All posts by john

2016 in review

2016 was our best year yet! We got the water jet cutter working, and met many new people! We also had some setbacks, but have more than made up for them by the awesome things that have happened, and things we are looking forward to.
Here are some pictures of things you may have missed over the last year.

Ben cutting valentines gifts
Ben cutting valentines gifts
Cutting tank treads for Red Devil on BattleBots
Cutting tank treads for Red Devil on BattleBots
Kelie (left) and Jeremy (right) show off a stone gear
Kelie (left) and Jeremy (right) show off a stone gear
Mary Fenley holds an aluminum peace sign
Dr. Mary Fenley holds an aluminum peace sign
Winchester poses for his silhouette
Winchester poses for his silhouette
Plywood silhouettes of Winchester and John Fenley
Plywood silhouettes of Winchester and John Fenley
Ephraim uses the lathe
Ephraim uses the lathe
Allen uses the grinder
Allen uses the grinder
Dan (left) designs a part, while Ashley (right) prepares to do chasing and repousse
Dan (left) designs a part, while Ashley (right) prepares to do chasing and repousse
John, representing ProVolt (left) and Beth, Representing Make Salt Lake (right) attend a meeting of makerspace organizers at the White House
John, representing ProVolt (left) and Beth, Representing Make Salt Lake (right) attend a meeting of makerspace organizers at the White House
Swag from DC from spaces we connected with
Swag from DC from spaces we connected with
Ales (center) and 2 BYU students (left and right) work on a robot hand
Ales (center) and 2 BYU students (left and right) work on a robot hand
Kelie (right) shows off his Batman grappling hook
Kelie (right) shows off his Batman grappling hook
Mike (left) and Lloyd (right) experiment with liquid nitrogen
Mike (left) and Lloyd (right) experiment with liquid nitrogen

Shout outs to Andrew, Joe (x3) , Jaan, Omar, Chris(x2), Wesley, Jordan, Pam, Brad, Jason, Wil, Brian, Patrick, James, Wisteria, Martin (x2), Amy, Davido, Roy, Kevin, Eric (x3), Ryan, Hillary,  Andrea, Michael, Nicco and others who weren’t pictured, but have made 2016 a very exciting year for us.

Special Thanks to Jim Williams, Boomerang Books, Jerome Miles, and New Vistas for supporting us by buying lots of water jet time, Ben, Kelie, and Allen for their outstanding volunteer work, and to Steve Fordham, Pam Watkins, Damon Downing, Habitat for Humanity, and Dr. Mary Fenley for their generous donations. You have made 2016 a success!

 

Vinyl is awesome

We recently got our vinyl cutter working after a whole lot of troubleshooting. We traced the serial signal with an oscilloscope from the computer, all the way to a chip deep inside the machine. When we looked up the chip, we discovered we were transmitting to it’s transmit pin, and really just needed a serial null-modem (crossover) cable and now it works great. Check out this Silhouette Sticker machine we took to the Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire!

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Anyway, we’ve been using it to make stickers, and decals, and the other day I even made the shirt I’m wearing in the video above!

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The Vinyl was placed on the shirt.

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The shirt was protected from over-spray, and 2 coats of green T-shirt spray paint were applied.

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I think the finished shirt looks great!

tile it up

We have been looking for projects to keep the water jet busy, and one thing we have had some success with is cutting tile. So a few days ago, we approached the Habitat For Humanity Re-store to see if we could get some broken tiles donated. They were more than happy to help us out, and get rid of some of the stuff they couldn’t sell.

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I was worried that my trailer would break when they loaded it on. I’ve never had that much weight in it before.

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We started sorting it, but mostly there were too few of any particular design to make it worthwhile. But that’s perfect for some of the projects we have been brainstorming.20160921_010916

Logo tiles are awesome!

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These 5 inch high tessellating geckos take 3 minutes to cut. Also we can do numbers, or letters, or anything else we can think of, and now we have an essentially unlimited supply of material to work with.

Penrose tiles? Tile gears? Custom mosaics?

What would you make?

 

Happy Birthday!?

It was YESTERDAY!

We should have had a party because ProVolt turned 2, but real stuff has been happening, so something like an arbitrary date fell through the cracks.

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Two weeks ago, I was at the White House! I went to represent ProVolt at the Nation of Makers meeting, and met with over 170 other makerspace organizers. I took 80 stainless steel keychain bottle openers to give to people.

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They were a big hit, and everyone was surprised when they held them and realized that they were metal, and not plastic.

I even made a titanium one for the President!

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Provo city requests shutdown

We received a letter from Provo city requesting that we stop having our meetings at the current location. While ProVolt has been operating in an RC zone, we are not a commercial enterprise, and the response from every neighbor I’ve talked to has been positive.notice

We’re lucky that we have another space to operate out of right now, but it is severely cramped already.

Propane torch of Doom!

Melting and pouring Aluminum has been a pleasant recurring event here. The latest incarnation is a propane powered beast that performed much better than the previous coal-fired and electric versions.

Busy Night at the Makerspace

Last night we had a good turnout with many pockets of conversation about lots of topics, so I decided to do a quick periscope. See for yourself!

We have tons of fun, but the conversations that happen lead to all sorts of collaborations on interesting projects. Come down and join us.

3.14…

What better way to celebrate Pi day than to eat it? But what if you love cookies? Last Thursday we tried something new and fabricated a Pi shaped cookie cutter out of sheet metal.

The first step was converting the drawing to a file to be cut on the water jet, and making a metal version of the cookie, just because…

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Next, we used the water jet to cut out a rectangle the right length, complete with rivet holes. We contemplated which order to make the bends so that the bends wouldn’t collide with the un-bent material, and we decided to start at the inside of the legs, and work our way around so the rivets would be along the top. After careful measuring on the model, we made the first few bends using a hand held sheet metal bender, and the larger vice mounted bender.

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We made the last few bends, and after a bit of final adjustment the result was beautiful!

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Happy Pi day from ProVolt!

It’s Water Jet Cutting Time!

From Bat’leths to Batarangs and everything in between, it’s possible to cut almost anything on a water jet cutter. And now that we have finally gotten our water jet cutter operational YOU can use it to cut stuff!

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A water jet is a very versatile machine capable of being used for everything from prototyping to full production runs of hundreds of parts. A part can go from design to finished part in less than an hour and can be made from almost any type of material from foam to steel, and thicknesses ranging from tinfoil to over 8 inches thick. One key feature of water jet cutting is the lack of a heat affected zone around the cut. Cut parts stay cool, and require very little cleanup.

The water jet is at our 2nd location, just South West of our main space. We are tentatively planning to make Sunday our dedicated shop day from noon to about 6pm, but the water jet will probably be available for use 24/7 if you need it. Learning to use this machine yourself will allow you to make parts extremely cheaply. The DIY price will be on the order of $55 per hour, just enough to cover the costs to keep the machine running, and for maintenance. If you’re uncomfortable using such an expensive and powerful piece of equipment yourself, you can always negotiate with another member to cut things for you.

Come check us out, and learn to use the water jet, 3D printer, and our new vinyl cutter. We are open to everyone, so come be a part of something awesome!

Evolution of 3D printed hats

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I have wanted a 3D printed top hat for a long time. Here you can see the evolution of my hat so far. The first one was very thick. You could probably stand on it, and it’s so heavy my neck started hurting after the first time I wore it. The second is much lighter, but retains the rounded top which didn’t have enough pop to it for my taste. The latest design fits my head better, is light enough to be comfortable, and most importantly has a bit more of the shocking quality that top hats were invented to convey.