E&R Unit 5: Machines

Soldering, Laser, G-Code, and Vinyl Cutter

MACHINES OVERVIEW

This unit is about learning some of the machines and cool things in our Makerspace.  In this unit, you’ll have a choice of which machines you’d like to work with – each will require getting used to a new program, and creating something simple with it.  As you work through this unit, you’ll need to choose and complete the assignment for at least 3 of the following 4 options:

  • Create a small electronics project by soldering
  • Create a small project on the laser using a design from Photoshop
  • Create a small project on the vinyl cutter using a design from Photoshop
  • Create a drawing on the CNC machine using G-Code

We have three weeks for you to complete three of the four options in our Makerspace.

  1. Learn how to solder and build a small project by soldering the electronic components in their proper places on a printed circuit board.
  2. Create a cool plastic keychain design on our laser by making an image in Photoshop and then cutting it with the laser.
  3. Create a custom sticker with the vinyl cutter by starting with an image in Photoshop and then cutting it with our Roland vinyl cutter.
  4. Make a machine draw a picture by creating a program in G-Code and then having the CNC machine draw it out.

When you’re done, you’ll have made three different things using three different machines and you will have learned at least three new programs!

OPTION 1: SOLDERING

(20 pts)  About 3 days

In this option, you’ll learn the basics of soldering, and make some notes about what different electronic components are, and then create a small light module by soldering the different electronics components in place.

OPTION 2: LASER

(20 pts) About 3 days

Here the job will be to learn the basics of Photoshop to create a black and white image.  You will then transfer this image to the laser and use a program called Corel Draw to find the outline.  The laser will then cut the solid image out of your chosen plastic!

OPTION 3: G-CODE

(20 pts) About 3 days

In this option, you get to learn how to program a robot to draw a picture for you.  You’ll learn what commands do in a language called “G-Code”, and then upload your program to our CNC machine.  You will then be able to make the machine draw your picture!

OPTION 4: VINYL CUTTER

(20 pts) About 3 days

Finally, the vinyl cutter option also has you work in Photoshop to create a black and white image.  Once you have this image, you’ll transfer it to the vinyl cutter and use the Roland Cut program to find the edge and cut out the image from a sheet of vinyl sticker material!

Option 1: Soldering

Learn to solder and build an electronics project

This first option will start with an introduction to soldering, some notes on what electronic components do, and an overview of what you will build.  After you understand the basics, you’ll take some time to solder each of the electronic components into place on the printed circuit board.  When you’re done, you’ll have a functioning electronic light project!

GRADING & PROCESS

Watch the introductory videos and take notes in your engineering notebook.

Build your soldering project and confirm that it works!

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off that your soldering project is complete.

Introduction: How to solder

Introduction: Electronic components

Building your electronics project

What’s Due In Part 1: Soldering

  • Videos & Notes
  • Build & Solder
  • Mr. Benshoof’s check-off

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Soldering

  1. Watch videos and take notes in your engineering notebook
  2.  Assemble and solder your electronics project; make sure it works properly!
  3.  Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your working project

Option 2: Laser

Custom plastic keychain with our 40 Watt Laser

Our lab’s laser is a great tool for cutting, etching, and engraving a variety of materials.  The laser can handle paper, cardboard, wood, and plastics – and for this project, we’ll focus on plastics!  Start by watching the videos on how to use Photoshop to make your keychain image.  Then, transfer that image to the laser’s computer, and convert it in Corel Draw.  Finally, use the laser to cut your keychain out of the acrylic of your choice!

GRADING & PROCESS

Watch introductory video on Photoshop and take some notes on making a design

 Create your design in Photoshop and transfer it to the laser’s computer in the makerspace

 Watch the video on converting your design for the laser

 Follow the steps to convert your design so it cuts and etches properly

 Watch the video on using the laser correctly – take some notes, there are lots of steps!

 Follow the instructions to cut your design on the laser

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your finished keychain design

How to use Photoshop

Converting your image

Using the laser

What’s Due In Part 2: Laser

  • Photoshop & Corel Draw
  • Cut it on the laser
  • Mr. Benshoof’s check-off

Here’s what’s due in Part 2: Laser

  1. Notes about Photoshop, Corel Draw, and using the laser
  2.  Your finished .jpg file from Photoshop and your finished plastic keychain!
  3.  Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your completed keychain

Option 3: G-Code

Programming to make a machine move!

Most of the machines in our lab work on something called “G-Code”.  G-Code is a simple programming language that tells machine parts to move exact distances and directions.  The laser, vinyl cutter, CNC router, CNC Plasma, and all our 3D printers all move with G-Code. In this unit, you’ll learn how to program some basic G-Code and make a machine draw you a picture!

GRADING & PROCESS

Watch the Introduction to G-Code tutorial and take some careful notes!

 Draw out your picture by hand, find the coordinates, and write your G-Code

 Watch the CNC Machine tutorial and take notes

 Upload your picture and watch the machine draw!  Fix your program and redraw as needed

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your G-Code drawing

G-Code Overview

Basic G-Code

Using the CNC machine

What’s Due In Part 3: G-Code

  • G-Code Notes
  • Preliminary Drawing
  • CNC Drawing
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Check-off

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: G-Code

  1.  Notes in your engineering notebook about G-Code and how it works
  2. A drawing and plan in your engineering notebook for your final drawing
  3. Your actual drawing from the CNC machine (it might take a few tries)
  4.  Mr. Benshoof’s check-off of your final drawing

Option 4: Vinyl Cutter

Create a custom sticker with our vinyl cutter

Our last option is to learn how to use the computerized vinyl cutter.  What the vinyl cutter does is it takes a black-and-white image and traces the outline.  The machine can then cut thin vinyl (like stickers) following the exact path you have on the computer.  In this option, you’ll learn some Photoshop to make a black-and-white image.  You’ll then use that image to cut out a custom sticker on the vinyl cutter.

GRADING & PROCESS

Watch the tutorial on Photoshop and take some careful notes.

 Make a black-and-white image in Photoshop that you’ll cut out for your sticker.

 Take careful notes on the tutorial for how to use the vinyl cutter.

 Transfer your image to the vinyl cutter’s computer, trace the outline, and cut your sticker!

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your vinyl sticker

How to use Photoshop

Converting your image

Using the vinyl cutter

What’s Due In Part 4: Vinyl Cutter

  • Photoshop/Vinyl Cutter Notes
  • JPG Image File
  • Final Vinyl Sticker
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Check-off

Here’s what’s due in Part 4: Vinyl Cutter

  1. Notes in your engineering notebook about Photoshop and the vinyl cutter
  2. Your original image (.jpg) file from Photoshop
  3.  Your final sticker cut on the vinyl cutter!
  4.  Mr. Benshoof’s check-off of your final sticker

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to get experience working with the different machines in the lab.  In all cases, the process starts with some research and thinking, then working in a computer to create something, then moving to a machine to finish the job!  We need to get used to the processes that run the tools in our lab, and this is a perfect time to do that!

Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) You should have taken some careful notes from tutorials for your first project.

(Part 2) You should also have taken some careful notes from the tutorials in your second project.

(Part 3) Of course you should also have taken some careful notes from tutorials for your final project.

Building & Making:

(Part 1) You should have actually made something that turned out nice in your first project.

(Part 2) You should also have made something nice in your second project.

(Part 3) Finally, you should have made something your final project.

Checkpoints & Quizzes:

(Part 1) Mr. Benshoof should have checked-off completion of your first project.

(Part 2) Mr. Benshoof should have also checked-off completion of your second project.

(Part 3) FInally, Mr. Benshoof should have checked-off completion of your last project.