Workbench Build: Frame Fitting - Bottom awaits Top

The design for the wedge based work bench has been taken from American Woodworker Oct 1999.
And modified it a bit. I'll post the plans in a the final blog along with lessons and tips learnt.
On Saturday after the arduino talks, Kapil and I had a quick lunch and went back to Mr Fernandes in the wood shop. As you know from the last post, dados had to be cut into the rails. And without a good plan to follow we got a bit apprehensive. But all went well, every thing seemed to fit together as designed. Clearly we were nearly done.
We got back and did the final assembly. Immediately a decision I had taken 2 weeks back came back to haunt me. You see the end rails were of unequal thickness. The drawback of using machines is that everything must be perfect. All the dados are cut using the same measurement. But since the thickness was not the same. The depth of the dado was not the same.
Now we had a 1 mm gap at the joint. This sounds small but the entire joint wobbles compounding the effect across all 4 legs the wobble was pretty bad.
30 minutes of cutting and chopping later we were back in action though. The problem was not difficult to fix. I must remember this for the next time.

Currently the table frame is all steady and looking good. It just needs the top which will go on on the 1st hopefully.

A Prize for winning a Prize!

Given the date, don't think of this as an April Fool's Day joke. A while ago, the good folks at element14 gave me a prize for my project entry for their “Tis the Season for Inventing” contest. Then, they followed it up with giving me another prize for winning a prize ! This is what arrived on my desk today.


Opening it up, and out popped a delicious Pi ! As with the earlier prize, this one too goes to the Makers' Asylum.


The discerning viewer will instantly recognize the all new, yummy, Raspberry Pi 2 Model B 1GB.

  • 6X Faster
  • Broadcom BCM2836 ARMv7 Quad Core Processor powered Single Board Computer running at 900MHz
  • 1GB RAM so you can now run bigger and more powerful applications
  • Identical board layout and footprint as the Model B+, so all cases and 3rd party add-on boards designed for the Model B+ will be fully compatible.
  • Fully HAT compatible
  • 40pin extended GPIO to enhance your "real world" projects
  • 10/100 Ethernet Port to quickly connect the Raspberry Pi to the Internet

Use it to build some kick ass project. Here's a closer look at the board itself :

[gallery ids="4358,4359,4360,4361,4362"]

For a look at the improvements compared to the previous models, check out "Specifications" on this Wikipedia page. Besides this, the provision of four mounting holes is a nice improvement, as is the use of a micro SD card. If you'd like to play around with this delicious board, or any of the other interesting stuff we have at the Asylum, do get in touch with us.

A Month At Maker's Asylum

How did I get to know about Maker’s Asylum (MA) ? Long story short - I attended TEDxHRCollege - where Vaibhav gave a talk about MA - I was blown away by the concept – I dreamt about working at this place – within a week’s time Vaibhav posts for volunteers on FB – I apply - and here I am!

So I join the team, it’s 18th February, what’s my job? Make stuff! So being fond of music (at higher decibels) I saw there are speakers, but they weren’t that cool. So there were a bunch of plywood sheets lying around. I picked one up and decided to build a speaker case.

Meanwhile Yash and Vaibhav brought in some big, precisely cut sheets of plywood. Got to know they were planning to build a cabinet for the Asylum, to be used as an electronics library. So being fond of and wanting to learn woodworking I joined in. Then there was the self balancing bot build going on, another fun stuff. I am not an expert on this, so just check out the related blog on this by Rupin.
So the speaker case was ready in 4 days, during which I was invited by Mr.Fernandes (ISDI woodworking workshop expert) to the ISDI woodworking workshop, when he saw me trying to get pieces of plywood cut using a saw, for the speaker case (must have pitied me!). Boy o boy the woodworking workshop! Someone gift me one mahn! Amazing, just get some wood and you can probably build anything out of it. Anyone can fall in love with woodworking for a while if they visit this place.
Other stuff that were going on at the Asylum? Well, the bicycle build, the talks, meeting new people, the various fun discussions. How am I supposed to make this short and sweet? Let me try. The bicycle build meet up had some really epic ideas coming out, also people could point out the various problems a cyclist faces. Then there was a talk on UAV drones by Mr. Manish Patil, who had worked with the government. He told us how our government can upset/disappoint/(whatever) us, nothing surprising right! But the other things, like what kind of requirements the army/air force have, what kind of technology India has developed, the importance of UAVs, these were some great things to know.

Then there was a talk by Deepak Gupta, who has worked with TATA-JLR, on safety measures in cars and a few other tech specs. Got some industry insight on what and how these car makers go about their business. By the end of the talk Vaibhav decided that we’ll have a portable wind tunnel build group soon!

With all this fun stuff going on I was single handedly, with someone or the other lending a hand going about building the cabinet. Took me an entire month! with the doors, the angles, the alignments, the locks and the paint job. What a learning experience it was. Also SciCamp was hosted by the Asylum. After listening to few interesting talks I went on and started working on making a speaker stand. The only job that was completed in a day!
Later on Kaustubh started working on making bob the biped, a dancing bot, he got the 3d printing done, we got some servos and got bob to dance using a remote control, will get the programming stuff done soon, fun stuff! Speaking of fun, we play table tennis whenever we are free!
So basically it is difficult to summarize everything with the amount of activity, fun, the number of people I met at the Asylum in a month’s time.With the speaker case and stand, and cabinet I got to learn about woodworking. Through the talks, I got industrial exposure. Through build groups I met new people and saw how far can an individual’s imagination go. Through my work assignments at the Asylum I also got to know a fair deal about the kind of inventory a Makerspace requires and how it needs to be run. Basically in a month’s time at Maker’s Asylum, I have got the confidence that I can practically build or make anything. In case of any shortcomings, the knowledge of the makerspace community is there to help me.

And one of the best aspects of this community that I am proud of? Anyone who wishes to make something or build something is welcome here irrespective of age, field of study or profession. The Asylum also helps an individual gain the self confidence and access to resources for making things, which of course our Indian education system fails to impart. You will find only passionate people over here, which creates a fabulous environment.

Hope to see you soon at the Asylum.

Workbench Build: Preparing timber and dry fitting

Saturday found me at the asylum at exactly 10 looking for wood which could be used. To be honest I was not expecting to see any 4x4s. But I was confident that in a maker space I would be able to do some 'jugaad'.
After about 15 minutes it became clear to me that jugad would get me nowhere and despondency set in. Now we would have to purchase the wood, and 12 feet of 4x4s does not come cheap.
This was when lady luck threw me a bone in the form of the most perfect, gorgeous pallet ever. OK fine, in hind sight it was a terrible sight, cracked, dusty and broken. But I was desperate. Vaibhav immediately asked for permission to "acquire" the pallet and joy of joys on closer examination it proved to be perfect, Everything I need was in that 5x6 foot pallet. (A pallet is a large wooden platform which is used to support heavy machinery, it is not great wood, definitely not furniture quality)
It took us the better part of 3 hours to break it down. 1 hammer, and some nice lengths of 2x2 teak were destroyed in the process :( Not to mention the pain in the feet, arms, back, gluts and hamstring. What a workout.


After lunch we took all the wood to the ISDI wood shop where Mr. Fernandes had a look at it for nails etc.
This was the first time I was working with heavy machinery and I was excited. First the logs went over the planer. What takes me 3 hours to plane by hand was done in less than 15 seconds. The machine devoured entire 6 feet of 7 and a half inches of timber and spat out smooth, beautifully figured boards. Then the thicknesser, planed the other side and made both sides parallel. All the boards were prepared this way. I then got to work on marking the timber to size for cutting.
Imagine the scene. General Viren standing in the center of the field surrounded by his troops; planers, mortisers, table saws, bandsaws, scrollsaws and circular saw, giving orders. "Cross cut that to 5 feet", "Rip those 2 up to 5 inches", "make a central tennon of 1 inch on those". I was in heaven. Mr. Fernandes is an experienced hand at woodworking and the 2 of us with help from Kapil, Rahul, Sachin and Vaibhav, quickly reduced the timber to the size and shape we wanted.
All cuts were made inside the line (it is easier to remove material if the fit isnt right than to add material ;) ), so we knew we had work with the chisel.
Going back to the asylum, we fit the legs together. Some material had to be chopped off as was expected and the legs finally took shape. 2 very solid and stong supports make the entire workbench look quite formidable.


During the week, we will be trying to get our hands on some 25mm ply, again this is not cheap, but we will have to get our hands on the dough somehow.
Work for this Saturday
1. mortise the 2.5 mm ply.
2. cut the dados in the side stretchers
3. cut the wedges
4. Assembly
5. Leap for joy at a job accomplished.


Workshop for underprivileged girls school

We conducted a workshop for underpriveledged kids at the Saif Tyabji girls High School organised by the American counsulate.
The workshop started by a short story of the maker movement and whats happening around the world, and what is different about a makerspace than a regular workshop.
After the short talk, we built some pipe lamps. We divided the students into 14 teams of 6 girls and boys. They were each given the same quantity of pipe and joints.Their target was to get the lamps to stay steady on their feet. By balancing the centre of mass or by providing enough touch points to the ground. They loved the challenge and before taking any instructions started playing with the pipes and trying out interesting designs.
Next we taught them good practices of wiring a bulb, and hows its better to press the rubber in the screws and not the copper wire (learnt by Anool). Some kids screwed up a lot but by the end of the session, everyone was super excited about their creations. They ran around screeming till the principals office to show them what they had made. The look on their faces when they first tested their lamps was priceless!
They are all super excited to visit the asylum. We will be hosting them in batches over the next month to introduce them to more technology and how they can start using it.

[caption id="attachment_4314" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Pipe Lamp Workshop at Saif Tyabji girls High School Pipe Lamp Workshop at Saif Tyabji girls High School[/caption]