Techs to support makers.
There are some pieces of infrastructure that just make a communal workshop run a lot smoother. A lot get homebrewed due to the costs of the commercial versions, if they're even available. We believe in paying it forward, so here are the custom pieces of equipment we've created for Workbench Alpha in the hope that it'll save others the one resource there's never enough of; time.
All designs will have plans, costed parts lists and assembly instructions eventually, and will be marked as complete when so.
Access control systems are very popular in hackerspaces in particular as they allow the use of valuable or potentially dangerous pieces of equipment to be restricted to those who've proven capable. They can also double as door control systems.
This project covers the physical ACS switches that read the RDIF tags and enable the attached equipment, as well as the software back-end.
An extension of the general access control system, the storage automat is a set of electronically controlled lockers. These can be used to provide members storage in a integrated system, or to check tools in and out in unattended workshops.
Plans include sizes we've found to be useful, but the dimensions of the enclosures are only limited by how manageable the size of the door is and the spring to swing it open when triggered.
Commercially available 3D printers are not yet a mature technology. FDM printers operating by actively melting material that other parts of the printer itself is made of. And particularly in attended workshops, the length of a print may exceed the opening hours of the workshop. FDM printers can pose a severe fire hazard.
Most manufacturers state their printers should not be left running unattended, but leave the user to define what “attended” means. Without this using FDM printers would not be practical.
Remote systems can only monitor, and do not provide the level of responsiveness required to put out a sudden electrical fire. As such, we've put together an affordable enclosure setup that should prevent the fire spreading, extinguish it, and cut power to the printer to prevent re-ignition.
Rather than waste space using a bench that's too large or dangle over the edges using one that's too small, modular workbenches are small square ones that quickly lock together to make larger ones. Easily create the ideal size of workspace for your project.