Box making

Recently I thought that I would experiment with some new methods for box making. This particular box is made from pine, not exactly something you would use to make quality furniture with but it is really only a practise piece.

The box is joined together with mitered splines, the top and bottom panels are rebated 15mm in from each end. I made the box as one piece before separating the top using the table saw. I also put a chamfer on the front bottom edge of the box and the top of the box lid as well as the top edge on the inside of the panel, this made it look a little more decorative and also hides any uneven gaps that may appear between the lid. I cut the grooves for the splines using a jig I made for the table saw that holds the box at a 45′ angle to the blade. I finished it off with a few coats of varnish.


I’m hoping to do some more intricate box making using some finer hardwoods in the future but overall this project went really well, next time I think I’m going to get hold of some jewelry box style hinges, I used piano hinge on this box which was not idea and is a bit of a pain to work with.



Quadrant 3D Printer Cabinet

With the Hackspace having a collection of three different 3D printers and with them all being kept in one multi use workshop, it soon came apparent that we needed a way to keep the dust of of them all whiles also allowing us to gain easy access to them for maintenance. There was an ideal place in the workshop between the workbench and tool board where a cabinet would sit nicely.

With this in mind I took some measurements of the area and make a few rough sketches on paper. The cabinet would be 1200 x 600 x 2000 it would be divided up in to 6 quadrants, the top 4 quadrants will be where the 3D printers would be housed and the bottom two would

3D model of the cabinet

3D model of the cabinet

create storage space for reels of filament and other consumables. At the rear of each of the 4 printer quadrants there would be a 2G plug and RJ45 socket as each of the printers will run of OctoPi allowing the printers to be controlled remotely on the network. Once I had a feel for what the cabinet was going to look like on paper I drew up a 3D model using Free CAD.


The material of choice was 18mm construction ply, for the method of joinery I went for rebate joints. Each of the panels that the shelf’s and back would sit in had a rebate grove in the width of the ply routed down the width of the panel at the corresponding heights of the shelf’s the rebate was half the depth of the material. The cut away below shows half of the cabinet and how it is assembled. With the CAD design complete I got to work ripping all of the ply down to size ready for routing.

Cut away of the cabinet showing the rebate joints

Cut away of the cabinet showing the rebate joints

To ensure that all of the rebates where routed consistently I used a straight edge to guide the router on all the parts. By scoring each side of the rebate joints with a sharp knife before routing prevents tear out from the spinning cutter leaving a nicer and smoother finish. For routing the rebate on the perimeter of the back the router was used with it’s fens, the fens was set to the correct width from the cutter to the edge of the work piece and run down the edge.

To assemble the cabinet the shelf’s where first glued and nailed on to the two sides, this step was completed first because  you could only get a run of nails in one side of the middle. The middle and top where then joined the same way followed by the back. After a sand and coat of varnish the cabinet was ready to be moved in to the workshop.

The assembled cabinet in place ready for the doors to be hung.

The assembled cabinet in place ready for the doors to be hung.

Once the assembly was complete I decided to add some pull out shelf’s on rails, this would make it easier to remove things from the print bed and gain access to the back of the printer for maintenance.

door frame glued up

door frame glued up

To make the door frames I created a central groove using a table saw in several lengths of 20 x 35mm PSE timber. This grove would be where the perspex in the centre of the door would sit. The rails and stiles where cut to the correct length and a tenon was made on the end of both of the horizontal rails. The perspex sheet was cut to size and the frame was glued up using a pair of sash clamps. I used piano hinge to hang the doors, this was mounted on to the cabinet first.

The first door mounted

The first door mounted

All that was left to do now was install the rest of the doors, give them a coat of varnish, wire in the electrics and mount the pull out shelves. With the 3D printer cabinet approaching completion there where a few things that I could have done differently and some things that could be improved or even added on. One thing that could be different is the method of joinery, there are a multitude of different ways that it cold be done the other witch I looked in to was finger joints. Finer joints provide a larger surface area for glue to stick to but are more time consuming. I ended up using rebate joints because they where more suited to the design, not only that but would also give me more experience for the next job where I could attempt something a little more complex with the skills I have learnt.

The completed quadrant 3D Printer cabinet with pull out shelfs.

The completed quadrant 3D Printer cabinet with pull out shelfs.

Something else that would have helped during the build process is to have made a jig that could be set over the rebate and clamped down that the router would sit in and slide across, making the process of routing the rebates much more efficient and accurate quicker. A later addition that I intend on adding is a set of castor boxes for the bottom two quadrants witch will make it easier to retrieve consumables. Overall it has been a fairly successfully build. The cabinet itself is very sturdy and provides the purpose it was intended for it also provides more storage areas both on top of the cabinet and down below in the two quadrants.





For more images please visit here.

Our visit to Nottingham Hack Space

Last week as part of our research in to opening our own hackspace, one of our members contacted Space. Nottingham was one of the first hack spaces to pop up in the UK, it followed on from London. Arrangements were then made to go and visit. This was to gather as much information as possible related to running/setting up a Hack Space. They have a free open night every Wednesday open to the public.

Whilst we were there we got a tour of the space. It is split in to three different sections as shown below…

The Lounge Area

The Lounge Area

Above is the Lounge area. This is the first room you enter in the space. This is where members sit down, have a chat and chill. The room has a fully kitted media system with a projector and sound equipment, plus mood lighting. They have all of the kit to host presentations/talks. Or you can kick back and watch a film. Around the room there were interesting as well as unique items that had been collected over the years. The collection included old test gear, audio recording equipment and much more.

The main hack/event area

The main hack/event area

The main making area is where most of the activity takes place. In this room is a collection of kit for members to use. This includes sewing and craft kit and 3D Printers. Below is a list of some of the tools that Nottingham’s Hackspace has on offer to it’s members.

– House hold sewing machine
– Industrial sewing machine
– A store of materials and accessories
– Cutting table
– Pursa Mensel 3D Printer
– Craft supply’s
and the best bit…
– An RFID accessed vending machine

Lots of really cool power tools

Lots of really cool power tools

Electronic work area

Electronic work area

The final section was the workshop, this was fantastic! Every machine that you would need for general hacking was there including…

– Hand tools
– Electronic testing equipment
– Soldering irons
– Hand drills
– Hammer drill
– Table saw
– Mitre saw
– The all important Laser Cutter!
– Metal lave
– Manual mill

the list goes on and on…

The overall assortment of tools was astonishing. Nottingham’s hackspace now has around 350 members and counting. Their laser cutter was purchased from , who import laser cutters then modify and improve them before selling them on. The laser cutter runs from an RFID system linked in to the power cable, so members pay per hour of use. It is a really good idea especially seeing how you can keep track on who is using the machine.

Overall it was a very successful event. All of our questions where answered, giving us a lot more information than we started with. We would like to thank everyone there who showed us around and made us feel welcome. You can visit Nottingham’s Hackspace website here: or you can follow them on Twitter .

Just to round off the evening Nottingham Hackspace donated a used railway clock to us. A whole host of Arduino code is publicly available on Git Hub. Altogether as a group we can’t thank everyone enough especially James who helped answer our questions and everyone else who showed us around the space.

Cheers Nottingham 🙂

The railway clock in the back of Steves car

The railway clock in the back of Steves car

Sheffield Maker Day 2014 – With SHHM

Once again the Sheffield hardware hackers and Makers attended the Maker Day 2014, but only this time it was hosted in The Yorkshire arts space just opposite of Access Space.

We had our own stall set up with:
– 3D Printers
– A Raspberry Pi
– A fair few Arduino’s
– Our High Altitude Balloon Project
and lots lots more…

There where three 3D Printers on display. There was the Mendel 90 and Pursa Mendel witch belong to the group and a Pursa Huxly witch belonged to a group member. The Mendel 90 witch was on display at the event was built at an event called “Festival Of The Mined”, this is where a group received funding to build several 3D Printers. At the end of the event the “Golden Spanner” award was presented. Teams where judged on how well they worked as a team, the quality and neatness of the build and the final print quality.

There was also a Raspberry Pi set up with scratch running on it, it was open for people to come along and and have a play. There was lots to talk about to the public about, it attracted a wide audience.

One thing that we did accomplish was getting together 4 Arduino kits. This then means that we can now let people have a play and learn using these kits. An one person who we must say Thank You to is Darran from “We Do 3D Printing” – We Do 3D Printing Store, who sorted us out with some of the kit.


As a group we want to put together some Arduino projects together with the intention of introducing people in to programming the Arduino. One of our members put together a template using Fritzing, an open source program witch lets you creat functioning circuit diagrams for Arduinos and other circuits. The template created displayed below.


With the discussion of the groups High Altitude Balloon project, we had our prototype gondola hanging from a baloney in exhibition hall. There was the sound of telemetry data that could be heard from the other side on the exhibition hall.


Overall it was a very successful weekend. We want to thank everybody who came along to the event on the day, as well as the organises of Maker Day Sheffield and the staff at Yorkshire Arts Space. Not forgetting everybody who came along to help us set up :-).

You can follow the Sheffield Makers on Twitter @shhmakers, or take a look at our Google Groups Forum.



Prototype Payload

As you may already know, the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers group are participating in a High Altitude Balloon launch. We have been busy at the “Hack Shack” making preparations for a kite test flight. Witch is why it has been quite around hear.

All the different parts that group members have created are being bundled up in to a small polystyrene box and are taking flight via a kite. However there are still some parts witch need to be sorted. A half build day and half field day has been proposed. The theory is that we will spend half a day at Access Space adding the final hardware components to the prototype, then the plan is to drive down to Graves Park with radios, laptops, 3G Dongle ext… and conduct some proper field testing.

This is going to help us take another step forwards in getting to launch our proper balloon. We have also put together a video to show everybody what stage we are up to. This included a look at the hardware and payload camera test.

On top of this if there are any radio amateurs or shot wave listeners in that area that are interested in receiving or decoding RTTY data, we will write a post with the radio details.

Feel free to leave any comments with us.


High Altitude Ballooning Update

So… With preparation for our High Altitude Balloon launch well underway, we thought that we would let the community know what we where up to on this challenge.

The bits that we are working on at the minuet include:

– The telemetry hardware (the radio transmitter sending GPS data ect)
– Selecting a suitably sized gondola (the payload box)
– Constructing a parachute
– Experimenting with different methods of reviving the telemetry data

The telemetry transmitter module is now in the stage where it is being made more permanent. It has been soldered on to some strip board with a whole host of components, including a GPS and pressure sensor.

We have been able to acquire some various shaped polystyrene boxes for gondolas. We just need to decide witch one will be the most suitable to carry our payload.

We have also been very lucky to have a group member construct us a parachute for helping the payload get back down to the ground in one pice.

We have a Logo!

The Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers now has an official logo, with thanks to John. Over the weekend he created us a fantastically, well thought out and prestigious logo. We can now put a name to our face and start to show who we are.


I think that we can all agree that a large laser cut version of the logo is on the TO DO…. and maby even with some key rings… 🙂

Thanks John!

Don’t forget! There is an Open Lab Planned for Saturday the 15th in the Refab Lab at Access Space.


February the 15th build day


This time, at the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers build day, we had everything from Arduino to 3D Printers (obviously 🙂 ) and everything in between.

But first, we where reunited with our Pursa Mendel. One of the group members had taken it away to get it up and running. We can’t thank him enough for doing so! When we first started building the Mendel we always kept in mind the idea as using it as a educational tool as it was being built. But we just needed that final big push to get it running.

Below is the machine in a state almost ready to print. The X, Y and Z end stops – micro switches, needed to be re aligned because they had been knocked out of line during transit.

We where able to get the X and Y end stops re alined, but we would haft to sort the rest out on the next build evening.

– More to follow…


The Mendel 90 fixing

Within the build day we where able to get hold of some micro drill bits and other things and stuff…
After successfully removing an amount of burnt plastic from the extruder. We did this by heating up the extruder up to temperature and digging out the burnt plastic.

The first image shows the “things and stuff” bought and the second one shows the print quality after the extruder has been un blocked (how it should look).



Arduino Robots

We also had a group member bring in an Arduino robot an AAR-04. It was programmed from the Arduino IDLE. There are two motors that drive the device back and forwards and a ball bearing at the front that keeps it in line. There are also some sensors at the front of the board, just by the ball bearing, these allow the robot to stop before it hit a surface.

You can take a look at the video below of the robot working…

December the 14th Build Day

On december the 14th we had our monthly build day at Access Space. We had a large array of 3D printers and electronic projects
being worked on, some of the things that went on throughout the day include...
- 3D Printing parts to improve the hack space
- Laser Cutting
- Tinkering with electronics

3D Printing parts to improve the hack space

We have been hosting our meet-ups at Access Space for around 9 months now. From the start Access Space has very kindly given us a space in there Refab Lab for us to store and use our 3D Printers. We where asked to put forward suggestions for in ways witch we
could improve the hack space. We discussed with Access Space about making it an easier space to work in. We decided to create and print some coat hooks. We drew up some 3D coat hooks in Open SCAD, a free open source 3D CAD programme.

3D Printed coat hook being drawn up in Open SCAD

Once the object had been Compiled and Rendered it was exported as a STL file, it could then be sliced and printed. altogether we
printed four of the coat hooks, in total we had three printers on the Job. Including the small foldable, portable printer that
has been made by one of the group members (we will try any get picture).

3D coat hook being printed

This above is this is the finished product. The coat hooks where mounted on to a pice of wood witch was screwed on to a shelving

Laser Cutting

One of the 3D printers that was brought along to the build day was a SUMPOD Delta, this printers X,Y and Z axis sit on three
threaded rods. Some pieces where designed using Ink Scape (a 2D open source CAD programme) and laser cut. The pieces where to
mount the stepper motors on to the printer.

SUMPOD Delta 3D Printer

Among all of this we also had some people with Arduino's creating projects, including light synthesisers.  

We would also like to thank Access Space for providing us with a work space and access to tools and machinery in there Refab Lab.
The next meet up will be held at Access Space on the on January the 27th.

You can keep in contact with us by following us on Twitter @SHHMakers or on our forum at:!forum/sheffield-hardware-hackers

November The 25th Meet Up

This meet up we had many things to be discuss. Some of the things that we went through…

-A review of the Hacker Day at the Hallam University
-Festival of the Mind 2014
-3D Printing in Sheffield
-When the next build day will be held

Following a successful Hacker day at Hallam University we returned to Access Space. At this event we had met a fair few number of new people who showed interest in the group.
Because the Mendel 90 had been transported around it needed some work doing to it. The printer did not seem to be homing it’s Z axis. It was soon apparent that one of the cables for the Z micro switch had worked its way off. This was an easy fix, the cable was re-soldered on to the micro switch. When we tried to home all of the axis, the Z axis did not want to move at all. On closer inspection, the right hand threaded rod was screwed in so tight at the bottom that the stepper motor was unable to move it. Once we had loosened the threaded rod the z axis were free to move. Before we were able to move the machine the Z axis needed to be levelled we did this by positioning the Z axis at about 100mm above the heated bed. Then using a spirit level placed on top of the extruder assembly, the Z axis was levelled by twisting the coupling on the threaded rod.
We then cleaned out the extruder this was done with a small piece of flexible wire bent in to a long U shape. The extruder was then heated up to temperature. The extruders idler was then removed and the hobbed bolt was cleaned. The thin wire was then inserted down the extruder. The extruder was then turned off and left to cool by 20°c. The wire was then removed from the extruder. This process was repeated several times. Once we had completed that we reassembled the extruder and pressed print. It worked just as new!





We also had a discussion about Festival of the Mind 2014, the themes for next year are:

We talked about doing something along the lines of hacking and maybe some Arduino projects, but they were only things that we drafted up at the meet up. If you can think of any other ideas regarding Festival of the Mind 2014 then let us know on Twitter @SHHMakers or our forum.

3D Printing in Sheffield

We only recently found out about a company called ‘We Do 3D Printing’ who are based in Sheffield, they sell items and components for 3D Printers. The company has a online shop set up on eBay. Because of where Sheffield is located it is an ideal focal point for collaborating on projects as well as having places to use 3D Printers and Laser Cutters.

Next Build Day

We now have a build day planned for the 14th of December between 10am to 4pm. You can bring along your projects, get advice from other group members and have access to the Refab Lab in Access Space with the Laser Cutter, CNC Router, 3D Printers and more.
Let us know if you are coming ether by our forum or on Twitter @SHHMakers.