MAME Buildgroup: Final woodworking report


This will be a quick progress report. Saturday 13th March, I got to the asylum quite early and began putting in the final panels of the MAME cabinet buildgroup.
There wasn't any good board around for the back panel and also to avoid putting in more screws, I decided to use the cross I had made the Saturday before and like a window, put in 4 panels.

Cutting a rabbet into each length wasn't much of a challenge for the rabbet cutting machine and we must have done in 30 minutes what I take a day to do by hand.
That done, I quickly cut out the remaining pieces and glued them on to the frame leaving only the back attached with screws.
I cut out sloping pieces to support the console area, as this will take the most punishment. You know how one forgets where they are when playing games, right?



The front panel will remain open for now. Rupin will solder the switches, add a few more I believe and then install the pi.
That's it for this report.

Oh and the cabinet needs a coat of primer and then paint.

MAME Buildgroup: Inching toward completion

The MAME build began 2 months back, with a request from Rupin for an LCD monitor. OK Maybe it was 3 months back.
The LCD arrived the same week, and a lot of brain storming has been done on how the cabinet will be. We had ideas to
Make it of cardboard and some strong base, just to see how it looks
Make it of plywood and MDF and whatever else was lying around
Make it of steel. Nice thin gauge steel bent professionally, I didn't know we had a stock bender in the workshop
We've had some cool ideas of it being fold-able into a suitcase and lugged around "effortlessly"
But finally after a long wait and while I was busy with the workbench build, Rupin decided that he had had enough. On the last day of the workbench build he simply dragged me away from the bench and we began drawing on the white board. Shape first.


Rupin's sketch was so awesome that I knew that he had been dreaming about this cabinet for some time, and that kind of obsession, I cannot ignore. This was 3 weeks back.
Since then the entire cabinet just fell into place. The sides we cut out of 5 mm ply, the base out of 1cm MDF and one of the top pieces of 6mm ply.
The basic shape in place. Rupin got the frame for the monitor done. We've opened up the monitor and removed just the screen and electronics.

I then attached the frame to the sides, and routed out a groove so the screen would pivot back and forth. So that those who are not as vertically challenged as I am can see the screen without getting reflections. We then put together a cross like frame by half lapping 2 lengths of wood.


At the beginning of this week, Rupin put together the electronics and the guys at the Asylum have been having a blast. One holds the screen, while the other plays.
I tried my hand at Mario Bros this evening. Those darn owls are fast!!! (That's my defense! ;) )
This Saturday, we'll be done with the basic cabinet. All that is left is the back and top and some bits around the screen. What is going to be a challenge is cutting the holes for the USB. We need 2 of them, for the external consoles.
We also need screws and nails in more varied lengths. Must see about that too.

In case you are interested in helping us paint the cabinet, be quick about getting on board. Next week the job will be done and we will be gaming away like maniacs.

DIY PCB Making- Quick and Easy

We are shortly going to announce a "what can you do?" section in the blog, featuring the kind of neat, awesome and crazy things you can do with the tools at the asylum. This blog is for the laser cutter.

The  Makers Asylum is a proud owner of a 100W Laser Cutter with a bed size of 3 ft by 2ft ( 600mm by 400mm).

It can cut through acrylic( 1 mm to 12mm), MDF( 1mm to 4mm), leather, foam, paper and any softer materials.

It can etch/engrave designs to. And that is where I got an idea.

PCB's are an indispensable tool for makers who design electronic circuits. The purpose of a PCB is to provide copper connections to pads of electronic devices and provide mechanical support the components. Unfortunately, its a rather slow process ( 5-7 days) for professional PCB manufacture. Sometimes, we need to test an idea quickly.

You can make a single layered PCB with this process, and perhaps a 2 layered one if you really understand what is going on. A word of caution, this process is only for small quantities of prototyping.

Lets get started:

This is what you will need
1) A copper clad PCB.
2) Spray Paint
3) the layout of your PCB, unmirrored.
5) Swabs of cotton

Step 1
Clean the copper side of the PCB with Acetone to remove any oily deposits on the PCB. Rub it, thrice until the cotton you are using comes out really clean.


Step 2
In a well ventilated area, spray paint for a distance of 15-20cm on the copper side of the PCB. Make sure this spray is uniform and not having blobs. Let this spray paint dry at least for 30-45 minutes.

Spray paint atleast 3 coats of color on the PCB.


IMG_20150408_114228 IMG_20150408_122536

This spray painting of PCB can be done beforehand, so you have PCBS already spray painted and ready to be etched.

Step 3
Load the PCB design in the Ardicam software ( available at the asylum) as a BMP file.

Your goal is to expose the copper under the spray paint, by etching the spray paint. Of course, this means areas where tracks are going to be present is going to be un-etched by laser, and the color should stay there. 3 passes with 25% power and 350mm/s speed should clean up the color easily. This is what you get after the engraving process.




Once you have this, you can dip this in your favorite etchant, which will remove the exposed copper, and the copper under the tracks remains. Solder and fire away!

Arduino Day 2015

Arduino Day is a worldwide celebration of Arduino’s birthday. It's a 24 hours-long event –organized directly by the community, or by the Arduino team– where people interested in Arduino get together, share their experiences, and learn more.

In Mumbai we celebrated this at Makers Asylum. So we started at 11 am , with Anool taking the lead and talking about hacking and out-of-the-box ideas of how day-to-day appliances can be hacked and re-purposed. The oven can be hacked into and used for reflow soldering. Also repurposing a refrigerator into an ice-chest.

He narrated how Arduino was born. Arduino rose out of a formidable challenge: how to teach students to create electronics, fast. Massimo Banzi, and a group of friend came up with this prototype in 2005 and it wasn't even named Arduino. They coined the name later that year.


Arduino Vs. RaspPi was the debate of the hour, which one is the right DIY platform. Well the conclusion was Arduino is a micro-controller, whereas, RaspPi is a full blown computer. While Arduino is easy to learn platform and lot of resources available, Pi on the other hand need some kind of programming knowledge like Phython. Also RaspPi can multitask as your PC would, Arduino does not. Arduino is highly recommended for beginners. So as per your needs decide the the platform you need. A detailed discussion is given here

We were than introduced to Hackaday Prize by Anool. Where one can submit hacks, projects, prototypes and build the future. And they aka Hackaday Prize promise to take the Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Hackaday Prize into space. How Awesome isn't it. So, put your maker boots on and start hacking cause a simple idea can change the world. SatNOGS won the Hackadaay Prize 2015.

Akshat than took over the discussion and told us about Hillhacks. It is all about Hacking, Art, Making, and Socialize. Putting your own spin to what is existing. And the amazing and even more amazing people and things like ramanPi , Akiba, Wrecking Crew.


Hemal Chevli than had a show-n-tell, showing off his projects and talking about things he make. Drawing Bot, Interactive Piano, Animal sound interactive mat, and many more under his belt. Accompanied with Ankit Daftery who took us on a brief discussion about all the existing hardware and software available for prototyping. This was just so much informative. Online alternatives  like Temboo,, codebender  to offline software just makes life so so easy.


Having spent such a #productive #informative morning, we needed some quick bites to carry ourselves for the rest of the day, and so was delicious Biryani waiting for us in the Cane basket.

Post lunch was the KiCAD workshop by Anool, explaining the software to get the participants started with creating of professional schematics and printed circuit boards up to 32 copper layers with additional technical layers. The software is open-source and can be downloaded here. Than a Arduino PCB Making workshop. The workshop was a continuation to the skills we acquired during KiCAD, hosted by Parth Temkar.


And last week a Thank You Certificate dropped to our mailbox.



A birthday well spent, with Arduino ✌

Workbench Build: Ecstatic Completion

Last Saturday we completed the frame and were contemplating the bench top. The strength factor would be key, second to that would be the cost factor. Thicker material costs more. We could have gone with 2 sheets of 1.2 cm MDF or 1 sheet of 25mm ply. There was also the question of using 1x2 inch timber lengths on their side like in the original plan. We finally settled on the ply sheet. MDF over the long haul would sag. Lengths of timber would be expensive.

Ply is not cheap, and here is where an extraordinary thing happened. I had mentioned this fact in one of my blogs and Anool had shared it (so far fairly common). Now the shared post caught the eye of someone a continent away and Peter Van Der Walt contacted Anool with an offer to donate the table top to the asylum. I will avoid waxing emotional about this, but thank you Peter.

Peter Van Der Walt

The sheet of wood arrived on Tuesday and on Wednesday at 7 PM Kapil and I were at the asylum.
We quickly marked out the through mortises and go the drill and jigsaw out for some power work.
We chucked a spade bit into the drill and I showed Kapil how to first drill down till the point appeared and then drill from the other side of the hole. This avoids any unsightly tear out. The holes drilled out, it was time to "get jiggy with it". The jig saw was one of my first power tools and I have a special place inside of me for them. Anyway I quickly showed Kapil how to use it and control it and after cutting one mortise I turned the jigsaw over to him.

Cutting mortises

He told me later that he learnt that a firm hand was required to stop the saw from climbing out of the cut, which causes the whole thing to chatter. Also that the machine needs to be guided not forced and he soon learnt to let it pull itself through the wood, again this minimizes tearout.
We got done cutting out the mortises really quickly and after a few passes with the rasp the top slipped down into its "mooring". WE WERE DONE.

Wait up Not quite done, the sheet is 7 x 4 and we still have to surface the top. Knowing this however did not take anything away from our joy. Both of us leaped up onto the table. Kapil is a tad bit more reserved in his display of emotion but I can be seen waving hammer and mallet.

[caption id="attachment_4396" align="alignnone" width="300"]The top is on. The first table is done The top is on. The first table is done[/caption]

Rupin, got the top cut to size on Wednesday and began using it. He says the bench is the perfect height has enough space to keep all the things he needs for his project (a MAME cabinet) and is very stable.

WorkBenchA in use

That's everything that a workbench can hope to be. Clearly this good little guy is going to go straight to workbench heaven. :)