Workshop Wednesday is a new weekly feature covering traditional shop craft (woodworking, metalworking, mechanics, machining, etc.)
Intern Dan Spangler with his Combustion Cannon
I recently met up with the inimitable Dan Spangler, an intern working at MAKE Labs. He, along with several other interns, work hard to bring you the latest projects seen both online and in the print magazine.
While I was there we took a look at all their different tools, digital fabrication machines, and projects. I was also able to get a sense of what it is like to work in such a space. Dan loves working there because he’s both a digital artist and a fabricator, so he’s able to bring his ideas to life. An average day at the labs will have them exchanging witty banter, building all kinds of cool stuff, showing visitors around, and hanging out with editorial staff who come in just to take a break.
Some of the projects showcased here are brand new, and will be featured in upcoming issues of MAKE. Grab a subscription if you want to see them again soon.
Here is the woodshop at MAKE Labs, complete with a sander, rotary grinder, drill press, and all sorts of hand tools. Not pictured are a table saw, chop saw, and band saw — most anything one would need to do any non-digital fabrication with wood.
MAKE Labs also boasts a ShopBot, with which they fabricate objects such as this car body for World Maker Faire’s Nerdy Derby competition.
The ShopBot was in need of a vacuum table, so the interns sprung into action and made one themselves. It looks nifty and works like a charm.
This is one of two Ultimakers at MAKE Labs. There are other 3D Printers scattered throughout the shop in various stages of completion.
Here’s Dan Spangler at his workspace. Every intern at MAKE Labs gets a table like this, and each one is unique in its setup. I could get an idea of what kind of makers work at MAKE Labs just by looking at their individual workspaces.
A lot of folks pass through MAKE Headquarters, so a spot is always kept for any guests who want to do some vagabond building.
This picture gives you an idea of how well stocked their electronics lab is. Radioshack gives MAKE Labs a lot of overstock parts and equipment, and in turn MAKE Labs provides some of those extras to visiting teachers and librarians.
Out in the yard is a digitally fabricated workshed. It’s sometimes used as a second woodshop, or as a temporary home for larger projects.
Dan is at home with MAKE Labs’ milling machine. With it he has fabricated such things as…
…this coupling, which is used on…
MAKE Labs’ newly built jet engine! It’s propane-powered, has already been tested, and will be featured in an upcoming issue of MAKE.
The plan is to build a vehicle and mount the jet engine on it. These are some sketches for the first prototype.
MAKE Lab has built a model of a variable geometry nozzle for the jet engine. This one actually works, expanding and contracting, and is based on the nozzle from an F-16.
These handmade Segbots are waiting to buzz around the parking lot. You can expect to see them in an upcoming issue as well.
This coffee can robot steers itself using light sensors and LEDs. Keep an eye out for this little guy in the magazine.
Dan built this experimental projectile for his combustion cannon. The missile is hugged by a sabot that falls to the sides when exiting the muzzle. He designed and 3D printed it. Looks pretty deadly.
And here’s Dan Spangler with his magnum opus – the combustion cannon.