A Friendly PSA From Your Local Makerspace….

A picture of the bordetella pertussis bacteria which causes whooping cough

This Gram-stained photomicrograph depicts numbers of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which is the etiologic pathogen for pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Makers, a call to (non-dominant) arms!

I’ve just recently gotten my TDaP booster shoot (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) and it occurred to me that many of you may have forgotten this over the course of the last decade.

That’s right, a tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years and, with the advent of the TDaP back in 2006, I would highly recommend getting your shots.  Pertussis (whooping cough) has been making the rounds plus, as a maker, you may well be using materials and equipment that could expose you to tetanus.

This post is not to fear-monger, but it is a gentle reminder that we come into contact with some pretty dirty stuff and it could be worth your while to get vaccinated.

I was able to get this shot for free, courtesy of my local health department, so check for something in your area and get safe!

Powered Up for Maker Faire!

Lotusaurus Wrecks

Whew! We had quite a weekend! Somehow we managed to cram both Lotusaurus Wrecks and Iron Rose into the back of a minivan and haul them to Maker Faire Detroit. Luckily a second car followed us with all the tools and batteries.

It was a wonderful weekend of racing tiny electric cars. What’s that? You don’t know about the Power Racing Series? We take those Power Wheels cars that you buy for your kids, get them for free or super-cheap from craigslist, and then rebuild them as electric race cars for adults… for less that $500. Yes, it’s a little ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of real engineering. Some of these cars will impress the crap out of you!

So how did we do? Well, the cars held up, even through a few crashes, so that’s good. Audrey drove Lotusaurus Wrecks to victory in one race, and Iron Rose proved a dedicated mid-fielder throughout the weekend. All in all, it was pretty awesome.

Iron Rose

Note: We know you want to see this crazy racing yourself… well, you’re in luck! We’ll be holding a race at Maker Faire Milwaukee happening September 27th & 28th, 2014. Join us for the madness!

littleBits Projects

littleBits

Back in June we announced some Instructables Build Nights featuring littleBits and the new Arduino at Heart modules. We had a lot of members play with the ‘Bits during the last six weeks, and we’re still waiting for Steve to publish the detailed instructions on his “littleBits-powered Vomit-Inducing Machine”, but for now we’ll have to make do with the littleBits Arduino Annoying Machine that Eric and his son built.

I also got in on the action, with two Instructables that (sort of) go together; littleBits Serial Data and littleBits Serial Controller. All of our projects make use of the Arduino module, which add some great programming functions to the littleBits world.

If you didn’t get a chance to play with the ‘Bits yet, we will have four littleBits Deluxe Kits and a bunch of Arduino modules at the space to experiment with. They should be treated like a LEGO set; build something, then take it apart. Hopefully having some fun and learning something new along the way.

(Big Thanks to Instructables and littleBits for providing the kits to us!)

Building Patio Furniture for Fun and Profit

If you’ve ever looked to purchase patio furniture its either cheap and crappy …or expensive and still crappy.

So I decided to make my own. Because I wanted to drink beers on my porch and tell kids to get off my lawn.

With no further ado:

Before During After

Figure 1: My Porch Before, During, After

Step 1: Find Plans.

I’ve never used any Ana-White plans before, but I found these that seemed reasonable. After some review though, I found the cutlist sucks so any of the pieces with angled cuts are listed at final dimensions rather than initial rough cut dimensions. Namely the angled stretchers need to be cut long (34″ish) and then angled. Same goes for the back legs (~22″) and the 2×2 arm supports (~28″). So do your own due dilligence before slicing all your lumber up.

Step 2: Cut All the Lumber

Pine sucks and I hate paint. So I went with Cedar.

Rough Cedar

Figure 2: Rough Cedar from Menards

Cut Lumber

Figure 3: Cut to Size and Length

Rough Sand Cuts

Figure 4: Apply Belt Sander

I recommend using a belt/drum sander on any of the rough cuts to give it a cleaner finished look.

Step 3: Follow Directions (Assembly)

Aside from the cutlist, the plans are straightforward and easy to follow. I built the sides and back as assemblies because I couldn’t transport a completely assembled chair in my car.

Follow Directions part 1

Figure 5: Side Assembly

Following directions somewhat p1

Figure 6: Chair Back Assembly

I deviated from the design a bit as I didn’t feel like using a jig saw, so I just set the miter saw for 45deg and lopped off each corner of the back (which you’ll see in the final assembly pictures)

Starting Assembly

Figure 7: Starting Assembly

I transported the large pieces back to my apartment so I could put it together on-site. I don’t have any pictures of the middle steps, so it kind of jumps from here to completely assembled. Read the directions, you’ll know what to do.

Testing p1

Figure 8: Assembly Done (Structural Testing)

Ta da. A chair.

The beer made up for the sunburn.

Step 4: Finishing

Like I mentioned above, I don’t like paint. So I winged this phase of the project.

I like oil based finished to bring out natural color, so I grabbed a can of Danish Oil. Cedar is naturally rot and insect resistant, but since I had some spray Spar Urethane lying around I figured a coat of that couldn’t hurt either. Lastly, because I like the texture of wax finishes I applied Paste Wax to any of the upright surfaces where you’d touch the chair in normal operation.

Finishing

Figure 9: Done!

I applied the Danish Oil  by hand, which was a pain, but worked out well enough in the end it seems.

Step 5: Build a Second Chair

This second one is a little better finished based on some in-process learnings from the first chair. I picked up a countersink bit to help clean up the exposed screw holes and tried a little harder to be symmetric and even with the holes as well.

I need to either build a table, or figure out a way to add a cupholder feature. (But so far the porch itself works fine)

Step 6: Fin

Before During After

Each chair was something like $41 for material not including screws, glue, and finishes and took approximately 4 hours to cut, assemble, and finish.

 

 

 

South Shore Frolics Parade 2014

2014 South Shore Frolics Parade

Why yes, we did take part in the South Shore Frolics Parade this year, though we had a small crew, our small crew is quite dedicated… to having fun!

We managed to build a float to promote Maker Faire Milwaukee, and put Karen on a phone book so she could see where she was going, and we also convinced Chris to put the Makerspace flag on his bike and ride really fast so it would wave in the wind.

Shane let them know who we are this year by carrying the Makerspace banner, with what appeared to be great stoicism. And of course, there were some tiny electric vehicles from the Power Racing Series. Audrey on Lotusaurus Wrecks, Tiffany on Iron Rose, and I piloted the oldest still-running car we have, Baby Burrito. (Tom also tagged along and did some driving, some walking, and organized a few drag races!)

Thanks to the GoPro camera mounted on my head, we were able to capture some of the action during the parade. So enjoy the view from the top of my noggin!

MARRIED TO A MAKERSPACE GEEK

logo

 

I’ve known since I met my Makerspace Geek husband that he could fix ANYTHING. It didn’t always look pretty but it would work. I’m reminded DAILY just how talented he is. Unfortunately, over the years, being somewhat of a minimalist, I ran out of things to put on his Honey-Do List. I would find myself, at times, racking my brain trying to think of something he could fix or make. Because after completing a task and joyfully erasing it from the fix-it/make-it board, he was happy, contented and fulfilled. Lo and Behold he discovered Makerspace. I should celebrate the day as one would a major holiday. It has transformed my little geek into a big geek. He LOVES Makerspace and I love that he has a place to go where he can share, with other like-minded individuals, all the geeky thoughts spinning in his head. He still shares some of that with me but I know that oftentimes my head kind of goes on blank mode and I find myself just looking at him, trying not to nod off and listen. After his joining and I got over his starting every sentence with something about Makerspace, or his approaching total strangers and handing out a Makerspace card, or striking up conversations with family and friends and droning on for, what seemed like hours, about Makerspace, I surrendered. Why??? Because it makes him darn happy, that’s why. And who doesn’t want to see someone they love being happy??

 

So now when we’re eating dinner and I see him chomping at the bit because he wants to be at the club, I wish him well on his merry way and sit back to a quiet evening. If I’m awake when he gets home I get to hear all about the goings-on. I admit to crashing, often before he gets home because when he does he’s often so jazzed that I then have trouble falling to sleep .
Thanks, Makerspace, for making a space for him

Parade Time!

South Shore Frolics Parade!

Do you know what time it is, kids? It’s time for the South Shore Frolics Parade! That’s right, Bay View, the lovely neighborhood we do our making in, has its own parade, and it’s happening at 11am sharp on Saturday, July 12, 2014. The parade starts at Kinnickinnic and Linus, and travels down Kinnickinnic Avenue towards South Shore Park.

If you’re a maker and want to join us, show up at the space around 10:45am and we’ll head over to the line-up. Feel free to walk or ride a bike or some other contraption you’ve built. We might even have a few modified Power Wheels rolling for the event!

Member Graph

Well, Pete did us a solid with the HMMDMMH.. I took it to the next level, by graphing the data the HMMDMMH provides!

MMMG

MMMG

You can change the number of weeks’ worth of data it displays, by adding “&weeks=xx” to the URL, like this.  There’s a little bit of missing data here and there, which is why there are some skipped week numbers. Right now, I’ve collected approximately 25 weeks worth of data. This will only grow as MMS does, though! You might end up seeing this in the MMMPIS too!

Also, coming soon: A stand-alone executable version (for Windows) of the HMMDMMH!

EDIT: 2014 Week 26: After this was implemented we looked closer at the numbers and found an error. It has been corrected, hence the drop

3D Printable shock mount for PCM-M10 digital recorder

PCM-M10 Shock Mount

PCM-M10 Shock Mount

Several years ago I played with a lot of audio stuff including making binaural recordings of things like cicadas, train rides, and festivals in Japan, and the singing of tree frogs in my back yard when I lived in a forest in Missouri.  Those recordings were done on a MiniDisc recorder because it was the best available audio quality recorder for people on a budget (i.e. cheapskates) like me.   Time and technology wait for no one, and I’ve been getting the itch to do some recording again, so I recently picked up a Sony PCM-M10 recorder.   This little machine records in many different formats up to and including 24 bit/96 ksps (though self-noise really limits the machine to about 15 actual bits).  The audio is recorded onto micro SD cards so unlike the MiniDisc, you get access to the raw digital data without any compression or associated quality degradation.

My previous recordings were done using a DIY binaural microphone that used a roughly matched pair of electret condenser mic capsules mounted on a wire bail that held the capsules inside my ears.  Even though those mic capsules were pretty noisy, the recordings came out pretty good.  When you listen to them with headphones you get a real “you-are-there”, surround-sound experience that can be quite startling.  You can hear those recordings here: http://mark.rehorst.com/Binaural_Recordings/index.html   Soon, I’ll be starting a new binaural mic project to go with the new recorder, this time using much higher quality mic capsules.

In the meantime I was looking for a shock mount to use when making recordings using the built in mics.  The shock mount prevents low frequency noise from handling, bumping the table the recorder sits on, etc., from being coupled to the mics through the body of the recorder.  I did a web search and found only a couple unsatisfactory designs so I did what any maker would do- I made!

One of the flaws in the few designs I saw was that some of the numerous switches and I/O jacks on the recorder would not be accessible when it was bolted to the shock mount.  They also didn’t look very nice.  After a lot of sketching possible designs on a whiteboard and paring the thing down to a minimal implementation, and spending much too much time making a 3D model of the recorder, I came up with a printable 3-finger design that holds the recorder either on a tabletop or a tripod and keeps ALL the switches and I/Os available.  The only thing you can’t do while the recorder is mounted is swap batteries (but with 40 hours record time on a set of two AAs, that shouldn’t be a problem).

I used DesignSpark Mechanical to make the recorder model and design the shock mount.  DesignSpark makes rounding corners of complex 3D objects easy (nearly impossible in Sketchup), but I did run into some of its limitations that I hadn’t previously considered.  One huge limitation is that there is no way to put any form of text into a drawing without some special work-arounds (use Sketchup to make text, then import into DesignSpark).

CAD drawing of shock mount

CAD drawing of shock mount

PCM-M10 on shock mount- CAD

PCM-M10 on shock mount- CAD

This shock mount design is available here:  http://www.thingi

verse.com/thing:384567

 

I printed the shock mount on MegaMax using Coex3D Aqua ABS filament.