PCB Mill Dust Collection System

Recently, we discovered that the dust collection vacuum unit for our LPKF Protomat C30/S was leaking powdered fibreglass dust all over the under-desk cabinet in which it lives. This of course being unacceptable from a safety perspective (powdered fibreglass is not a carcinogen, but is a major irritant in general) and from a cleanliness perspective, we took it upon ourselves to figure out what went wrong.

It turns out that the machine had been operated for an indeterminate amount of time without pre-filter bags, and the filter had failed under the load of nearly 3mm of caked-up fibreglass and copper dust. D’oh.

So, a quick Google search yielded exactly zero sources for filters (but LPKF will sell you the bags, $35/5).

In true hacker spirit, this did not phase us at all. After all, how hard can it be to build a dust collection system from scratch?

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[Open Letter] i3 Detroit 2013 Year-End Reflections and Looking Forward

Makers, Hackers, and Creators,

We achieved so much in the last year. As 2013 comes to a close, I wanted to highlight a few things this extraordinary organization has accomplished.

We had an incredible amount of classes this year, ranging from Bob Ross paint-a-longs (thanks Kevin), highly-sought after welding classes (thank you Jody), kiln classes (thanks Terry), to laser training, (thanks Matt A., Roger, Devon, Andrew and others I am likely forgetting). A few years ago, using the laser cutter was nearly impossible because there were only a select few people that were trained on it. Today, it’s one of the most used tools in the shop. That’s real measurable progress towards increasing the skills of our members.

Bombs Away! Watermelon Drop Recap

An after-school program group for teens from the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs Center (MCWS) came by i3Detroit for a special event. We wanted to do an event that involved a team challenge, brainstorming, designing, and building. A lot of schools and organizations do egg drop contests. The goal would be to design some mechanism to protect and egg falling from a 10ft or higher. We wanted to amp it up to something a little more bigger and badder — a watermelon drop contest.

The group divided up into 3 teams. Each team had a coach from i3Detroit to assist with some of the more dangerous fabrication.


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Painting, Mask Making, Paperclips

What’s been happening at i3 lately? A bunch of things. But, here are some highlights.

Karriane G. taught a few classes on leather mask making. It was perfect timing right before halloween. Students learned the basics of forming with leather, and were able to follow through creating their own design,  adding hardware such as studs and grommets, and finally painting their creation. They’re all set for a masquerade!

Leather Mask Making

Kevin F. has been busy teaching oil painting classes. These have been insanely popular, often filling up within a day. It’s so amazing to see people come in and learn new techniques. Most of the students came with little-to-none painting experience, but all left with smiles on their faces.

Oil Painting Collage

Matt O. has been working on his halloween costume. Can you guess what it’s going to be? Here’s a hint: “It looks like you’re trying to write a letter!”


Of course making a giant paperclip out of metal would be insanely heavy, so it’s actually that universal crafting material, the grown-up version of popsicle sticks: Schedule 40 PVC! Bent and formed by a combination of hot air, teamwork, carefully placed screws, and minor burns.


LAN Party Oct. 12 8pm-?

It’s time for another LAN Party at i3Detroit. This time around we expect Terraria to top the list of games we will be playing. If you are not familiar with Terraria it is like a 2D Minecraft meets Metroid meets Contra. The v1.2 release happens Oct 1st so we’ll have tons to build, explore, and battle at the LAN on the 12th. The game costs $10 on steam and runs on almost any windows PC. It’s possible we’ll play a few rounds of TF2, L4D2, LoL, and others while we’re at it. The event is free to i3 members and waiver signing guests. So come on by Saturday October 12th and play some video games.

UPDATE: There are emerging plans for a Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Doom tournament. Come frag with us on these super tiny computers!

UPDATE 2: The i3Detroit Terraria server is live at port 7777. Come join the fun.