The world is always evolving fast and new technologies emerging, like metal 3D printing, but sometimes it just feels good to do things the “old” way. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology but still is great to learn old techniques specially when they tend to disappear when less and less people actually care to learn them and the craft becomes closer to extinction. Not that this is the case, although a few foundries have been closing over the last years. Be that an excuse or not, Gonçalo and me decided to build a simple DIY furnace, not only for the reasons above but we’re crazy about forging and metal working, and we would love to create some amazing metal pieces. Besides this is a dangerous project, what more do I need to say?!!
This year, the IBM EX.I.T.E Camp initiative took place in Faro, at the University of Algarve through Instituto Superior de Engenharia. From July 4th to July 8th 2016, 33 young girls from schools all over the city, were welcomed to the Campus, where they learned about technologies and engineering. And we also played a small role, by opening up the hackerspace doors and presenting some of our projects to them, explaining a bit about what hackerspaces are, the open source movements and of course, other stuff like 3D printing and CNC machining, among other things.
After the huge success that was Lisbon Mini Maker Faire 2014 with over 9000 visitors, here we are again at Maker Faire 2015, which as you’d expect, surpassed all expectations from the previous one with around 14000 visitors.
This year there were about 120 projects from different areas, from 3D printing with printers developed by the makers themselves, to robotics, solar powered vehicles, CNC’s, customizable skate boards, a low cost Geodome, an optic intercommunicator, a vintage videogame museum, countless garage projects, etc. Here I’ll do a small summary mainly focused on the projects representing Algarve, which were able to get 1 best in class of science prize and 5 maker of merit awards … Congrats to you all!
This is a quick and simple project that is a bit old but still always a delight to see. Who doesn’t love staring at those high voltage sparks moving upwards again and again on the background of a mad scientist’s laboratory? Since we have a few high voltage transformers around here, I thought I could make a Jacob’s Ladder as a last minute project to add to the ones that would be presented on the Open Day.
Last Thursday, the University of the Algarve organized once more its annual open day, where it showcases their curricular offers to young students from all over the regional high schools. The Electrical Engineering Department asked us to be a part of the event and to prepare a small demonstration of our own projects to help motivate and inspire these young minds.
Nixie tubes are electronic devices for displaying numerals or other information, such symbols or letters. They work under the principle called Glow Discharge. Basically, they are tubes filled with a low-pressure mix of gasses and two (or more) metal electrodes. When a voltage is applied to two of this electrodes, and such voltage exceeds a certain value called the striking voltage, the gas in the tube ionizes, becoming a plasma, and begins conducting electricity, causing it to glow with a colored light (depending on the gas filling the tube, for tubes with neon this color is red-orange).
A few months ago we got the amazing news that our project 3D Printed DNA Lamp was one of the winners of the instructables 3D printing contest! As a reward we received the Kossel Mini Kit 3D printer, so here’s the unboxing, review and … upgrade? (I’ll explain later :P)
We recently got our hands on the Dangerous Prototypes Logic Pirate, which is an inexpensive open source logic analyzer. While it’s cool to see the PCB and the entire circuitry, this is the kind of thing that you’re gonna end up carrying it with you a lot, since it’s a useful tool, therefore our first thought was that it needed a proper enclosure to protect it from the rough environment that is the tool kit! And, since we have a LulzBot 3D printer, why not design a cool looking case that we can use.