Technocopia

Technocopia is maker space located in Worcester, MA.  We provide our members with workspace and access to a bunch of tools to work on whatever they can dream up!

New Year, Jan, week 1

Happy New Years!

In an effort of starting off the new year right, we are going to try and start a few new traditions with the new year.

First, some announcements:

  • I am going to start trying to write one blog post per week each Saturday, and this blog post will keep everyone up to date.  Want to keep up to date?  It'll all be here.  Fewer spam emails, the relevant stuff will be here.  I will also try to get these blogs set up through Twitter and Facebook so you guys can get them that way.  These updates will include everything from machine status, to our progress on new R&D, to local events, to how our space is doing and what happened at membership meetings...
  • We will be having our first "Meeting of the Membership" on the last Saturday of January (1/25/14).  The meeting will be held at 6p and will likely run late, as it is our first meeting.  Monthly meetings will continue following that pattern, occuring on the last Saturday of the month @ 6p.  For now, meetings will be "advisory" but will soon become the working decision making body of the organization (i.e. will act as the Board of Directors) with each Voting Member garnering one vote for the purpose of making decisions on behalf of the organization.  Please attend, and make time each month to keep attending, these meetings will become very important.
  • The Long Hall Gallery, our neighbor, will be closing up the gallery and the art will be going home.  Last day to see the art is Tomorrow, Sunday (1/5/14) @ noon-7p.  Support art, support Worcester, support Technocopia start-ups, and if you have time pop in and see the art.  I saw the opening, and it was remarkably good and I don't usually go in for that sort of thing.  Link to LongHallGallery.
  • Kevin got invited to be on a local panel of tech experts, as a 3D printing expert.  The panel is on Monday (1/6/14) @ 5:30p-8p.  $30 at door, comes with food.  I have fun when I go, and often meet/network with  interesting local (central MA) people and its a good place to learn about tech start-ups.  Link to TechSandBox.

Machine updates:

  • 3D printer:
    • New printer is available, generously paid for by Marcus, a member.
      • Capable of printing with two materials, allowing for two color prints and single color prints using support material to achieve more complex shapes with overhangs.  Let us know if you have a desire to be the first to try either functionality.
    • All Printers are online and running well.
  • Laser cutter:
    • The laser is finally back online, and Alex is back from vacation.  If you have been waiting to work on the laser cutter, please send your files to queue@technocopia.org and/or talk to Alex in person to make sure your projects have not been forgotten and are making progress.
    • I apologize for the lengthy downtime on this machine after the laser tube exploded.  The laser continues to prove itself to be a terribly difficult machine to service in house.
    • We have made significant improvements to the laser, including better cable and cooling management systems, to prevent another laser tube explosion.
    • Coming soon, a new adjustable nail bed which will give the cuts a higher consistency, and improve safety.
  • Injection Moulder:
    • New injection moulder is available, generously paid for by Marcus, a member.
      • Capable of creating plastic products with very high resolution using a mold.  Let us know if you want to be the first to use the new machine.

Research and Development:

This section will talk about the new machinery and open-source technology that Technocopia is involved with developing.  If you would like to get involved in any of these projects, we would be happy have to on-board.  Just talk to Kevin about how you see yourself helping.  Alternatively, if you feel like you might want one of these new machines for yourself, talk to me about getting put on a list to be notified when they become available.

  • 3D Printer Prototype - ServoStock v1
    • We are working on a new delta-style 3D printer that will provide a higher speed print, without sacrificing any accuracy as compared to the average consumer grade 3D printer. 
    • Price range will be in the $200-$400 region, much cheaper than alternatives.
  • CNC Router - UberRouter
    • Designed by Kent, a member, this new router will have a larger bed size and more functionality than our current router. 
    • It will have traditional router, like we have now
    • A (huge) laser on board so you can router or laser your wood/plastic/metal/etc.. 
    • And, it will also have a lathe attachment so you can use your router/laser to lathe your materials too. 
    • Whole design will be modular so you can get as much or as little as you want. 
    • Designed to stand on it's side, it will take up less floor space than our current router
    • $Price to be determined after prototype is made and proven.
  • Aquaponics
    • Technocopia has found basic funding to build an aquaponics prototype here in the space.  Anyone looking to learn about urban farming, permaculture, aquaponics, sustainability, the 2nd green revolution, etc., should consider getting involved in this project.
    • Our goal will be to prove out new technologies we are applying to aquaponics, like a new LED high efficiency grow light system.
    • We will also be experimenting with certain plants intended as food and material sources to collect data on aquaponics systems, and how we might apply robotics and automation to maintain an aquaponics greenhouse.

January Classes and Training schedule.

We will be hosting classes and (finally) training courses for members on Saturdays from noon-6p.  Please check the calendar for dates and times.

  • Kevin will be teaching a 3D object design class.  Skills will be taught through a project based learning style.  You will be using CAD software to create a design file for a robotic arm.  Bring a laptop to the class.
  • We will be holding two training classes this month to teach members who wish to become volunteers how to run jobs off the queue.  You can also use this class to learn how to run your own jobs on the machines, and how to better design your files around the constraints of our machinery.  We will be hosting one class on 3D printers, and one on the laser cutter.

Building the Space

We are currently working on building our membership, so we can increase revenues.  We need help going around the city and getting local storefronts, colleges, organizations, institutions, etc., to put up our fliers.  Publicity of any kind would be hugely useful in bringing in the revenues we need to help build this space.

The community is also in need of people to do work of various sorts, work includes:

  • Design and building of new furniture for the space.
  • Finding new members
  • Finding new institutional members
  • New volunteers who could be responsible for aspects of the space.

Many people have stepped up already, Thank You!  Our space is as good as the community we build around it...

Community Building

We would like to start a tradition of hosting potlucks at Technocopia on Sunday evenings around dinnertime, 5p-ish.  We think this would build our own community, and give us an opportunity to get to know each other, talk, play games, etc..  We hope this tradition will grow into something greater in the future as we grow and have the resources to do more.

We are looking to start speaking locally to people about how robotics, automation, the hacker movement, open-source, sustainability, hands-on education etc., are important to and affect local communities, and Worcester.  We would like to advocate and build support for the kind of technology and change we would like to see more of here in Worceseter.  If you have ideas for venues and community organizations that would like to entertain guest speakers, please let us know.  We will carefully select the first venues based on what we feel we can responsibly handle.

Closing

In the spirit of the New Year, may we all find enough happiness and peace for ourselves and to share with everyone we meet.

Stay warm.  Happy New Year.

Nick Bold
The Verbose
 

Sponsors

Monster Movers

Monster Movers

Earth Works

Earth Works

Technocopia 
44 Portland Street 6th Floor
Worcester MA, 01608
Ph. (774) 420-2244