A good ice maker can run you over $100, and nothing is made to last anymore.  All too common makers buy home appliances only to discover that the manufacturer used a part that would wear out in under a decade.  These mini switches are $5 a bag on amazon, and if you have the time to kill, you can get just the amount you need from eBay, or harvest them out of an old printer.

This repair was done using the soldering station at Makers Local 256.

Makers Local is still mostly inaccessible to the public right now, but our newly elected board is cooking up a plan to host a socially distanced \ Covid safer public night.

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Makers Local 256 for their assistance and support throughout making this. I could not have accomplished this project without all of the wonderful people I met in HSV. As someone from out of town and only in HSV for the summer, I felt incredibly welcomed by everyone at the shop.

Secondly, a huge amount of appreciation is in order to Reddit’s /u/fetchbeer! He built the original version of this cube and was kind enough to post the plans to make it as well, which I used extensively in making my own slightly-modified version. His original post is available here.

Without further ado, here’s some photos of the completed project! The Weighted Storage Cube is 20″ wide and tall, and approximately 2/3 the scale of what is displayed in Portal. My particular cube weighs about 60lbs with all the computer hardware mounted inside – my biggest modification over fetchbeer’s design was the addition of an internal cube which contains all of my home-networking equipment and a few hard drives I set up as a Plex media server. I plan on doing a complete write-up of my build process which will happen in stages. Unfortunately, I’m still taking classes as I finish up my degree so they might be spread apart over several weeks.

Weighted Storage Cube Front 2

The entire cube took me about 5 months to complete, working a few nights a week and weekends during an internship I had. It’s made up mostly of 1/2″ MDF and 3/4″ board, primed, painted, and protective-enameled for the occasional bump or scratch. My eventual goal is to put a piece of glass on top with an etched Aperture logo, but my first attempt failed miserably, so I’m trying to source a second piece of glass.

Weighted Storage Cube Front

The Aperture logo decals are mounted on 1/4″ MDF with a 1/8″ rounded edge which was easily accomplished with a router. The logos themselves were cut on a vinyl cutter and transferred to the 6″ round mounts, which have a set of four magnets inset on the backs. This means the mounts are removable – I plan on making a set with pink vinyl hearts, so it can double as a Companion Cube.

Weighted Storage Cube Front Lower

Weighted Storage Cube pink

The lights mounted inside are remote-controlled RGB LED strips, so lots of different colors can be chosen!

Weighted Storage Cube top off

Unlike /u/fetchbeer‘s cube which had a large bottom hole to mount the lights, mine doubles as a media server so I wanted to use the bottom hole to mount a PC fan. This means the top of the cube had to be removable to mount anything on the interior.

Weighted Storage Cube Interior

What makes my design different from fetchbeer’s is also the inclusion of an interior sub-box to contain various computer hardware. The original design had the LED strips mounted on a small cube on the interior, leaving no space for equipment. I mounted my LED strips on laser-cut panels approximately 1.75″ inches away from the plexiglass used in the cube “windows”.Weighted Storage Cube networking

The interior of the box is a bit of a mess, but it contains a power strip, my Netgear router, a modem, a Rock64 single-board computer (a bit beefier than a Raspberry Pi) acting as a share point/Plex server, and 8TB of HDDs mounted in a RAID array. A 120mm PC fan is mounted to a special holder at the bottom and is controlled by the Rock64 to dump waste heat from when the HDDs are spun up or LEDs are on high.

Weighted Storage Cube (lights off)

That’s all for now – I’ll begin writing up the whole build process at a later date, but feel free to forward me any questions you may want answered now and I’ll do my best to answer!

In my house I have a pair of doors that I would like to leave open for good airflow, however I own a cat. Both rooms have things I don’t want the cat messing with. This started a very simple project that served as a lesson in iterations.

I had a simple idea “just need something to hold the door a couple inches open” So in stead of really planning it out, i rushed off took measurements of the door, and the door frame and figured I’ll just wing it, and so armed with these measurements I fired up Fusion 360 and tossed together the first version of this device, and sent it to the 3D printer.
All the versions

Rather sure that i wasn’t going to nail this first time out I stopped the print about a quarter of the way though no reason to use filament for a rough draft. The first one I had the measurements right but it didn’t take into regard the fact that once you open the door those two faces(door and door frame) are no longer parallel so it actually didn’t even come close to working. It hit squarely on the outside of the door frame.
First version, no where clsoe

On to number two, I eye balled it still very sure this was going to be a quick fix and I didn’t need to waste time planning this out it’s a glorified doorstop nothing complicated what else could I possibly be overlooking? So I tossed a good bit of offset in there again just winged a guess. Still not enough offset.
Try two, At least heading in the right direction

Not to be beat by a door I went back and modified it yet again, try three. This was closer to what I was looking for, but I mistakenly had it’s 3d print infill too high so it took a good deal longer to get far enough though to stop and test. Still not fitting great but getting there, the front angled face that engages with the door frame is not right, and the eyelet to open it is too small.
Well at least it's inside the door frame now.

Try four, getting there the angle between the door and door frame is still not right but we’re certainly well on our way.
I am sorry Mr. Write my 9th grade geomentry teacher, you deserve better.

Fifth try, starting to wonder if the airflow and or cat is worth this kind of time and effort. It prints and give it a shot, well the angle still isn’t right so I tweak the angle a bit more.
I actually almost got locked in the room this time

Decide this is close enough to print a full one. So try six and sure this has to be it, so I print the full thing.
Sure, it makes sense because i point it out, but honest it wasn't this easy the first time.
...no idea what to say

Try seven, change the eyelet to be teardrop shaped to accurately reflect the feeling of being out smarted by a door. But I’m confident I have the angle dialed in after a half dozen previous attempts to print this one in full. And it’s good… but not great. The little raised bit i added on the inside of the door doesn’t have the leverage needed to unlock it so having to slide hand though the door.
Anyone want a cat?

The big kicker happened at this point, i still didn’t have that angle down between the door/door frame. At this point I had three choices.
1) I could leave it and spend a life scraping up my hand getting though the door.
2) I could break out a geometry book, compass, paper, rulers, dice, lucky rabbits foot and figure out for sure what that angle is.
3) Do what I though about doing before step one which I didn’t do because “it won’t be worth the trouble”, model the entire door/door frame/hinge in fusion360 and let that do the math for me.

So I did just that, I only needed to take two more measurements then i started with, the length of the door and the width of the door frame. I then created a joint at the hinge and just like that the door was swinging. I then pretty much started with a blank canvas. I modeled up the new design and printed it, and first try it worked just like I hopped. All the angles are right, it doesn’t bind up anywhere closing it’s perfect, I’ve gone ahead and rented my tux for the 2018 noble prize which due to this thing I’m a shoe in.

Fusion360 you're the real MVP


But wait… there’s more.

Reading this overly verbose recount of a door stop it’s super easy to jump to a tl;dr and make an assumption:
“You should have just modeled the whole door it in fusion 360 and you wouldn’t have had to make so many”

I myself thought that when I finished this at first. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you look at the final product you see it incorporates tons of lessons learned form the previous failures, It has a larger hole which it took my 3 failures to realize was an issue. It has a arm sticking out that enables it to be activated from inside the room, this took an entire night and 7 versions to realize “sticking a hand though a nearly closed door sucks”. It has a a long angle on the front engagement face to ensure it slides onto the door frame smoothly.

No doubt starting with a better model of the door would have fixed some problems, but there are always going to be issues you don’t think about until you run into, you don’t know what you don’t know. So this two way door stop has served as a good reminder that not only is it important to take time and effort to plan out things and not to assume they are as simple as they appear on face value. It also is a good reminder that you don’t make perfection first run though, having drafts, mock ups and failures and the determination to try try again is vital for creating.

It’s time again for our annual pig roast! The 10th annual (can you believe it??) pig roast and LAN party is coming up on June 30, 2018! The pig roast will be 12p-5p and the LAN party will begin at 7p!

To-go plates and adult plates will be $10, kids’ plates (12 and under) will be $5 (with purchase of adult plate).

Hope to see you there!

Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2075819739405414/

One of our members, Robert, needed to replace a cracked door on a popcorn machine in order to get it back up and running.

We grabbed the calipers, fired up the large laser cutter, and got to work! We started off by measuring the size of the door and the locations of the holes for the hinges and handle. We then used those values to make a simple design in Adobe Illustrator:

After double-checking our measurements, we imported the design into LightBurn, a new piece of software for controlling laser cutters like ours, and set the power settings for the piece of acrylic sheet we would be using:

We loaded in the sheet of acrylic, and started the cut! After a minute or so, we had a brand new popcorn machine door! It looked as good as the original so you couldn’t even tell it was replaced. We needed to make a small tweak to the tolerances to get the door to sit correctly on the hinges, but after that, it was as good as new:

I love being able to use the tools at ML256 to save the day in scenarios like this, and I hope we continue to see many more similar success stories and learning opportunities!