3D Printing fest, metal work, freebies and other goodness

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update, so this is going to be a long one!



Membership levels are climbing steadily, now at 25 – just short of the our sustainable target.  Wednesday’s have also been getting busier, to the extent we’ve had to extend the table area and buy a bunch more chairs.

As we settle into the space, we’ve (the directors) felt the need to gather some feedback on how everyones feeling – so we’ve just issued a member satisfaction survey.  We’ll review the outputs at the September General Meeting.


3D Printing 

Even as 3D printing goes mainstream, most people still haven’t seen/touched/experienced it in person, so it remains a hot topic for us to talk about.   In the last 6 wks, we’ve organised:

  • Two 3D printing workshops at the space
  • A 3D printing workshop at Oakhurst Primary school, along with a printed roller coaster kit (thanks to Rob/Jess)
  • A 3D printing intro the for new Swindon Drone Club

3d printing at oakhurst

We received some great feedback from these sessions (and a little revenue), and will no doubt continue organising/running them whilst we have time/energy – volunteers for running future workshops wanted!

Steve has also been busy upgrading the donated Wanhao i3 with a new extruder (and replacement thermistor).  At this point, both printers are usable, albeit the Wanhao still needs a firmware tweak to correct thermistor readings (it’s measuring about 50 deg below actual).  Also had some more filament donated, adding to the already large selection.


Metal work

Our welding setup is now ready to rock.  The welder itself is on loan from Steve, plus we’ve now acquired safety gear (welding mask, gloves) and a large 8’x8′ welding screen (stored on the roof of 34a).  It’s a dangerous piece of kit, so anyone wanting to use it needs to be inducted via Steve, or one of the other members with welding experience.

We also received a Proxxon MF70 CNC mill last week (long term loan), which came with tool bits, clamps, indexing head, etc.  Runs on a GRBL-based Arduino+driver board, but needs a host computer to generate/feed G-Code.  There’s a few bits of final setup to go (wiring, toolchain), but very close to usable.

The Shapeoko 1 is still progressing through it’s dual Y-belt upgrade, next step is to fit the drive pulleys and new belts.  Then it’ll be onto limit switches and a firmware update.


Influx of Freebies (Junk?!)

We got a bit carried away with a unit clearance down the corridor, taking a huge influx of “stuff”, caused a fair bit of disruption for a week and has left us with a lot of probably junk.  A cautionary tale for handling future freebies, and one we’ll loop back on at the Gen Mtg.

influx of junk

Nonetheless, there is now a LOT of timber and metal available for member projects, most of which has been tidied up onto the roof of 34a.

tidy roof space

There’s also a whole bunch of random items if anyone can make use of them:

  • Collection of fire extinguishers
  • Large gas bottle
  • Petrol strimmer motor
  • AC motor from a submersible pump

… and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten.  This also provokes the need to improve our process for getting rid of unwanted items  – another thing we’ll review at the Gen Mtg.


General Bits

Aside from the more obvious changes, there’s also been a whole bunch of other things going on, to mention just a few:

  • Donation of a Binocular Watson Barnet Microscope from John
  • Rob upgraded the RPI running the internal CCTV
  • We’ve got permission to use the Twigs Kiln if anyone wants something fired
  • The sewing machine is confirmed working and getting some use on Textile Tuesdays
  • Josh donated a spray booth, Jess & James a compressor and Damian an airbrush – so we now have a full airbrush setup for modelwork, etc
  • Josh completed a proper PCB for the door controller (which now needs to be tested/installed) and Damian upgraded the door controller firmware to lock on close
  • We’re trying to organise water into the space from next door
  • A quote for ventilation via the glazing is in progress



Coming Up

We have a couple of activities/workshops coming up (see events calendar for more info), including:

  • Arduino surgery – Sat 13th Aug
  • Toy Blaster workshops with a local youth group and the 1st Swindon Cubs

Along with a whole bunch of improvement tasks to work through on Trello, including a couple I’m very keen to see progressed:

  • Finish getting ShapeOko and Proxxon working
  • Test radio setups and wifi link on the roof


Look forward to seeing you at the space  🙂


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