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#Welcome To The Fab Lab Limerick Wiki! The following wiki should be used as a source of information for all we have to offer at Fab Lab Limerick. Below we include info on the machines available, costs to use them and what they are capable of.
If you have not used the equipment before we would invite you to attend an introductory workshop. Details of our monthly 101 introductory workshops can be found on our website.
There will always be somebody in Fab Lab Limerick to answer questions and give short bursts of assistance. However if you need a prolonged period of one to one tuition or if you are unfamiliar with the equipment because you haven't attended introductory workshops please let us know in advance that you will need extra assistance. We will organise one of the Fab Lab collaborators to be present to assist you. There is a fee of €20 per hour for this assistance.
When you are familiar enough to use the equipment by yourself you do not have to pay any assistance fee. You can check availability and book our equipment here.
Our Space is open to everybody so please feel welcome to call in for a look around.
If you cannot find the info you are looking for, please send us an email to email@example.com or tweet us @fablabLimerick
Please note that Fablab Limerick is part of The School Of Architecture, University Of Limerick (SA UL). Therefore all SA UL students can avail of the space and equipment for free.
#Materials We try to keep as many of the popular materials in stock as possible but if you want us to order other materials please allow adequate time for that process. We try to have a variety of Plywoods MDFs Cards and Acrylis at all times. We add a 10% markup on all the materials we stock to cover handling and storage.
General material pricelist. We do not have all these materials in stock but should be able to get them at these rates.
We welcome people to bring their own materials into our space and we are very open to experimentation.
#Lasercutter (Lasersaur) Book Here
Staff and students @ Fab Lab Limerick have worked together to build their very own Laser Cutter. 'Lasersaur' is an open-source laser cutter with the ability to cut paper, card, plastics, wood and textiles at a high velocity and accuracy.
It has a bed size of 1220mm x 610mm with the power of a 100 Watt laser output that gives it the ability to cut and engrave large sheets of material.
Lasercutting is the easiest form of digital fabrication we have to offer so it is a great machine to start off with.
Bed Size : 1220mm x 610mm Power: 100 Watt
The lasersaur is capable of cutting many materials. Our library of materials contains a list of cutting settings for materials we have cut. We are happy to test cutting new materials as long as they are safe to cut! The Lasersaur cannot cut Metals, PVC or Polycarbonate.
- Open any 2D drafting software like Autocad or Draftsight (freeware).
- Draw your bed dimensions (1220mm x 610mm). Draw your required design/shape to be cut/engraved. It is good practice to make all lines continuous polly-lines.
- Put cut lines on one layer and engraving lines on another layer. Make each layer a different colour.
- Save your CAD file (you may need to save file as an old version so your svg software can read it).
- Open your CAD file in a software that can produce a.svg file files, eg. Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape (opensource).
- Save your drawing as a .svg file.
- Open Lasersaur door, place material and then close door again.
- Take note of Lasersaur safety, Emergency stop button, where Fire extinguisher is placed and where nearest exit is.
- Connect your laptop to the Lasersaur via ethernet cable. Turn on Laser, Extractor and Cooler.
- Open your Web browser (chrome is best). Type 192.168.1.253 (Laser IP address) into your address bar. Lasersaur App should appear in browser. (It can take up to 60s for laptop to connect to Lasersaur).
- Import your svg file. Pick layers you would like to cut and assign specific power to those layers (data availabe in material chart above).
- Home Lasersaur and press play to cut.
- Do not open Lasersaur without first stopping the cut process.
- When cutting is complete, remove your design and enjoy assembling it!
#Lasercutter (Trotec) Book Here
Our Trotec Speedy 400 is a large, fast laser cutter that has the ability to do incredible detail. It will accept both vector and raster graphices. A range of materials can be cut or engraved including paper, card, plastics, wood, rubber, glass and textiles. The Trotec cannot cut Metals, PVC or Polycarbonate.
The Trotec is a commercial grade laser cutter with a bed size of 1000mm x 610mm. It has the power of an 80 Watt laser that gives it the ability to cut and engrave large sheets of material.
Bed Size : 1000mm x 610mm Power: 80 Watt
Files are sent to the priter as if it was a printer and therefore files can be sent from a number of softwares. We have a computer set up in the Fab Lab permanently connected to the Trotec with the following softwares installed on it:
Adobe Illustarator To use adobe illustrator to prepare the lasercutting drawings please abide the following criteria:
- Artboard size: 1000 x 610mm
- Document colour mode: RGB
- Line weight: 0.001pt
- Raster Engrave: Fill, RGB Black
- Vector Engrave Stroke, RGB Red
- Vector Cut Stroke, RGB Magenta
- Take note of Lasersaur safety, Emergency stop button, where Fire extinguisher is placed and where nearest exit is.
- Switch Trotec on with the key. Switch computer on.
- Transfer your file onto the computer using a memory stick.
- Open the file in one of the available softwares: Adobe Illustrator,
- To send drawing to lasercutter click 'File', then 'Print'. This will open up a printing dialogue box. Pick 'setup' and then 'preferences'. You will be confronted by a few options.
- Minimize to jobsize: Ticked: only the drawing will be sent to the laser. Unticked:the entire page with be sent to laser.
- Pick your required material.
- Process mode:
- Cut line:
- To send, click JC, then print, then print again.
- The JC (job control software) will flash. Click on it to open it.
#3D Printing Book Here ###Intro 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material.
###Reprap Mendel The Reprap Mendel is an open-souce 3D printer that can print most of its own components. At Fab Lab Limerick we have two Reprap Mendel's built by staff and students working together. It can produce objects up to 210mm x 190mm x 140mm with layer accuracy of 0.2 to 0.3mm. It can print a large variety of plastics including PLA ABS and Nylon. More info about the Reprap Mendel is available here and here.
###Ultimaker 2 Factory built open-source 3D printer. Ultimaker uses an additive manufacturing technique called Fused Filament Fabrication to lay down material in layers. The max build size is 230 x 225 x 205 mm with layer accuracy of 0.06mm to 0.2mm.
|SA UL Student||€0|
Note: White PLA plastic is included in the hourly rate. If you wish to use other materials there is an extra cost per/hour (It varies with every material).
Reprap Mendel Build Size: The printer can build objects up to 210mm x 190mm x140mm (lxbxh). Ultimaker 2 Build Size: The printer can build objects up to 230mm x 224mm x 205mm (lxbxh).
Fab Lab Limerick have a supply of white PLA plastic in stock at all times. Many materials are available for 3D printing but we may not have them in stock. ColorFabb has a good selection of good quality plastics to purchase. We can order the material you like but we also welcome people bringing their own material in to use on our machines. New materials are being developed regularly including metal composites. Examples are on display in Fab Lab Limerick.
###Preparing Drawings ######Download a 3D object Thingiverse has many 3D files ready to download and print for free. The file type you need for printing is a .stl file. ######Draw a 3D Object
If you would like to draw a 3D object, any 3D drawing software can be used including Sketchup, Rhino, Solidworks, 123D Make, etc. Sketchup can be downloaded for free and is a good software for a beginner to start with. Sketchup Tutorials are available here.The only requirement for a 3D software is that it can produce an .stl file type. If the base software cannot do this, install a plugin. The plugin for sketchup is available on the sketchup extensions warehouse here. Once you have your specific 3D object drawn export the .stl file.
######Fix a .stl file The .stl file needs to be a completely solid object. If the drawn object has gaps between its faces it may not print properly. Netfabb can be used to fix 3D models with small gaps between faces. Upload your model to their online service, fix and download the model again.
######Cura Cura is a slicing software. It is produced by Ultimaker and is free to download. This software takes your .stl file, slices it and creates the gcode that the 3D printers can use. It is simple to use and the specific settings needed for our printers can be got from us when you call in.
To control the 3D printer you need to install a driver and two softwares on your personal laptop. The driver helps your computer connect to the printer. Slic3r is a software that takes your 3D model (.stl) slices it up and creates a file (gcode) that the printer can read. Pronterface is the software that is used to control the 3D printer. You can download and install the relevant files from here:
The first layer of printing is very important. If this layer does not adhere to the bed properly your print is likely to fail. PLA is easiest to print. Use acetone and a tissue to wipe down the bed. Give the bed a light spray with Hairspray if required. With other plastics such as ABS you will need additional adhesives to bond to the bed. ABS juice can be painted onto the bed to create good adhesion.
######Reprap Mendel From Cura save your file onto the SD card and insert into the printer. To use the mendel, you need to conect your laptop directly to the printer to select your file. To connect your laptop you will need to install a driver and a control software called pronterface.
######Ultimaker 2 With the Ultimaker 2 sending the file to print is a quick and easy job. From Cura save your file onto an SD card. Slot the card into the front of the machine and select your file for printing.
#CNC Router (Shopbot)
Book Here ###Intro Shopbot is a factory built CNC Router able to cut Wood, Plastic, Foam and soft metals. Maximum material size: 2440 x 1220 x 150mm. Many different sizes and types of cutting bits can be used.
Bed Size : 2440mm x 1220 x 150mm Power: 4hp Spindle
######Drawing Any 2D drafting software can be used to create the files for CNC Routing such as Autocad, Adobe Illustrator or free softwares such as draftsight or Inkscape. Each different cutting profile (profile cut, pocketet cut, etc) needs to be drawn on a different layer. When creating your drawings screw patterns and bit sizes need to be considered. Screws are used to secure material to bed. Adequate space needs to be left around screws to ensure cutting bits don't come in contact with them. We usually leave a border of 30mm at the edge of our material for screws. Save drawing as .dwg or .dxf.
######CNC Cutting Bits There is many many types of CNC cutting bits. Differnt bits are used for different materilas. They vary in size speed and shape. This document gives a good overview on the general type of bits that we use. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the diameter of the bit, the faster and deeper it can cut. However if you have intricate work to do you may want to use smaller bits. The bit size we most popularly use is a 1/4 inch (6.35mm) bit as it gives a good level of detil and speed combined. We keep a range of bits in stock but please give us notice if you would like to test any new materials or procedures as we may need to research and purchase new bits.
######G-code Your drawing needs to be converted to 'G-code' for the CNC to read it. For this process we use V-carve pro or Partworks 3D. Both of these softwares are not free. Therefore they are avaiable on a PC in Fab Lab Limerick for your convenience.
It is very important to use tabs in your work. Tabs are small bridges of material that the CNC intentionally leaves uncut so that your piece stays in place until the cutting procedure is finished. Tabs can be added automatically using V Carve Pro software. Please review your cutting process through the preview option before sending it to the machine.
######Safety The Shopbot CNC Router is an extremely dangerous piece of equipment if misused. Please keep a safe distance back from machine at all times when it is in operation. Please use eye and ear protection when using the Shopbot. Do not wear loose clothing or jewellery. Tie back long hair. Take note of all emergency stops before turning the machine on. If you are not completely sure the machine is cutting correctly, pause the Shopbot and turn off the extraction before inspecting. Shopbot can be paused by pressing spacebar on Keyboard.
######Control Software Shopbot 3 is the proprietry software available for our Shopbot CNC. It is used to send manual commands and g-code to the CNC Router. It is installed on our computer and directly connected to the CNC. When the 'Yellow Box' is open you can use the keyboard to manually move the machine. The 'Yellow Box' must be closed to send any other commands to the machine.
######Warm-up If the CNC has not been used within the previous 4 hours, the spindle needs to be warmed up. Shopbot 3 shortcut is C5.
######Loading Material Move spindle up using 'Yellow Box'. Hoover bed so that it is free from debris. Place material on bed and secure with screws. Be sure to place screws so that the cutting bit cannot hit them (in the 30mm border around edge of your piece).
######Insert Cutting Bit Using the two spanners provided to loosen the Collet. One of the spanners must be removed from a Keylock to be used. This is a safety measure to prevent the spindle from turning when you are changing the bit. Insert the new bit with a suitable sized collet and tighten using the two spanners provided.
######Zeroing the CNC The Shopbot CNC router has no 'memory' of what coordinate position it is at if it is switched off. Therefore everytime you switch the machine back on you must set the 0,0,0 (x,y,z) coordinate. Using your 'Yellow Box' move the bit so it hovers above the x,y 0,0 make. ie the bottom left hand corner of your sheet. Using 'Yellow Box' press 'zero Axis' and select x and y zero. The z axis needs to be more accurate. Therefore, we use a zeroing clip and plate. With the 'Yellow Box' closed, connect the alligator clip to the bit and place the place underneath the bit on the material surface. Select shortcut C2 and Machine will automatically zero Z axis. Once all 3 axis are zeroed, the Shopbot 3 software can be closed.
######Sending the File When you have your file created in V carve pro or Partworks 3D, save the toolpaths and it will automatically reopen Shopbot 3. Follow the promps on Screen. It will tell you to turn on the spindle and then send the file. Your now cutting!! Turn on the extraction keep space free from dust.
######Post-Processing Once the Shopbot is finished cutting, turn off extraction. Remove screws from work piece and move workpiece to workbench provided. If you turn the workpiece upside down, you can cut tabs out cleanly with sharp chisel.
##Conclusion Please contact us via email if you require anymore info: firstname.lastname@example.org