This week’s schedule(Sep 23 – Sep30)

Here’s this week’s schedule:

  • Tuesday, from 07:15PM Splat Space Open Meeting:

    Open Meetings on Tuesdays include member show & tell, project updates, and calls for collaborative hacking from 7pm-8pm. By 8:00pm, the meeting will break and everyone is free to mingle, work on projects, and get to know fellow hackers.

    How to get here:

    We’re in the basement below Beyu Caffe @ 331 W. Main St. Parking behind the building on Ramseur St — there is plenty of parking and it’s free on weekends and/or as long as you exit the lot after 7pm.

  • Saturday, from 1:00PM Personal Digital Fabrication):

    Go here for directions to SplatSpace:


    We hope to see you there!

  • Sunday, from 06:00PM Software Project Night:

    Go here for directions to SplatSpace:

We hope to see you out!

Member Project – Building Guitar Humbuckers

Over the past couple of months, member Jeffrey Crews has been slowly refurbishing an old Gibson Epiphone guitar that showed up at the Space.

“It was missing the pickups, nut, mounting plate for the output jack, all wiring, and rear electronics cover.

However, the body was in ok condition and the neck was straight. Since I had rebuilt a Fender-style electric guitar in the (distant) past, and recently rebuilt an electric bass, I decided to fix up this one, only this time with a minimum of purchased parts.

I had to purchase the bridge and tailpiece (to which the strings attach) from Ebay for $20 because my machining skills are nowhere near up to that challenge. I designed and printed the electronics cover, nut, knobs, and jack mounting plate.

I also decided to take the plunge and build a set of 2 “Humbucker” pickups instead of buying them.

A little background: a guitar pickup uses a coil of thousands of windings of very fine wire on a plastic “bobbin,” on which are also mounted strong magnets. The steel strings, which are also in the circuit, vibrate when plucked, and this vibration causes a fluctuation in what would otherwise be a stable magnetic field. The coil turns this fluctuating magnetic field into an electrical signal.

The coil might also pick up the 60Hz signal that all of our electrical systems are continuously broadcasting; a “Humbucker” pickup uses two paired coils that are wound oppositely to each other so that the two 60 Hz signals will be out of phase and cancel each other out. The magnets on the two coils are also reversed in polarity, so that the actual “string” signals from the two bobbins are NOT out of phase.

The above is a very, very simplified and fudged explanation; pickups are something of a Dark Art and there’s way more information on the Internet that you’d ever want to read about them.

Splatspace has a 3D printer and also some large coils of fine (~45 ga) enameled wire, so I designed and printed 4 bobbins and a jig to hold the bobbins in an electric drill. I used a small clamp to precisely adjust the drill’s speed so that I didn’t snap the wire.

First I re-wound small spools of wire from the giant 10 pound reel

then wound each bobbin.

Gif of winding bobbin with power drill

I didn’t count the windings; some of the original Gibson technicians said that they used “as many as it would hold,” so I didn’t sweat it. Pickups have to be “potted”- infiltrated with wax or plastic so that the coil windings themselves don’t vibrate or move around. Since I printed these bobbins in ABS, I just trickled ABS glue (ABS dissolved in acetone) into the windings until they felt hard.

Humbucker #1 uses common rare earth magnets I bought from Banggood.

The 6 “slugs” which penetrate through the bobbin are just pieces of steel bolts.

Humbucker #2 will use strong ceramic magnets. Hopefully these two completed Humbuckers will have somewhat different characteristics so that the usual pickup-selector switch can select for different sounds.

Here’s the first completed bobbin.

Since then I have completed the second bobbin, and assembled and tested the first completed Humbucker. It works!

Up next: printing out the casing which will hold the completed Humbucker and allow for spring-mounting inside the body. I might also print out a thin pickup cover for each pickup since they’re kind of ugly. This style of guitar didn’t originally have a pickguard, but I might cut one out of brass sheet and electrolytically etch it. More on that later.”

Meet the Mill!

On August 2 we held a “Meet The Mill” event at Splatspace for the ShapeOko2 CNC mill/router which we won from Inventables. Inventables had sent us a set of aluminum and walnut bottle openers, and several members and non-members used the Easel design and toolpath software to design the engraving on their bottle openers.


There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to optimizing bit size and type vs. the design so as to get adequate detail while minimizing milling time, and we made considerable progress during this event.


3D Printed Pen for Gishwhes at Splat Space!

At Splat Space we love to do awesome things, and what could be more awesome than helping out in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen


Gishwhes is an annual event where people from all over the world form a team of 15 people who are tasked with one simple goal: participate in one of the craziest worldwide scavenger hunts! Participants “capture” items via photo and video for submission, you can see examples here, (I’m rather enamored with the picture of the girl shopping for diamond’s while wearing a wig made of popcorn)

Over the years, participants have helped to break five Guiness World Records ( Interestingly two of those were for “Largest Media Scavenger Hunt” two years in a row )!


This year’s hunt began on August 2nd, and Splat Space was asked to help in fulfilling the challenge to make a a 3D printed pen (Quills are back in style ya know!), and write message with it!


So what message was etched for this glorious event? You’ll just have to watch the video and see!


Splat Space Information Kiosk Deployed!

This one is a bit of a late announcement, however, we now have an information kiosk here at Splat Space.



The kiosk is powered by Ubuntu 12.04 and runs Firefox to view this very blog!


There is a chance you are reading this very post on there right now!




Special thanks The Shadowbox for the kiosks, Chris Bumgarner for setup, and everyone else who made this possible.

3D Design and Printing Workshop at the Stanford L. Warren Public Library

On Tuesday, July 22, members of Splatspace, and Durham County Library staff held a 3D Design and Printing workshop at the Stanford L Warren branch.

Turnout was heavy – over a dozen teens and parents showed up.



Fortunately there were enough laptop design stations to go around and the Library staff also supplied a 3Doodler extrusion pen to help keep everyone busy.



The teens in attendance all got a chance to design their own personalized keychains or swing-tags, which were printed on the spot with Splatspace’s Lulzbot or later, on the Library’s own Replicator.



This was just the latest in Splatspace’s ongoing collaboration with the Durham County Library system.Look for more Splat/Library events in the future as the Library forges ahead with their own Maker education efforts!

Special thanks to everyone who made this possible!

Member Project in Focus – Bass Repair

Splat Space member Jeffrey Crews took an old neglected bass guitar and fix it up. At Splat Space we often try to fix things up as opposed to throwing them out, breathing new life into old things.”I had previously refurbished a child’s-size electric 6-string to be my son’s first guitar, and then had redone the wiring on his later, full-size Strat. So when I found this 4-string bass at The Scrap Exchange for $5, I immediately bought it.

The neck was straight and intact but it needed new pickups, all new wiring and tuners. I gave it a new paintjob, 3-D printed knobs, and as the final touch I added a brushed aluminum pickguard made from a handicapped parking sign I picked up at the junkyard.

To go with it I rewired a basic amp with a 12″ subwoofer. It plays quite well (I don’t, but the bass does.)”


This picture is from before the repair.


Here is a picture of the finished product



Splat Space to be Home for Durham LUG Events!

Splat Space is happy to announce that events for Durham’s up and coming Durham Linux User’s Group, the Durham LUG, will be held at our location.


Durham LUGo


The first event to be hosted will be on August 2nd at 2:00PM and will be a presentation titled “Why Your Next Linux Powered Machine Should be a Chromebook”. Afterwards, fellow “Linguins” will intermingle and share their passion about GNU/Linux. Anyone interested in coming is encouraged to RSVP so that appropriate accommodations can be made, but it is also okay to show up even if you have not.


RSVPs are made on; you can either RSVP via: – which is the Splat Space RSVP Link – which is the Durham LUG RSVP link


We look forward to seeing you there!


We Now Have a 65 Inch HD TV at the Space!

On Saturday, July 12th, members Carl R. Knapp and Geoffrey Tattersfield arrived on the scene to repair a rear projection Mistsubishi WD-65835 HD television.



The task involved the removal of the set’s “light engine” in order to replace the faulty 4719-001997 chip that was the root cause of problem.  


The instructions found online though helpful, showed a slightly different internal configuration than what we had inside, so the quick surgical precision anticipated instead turned into a game of “well I think this is supposed to be that”.



Here we can see Geoff with his thinking cap on.




After many (more than originally thought!) hours we emerged victorious, having slain the beast armed with nothing more than our wits, some coffee, and mostly patience.


Testing it out with a modified Microsoft XBOX, we found our efforts to have paid off. We look forward to utilizing this awesome screen for future events here at Splat Space!