Category Archives: Laser

The Dolls House

I have been absent from the Space for a few months, only popping in for the occasional meeting and to grab a tool for a mini-project. Most of the reason for this is to do with a large home project.

This year my sister reached a half-century in years. All of her life she has stated she wanted a dolls house, and this desire did not decrease with age. So I decided that I would build her one.

Being a Maker I knew I wasn’t going to indulge in buying any old kit with instructions, so I bought a plan from online for twenty dollars with its 5 page A4 picture guide (which was less helpful than the three online pictures of a constructed house, and set to it.

Needless to say it was more work, some struggle and a lot of compromise more than what I wanted but I did get it done, it was in time and I duly delivered it on the birthday to a very surprised and elated sister.

Below is a video of the build, and I would like to formally thank all my fellow makers and family for their help, encouragement and support. I really would not have attempted this a few years ago, being a part of LAMM has really broadened the number of things I am willing to have a stab at.

Build Process

  • Bought plans and converted them for use on our laser system
  • Cut out the whole of the design
  • Try to work out which piece fits where (this took many hours)
  • Glue together each floor and all pieces
  • Use fillers and a lot of sanding for gaps
  • Apply base coat – Sprayed
  • Apply top coat(s) – Sprayed
  • Apply large area paint (brush)
  • Apply fine area brush (panic as there is only a few days left)
  • Buy model making extras, grass, vines and pavement
  • Apply grass, pavement and vines a day before
  • Carefully transport house to recipient

Thanks in specific

  • Tom Bloor: Help with Laser cutting and general tool advice and build suggestions;
  • Claire Jackson: Showing me the website with plans and lots of advice and moral support;
  • Ian Norton and Kay Kempers: Lots of Moral support and cheerleadering;
  • Leigh Keating: Painting, sticking and advice.

-mdk exeunt chased by a staircase

PAD-03 laser control panel

Our Just Add Sharks Greyfin laser cutter is an awesome piece of kit supplied by a UK based company who really love to engage with their customers – in short Dominic and Martin are awesome community players who love the hackspace movement as much as we do.

But what happens when you want functionality that your machine doesn’t provide? Perhaps you want people to log in and record the timings for billing purposes.

Continue reading PAD-03 laser control panel

Challenge accepted

So this weekend saw many changes at the space. We received the go ahead to start moving in equipment and the White Cross team had installed many more electrical sockets, which we greatly appreciated.

Jim was renovating his kitchen and gave us his old kitchen cabinets, Ian and Tom collected them and installed them on Saturday. Other furniture also found its way up to the space including desks, chairs and other storage units.

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Sunday was the main event with our A2 Laser cutter arriving. Martin from Just add Sharks arrived at 2pm with a challenge: “Nobody has ever got one of the A2 lasers upstairs before”. Not a group to step down from a challenge, we called in more people to help, as it weighs just over 170kg. So the task began getting a metal box weighing 170kg up to the second floor – we knew that it would fit up the stairs but it was going to be tight. It helped that some of the extra help were engineers and a plan was formed. Ropes were attached, people psyched themselves up and the laser was rolled to the bottom of the stairs. 7 yes SEVEN minutes later the laser was in the space and we were patting ourselves on the back, or we were patting the people who had manhandled it up the steps on the back.

Next was fitting the laser tube and other extras like the air compressor, water chiller and extraction unit. Then came the calibration and training. I won’t go into the details of these here as there will be training documentation to come for everyone who wants to learn how to use the laser. Just to say it is really not that difficult to use which I proved by laser etching and cutting the LAMM logo on ply before the day was out.

A BIG thank you to Martin from Just add Sharks, for his excellent training, and an extremely big shout out to all those who helped over the weekend, I will name names as without their help we would have been stuck. Graham Hill, Darren Poulson, Tom Bloor, Ian Norton, Jim Mann and his friends. A hackspace is nothing without people rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in.

-clj