneled walls was that now I will have to paint the rest of the shop walls as well.  With the paneled walls unpainted the other walls in the shop looked to be painted white.  Now that the paneled walls are painted I find that the so called white walls have actually an ugly blotchy green tint.  So I will have to paint the entire shop so it all matches.  Now is the time to do it right so I am forced to bite the bullet and paint everything....get it all over with. Not my idea of fun as painting is not on my list of fun things to do but in the end I will be happier and I will have a shop that I will be proud to show off and work in.
  So that is where things are at today.  Progress is still being made  almost daily and it all takes time.  Hopefully in the coming weeks I will wrap up the building of the new Tinker's Workshop and I can get the work tables and tools set up and running once again.  Stay tuned for future posts and future projects.  As always keep tinkering!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Tinker's Workshop Has A New Wall!

Today has been another busy day here at the Tinker's Workshop with my completion of the new wall that will close off the workshop from the stairway that leads to the upstairs in my house.  The real work today was matching up the step so that they bumped up against the stud wall and  putting up the plasterboard that had to match up to the steps on the stairway.  Here's how I managed to get it all put together. 

With all of the steps a spacer needed to be added to the end of the step so that there would be no gap between the step and the new wall.  If there was a gap it would be difficult to install the plasterboard. Also the look would not be right without the spacers as there would be gaps under each step as well.  

I cut spacers for each step and spray painted them flat black to match the black steps.  This filled in the gap on each step nicely.  Took a bit of time to fit all the parts between the wall the the steps but the look made the effort worth it.  With all the steps done this way the plasterboard could be installed.

What needed to be done first was to make a template for the steps out of cardboard.  This paid off big time as I could get a good fit with the plasterboard first time out and not mess it up and have it cost me time and money.  The cardboard template took a bit of time to measure and cut out and then check the fit. 

Here you can see the fit up of the cardboard template.  Notice the big gaps around the steps.  I solved this bad fit up by using blue painter take to make a better guide that would match the step better.

Here you can see the difference of the cardboard and the steps with the blue painters tape covering the gaps. Read on further to see how well this idea worked out.

Here the template is laid out on the plasterboard so that it can be traced out.  I just had to make sure that I now followed the outer perimeter of the painters take as shown here.

After the plasterboard had been marked I cut it out using a jigsaw.  This was fast and easy to do and made a nice clean cut on the plasterboard.

A perfect fit!  The new plasterboard was then screwed into place.

This is a good view of how well the panel matched up to the steps after using the template and painters tape for adjustments.

Here the lower portion of the wall has been completed the same way as the upper section.  Again screwed into place as before.  All I need to do now is plaster the seams and screw holes and it will be ready for paint.

The wall that faces the workshop was mounted with plasterboard next.  This was the simpler of the tasks that needed to be done today. The only twist was cutting the hole for the electrical outlet.  This was just a matter of measuring the box and it's location and then checking the fit when mounting the plasterboard.   Everything was screwed into place and the wall is ready for plaster and paint.  Along with this wall the rest of the shop will be painted white.  Should brighten up the shop even more. Just will be real happy to get rid of the awful green paneling. One thought for  the new wall was to mount a peg board over the entire wall.  I will have to look into possibly doing this.  All depends on cost of course.  Another step closer to moving more tools into the new work space. 
  I'm pooped from the work that I got through today but with that exhaustion is another big grin on my face as I know the work is worth the effort in getting the new Tinker's Workshop set up and running.  Closer with every little step.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Workshop Is Shaping Up!

Today was another good day here at the Tinker's Workshop with the delivery of the materials I needed to construct the wall that is on one end of the planned shop.  This wall is mounted floor to ceiling with a door mount at the base of the steps.  The wall that I needed to put together is nine feet long and just about seven feet tall.  Here is how the construction went.

I laid out all the 2 x 4's that I needed for the wall first, taking care to get all the measurements right.  This had to be done just so as the wall from floor to ceiling varied from one end of the wall to the other.  One side was 80 inches and the opposite end was 81 1/2 inches in height.  So none of the 2 x 4's matched in length other than the two side by side ones at the door way.  The black 2 x 4 that you see in the photos was just a piece of scrap that I wanted to use up for the wall so it really did not matter that it was painted. 

Here the 2 x 4 wall is all nailed together after making sure that they had been centered at 16 inches on center.  The door way opening is 30 inches so it will be a nice size for mounting a pre-hung door to close off that end of the shop.

 The wall is almost in place now.  I was lucky enough to get this photo as the part was a tight fit and it stayed in place while grabbing my camera.   I thought the wall would be heavier than it was so again luck was on my side to slide it into place.  Notice at this point I had not mounted the lower 2 x 4 base plate. This actually simplified getting the wall positioned as it gave me more room to slide it into place.  

I got the wall moved into the planned location at the ceiling and then slid the base plate into place without any trouble using a pry bar and hammer.  I was amazed that it went in so quickly and simply.  It paid off to check and double check and even triple check the dimensions for cutting the studs to length.  I checked the wall to make sure that it was square and level and nailed it all into place.  A nice tight fit but not so tight that I had to beat it into place with a big heavy hammer. 

  The last little chore on this portion of the wall is to move the electrical box to the black stud shown in this photo.  I will not even have to disconnect the wiring to mount it.  A five minute job at the most.  This has to be mounted on this stud so that I can still use the outlet in the new workshop.  
  My father was a carpenter and passed away quite a few years ago.  I am sure today that he is smiling somewhere knowing that I did learn something from him after all the years that I saw him do similar jobs.  With that thought I also have a smile on my face and look forward to putting the finishing touches to the new Tinker's Workshop and starting the next big project.  Just a few more steps and I will be ready to start rolling tools in and making more dust.