Robots!

Some of our members have been hard at work building combat robots for the upcoming Kilobots XXXI which will take place at the Saskatoon Comic & Entertainment Expo on September 19th and 20th, 2015.

Rachel is rebuilding a bot formerly known as Roadrunner:
meepcrop
“it’s running and it is calibrated now to weld the body and put it on almost done so excited!”

 

Al has done some upgrades to the drive system of Kitty Shark.  He might have overdone it:

 

Jeremy has done a very nice job on Psychomauler.  He has used the CNC router, the CNC mill, and the laser cutter during the design and build of this one:
Psychomauler

“Psychomauler mostly put together. Had to give up on the carbon fibre after  the CNC screwed up and cut it the wrong size (missed steps, or something like that), so garolite will have to do. I should still be OK for weight,  I’m at about 350g currently and just need to add my titanium wedge.”

20

08 2015

T-Shirt Workshop

Albert held a T-Shirt Making workshop and, this time, used his vinyl cutter to cut heat-transfer material.  (We have used laser-cut stencils in past workshops.)  The workshop was primarily attended by SCRC members making team t-shirts for the upcoming Kilobots XXXI in September.

Kurtis writes:
Workshop went great! If anyone wants to post pics of their team shirts, please do! (We’re always looking for more website content.)
Thanks to Albert for putting it on!
TShirts

06

08 2015

Soap Workshop

We held a soap-making workshop on July 23rd.

Tony writes:

“If anyone’s curious, that’s about how much soap you get from ~a yogourt container of cheap canola oil + a bit of coconut oil. It still needs to finish curing for a few weeks. Despite the remaining lye content, I washed my hands with it this morning and it is quite lovely.

Awesome workshop last night! — with Minna Liang and Scott Walde.”

Tony's Soap

 

Minna’s soap:

Minna's Soap

 

And mine:

Scott's Soap

 

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24

07 2015

Annual General Meeting

Hello everyone,
You are cordially invited to our Annual General Meeting, to be held at Saskatoon TechWorks on March 17, 2015 at 7:00PM. The agenda for this meeting will include:
  • A presentation of the Chairman’s Report from our President, Albert La
  • A review of this past year’s financial statements from our Treasurer, Jeremy Rans
  • Election of the board members for next year
Board nominations are now open and can be made on this forum post. Nominations will close at the end of March 9, 2015.
This is also a time when we may make changes to the bylaws. If you would like to propose any changes to be vote on at the AGM, please email them to Saskatoon TechWorks no later than March 9, 2015.
Voting is available to members only, but the public is welcome to attend.
I look forward to seeing you all there,
James Cooper
Secretary
Saskatoon TechWorks

24

02 2015

Project Report: Hanging Pen Plotter

hanging plotter

One of our members, Jeremy Rans, is currently working on a hanging pen plotter, i.e. a machine that draws on a vertical surface with a suspended pen. The inspiration for the project came from this article on Hackaday. The parts being used include two NEMA-17 stepper motors for controlling the X-Y position of the pen, two EasyDriver stepper drivers, a servo for lifting the pen on and off the drawing surface, and an Arduino Uno for controlling the motors.

The main goal of the project is to make a plotter that can be easily attached to a wall-mounted whiteboard of any size. Most vertical plotters rely on the drawing surface being slightly inclined so that gravity applies the force necessary for the pen to write. Since that’s not really an option with wall-mounted whiteboards, magnets will be used to hold the pen against the board. The plotter will draw using G-Code instructions, a common choice for this type of device.

So far, most of the work done that has been done has been on the software. That includes the Arduino sketch for driving the motors, for which the AccelStepper library has been very helpful. AccelStepper allows for the stepper motors to be driven concurrently which cuts down on a lot of the math that would be involved in having to drive the motors one at a time. The other part of the software is a simple python program for reading in G-Code instructions and telling the Arduino how many steps each motor will need to take to satisfy each instruction. The software was recently tested with a quickly hacked together plotter which can be seen in action in the video below.

With most of the programming work out of the way, the current focus is on the design of the pen holder, the motor mounts & the line guides. The line guides are basically magnetic hooks that the suspension line will run through at the upper left and right corners of the desired drawing area. This allows for the motors & other electronics to remain close together.

Stay tuned for a future update in which we’ll feature the finished product!

31

01 2015

Workshop announcement: Robot Kit Arduino Programming 1

Hi everybody,

For those of you who have built a robot kit with me at Saskatoon Techworks, I will be holding the first programming workshop on December 13th, 12-3PM. If you are available and plan to attend, please email me at james.cooper@sktechworks.ca. Please bring your robot, and if possible, a laptop.

For more information, check the event page.

03

12 2014

November meeting cancelled

In light of Remembrance Day coinciding with our usual monthly meeting date, we decided to cancel November’s monthly meeting. Our apologies for not communicating that to the membership at large before the meeting. Thank you to everyone who showed up last night anyway. We will continue with our regularly scheduled meeting on December 9th.

12

11 2014

Techworks assists in creating SoundCloud art exhibit for Nuit Blanche

Earlier this summer, Techworks was approached by the group OPEN, who wanted our help building an art installation for the upcoming Nuit Blanche art festival. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of Albert La, the result is SoundCloud.

Physically, SoundCloud is a suspended undulating paper cloud which creates a landscape composed of clustered paper forms. The modular paper shapes are folded from reused and discarded architectural drawings, making use of the medium used to create structures, recycled as material which forms the basis of the structure for the installation. The overhanging cloud works to creates an immersive environment at the plane of the ceiling, leaving the floor clear for viewers to wander the Storefront and interact with SoundCloud above. Idle when sound levels are low in the room, SoundCloud is dark while it waits, pulsing occasionally in anticipation and enticing passerbys to take notice. Once somebody moves through the room and sound is detected from the shuffling of feet or the sound of voices, SoundCloud illuminates in the area in which it senses sound below it.

SoundCloud will be on display from September 12 – October 22, 2014 at the storefront gallery, 224 20th Street West, Saskatoon. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5 pm and Saturdays 10am – 4pm. The opening reception will be held Friday, September 12th at 7pm.

For more information, contact: Crystal Bueckert, Director tel. (306) 241-6643 or info@thestorefront.ca.

OPEN SoundCloud poster

11

09 2014

Open House – July 19th

Saskatoon Techworks will be hosting an open house on Saturday July 19th in our space at 509A Gray Ave. The specific times have yet to be determined, but it will likely run something like 10am-5pm. There will be several of our members’ projects on display and also some “hands on” activities such as combat robots (courtesy of the Saskatoon Combat Robotics Club). We’ll also have the BBQ running for most of the day so there will be food & drink available for purchase. More details to come closer to the date, but go ahead and mark your calendars!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/245701665624235/

11

06 2014

Meeting Announcement: June 10th @ 7PM

It’s the second Tuesday of the month and you know what that means: monthly meeting time!

We will be meeting at Techworks at 509A Gray Ave. at 7PM on June 10th. We request all members to please attend our monthly update and discussion. Visitors are also welcome to join us to learn more about the space and meet the other members.

See you there!

09

06 2014