From rLab Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Basic Information

This is where I keep some basic info, ideas for improvements, etc.

Some info about me

  • Have worked in IT since leaving university. Did an industrial apprenticeship before that.
  • Relevant interests are IT, electronics (especially Arduino and Raspberry Pi), lockpicking, PC and tabletop gaming, amateur/ham radio (hold Intermediate licence), practical "making".
    • Just getting into miniature painting, 3D printing and so, as a new member of rLab, everything is something new to try or refresh.
  • Born in Australia, moved to the UK in my late 20s, and have lived in/around Reading since.

Projects I'm interested in trying

  • 3D printing All The Things.
  • The bladesmithing course Steve is arranging.
  • Making custom lockpicks, probably out of hacksaw blades.
  • Casting, particularly things like miniatures.
  • Woodturning - mainly to see what I can do with it.

(Suggested Wiki Page) Bandsaw Operation: Jet VBS-18MW

Following my bandsaw induction, I put together the information that was discussed for my own use, and then thought this may be a useful cheat sheet for everyone that would be good for the bandsaw page on the wiki. Steve suggested putting it up here for review.

Basic Operation

  1. Initial checks and adjustments (see below).
  2. Place access card in reader. Set up guides and blade guide height (see below) as needed.
  3. If cutting wood, turn on waste vacuum.
  4. Press Start button and move the work to the blade.
  5. Press Stop button and wait for blade to stop moving before touching anything.
  6. Turn off waste vacuum. (Repeat steps 3-6 as needed).
  7. Remove access card, put tools away, and clean up.

Initial Checks & Adjustments

To be performed before your first use every session:

  1. Correct blade: Check the blade you need is fitted (wood or metal) and is fitted correctly - cutting direction is down. Measure blade depth from back/flat edge to bottom of teeth. Wood blade is 18mm (i.e. Ʃ|←18mm→|) and has fewer teeth-per-cm than metal blade. If not correct, ask a Level 2-rated person to change it for you.
  2. Gear position: Check gear lever is pushed in for wood or pulled out for metal (middle is neutral).
  3. Vacuum: Check duct is connected, and ensure collector isn't full. Only used if cutting wood.
  4. Blade tension: Open top door, inspect gauge and ensure line is just visible below correct blade saw and type. For example, for an 18mm wood blade ensure the "18" line on the Wood scale is just visible above the gauge pointer. Knob on rear locks it in place, wheel on underside of top cabinet adjusts it.
  5. Blade alignment: Inspect top-side window to ensure blade is roughly centred on pulley. If not, adjust or seek help.
  6. Lower & Upper bearings: Bearing assemblies need have the front edges of the side bearings just behind the teeth, and all bearings 0.4mm (1/64") from the blade. A piece of paper folded twice (4 thicknesses) can be used as a rough feeler gauge. Handle locks assembly in place, wingnuts lock bearings in place, knurled knobs adjust bearing position.
  7. Blade guide height: Adjust height of the blade guide (top bearing assembly) to bring it close to the work, but clear of everything on the table: no closer than 5mm (3/16"). Too much height reduces cut accuracy and can damage the blade. Knob on rear locks it in place, wheel on side adjusts it.
  8. Final check: Ensure locking handles, wingnuts, and knobs are tightened. Close doors and covers.

Safety & Other Considerations

  • The bandsaw and welding machines currently share the same power source, so only one can operate at the same time. You and the welder may be able to agree to alternate work.
  • Use the pusher tools for normal work, but exercise judgement if doesn't need it.
  • Always wear safety glasses or goggles. Wear ear defenders if needed.
  • Never step away from the machine while the blade is moving.
  • Don't rest items on table unless well clear of blade and guides. Keep table clear of offcuts.
  • For large or awkward items, use stand rollers to rest the work on. Consider asking someone to help.
  • The fence isn't perfectly parallel to the blade, so allow extra material that can be removed later.
  • For short items, screw the adapter L-plate (stored on wall ducting at head height) to the fence with the horizontal against the table to allow blade guide to be lowered without fouling the fence.
  • Don't use the fence and mitre to create a guide channel. This can bind and damage the blade.
  • If cutting a curve or freehand, move the work with the arc's centre away from the blade. Don't twist.
  • Manual references: Section 9 for adjustment information and Section 11 for operating information.

Thoughts on this cheat sheet?

(Suggested Wiki Page) Dropbox

rLab has a Dropbox that can be used to transfer files for those who also have Dropbox, but it isn't explained in the Wiki how to make use of it. I thought this page may help, and could be added properly into the Wiki (rather than live here).

Some equipment at rLab -- such as the laser cutter and 3D printers -- make use of files that you'll have made or designed at home. Bringing them with you on a USB stick or SD card is convenient but, should you need or wish to, you can use rLab's Dropbox account to work with and transfer files, or to make files available to another member. rLab's Dropbox address is

What is Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud file storage and transfer service that has Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile clients. The free Basic account gives 2GB space, and the paid Plus account gives 2TB space (see their Individual comparison page for more info). The Basic account is more than enough for anything you're likely to do in the hackspace.

Setting up Dropbox for use at rLab

You will create a folder in your Dropbox that will be visible on all the rLab computers. So you first need to choose, whether you:

  1. Will place files in it at home to download at rLab (read-only)
  2. Want to be able to upload/edit/save and download files to/from that folder (read/write).

Every computer at rLab with Dropbox installed will have that access to your folder, so the difference is important to understand. Note also that a read-only folder will not allow you to save any changes/edits, but it will also ensure that your Dropbox doesn't get any files you weren't expecting.

Once you have a Dropbox account (and optionally installed a client on your computer/device):

  • Create a folder with a name like rLab Dropbox (<YourName>), e.g. rLab Dropbox (JoeB), somewhere in your Dropbox. Ensure your name is in the folder name, as others will have similar folders.
  • Share your folder with rLab one of the following ways:
    • Dropbox website (mobile behaves similarly):
      • Click Files > New Shared Folder, select "I'd like to share an existing folder" and select the folder from the list.
    • Windows desktop (Mac and Linux behave similarly):
      • Navigate to the folder under your Dropbox section with Windows Explorer, or click the Dropbox tray icon and click the "Open dropbox folder" icon and navigate to the folder.
      • Right-click the folder and click "Share..." (has Dropbox icon next to it) from the context menu.
    • And then for either of the above methods:
      • In the "To:" field enter and select "Can edit" (read/write) or "Can view" (read-only) from the dropdown to the right.
      • Optionally enter a short message into the message box, e.g. "Read-only Dropbox share for Joe Bloggs."
      • Click Share.

On desktops, the normal Dropbox folder icon (green tick) will change to shared Dropbox folder (green tick and head portraits). On mobile clients, the regular blue folder icon will add head portraits.

Using Dropbox at rLab

On any machine with Dropbox installed, either use Windows Explorer or click the Dropbox tray item > "Open dropbox folder" icon to navigate to the Dropbox folders. Your shared folder and whatever you've copied in there should appear.

If you shared it as...

  • "Can view": You/anyone at rLab can open its files in any software or copy them elsewhere, but will not be able save any changes, move or delete the contents.
  • "Can edit": You/anyone at rLab can open its files in any software, copy them elsewhere, save any changes, move or delete the contents.

Lastly, any changes you made to the shared folder's contents from your Dropbox account will be synchronised with the copies at rLab and, if read/write, any changes made at rLab will be synchronised in your Dropbox account.

Unsharing a Dropbox folder

The unsharing process is similar to the sharing process:

  • Desktops: Select "Share..." on the folder from the context menu, and note the rLab account in the permissions list. Click the dropdown next to it and select Remove.
  • Mobile (examples tested using Android 9, iPadOS 13.3, and current versions of Dropbox mobile as of January 2020):
    • Android: Select the options next to the folder, tap Share > "Manage access", tap "x members" to expand the list, tap "Reading Hackspace", and tap the Remove Member button.
    • iOS: Select the options next to the folder, tap "Manage access", tap the arrow to expand the member list, tap "Reading Hackspace", and tap the Remove Access button.

You can also use the above steps to adjust the permissions on the folder. For example, you may want to keep it "Can view" normally but change it to "Can edit" for a specific task, and then change it back again. Or vice-versa.

Thoughts on adding this page to the wiki?