Learning by Doing at the Arch Reactor Hackerspace

Tuesday June 9th Ann and I went to the Arch Reactor Hackerspace in St. Louis. It was my first time going but once I got there I found that it was a very nice space with about 40 people working on all kinds of different things. Anything from electronics to art you could seem to find a little of everything going on inside. My first impression was that it must be a local business that had found the golden idea to make money in that area but I was surprised to find out that it is actually a non for profit organization working to better its community by educating its people on how to become a maker. For more information on what a maker is go to http://makered.org/ and also check out the Arch Reactors website at http://www.archreactor.org/

We went to the Arch Reactor to use their laser cutter to make some pieces for a cubetto that I am going to build for our makerspace. Though Ann does have some experience working with this tool, we had a hard time getting our files to work with their program. After a good half hour or so we found that we had to use a third party application and resize the blueprints in order to get it to work.

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We had just gotten everything up and running, when suddenly we noticed an odd smell coming from the cutter. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that we had burnt a large hole in the middle of our wooden panel, starting a small fire in the process. According to the lady there, it was the 1st fire she had seen that laser cutter ever make! She gave us some advice on how to use it, and through that we found that the oak wood we were using is very dense, which is most likely why it caught fire.

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After all of our problems, it was looking like we were going to have to go home empty handed. Fortunately, the lady was nice enough to give us some of her wood, allowing us to finish our cuts and go home before it got too late.

Out of the 3 hours that we were there, it only took about 45 mins to make the cuts after all the craziness was over. All in all it was a fun time, and I learned how to use a laser cutter.

Small side note for those who are interested in more information on the cubetto go to http://www.primo.io/ or if you would like to make your own go here http://www.primo.io/docs/docs/make.html .

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