Category Archives: laser cutter

Our New Laser Cutter!

The new laser cutter station in our classroom.

We are very happy to share that Hive76 is now home to a 45W H-Series laser cutter from Full Spectrum Laser! Members now have the capability to cut complex 2D shapes in wood and plastic in thicknesses up to 0.25 inch. If you can draw it on a computer, the laser can cut it. It’s great for engraving too:

Our New Laser Cutter!

Hive76 rocks!

We’ve just begun making test cuts and machine break in. Our next step is to develop a class for members to become laser cutter certified. I can’t wait to see what kind of cool projects our members will use this tool for. In the mean time, stop by our open house Wednesday nights 7-10pm to see it in action and find out how to become a member!




Our New Laser Cutter!

Laser guts.



Nieuw gereedschap : Laser Cutter (40W)


We hebben een nieuwe tool erbij, een heuse 40 Watt laser cutter. Een laser cutter stond al een tijdje op onze verlanglijst, na het overwegen van de verschillende opties (zelfbouw, importeren uit china) zijn we gegaan voor de optie om het in Nederland te kopen. De laser hebben we aangeschaft bij BRM thuislaser, het is een nieuwe chineese laser maar wel met een normale Nederlandse garantie.

Nieuw gereedschap : Laser Cutter (40W)

Steampunk lamp

Meteen na installatie werd er al druk mee gewerkt en Govert heeft al zijn eerste lamp mee gemaakt. We zijn benieuwd wat de andere leden mee gaat maken, er zijn genoeg ideeën.

We hebben nog wel een uitdaging met de aanstuur software, er zit windows only software bij dat alleen samenwerkt met Corel Draw. We hebben al een methode ontdekt met windows WMF kunt importeren en exporteren waardoor je dit niet hoeft te gebruiken, maar het is nog niet helemaal een open source oplossing. Wellicht moeten we er tzt een LaOS boardje inzetten, maar dat is voor de toekomst.

Voor meer info op onze wiki




QWERTY (and nothing else)

I built a QWERTY keyboard that types the letters Q, W, E, R, T and Y, and nothing else. No space, no return, no escape.

It’s a fully-functional USB device, you know, as long as you just want to type words that can be composed with Q, W, E, R, T and Y. (WET, WRY, YET, TRY, there’s a bunch of them!)

I wrote plenty more about this project on my blog, and if you want to read about the history of the QWERTY layout, and its connection to Milwaukee, and why the way we interact with technology is interesting and sometime ridiculous, well… I got that too.

Laser Crown Project

April is my wife’s birthday, our Anniversary and a roadtrip down to Disney so I had to do something special.   I loved the Instructable by P3nguin and decided to take it a bit further by adding a reed switch to change display modes and a digital compass module.  Check out the full build log over on the VHS forums!

Crown at 20% brightness

Laser Crown Project

Presentation and Display Box

Projects@NL – Pegboard ribbon/dowel holder

Nova Labs member Andrew has a set of IKEA drawers in his basement full of wrapping paper and gift bag type stuff. On the wall above it is a pegboard where all of the scissors, tape, etc. are hung.

Andrew’s wife used hooks to hold dowels for rolls of ribbon, but they didn’t extend far enough from the pegboard (given the diameter of the rolls at least) so the hooks would often fall down when they pulled on the ribbon.

Projects@NL – Pegboard ribbon/dowel holderUsing Adobe Illustrator, Andrew whipped up these dowel holders to securely hold two 3/8″ dowels far enough from the pegboard to accommodate the ribbon.

Small tabbed feet keep the holder from falling over, and small holes were included to thread zip-ties through it to attach everything to the wall.

They were cut from scrap lite plywood on Mongo, Nova Labs’ 100W laser cutter.

Overall, it is working great! Check out a vectored PDF here: Ribbon_holder.
Projects@NL – Pegboard ribbon/dowel holder
Projects@NL – Pegboard ribbon/dowel holder

This post is adapted from an entry on Andrew Albosta‘s personal blog, and is used with permission (because he did the posting).


Square(ish) Pegs

Often laser cut parts gt attached at 90 degree angles, using finger joints, or screws and t-slots, but there may be times when you want to stack pieces of wood and have them aligned…

Pegs might be the answer!

Here’s a few photos of the pegs I’ve been experimenting with. For these pieces I don’t have a lot of room to have multiple pegs at opposing angles, but I can see where that might be useful. For these pieces the peg is really just for assembly alignment when gluing it all together.

Square(ish) Pegs

Be careful what you ask for!

Several months ago, a humorous request went out for a Zamboni that could be used on the Nerdy Derby track.

Last year the Milwaukee Makerspace held a Maker Fest and a Nerdy Derby track was made for the occasion. The design allowed the track to be disassembled in 4 foot long sections.

When the track was reassembled, earlier this year, for the South Side Chicago Maker Faire, it was found that the joints did not match up as well as when it was first put together. Small ledges, that went up and down, would cause the cars to bounce off the track or hit the bottom of the car. Both of these scenarios prevented the cars from traveling freely down the track.

As many of you know, we just had a GREAT Maker Faire here in Milwaukee last month and the Nerdy Derby track was needed again!

We produced, and ran, over 1000 Nerdy Derby cars over the 2 day event. Wow!

Be careful what you ask for!

A month or so before the event I started working on an idea for a Zamboni type of device. My first thought was of a custom contoured planer that could be used at each joint to smooth them out. This idea seemed like too much work so I proceeded forward with my second design. This consisted of a simple sled hat used a drum sander, which smoothed out the high spots. Wood putty was then used to fill in any low spots.


Laser Cut Cocktail Recipe Coasters!

Years back, I used to throw a lot of cocktail parties.  Between myself and two good friends, we owned five cocktail shakers and 35+ martini glasses.  During the parties, we’d typically be the only three people shaking martinis for all the guests.  Though that’s awesome, it also means we missed out on much of the socializing and mingling during each party.
In preparation for a recent birthday party, the solution came to me: Use Lasers!  So, I laser cut ten coaster-sized pieces of basswood and then laser engraved my twelve favorite Martini and Champagne cocktail recipes on them.  I also cut stands for them that had a laser engraved “best practices” guide for shaking Martinis – you know, the things that bartenders are typically too busy to do for you: Chill your glass before pouring your drink into it, shaking your drink until it is sufficiently cold, etc.  The drinks have recipes that taste better than what most bartenders will make for you, because they include things like an amount of lemon or lime that they’re too busy to squeeze into your drink.
Laser Cut Cocktail Recipe Coasters!The party was an even more awesome experience for me, because I wasn’t only shaking drinks all night.   It was also even more awesome for the guests, as they found that great cocktails are super easy to make!  And who doesn’t like to make things? Laser Cut Cocktail Recipe Coasters! Also, the carbonated Gin & No tonic is real crowd pleaser!  See my previous post about home carbonation for more info, and note that all types of inappropriate things can be carbonated:  Gin, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, grapes, etc!

Crafting for the Workplace

There seems to be a phenomenon in the workplace – in all workplaces – when you’ve just finished Doing the Thing you’re supposed to do.  The moment you lean back for one second, sure enough, the Boss walks by and says, “Why aren’t you Doing the Thing?!?”  In honor of this widespread misfortune, my fellow store managers and I developed:

The Barrister Free Mulligan Token


You see, I work at a board game & toy store.  In the world of collectible card games, taking a mulligan essentially means putting back the hand you were dealt and drawing a new one.  We figured our staff could use a second chance if they were ever caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  With plenty of help from Shane, I was able to laser-cut a bunch of wooden tokens.

Standing up to your boss can be difficult.  But there are times when it’s appropriate, and now each employee is well-armed against fickle fortune.  Shane called our idea “very forward-thinking.”  My favorite part was at last week’s staff meeting, where everyone got do decorate their own personal token:

Crafting for the Workplace


To expend a token, we simply drop it through the slot in the top of the pencil case, which is bolted to the backplate.  Once you take your Mulligan, the boss owes you a second chance, an apology, and (for good measure) a sandwich.  Expended tokens may be reclaimed by attending a staff meeting.  Who knows how much use they’ll see?  Even as just a symbol, it gave us a way to talk about the elephant in the room.

And play with the glitter glue.