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Spectrum 2016!

I just spent the past two days helping out at our booth at Spectrum 2016. Spectrum is a triennual show put on by the U of S College of Engineering students.  The people attending on Thursday and Friday tend to be predominantly school field trips.  It was great to meet kids who were enthusiastic about making things.
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The show continues on Saturday and Sunday, so please come visit our booth and chat with us about making things and maker culture.

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Our display consists of a variety of projects that Techworks members have made.

Of course, there is a ton of other cool stuff to see, so budget at least a couple of hours to look around.  Kilobots XXXII will also be holding their event in the Hardy Lab on Saturday and Sunday, so if that’s your thing, make sure to budget even more time to watch the mayhem.

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Temperature Control (Sous Vide)

I have been talking about this for ages… threatening to build it… even ordered parts.  But, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when Drew brought his Sansaire over and cooked some eggs for us that I finally got the motivation to start work on this project.

There are 101 ways you could do this.  I’m going for cheap.  My temperature sensor is a super-cheap PT100 PTC sensor.  I am running it in a wheatstone bridge connected to a differential amplifier tuned to get the best resolution out of the temperature range I’m interested in. (49C – 74C)  The output of that goes to a Nano clone, which currently only turns a Solid State Relay on and off.  (I plan to use PID in the future)  The relay turns a slow cooker on and off.  This tiny one really isn’t hot enough, but I’m giving it a try today.

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I am monitoring the whole thing over the USB/Serial port with a quickly hacked together windows application.  Future plans including adjusting the setpoint and tuning the PID from this application.

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So, in about an hour, I should have some perfectly cooked eggs!

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UPDATE:

It worked!  These were cooked to 64.5C for one hour.
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Much Soap Made

We had five soap-makers and two helpers (plus me) at the soap workshop last night.  This was a very good size, I think.  We had a variety of ingredients. In addition to the usual coconut oil and olive oil, we used lard, cocoa butter, flaxseed oil, lanolin, and perhaps a few more I’ve forgotten.  I’m looking forward to hearing reports on how the soaps turned out.

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Countdown Timer for SCRC Kilobots

I wanted to wait until I was finished before making this post.  Sadly, there has been an unexplained delay with shipping my circuit boards.  So, since my job is keeping this webpage moving with new projects, here it is.

So far…

I ordered some 2.3″ 7-Segment LEDs from Aliexpress for the purpose of making a countdown timer for the SCRC Kilobots arena.  The plan was to have it ready for the big Kilobots XXXI event Sept 20th and 21st, 2015.

2.3" LEDs

 

Since time was getting tight, I went ahead and designed a circuit board and sent it away for manufacturing. (Sent the files, that is.)

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I did this in the wrong order, really, since I hadn’t even tested the circuit yet.  Over the Sept long weekend, I spent a bit of time and built the circuit on a breadboard to test.  Fortunately, it worked.

Breadboarded Clock

 

(Yes, one of the segments is out in that picture.)

Here it is in operation. (Sped WAY up so you don’t have to watch for a full three minutes.)

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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:
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“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.”

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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

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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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