Members Accept New Roles: “Chiefs”, “Champions”, and “Project Manager”

Much headway is being made in improving just about every area in the Appleton Makerspace. Members have been volunteering hundreds of hours of time towards the goal of improving our facility. The abundance of activity has been excellent and overwhelming, and after a few months of discussion, the board has decided to officially ask members to be “Chiefs”, “Champions”, and a “Project Manager” to help organize and maintain the physical space.

The abundance of activity has been excellent and overwhelming, and after a few months of discussion, the board has decided to officially ask members to be “Chiefs”, “Champions”, and a “Project Manager” to help organize and maintain the physical space.

A “Chief” is a member who has been asked and has agreed to take on responsibility for a specific functional area of the Makerspace (i.e, The Metal Shop, The Woodshop, etc…) Chiefs will be responsible for maintaining and improving their area, defining safety rules, defining what training is necessary to use the equipment in their area, and scheduling use of resources that are particularly valuable or in-demand. Chiefs will work with present Facilities Manager Sim Dorsey to establish their roles and fit their functional areas within the context of the larger Makerspace. By asking specific members to take on authority and responsibility for these areas, we hope to keep the Makerspace maintained, organized, more functional for all of the membership, and ultimately better able to fulfill our mission.

Helping the Chiefs will also be the “Champions”. A Champion is a member who has volunteered to undertake a specific project to improve our Makerspace. Champions can be any member who wants to undertake a task that the Chief of an area or that the Facilities Manager agrees would be of benefit to the Makerspace. Champions will be performing the tasks that will ultimately make the Makerspace better for us all. Members are encouraged to Champion a project, and are asked to speak with the Chief of the area or the Facilities Manager about their idea.

Members are encouraged to Champion a project, and are asked to speak with the Chief of the area or the Facilities Manager about their idea.

Assisting the Chiefs, Champions, and Facilities Manager will be the Project Manager. The role of project manager, as described by Appleton Makerspace President Shane Grey, will be “offering help to everyone who is taking on responsibilities within the organization…coming to understand your goals for any particular project you are taking on, helping you define the resources you will need, and helping you get unstuck whenever the project hits a wall.” Shane stresses that the Project Manager will not be “leading” or “managing” projects for others, but rather providing an “…outside-the-project perspective, and guidance to help us organize our resources…”

The role of Project Manager, as described by Appleton Makerspace President Shane Grey, will be “offering help to everyone who is taking on responsibilities within the organization…coming to understand your goals for any particular project you are taking on, helping you define the resources you will need, and helping you get unstuck whenever the project hits a wall.”

Currently, Makerspace member and experienced project manager Mathew Peterson will be filling this role. He will be contacting the Chiefs of each area to discuss the their goals and projects, and working with them to achieve them. Mathew will also establish the details of “Make the Space Nights” and other volunteer sessions. If you would like to contribute to making the Appleton Makerspace a better place, please speak with Mathew so he may find the right project for you!

Please visit our website again later this week for the official announcement of our first Chiefs and Champions. The board asks that members please be patient and understanding as we implement this new system to maintain and improve our Makerspace. Let’s do our best to help each other make the Appleton Makerspace an excellent facility!

 

Lighter, Stronger, Sleeker, Better Windscreen!

The original windscreen for our airplane, although functional, had some issues. It formed cracks from coming into contact with the front cabanes, was made from heavy .120″ thick acrylic, let a lot of air pass close to the pilot’s head because it was too narrow, and had sharp corners that weren’t aerodynamically friendly.

The original windscreen
The original windscreen

I set out to address all of these issues with a lighter, sleeker, wider, better windscreen! Polycarbonate was the material of choice, as it is far less prone to cracking and can be purchased as thin as .040″.

First, I cut L-angles to size as supports. I made a jig on the drill press to drill out lightening holes in each support, then installed those supports on the fuselage.

L-angle supports, with lightening holes, installed on the fuselage. The lightening holes saved about 2.4 ounces from the entire assembly.
L-angle supports, with lightening holes, installed on the fuselage. The lightening holes saved about 2.4 ounces from the entire assembly. Not much, but every ounce counts. The L-angles are simply zip-tied in place. It’s light, it’s cheap, it works! 
Jig for drilling lightening holes in the half-tubes that support the windscreen along its curvature. I drilled a hole of the same diameter as the tube, and covered half of it with a piece of wood so the tube would not rotate.
Jig for drilling lightening holes in the half-tubes that support the windscreen along its curvature. I drilled a hole of the same diameter as the tube into the block of wood at left, then covered half of the hole with a piece of wood so the tube would not rotate. Then it was a simple matter of sliding the tube and using the square to get the right lateral distance. Because of the concave surface, the drillbit didn’t wander. No punch required!
Paper pattern clamped in place.
Paper pattern clamped in place.

Then, I clamped a piece of paper in place as a pattern and cut it down to the proper size and shape for the polycarbonate.

Finally, I cut out the polycarbonate and riveted it directly to the supports, making a sturdy windscreen. For the supports along the curvature, I used an aluminum tube cut in half lengthwise. The entire windscreen, half-tubes and all, was easily bent to shape by hand.

Completed windscreen, as seen from the cockpit. Note the support at top of windscreen holding it out to the side to provide more wind protection for the pilot's head.
Completed windscreen, as seen from the cockpit. Note the support at top of windscreen holding it out to the sides to provide more wind protection for the pilot’s head.
The NEW windscreen, with protective film kept on to prevent scratches while other work is finished.
The NEW windscreen, with protective film kept on to prevent scratches while other work is finished.
Postage scale used to quantify weight savings. Good investment for weight-conscious airplane homebuilders.
Postage scale used to quantify weight savings. Good investment for weight-conscious airplane homebuilders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Parts Cut with Shapeoko

Noseribs Installed
The plywood noseribs, which were cut with the shapeoko, installed on the leading edge of our wing.

In need of new nose ribs and after finding the quality of the original noseribs detestable (we built them in high school with very few tools and no Makerspace!) Tyler set out to cut them out on the Shapeoko while I did other work.

Very poor craftsmanship on our original noseribs from high school.

He started by scanning the original full-size drawing from the aircraft plans, then used LibreCAD to trace the outline. He then used CAMBAM to set our feed speeds and generate the Gcode read by GRBL controller and the Shapeoko. He then spent a few hours tweaking the Shapeoko and figuring out how to position plywood blanks for a reliable cut.

The .dxf file loaded into CAMBAM to have feed speeds and other machining instructions established before being converted into Gcode.
The .dxf file loaded into CAMBAM to have feed speeds and other machining instructions established before being converted into Gcode.

 

 

After a few botched prototypes, Tyler managed to get the Shapeoko to produce very consistent and accurate parts. His time was limited, so we spoke and agreed that he should write a checklist for the procedure to produce a noserib. He developed one and left it for me, along with all of the blanks I needed pre-cut.

 

The LibreCAD file Tyler drew of the noserib. He scanned an image of the original plans and traced it to get the curvature.

 

 

The Shapeoko took about 30 minutes to finish cutting a part, so as I worked on other parts of the airplane I periodically replaced the plywood blanks, started a new noserib, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Isn’t automation great?

The Shapeoko at work cutting out one of our first noseribs.
The Shapeoko at work cutting out one of our first noseribs.