Steve Cameron : This is TX/RX Labs which is Houston’s hackerspace.
Tim: Can we go inside and take a look?
Steve: Sure. Right away, we have a this is a 3D printer that these guys have built and designed, it is their own design, their own It is a Deltabot configuration, you can see. It has got these three arms and what we call a planchette which is the term borrowed from an Ouija board, and I think Mark made that up. On the planchette is the extruder which squirts out this plastic, layer by layer, builds up objects like this. It is like it is printing it, but you can look and see the plastic So over here we got a laser cutter, vinyl cutter in the corner, a little mill, sorry, lathe over there. So this is kind of our light fabrication area. We are in the middle of pouring concrete countertops for our electronics area. So this area, normally there is other stuff here, so it is kind of torn apart a little bit right now, but it is an active place.
Tim: It is a big place, how big is this spot?
Steve: So in this part here, there is about 7000 sq. I think, and then about 6000 out there, there is another 6000 or 7000, so total 14,000 sq. inside. There is another 6000 ft. of yard out in the back. So pretty big as hackerspaces go.
Tim: Alright. Let’s take a look at some of the other things that you’ve got here.
Steve: Alright. Sure. So over in this area, we got a kitchen back there, a kind of hangout area. These two kiosks are normally in the area that we just walked through. They have MakerBot Replicator 2 and Mendel printer and then behind you is the 3 axis CNC mill, little small metal working mill, and a 3D scanner.
Tim: Now this 3D scanner, how’s it is being handled?
Steve: So it has two cameras, and a projector. And the projector projects what is called structured light which is certain preset patterns of light and projects those on to whatever it is you are scanning. The cameras know what you are projecting and so by measuring the kind of distortion of whatever is projected, they can reconstruct the 3D shape of the object, and then produce a point cloud of the data that represents that, whatever it is that you scan.
Tim: Now, down here, we’ve got some lathes. What are those for?
Steve: Some of these are for renting out to members. But mostly this is kind of our electronics area. So all this stuff belongs to Mark, the guy who is over by the 3D printer. So it is a bunch of electronics stuff. And then in here, we have more electronics stuff. These bays are mostly rented out to members of the hackerspace. We had sort of an unexpected demand for renting out table spots and so most of our actual public space for people that aren’t renting is kind of gone - we are working on fixing that. That is what all this sort of construction is about. I don’t know what to say about all this stuff in there. We can’t see it.
Tim: Yeah, I understand that these counters here, you are making counters, that are going to be just like the
Steve: Just like these counters right here. So basic concrete.
Tim: They must weigh a ton.
Steve: They do weigh a ton. They are not walking off by themselves anywhere. And you can see the base is square steel tubing, it is welded together.
Tim: Also not walking off.
Steve: Also not walking off.
Tim: You have a library over here.
Steve: Well, a few books, a few old-fashioned books.
Tim: Now at 14,000 ft. approximately it is the end of the space, I understand that you are looking for more space as well.
Steve: Yeah, I don’t know a whole lot about what’s going on there but I think we had so much demand for space here, that we are probably going to rent out, we are talking about renting out, I’ve heard talking about, I don’t know what’s going to happen with this, there is a warehouse next door that we may or may not be interested in. One of the things that we like to do is out in the shop area, we have the metal working stuff, and then we have the wood working stuff, and it is nice to keep those apart from each other because the metal working guys don’t like sawdust in their machines.
Tim: Can we take a look back there?
Steve: Sure, absolutely.
Tim: This is a big space.
Steve: Yeah, it is a big space. So you can see, right, this is kind of the wood working area, we have table saws, we have a couple of 3 axis CNC routers, a smaller one in the back that is 2 x 2, a bigger 3 x 5 one, we are probably going to get an even bigger one, than the 3 x 5, so one big enough to put a full sheet of plywood on. And over here, we have the metal working area, so we have 3 axis CNC mills, a CNC lathe, do we have a CNC lathe?
Tim: Is this is a CNC laser again?
Steve: No, this is a manual lathe. Hopefully we have a CNC lathe. We have CNC mills though. The big machines at the back actually are not working but.
Steve: Yes, it is a matter of getting power to the building, we actually do have a generator in the yard that can power them, at least the big mill in the back, but we haven’t used that in a long time. So I don’t know what is going to happen with all that stuff. We may decide that if these machines are taking up too much room, or may rectify the problem, we’ll see.
Tim: For people who will watch this later, I’d like them to know that it is 105 degrees in here.
Steve: It is pretty warm, it is Houston, warm and humid. In this area we have the welding area, we have MIG welders, TIG welders, a big compressor making a lot of noise, oxyacetylene rigs, a CNC plasma cutter, band saws I don’t know my metal working tools very well.