September Events!

It's September and with summer wrapping up, we are excited to put new energy into the many pursuits we are cuurently undertaking at Open Lab Idaho. By the end of the year we hope to have our new expansion complete and be able to house fabrication and scientific machinery like the OLI laser cutter project, CNC, Z-corp powder printer, and workstations for electronics and chemistry. All this has been made possible by your enthusiasm and support.

When you participate in our community, by sharing ideas, giving advice, giving a presentation to other members or coming to the space to build stuff, what you give is valuable.

Our core membership is currently paying monthly dues to fund the expansion of our space, and if you choose, it is most appreciated if you can help in this way. This fall funds raised will be used to purchase building materials, equipment and supplies needed to expand Open Lab into, well, a full lab. From then on we cannot foresee what projects and idea we might take on, but we will know that we are able and outfitted to pursue them. Anyone who would like to contribute and sign on as a core member will receive a special token of our gratitude for making the space and lab possible.

In the month of September, we are planning several great events in collaboration with Reuseum Ed, you are welcome to attend any or all of them and we hope to see you there!

Raising Makers At Reuseum Ed. on September 8th, 10am to 12pm

Open Make Weekends on September 15th and 29th 11am to 6pm - Bring down a project and build, tinker and collaborate with other like minded geeks!

Walk-in Workshop on September 22nd - Make your own clone! We'll be 3D scanning you and exporting your data into cross-sections that you can cut out of cardboard or have printed on a 3d printer. Immortalize yourself before the zombie apocalypse! Take home materials are $10, scanning is free!

We are planning some great programs and events for you to join in on, and we hope that you'll come down and give our growing community the value it needs, which is you!

Open Lab Projects

Posted August 1, 2012
Category Open Lab News
In the first six months of Open Lab Idaho's life, we've seen plenty of activity, and we are finding our community lots of fun projects to do. There are plenty of things we do on a regular basis. From robots to art and maker meetups, OLI is full steam ahead. Below we've got a few of our favorite projects that have been making lots of really cool progress over the last few months.

Telepresence Robotics-  Local robotics enthusiast Dan Ray has been kind enough to take a few of the OLI members under his wing and teach us some practical lessons on making robots that are controllable remotely. Using Arduino, hacked Roombas and a couple cool tricks, we've been able to create a team of robots that can be driven via the internet.  Some of us have even started thinking about making robots that could simulate rovers that perform scientific tasks.

3D printing with powder-  Our allies Reuseum Educational had a ZCorp 3D printer donated and it needs a big overhaul. So far, OLI members have cleaned and retrofitted the machine to be able to print with experimental materials, and are in the final stages of hacking to get the printer working.

Screen printing- We are the first to admit that the current membership is mainly comprised of individuals with tech backgrounds, and that makes it easy to wow ourselves with skills from forms of art that we don't normally expose ourselves to.  We've already had a couple workshops and demos with local screenprinting gurus Inkpony, and the Design Bandits, and in the near future plan to have them back for an all out barrage of screenprinting and tech madness... stay tuned.

Raising Makers Club-  Given that we have a lot of fun stuff that we've done, one of our biggest duties is the share that, and so members of OLI and Reuseum Ed. have undertaken the task of introducing  young inventors and artists to new ways of making things and seeing their ideas through. Our next meeting is listed on Reuseum's Events Calendar and will be a blast... literally.

With all of these major projects underway, and a plethora more residing on our forums, working towards building our room to house machines and tools is also a big priority.  As soon as this fall, we hope to be comfortably housed with enough work areas for study and tabletop stuff combined with room for tools and fabrication machines. Stay tuned and don't blink, you might miss something!

Screen Printing Workshop Highlights

It's official: Open Lab Idaho members are now rocking stylish custom screen-printed t-shirts, thanks to Juliana from Bricolage! We wanted Open Lab Idaho t-shirts, but decided that sending our logo off to have them commercially printed just wasn't the hackerspace way, so Dave invited Juliana down to teach us how to screen print our own shirts. After receiving a copy of our logo, she prepared the screen and brought all of her gear down to show us the rest. Details after the break!




[caption id="attachment_148" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Cole positioning a shirt for screen printing."][/caption]

Step 1.  Position the shirt for printing. This part is tough because you have to eyeball it. We shot for printing the logo 4 inches down from the neckline. A mild adhesive spray is used to tack the shirt down, just in case a reprint is needed.

[caption id="attachment_153" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Flooding the screen."][/caption]

Step 2. Flood or "recharge" the screen. Mild pressure at a 15 degree angle is used to move the ink into the screen for printing.

[caption id="attachment_151" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Printing to the shirt. Look at how much fun he is having!"][/caption]

Step 3. Pull the screen down to the shirt. Use moderate pressure with only a couple of degrees on the squeegee, and pull the ink across the logo.

[caption id="attachment_152" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Teh epic moment of truth! Zomg!"][/caption]

Step 4. The moment of truth! Pick up the screen and see how it looks. If needed, reflood the screen and reprint, or leave the print partially unfilled for the distressed look.

Step 5. Hang the shirt up for a few minutes. Ours sat for about 20 minutes before we moved on to curing.

Step 6. Cure the ink. Use a clothes iron to apply direct heat to the print for about 20 seconds.

Each member that could make it down printed off their own shirt, and then took turns printing for the members that couldn't make it. During the course of the workshop, our electronically-minded members noted how similar screen printing t-shirts is to printing "PCBs," or printed circuit boards. This workshop was blast, because it gave Open Lab members a chance to move outside of the usual electronics projects and into the unknown. We would love to see more workshops and projects like this in the future, because we love anything DIY!

[caption id="attachment_154" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Dave being safe! Be careful there buddy..."][/caption]

Several of us expressed interest in building our own screen press for use by Open Lab members, so keep an eye out for that project, and eventually more t-shirts! Many thanks to Juliana for putting the workshop on for us, and teaching us the history and practice of screen printing!

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February Meetup Highlights

Posted February 26, 2012
Category News
Our first month in operation has seen us put the final administrative touches on our young organization, and as promised, that means that we get to concentrate on our user projects!  Last night, Saturday the 25th most of our membership collected and had a blast printing things in 3D, scanning ourselves using ReconstructME, calibrating some printers and overall having a blast.  In the near future, we will begin facilitating classes and workshops. Starting off in March we are happy to announce 24/7 access to Open Lab by all full members. If you are interested or just plain curious about what Open Lab is, or might become, feel free to stop by on one of our Saturday evening meetups!

One thing we are rich in is our community spirit, ideas and projects, and the will to make things happen.  Our plans for the future are big, and I believe that we are off to an absolutely fantastic start. Pictures to prove it after the break!

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First General Assembly 1/14/12

Come on come all to the first general assembly of Open Lab Idaho in 2012!  We have great ambitions for the future and even though the year is quite young, we have hit the ground running. At our next meeting, we will be inaugurating our membership and voting on our membership fees.  Right after that... we build. It doesn't need to be said that working on projects and getting our community coordinated are our top priorities.  The meeting will be held at the Reuseum ( 108 W. 33rd St. in Garden City) at 6pm after the shop closes. Our Reprap User Group will be down as well with their printers and we'll be doing some tinkering into the evening, so feel free to stay and check it out!