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2019 AGM

Last night (Wednesday 6th March 2019) Lancaster and Morecambe Makers held a very successful 4th Annual General Meeting of all members. The event is a statutory duty and a pleasure as we get to discuss our previous year and hopes for the coming year.

As a member of the board I wanted to make a quick blog post to thank all those who attended and all our members for the year 2018-2019. Published on this blog below is the official Statement from the Board.


2019 LAMM AGM

Report from the Board

Hi LAMMers

The past year has been a stable one for LAMM, I think we all needed to take a deep breath after the first few years of starting the Space and let it find its feet.

On an organisational note, we have both maintained existing members (who rock) and added to the membership (with more people who rock). We have stable finances, and although we would love more enabling us to grow further we are happy that there is no volatility.

Accounts were filed as required by law, bills were paid on time (as required by serious folks in suits) and various board members have tidied up and sorted the admin tasks. We don’t name or individualise as the board works as a team. The occasional bag of cash was banked from the Snack Space and we would like to thank you all for your honesty in regards to every cash pot and the dropping in of at least (and in many cases more) than is needed to keep things afloat.

We are serious when we say our members rock. The board are merely members as well. Our task is to make sure the administration and day to day running of the org happens and to act as a guarantee for all legal and business proceedings. The job of the membership is to make LAMM.

Our Members did that this year. We took part in several local events including Light Up Lancaster and Make My Day. Thanks to all who gave their time and energy (and robots!). Thanks to those who took the initiative.

The Space has recently been rearranged (thanks to everyone who helped, suggested and came along to do the hard work) and the new layout gives a more open feel and more access to workspaces.

Thanks for a great year everyone and we look forward to the next year with renewed enthusiasm.

Furry Friends

You wait a long time for a blog post and then three arrive at the same time…basically blog posts are like buses.

I want to talk about adding a guideline for members and visitors. There is some confusion as to allowing animals into the Space and I think we should clarify.

Therefore I propose we add the following:

  • Non-Assistance animals will be allowed to visit the Space only on prior agreement from the board.
  • Any animal in the Space (except assistance animals) must leave if requested by a member.
  • Any member bringing a non-assistance animal into the Space must inform other members of their intent and times the animal will be in the Space.
  • Animals are brought at the owners own risk, must be well behaved and remain on appropriate leashes or in cages.
  • The owner accepts all liability for any issue caused by bringing a non-assistance animal into the Space.

This will clarify the position and allow everyone to be aware of what is considered acceptable and normal in the Space.

Guidelines and Rules

In the last few weeks a few different conversations have focused on how our rules for members work, as we only have the four, in regards to all the edge cases. Let me broadly refresh you on the rules for members:

  • 0. Don’t be on Fire
  • 1. Follow the Code of Conduct
  • 2. Protection of underage members
  • 3. Don’t do anything stupid so we have to make up new rules.

I personally don’t want a lot of rules, however that means that we don’t have absolute guidance on some matters such as:

  • Animals in the Space
  • Laser and other machinery usage
  • Item Costs
  • Snack Space
  • Tidying

My proposal then is to have a set of guidelines for members on this website, under a new section called, conveniently, Guidelines. I would like any guideline to be published in a format that is easy to find, accessible and able to be amended and altered. These are not set in stone, they are guides for sharing and co-operation.

I would also like to be able to vote on them, and that is what I will propose we do at AGM’s and other meetings, and via member polls. I will be suggesting this is the practice we follow at the AGM in 2019 and I will be asking for a vote on this and a couple of guidelines at that time.

Hacking the Space

a confused jumble of spider babies on acid

On Saturday and Sunday (19th-20th January) we held a Hack the Space weekend to clear down some of the clutter and change the layout of our community hack space.

It had become, in the words of one ‘a confused jumble of spider babies on acid’*.

So we gathered, at first there was Tom, Bill and I, but it quickly grew into Kay, Rob, Col and Rhiannon (and Ben the habitual vallium hound).

  • We moved a lot of stuff
  • Cut benches in half
  • Re-arranged shelves
  • Threw out unwanted, unloved or unused items
  • Cleared and cleaned
  • Re-organised and refreshed

** The end result is that our little Space looks twice as big now. There is more room to do crafting and art, to make, mend, repair and invent. It is cleaner, more logical and better.

A huge shout out has to go to Tom and Kay who had all the ideas and discussions ahead of the day to make sure we had a semblance of a plan and to everyone who took the time to come and help.

As always thanks to all the members who gave suggestions, support or even just the heartfelt thanks.

  • * That might have been me.
  • ** The pictures were all taken afterwards (we should have had before pics) by Kay.

Slime fun and laptop destruction at Make My Day

Sunday was the ‘Make My Day’ festival located on Morecambe Promenade, set up by The Exchange, a maker group operating out of Morecambe. LAMM had been given a stall at the show to display our own set of interests and skills, consisting of 3D printed objects, a set of computers to dismantle and the incredibly popular slime production.

Shaded under a gazebo Elly, Bill, Dave and Andrew welcomed visitors to the stall to educate them on the wonders of making things. On one side was the computer area, offering a mix between ‘how its made’ and ‘scrap heap challenge’. Dave supervised all age ranges to take apart the many defunct laptops that had been donated to us. It was really great to see the excitement that taking things apart inspires, stimulating the curiousity that is the foundation of all makers. Asking that always important question ‘how does it work?’

The main attraction of the day was undoutedly the slime factory. Where Elly and Bill aided the crowd in turning PVA glue, poster paint, bi carb and shaving foam into a gloopy, slimey mess. The audible astonishment when the activating contact solution was added to the mixture was really something to behold. A special mentinon to both of them for the hard work they put into doing this as they rarely had a moment to themselves.

The festival was excellently run, with a great assortment of stalls and attractions offering so many different activities for participants to enjoy. A lovely lunch helped the volunteers to keep going and the weather made it a really ideal day.

A great thanks to everyone who volunteered and the organizers of the event. These attractions are so important to keep the spirit of creating and community alive. Knowing the drive to create is what got us as a society to where we are today, events like this ensure the next generation will keep the tradition alive.

 Chris Dearden

World Create Day

Heya Peeps :0

This Saturday 17th March 2018 is our usual Open Day and it is also World Create Day along with Hackaday.io.

There are over 100 spaces participating this year! Here is everything you need to know to make #WorldCreateDay the most amazing world wide event makers have ever seen!

Here is the link to our event on Hackaday.io, so maybe sign up if you are coming along: https://hackaday.io/event/78299-wcd-shadowcat-systems

Use the hashtag #WorldCreateDay and Tweet about our event!

Take pictures & tweet them with the hashtag #WorldCreateDay, and encourage people to do the same. Make sure to ask for permission to use them in images shared online! The more you post the more likely you will be featured on Hackaday.com!

Follow the Tweet wall linked below to see all the creation happening world wide! Everyone at our event can follow along (and join the buzz themselves) if we put it on a screen somewhere.

Tweet wall: http://worldcreateday2018.tweetwally.com/

The Hackaday Prize is a global competition for socially impactful hardware projects. There are over $200k in giveaways this year, and everyone expert to newbie is encouraged to participate!

This is a fun way for our community members to share what we’ve been working on. So let’s tweet pictures of it with #WorldCreateDay and encourage people to submit their project to The Prize!

See you tomorrow!

Prusa Control

In the third post of the month/night after a cabinet and a Google hat I wanted to quickly talk about Prusa Control. Prusa Control, for the uninitiated, is a cut down version of the, very useful and powerful, Slic3r software for the Prusa printers.

Prusa love Slic3r and there is no reason to doubt it. They build a custom profile for the software and make sure it is shipped and linked across their brand. however they note that it can be over-whelming for beginners. That’s where Prusa Control comes in.

Prusa Control is aimed at ease and speed and with just settings for the Prusa 3D printers and there is something lovely about that. I have installed the beta and used it for a first print in my new cabinet.

It worked really well.

In fact I would say close to perfect. I printed with a brim and with loose settings (.2 at 15% infil for speed and ease) and I got a near perfect print with good bridging and detail and a wonderful layer height that is regular with no breaks or interrupts. The brim was light and they clearly had taken care to make sure it was a well printed but easy to remove printing support.

So for new users and for experienced users wanting to cut out the interface and get straight to the printing then it is worthwhile having Prusa Control next to Slic3r in your toolkit.

I also liked how smooth the layer height display worked after generating which is very quick and efficient.

A very clean and easy to understand interface greets you on opening, seriously the controls on the side are all you have to deal with, this is minimal and almost perfect

 

Easy to understand layer height control

 

One of the prettiest and nicely printed brims I have ever worked with

Building the Google AIY

The second blog post of September, and actually the second of this evening, concerns a recent build of an electronic item I did with my son (#1Son, Ben).

I managed to pick up the Google AIY Hat for the Raspberry Pi with MagPi for a very affordable £5 and Ben and I decided to build it together and to video it for our YouTube channel.

The build was complemented by printing a box from a design on Thingiverse instead of using the cardboard one. Rather than say too much more I have copied the video link* (and you can also play the video below) so you can view it without leaving this page.

If you like the video please give us a thumbs up, and if you have constructive criticism then please feel free to comment.**

The build was super easy to do and they are accepting advance requests for contact if they release a future version of the hat, I recommend you get one as they are well built and fun to play with and have a lot more applications than the standard one we put it to.

As always I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t have so much support and encouragement from my LAMM peeps, thanks guys, and especially, as always, to TBSliver who is always there with advice and support. He gets a big shout out and lots of free dinners at my house ;P.

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewaQNu_3Mys&t=38s

** A part of me says that if you have negative or destructive personal criticism then I should probably know what it is or alternatively you can write it on a piece of paper and place it under a rock on Mars for me to find when I decide to be a Spaceman in some alternate reality :). I really would like to hear any good criticism, positive or negative that helps me in the future.***

*** Obviously, and I shouldn’t need to say this but a small part of me realises this goes to YT and Twitter as well so has to add this caveat, if you have any criticism of Ben then do the decent thing and keep it to yourself, children have far more impressionable egos :P.

3D Printing Cabinet

I haven’t managed to get to the Space much in the last couple of months (again! – though at least I did my duties as a director, such as making some posters (see another blog to come soon) and attending meetings doing admin etc.) mostly due to summer holidays and the pressures of family life. However home projects haven’t stopped and I have a couple of blogs to talk about what I have been up to on the home front.

The first of these is all about my 3D printing cabinet. I was gifted a 3D printer (Prusa i3 Mk2 that I constructed with the affable TBSliver) detailed in a video to come soon. It has been working well but I often have prints that lift on one side.

After some discussion, with the amiable (and affable and affordable) TBSliver we decided it could be the drafts in the room. So again from a suggestion by the amazing TBSliver I decided to build a cabinet to hold my printer. To do this I used:

  • Two tables from IKEA – the well known LACK tables at £5 each (£10)
  • Two packs of cabinet hinges from B&Q at £4 each (£8)
  • One pack of straight braces from B&Q at £4 (£4)
  • One small knob from Wilkinsons (£2)
  • Some grip surface – spare piece that I had in my workshop
  • Screws, Superglue – all from other projects
  • Two magnets recovered from a hard drive that was dismantled
  • One 4 bar extension from Wilkinsons (£3)
  • Cut sheets of 3mm clear perspex with holes in three pieces for fixing (£60 including all cutting and delivery from the Plastic Man).
  • Total cost: £87

This might seem like a high sum, especially the perspex, but they are large sheets at 890mm by 550mm x 4 – and close to £12 for delivery. The actual sheets were £12 or so each and were delivered on time and well cut and transported so a bargain if compared to similar online retailers. I heartily recommend the service.

Construction was simple:

  1. Glue down some non-slip matting
  2. Align the two tables and fix together with straight braces (2 on each leg)
  3. Align the pre-drilled screw holes of the perspex and carefully screw down (do not over-tighten as perspex will crack
  4. Glue hinges to the perspex door and leave to cure for 24 hours
  5. Screw door to frame.
  6. Forget that you need a hole for the knob!**

My only issue is that the tables were a little flimsy and not very accurately made (a <1mm difference in legs from the cut and glazing process) which coupled with some slight inacuracies of the angle of screw holes can give ever so slight deviance in the build. However for £5 it is a small price and easily correctable once we bolted the whole frame together.

The finished box is quite pretty (IMO) and site nicely on the side dresser where I have my specialist tools and electronic knick knacks. in the utility room of the house.

Once again a big thanks to the wonderful chap who is TBSliver for all of his help, advice, support and praise, greatly appreciated. LAMM members are wonderful creatures.

Pictures below.

(** I solved this issue with the careful use of a soldering iron)

 

Lining up with a steel ruler and drilling holes with my drill

Non slip matting in place and using a quick template for the mounting of the internal power strip

Close up of non-slip matting

Here’s that template again, who needs expensive tools when a pencil and paper trick is shown to you

EU made card tables that are firmer than the price warrants

The bracing of the legs

Fitting the power internally so the cabinet has internal source.

Carefully tighten down the corners – so brightly reflective

Close up of the fit – nice and snug

The finished cabinet – I should be able to fit some tool and equipment bays at the top next

RFID Entry System

The new RFID system is almost fully operational, so now is the time to get your RFID key sorted!

We should be turning it on this Wednesday (26th July) So after this date you will need an RFID key to get in the upstairs door.

‘But I dont have one yet!’ I hear you cry. Well, if you come along this Wednesday Open Evening, we will be setting up anyone who does not have a key yet, with one!

If you are unable to make it down on Wednesday, then let us know! I (Tom) work only round the corner and so during office hours will be available to let you in and sort out your RFID Key.

If you are unable to do it during Office hours, let us know and we can organise a time to let you in and sort out a key.

To contact us, either message us on Facebook, in Telegram, or email the board at board@lamm.space and we will get back to you!