Drawing patterns on cork with the laser cutter.

I recently got into making espresso at home. As part of that I had an old cork mat that I wanted to use to store some of the paraphernalia on. The mat that I wanted to use had a burn mark in the middle but that sanded out quite easily and left a nice smooth surface.
I did a quick image search for “Coffee flower svg” and found an image that I liked then imported that into inkscape. Setting up the paper size in inscape to match the mat size allowed me to scale it to the right size. I converted the image into a path and ungrouped it so I could remove some text. Saved it. Then loaded it into K40. All pretty quick.
I’m happy with the result and will probably play with cork again. Bonded cork like this is made by just squeezing the cork in a high temperature environment so there should be no glue to gas off just wood fumes.

Using the hackspace laser cutter I went with 2.5mA and 100mm/s raster engrave. It took about 45mins. It cut a little deep so I would go with at least 150mm/s next time ( as per the wiki instructions! Doh! ).

Re-Opening the Space

We are starting to re-open the space after the COVID restrictions. Right now Members can start to visit the space by booking in advance. This is still very limited at the moment due to the shared nature of the building but we will hope to open up over the coming months in line with the overall plan for the country.

Please see the Covid Page for more information about the latest status.

We are still meeting up weekly on Discord for the open meetings see the contact page for more details.

It will be great to see people using the space again and I hope we can regroup and start to build on what we had before and, in time, start to meet up and have a more social space again.

The ’80s called. They want their autofire back.

It’s been a while, so I figured I’d try to bore some of you with some old computer stuff.  Who knows, maybe someone will find this either useful or interesting 🙂

I rescued a bunch of old consoles and computers from my parents’ place last time I was over, among them a Spectrum +3 (yes, I know, it’s really an Amstrad…) with a bunch of 3″ disks, tapes, and a Cheetah 125+ joystick.

Cheetah 125+ joystick

Cheetah 125+ joystick

The joystick needed some work doing, and while I was on with that I took a look at its autofire, which as far as I knew had never worked.

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Making a kindle case from leather scraps and superglue

I wanted a cover for my kindle and had been pondering it for a while drawing up some ideas of more and more elaborate cases with various pockets. Then I decided to try and focus a bit and reduce the case to the bare basics. I like to have a notepad with me when I read as I tend to get in a thinking mood quite often when I have been reading so it’s nice to have somewhere to get those thoughts out of my head. I had a few of these little notebooks that seemed to be just a little bit bigger than the kindle and so I thought they could be used to protect the screen of the kindle as well.

So I had a basic layout idea now it was to the scraps bin to find something to make it out of. I brought a load of leather offcuts for another project and had a load left. You can buy them by the Kg on ebay and get a random selection of small bits which are all quite useful. I found one that was almost big enough and folded it into a rough shape. I say almost big enough as it did not quite fit but looked like I could botch it a little so ploughed on.  I got a rough idea of the layout then used a rotary cutter to trim off some the excess till I had a rough shape.

Next up was working out how to hold it in pace ready for stitching. CA or superglue was the chosen solution it had two key properties, it sticks leather quickly and I have some to hand. So I ran a few beads of glue on the leather around the kindle and folded over one side. Held it down for a few seconds then breathed a sigh of relief as I manged to pull out the kindle and thus proving I had not glued it in place.

Repeating this for the note and pen and then adding a couple of extra tabs at the bottom of the notebook where the scrap did not quite fit it was starting to come together nicely. I grabbed one of the cut offs from earlier and made a little strap, again gluing it in place. Then left it to set for a while and when I came back was pretty pleased and impressed by the strength of the bond. I left if like that for a few weeks and it seemed to be holding up fine. In the end I decided to run a row of stitching along some of the glue joints just to be sure; using the Hackspace’s trusty Singer 413. The strap on the front is still just glued on and seems to be holding up fine though.

When I started to build this I just wanted to get started so this quick build method of superglue and rotary cutter seems like a really easy way to get a prototype made but in fact it looks like I’m sticking with this one for a while longer. There is something to be said for just getting started with what you have at hand rather than thinking things through and not making something. I would probably change some things if I make another one but I only know that now because I have been using this one for a while. Get out there and make something today!

Roller shutter cabinet built on the laser cutter.

For some time now I have wanted to make a roller top desk. These are normally made by cutting a plank of wood intro strips and sticking them to a piece of cloth backing to allow it to flex. This wobbly sheet is then held in a captive groove at either side allowing it to roll when pushed from one side. This creates a curved cover that rolls away in a satisfying manner. My first thought was to cut a single sheet of A4 ply into strips using the laser cutter and then follow the classic design but then I was shown a curved laser cut panel where somebody had just cut slots in a board and weakened it enough to bend it round a curve.

My first attempt did not go well, the lines where just too close together and I ended up with a smoldering square of charcoal. But it’s quite a quick feedback loop with the laser so a quick trip back to Inkscape, which was the tool I was using to do the drawing. With the line spacing just a little further apart it suddenly worked and I had something that looked like it might get me there. It took me a little while to get to grips with Inkscape but there are some good tutorials online for most things you want to do.

Next up was to build the box. I decided to go for a pretty simple design with top and bottom being the same. Laying out the overall bottom shape, then a second panel that was the same outside dimensions but had cutouts for the doors to run in. There where also some cut outs for the sides and back to fit. Then gluing these two panels together gave me a top and bottom. Then adding in some sides and back and squeezing it all into a single sheet of A4.

You can see in the photo that my door lines overran the doors. These looked okay in Inksape but something in the way K40 Whisperer laser cutter driver renders the SVG that does not quite seem to work.

After sticking it together with some superglue and a little light sanding of the tracks and the bottoms of the doors I put some candle wax on the edges of the doors and it pushed it all together. Getting the doors in place is tricky but not impossible and I found the best way was to have them about half open and fettle them into place with a thin screwdriver and a bit of wiggling.

If you want to make one for yourself then they are up on my gitlab page: Laser cutter source files.

I’m pretty happy with the overall design and have refined the first version to round some of the corners and generally fit together better. It’s great to be able to go from an idea to a working device.

John prints New Court in exquisite detail

John with his 3D printer, in his home workshop

3D printing is a familiar activity at York Hackspace but John Robinson, one of our members, has in particular done a lot of modelling work with OpenSCAD. Amongst other things, he prints small animals, decorations, accessories, buildings, and geometric designs on his (rather well-calibrated) delta 3D printer.

Recently, John and his prints have featured on the St John’s College, Cambridge Alumni blog, after his work on an intricate model of New Court came to their attention.

You can check out their full article, presented as an interview with John, here – a few pictures of his prints are reproduced below.

John’s 3D printed scale model of New Court

John’s workshop (scale model)

New Event: York Hackspace inaugural Hackathon (aka the Finish-a-thon!) 28th July

If you’re anything like us, you have a pile of half-finished projects (or half-baked ideas) sitting around gathering dust.

That’s why we are having a one-day community Hackathon and the theme is Finish a Project! Don’t worry if you have a huge project that might take longer to finish, just finish a part of it. The event is free and open to everyone to attend, if you don’t have a project you can help someone else.

The event will take place from 10AM to 10PM on Saturday, 28 July at the ‘space.

The day will kick off at 10am with (free!) breakfast, followed by a chance to tell everyone what your plan is for the day, and perhaps canvas some help! 

Feel free to pop in and out throughout the day. 

What can you work on at the hackathon?
You can work on anything, it’s a really open Hackathon.

Are you coding something you want to finish?
Want to fix a bug in an open source project?
Finish writing something, design something?
Finish a craft project you have lying around?

What should I bring to the hackathon?

Bring whatever you need, although the hackspace will have some parts/materials and tools available. 
Bringing a laptop is a good idea.
This is a one-day event so be ready to take home what you make.
Hope to see you on the day! We have a facebook event here


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You said… We do!

If you follow us on social media or are a member of our mailing list, you have probably seen our survey asking you for your ideas on what we can change to make the space (still open here).

You asked us to…

Rearrange to make more space

We’ve rejigged the space to make it a bit more collaborative and to make it a bit more open:

More opening times to non members
We have a regular Saturday open day (hackSaturdays!) planned, roughly once per month, in addition to the regular Wednesday Open Nights. Keep an eye out for notifications via twitter, facebook and the blog!
(i’d like to learn) Laser cutting
We have a laser cutting workshop in the pipeline, watch this space!

Next hackSaturday Open Day: May 26th 10:00 ’till 16:00

The next hackSaturday will be from 10:00 until 16:00 on Saturday the 26th of May

Wednesdays have been Open Nights since version 1.0 of York Hackspace, way back when we used to meet in the Black Swan. However, we understand that weeknights aren’t the best time for everyone to visit the space.

We are therefore pleased to announce that we are starting up hackSaturdays: different day, different time, but the same original recipe as the Wednesday Open Evenings.

Want to know how to find us? Click here

For more details about our open nights, see the wiki.

Curious about what to bring?

All you need is yourself, enthusiasm and curiosity. Feel free to bring a project, things to make, things to do, things you want help with, or things you just can’t find time to do elsewhere.

What does the hackspace have to offer?

You’ll be free to use whatever tools and facilities you want, subject to the necessary training and/or supervision. Non-members will be expected to contribute towards hardware, electronic components etc (members get all this stuff for free!) if it’s more than a few bits and pieces. We have a fast Internet connection sponsored by Andrews & Arnold which you’re welcome to use. And a tuckshop!



Please contact us using any of the methods below!

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