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TechWorks is moving!

As of September 1, 2016, we will be located at 412 44th St E., just North of Circle Drive and East of Faithful Ave. Our new location will be over twice as large, including a much larger shop area and dedicated office space available for members to rent. We will remember our old location at 509A Gray Ave. fondly, but with every end comes a new beginning, and we are excited for the opportunities this presents to our members and to the community.

We need your help!

Continue reading TechWorks is moving!

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Base Commanders (Paintball Game)

Paintball Game for Ranger Lake Bible Camp

A few years ago I built a “Terrorist Bomb” for RLBC to use as a paintball game. It was simple. It was hacked together out of a variety of parts I had lying around. It was also a huge hit.

aka "Game Timer"
aka “Game Timer”

After that, we started talking about a grander scheme. The next game would consist of three bases with buttons and lights. Initially it was traffic lights, but it eventually became the light pole we ended up using. The biggest problem with this sort of “capture the flag” type game is having referees to keep score. If we could use technology to keep score, it frees up the refs so they can focus on fair gameplay. I had been using XBee devices in my “day job,” so decided they would work great for communication between the bases and the command centre. Continue reading Base Commanders (Paintball Game)

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A Quick Sunday Afternoon CNC Project

When switching back and forth between calibres on my Lee Pro 1000 reloading press, I often have bits and pieces strewn around my reloading bench.  Now, I tolerate a fair bit of disorder, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much.  So… today’s quick project was to help organize my mess a bit better.

The parts I switch out when changing between 9mm and .38spl are the turret with the dies installed, the shell plate, and the case slider.  (Also the case feeder, but that’s too big to store this way.)

IMG_20160522_151827 Continue reading A Quick Sunday Afternoon CNC Project

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Hacking a Samsonite Briefcase

So, years ago my daughter used an old briefcase of mine to keep some of her stuff in.  Today she asked me if I remembered the combination… yeah, right.


So, I tried all sorts of bits of old phone numbers, but no joy.

But… apparently, there is a visual difference in the gap beside the wheel when you’re on the correct number.  So:

And… Voila!


And, yeah, it was only a pad of construction paper and some dried up markers.


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Andrew’s PID Controller

(Submitted by Andrew Wright aka Bun-Bun)

After acquiring a used Cubex Duo 3D printer, I discovered the heated-bed did not actually heat. The PID controller for the unit appeared to be functional and the relay could be heard actuating, however upon testing with a DMM I found the relay to not be contacting. Opening the PID controller revealed a cheapo chinese relay which made me think if there was a better way: an SSR would be quieter (silent) and more reliable than a mechanical relay in the given application. With the help of Scott Walde I sourced an SSR and tested the PID output with a resistor and LED to prove an SSR would work. I drilled and tapped a hole to attach the SSR to the PID enclosure and applied thermal paste; the enclosure is the heatsink for the SSR. I bypassed what was the chinese relay and used the PID connections to wire up the now externally mounted SSR. It works perfectly and any concern on heat dissipation of the SSR is nullified in practice: the heat from the SSR is only enough to take the chill off the metal enclosure, not warm it up.


PID Controller with cheap Chinese relay.
Testing with an LED in place of the relay coil
Back together
SSR with wires soldered on
All wired up
It works!
Goes back together the same way