Liberty, Equality, & Justice for ALL
Tux-Lab Manufacturing Project
- Remember that time is money -
Benjamin Franklin 1748

Dye Sublimation Printing
Jun 10, 2010

Dye sublimation is a process where the dye is transformed from its solid state directly into its gaseous state and onto the substrate. Dye sublimation process for printing onto the mug utilizes the same sublimation principle as a dye sublimation printer. However, because the paper is only acting as a intermediary step for the final dye sublimation onto the mug, a mirror image is printed on the paper.

The mugs are coated with a polyester base to allow for proper dye adhesion during the sublimation process. A mug press is used to apply 400F of heat for sublimation of the dye. The mug press also tightly wraps the sublimation paper to the mug surface to ensure complete contact. The process takes around 6 minutes.

The graphics for the the mug was first created using Inkscape, then printed to a dye sublimation printer onto a special dye sublimation paper for use with the heat press. A variety of coated sublimation paper are available with different release coating.

Once the 6 minute dye sublimation time has elapsed, the mug is placed into a room temperature water tank to cool down the mug and to remove the dye sublimation paper.

The finished product can be found on

Indefinite Postponement
Jun 07, 2010

Tux-Lab is indefinitely postponed due to the unavailability of its physical location. However, work on the facility will continue.

Apr 12, 2010

Tux-Lab slowly inches forward. A staging website can be around at It is powered by El Dorado, a simple Rails based community web application. It will be the place to discuss setting up Tux-Lab and other open source related ideas.

Tentatively, Tux-Lab v0.1 debut is set for May 8th.

Work In Progress
Feb 18, 2010

Progress has been slow and the manufacturing space is gradually taking shape. The machines has been in place for over three month now, but the cleaning up around the machines wasn't completed until a couple weeks ago. It's just a simple picture but we had to move a bunch of pallets to make taking this picture possible.

. . . Freedom for ALL!!!

Spring 2010
Feb 18, 2010

PMT 59L - Injection Molding Lab
Continuation of the Injection Molding class from Spring. The lab course last only 9 weeks and focuses more on hands on machine operation. The lab consist of 3 injection molding machines.

  • Van Dorn Injection Molding Machine
  • Boy 22D Injection Molding Machine
  • Nissei Electric Injection Molding Machine

MTT 56 - CNC Shop InspectionThis is an online class that is the prerequisite for the next course which is mechanical parts inspection using Faro digitizing arm, Brown & Sharpe CMM, and Verisurf.

Green Solidarity
Dec 28, 2009

iMP can't offer much but a small banner and is probably on the opposite political spectrum from most Iranian protestors, but iMP fully supports the universal human right to free speech and free association without fear, or intimidation, or death.

Imperial Stepper
Dec 25, 2009

Wow. The Imperial March never sounded so good. Stepper Motor Driver works! The stepper motor driver test program was loaded into the Sanguino motherboard using USBtiny from adafruit. I switched from parallel STK200 programmer to usb based USBTiny programmer in hope of using the arduino IDE to upload the reprap firmware sketches however I am still having difficulties loading programs into the Sanguino motherboard using the Arduino IDE.

The NEAM 23 stepper motor is from Makerbot and costs $28.00 each. Too bad the stepper motor is not made in a free and democratic country. Anyone know of a US source for the Nanotec stepper motors?

Uploading Firmware
Dec 16, 2009

After many days of futile attempts to upload the firmware . . . . I finally succeeded in uploading the reprap firmware through arduino ide. Originally though I was unable to load the bootloader through arduino ide, I was able to upload it using commandline avrdude. The error message I received through arduino ide is,

avrdude: stk500_2_ReceiveMessage(): timeout

I did not know if the error is due to assembly/soldering error or from improper arduino IDE setting. Since I can view the ATmega644p setting and upload the bootloader with avrdude I lean toward a misconfigured arduino setting. I tried the reprap forum as well as googling for solutions, but still could not solve my problem. I came across a blog that mentioned improper baudrate setting and I started to experiment with different baudrate setting using avrdude. I found that only 115200 seems to work and other baudrate settings gave timeout errors similar to the error from arduino. I ended up inserting


into my arduino board.txt file and following the upload instruction with the obligatory reset the firmware loaded, the green power led lights up and I was able to turn the ATX power supply on with the reprap motherboard on/off switch. Wow!

Next is to test the stepper driver and extruder board

Fat Tux Leather Coaster
Dec 16, 2009

Fat Tux Leather Coaster was designed using Inkscape by modifying the original Tux sgv file. Rectangular vegetable tanned tooling leather plates were obtained from a local leather craft supplier, Tandy Leather Factory. The reason for choosing the rectangular shaped leather over round leather is because the rectangular ones are made in the USA, which turns out to give additional design flexibility in profiling the actual coaster, though it does take more time to cut the profile.

To fatten up Tux for a better coaster shape, a circle was drawn over the original sgv file and various points on Tux were moved tangent to the blue circle to achieve the final "Fat Tux" shape. An second concentric yellow circle was used for company name placement and finally the red outlines was created for the final coaster profile.

The coaster was created using 3 different laser engraving/cutting profiles. The first is the raster engraving of the Tux shape, the second is a slightly lower power raster engraving of the company name, and the third is an almost full power vector cutting path to separate the Fat Tux Coaster from the rectangular leather block.

Issues that need to be resolved includes how to removed the organic burnt leather smell from the cutting, though the smell does dissipates after a couple weeks. Future improvements includes cutting the profile with a clicker instead of using the laser.

The finished product can be found on

Testing Motherboard V1.2
Dec 09, 2009

One of the three stepper motor drive V2.3 board along with motherboard V1.2 has been completed but I had trouble getting the Motherboard to show signs of life. I was able to load the bootloader through avrdude with a parallel port programmer from Sparkfun but could not get the arduino IDE to work properly. It took a while to convert the 10 pin isp to the 6 pin isp format, which basically was just remapping of the MOSI, MISO, VCC, GRD, Reset, and SCK.

TheCuriousPenguin - 2012
Free as in