Today was spent researching all the manipulations involved in getting a CT scan into printable form and I managed to get a print out of it. The process starts with DeVide where the dicom data from the CT scan is processed using a dual threshold, decimation filter, and stl writer. The stl file contains a lot of unwanted stuff, in this case, soft tissues inside my head that add triangles but won’t be seen in the print, so those are removed by applying ambient occlusion followed by selecting and deleting vertices by “quality” (which will be very low values for vertices on the interior of the object). This process invariably blows small holes in the desired surface, so you apply a “close holes” filter to fix that (which closed up the nostrils very nicely). Next you open the stl file in netfabb and rotate and clip unwanted external stuff and apply repairs as necessary. Finally, drag it into slicer and scale it. slice and print.
While investigating software to extract bone data from CT scans and turn it into 3D printable STL files, I played with a CT scan of my own head that was used to treatment plan orthodontics. I have been using DeVide to process the data and finding it is not only easy to use, but a lot of fun!
The animated gif was made by sweeping the lower threshold of a dual threshold module from -800 to 900 in steps of 100 with the upper threshold fixed at 1400. The effect is to strip away the lower density tissues leaving only dense bone at the end of the sweep. I saved the result of each run as a png file then converted to an animated gif using an on-line service.
We hosted this year’s Holiday Make-A-Thon on Friday, November 29th, 2013 and it was a big bundle of fun! Lots of people came and we helped them make thing. Lots of members showed up to volunteer their time sharing the maker ethos with the folks of Milwaukee, and that was great to see and be a part of.
Besides our CNC cut ornaments from previous years, new member Tom showed people how to fold a diamond-shaped ornament using paper. (He even put a tree together out of pink foam Tuesday night after the meeting just so we’d have something to hang the ornaments on.) For the CNC and laser-cut ornaments we had the typical paint, glitter-glue, and googly eyes for decorating.
There was also soldering using our tie-pin kit. Under close supervision, even kids are able to assemble this kit, which includes some surface mount soldering.
Local printmaker Jenie Gao joined us to help people make blockprint holiday cards, and we also had crowns made from felt, melty-crayon ornaments, pet collars, necklaces, beads, bracelets, and my own personal favorite…
Laser-cut ornaments that we let people design! We used Snowflake 2.0 from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories which is a super-easy to use Processing application that lets you design a snowflake. We had two computers set up and we helped people do the design work, and then Lance would laser cut them from 3mm Baltic Birch wood. People could then decorate the snowflake they designed.
All in all, this was a great event. People came in and saw the space, made things for the holidays, and all of our members who volunteered seemed to have fun as well. A big ol’ thanks to everyone who showed up and made it a spectacular day of making!
If you saw the post about our Aluminum Anodizing Workshop, you probably wondered what the Metal Shop looked like with 20 makers running around prepping pieces of aluminum. Well, here’s a short time lapse video to show you.
I recently acquired a B&L Balplan biological microscope (about $200 on ebay) to look at really small critters and decided it would be nice to be able to record some of their antics. After a few measurements with a caliper and about 30 minutes with Sketchup, the design was ready to print on MegaMax. Initial test results, seen below, look pretty good! The camera is a Logitech Quickcam Pro for Notebooks (seriously, when are they just going to start using model numbers?) that can capture video at 960×720 and 15 fps. The camera is not a current product at Logitech but can be picked up for $10-20 on ebay. The still and video were captured using quvcview running on my laptop (ubuntu 13.04). Logitech’s software works great on Windows. The image below shows “horns” on the head of a pinhead sized bug that was crawling around in my work room. Magnification is 640X!
The adapter design and .stl files will appear on Thingiverse soon.
On November 16th, 2013 we had an Aluminum Anodizing Workshop led by Frankie Flood. We had about 16 members in the workshop, which ran from 10am to 6pm. That seems like a long class, but the first few hours were really dedicated to learning all about the process, and about working with metal.
We learned about annealing metal, about forming it and shaping it, and how to add texture, and ping it with a hammer, and buffing and polishing, and about the anodizing process, and the dying of metal, and how to add resist, and the sealing process.
After Frankie dropped all the knowledge on us, we had the rest of the workshop to make things. Everyone got busy, first cutting pieces of metal, and then doing whatever they wanted with it. When a piece was ready it went into the first bath for 15 minutes, then a second bath for 5 minutes, and then it sat in a rinse until we had enough to anodize, which we did every 45 minutes or so. Almost everyone left the class with a few pieces (or one totally awesome piece.)
There was a lot of interest in the workshop, so we may run another one (if Frankie is willing!) and we’re also talking about permanently adding anodizing to the capabilities of the space.
We also want to give a big thanks to Frankie for teaching us, and to Michael for organizing the class. Everyone had a good time, learned a lot, and walked away with some nice looking pieces of metal.
Note: See Frankie’s post for a ton more photos!
Never let it be said that we do not know how to lose gracefully…
Back in July Milwaukee Makerspace was selected to take part in the Hackerspace Challenge put on by Popular Mechanics and RadioShack. We assembled a team, got working, and created the Milwaukee Makerspace Morgifying Marble Manipulation Machine (aka: M6) in about 30 days.
Our team here in Milwaukee had a blast working on the M6, and it’ll probably be an ongoing project, so if you stop by the space, ask to see it in action!
Milwaukee’s a great city, but like any large city, there are some parking regulations, and the one we have to deal with is “alternate-side parking overnight” which means that people who park on the street overnight have to all park on just one side of the street. Usually overnight parking doesn’t affect us that much, as we’ve got a small lot near the alley for about a dozen cars, but for public nights, or any other nights we have things going on, we need to try to park on the OTHER SIDE of the street as the residents do, as a courtesy to them, leaving them space to park.
Ron wrote up a nice wiki page explaining the parking, and our old pal reMMinderbot will also let you know where to park on a Tuesday or Thursday night, but like anything else at the makerspace, unless it’s over-engineered, it’s not done!
So I therefore present to you, makers and guests… MM Park! MM Park is a mobile-friendly web site you can view on your iOS or Android device. You can launch it when you pull up to the space and determine where you should park.
Just fire up the browser on your mobile device, and go to the handy short URL mkemake.us/park
You’ll see SAME or OPPOSITE. If it says SAME you park on the SAME side of the street as Milwaukee Makerspace. If it says OPPOSITE you park on the OPPOSITE side of the street as Milwaukee Makerspace. This works for Lenox Street and Otjen Street.
If you want to get all fancy, add an icon to your home screen so you can launch the app quickly and easily every time you pull up to the space at night.
What could be easier!? Will the wonders of technology ever cease?
(Note: Thanks to Shane for the awesome logo, and to Audrey for piloting Lil’ Driver. This is an alpha release, and while fully functional at this time, the words and/or images used may change in the future. Check the project page for updates.)
I’ve really struggled with the Raspberry Pi Project. As I posted earlier, the Raspberry Pi kept killing the file system on the SD card. Pete traded me for a different Pi, which behaved much better, making the card last at least long enough to get the operating system and other software installed. Yet the Raspberry Pi continued to corrupt the file system if left running for longer periods. The latest time it totally killed the SD card; I couldn’t even reformat it on my computer.
If I include the Pi in the traveling mascot, I’m convinced it will not survive the inevitable rough treatment. The only other use I can think of for a Raspberry Pi in a travelling mascot is as a home base server for the mascot, publishing the travelogues. Yet it’s too unstable for even that task.
I still like the idea of a traveling mascot that can track it’s own travels, but I’m convinced that building it around a Raspberry Pi is not the proper foundation. I really like the little GPS unit that came in this kit, and will try to build a scaled down version of the traveling mascot with a USB interface to hook up with any computer for collecting data.
Thanks again Adafruit Industries, we really appreciate the kit, and we’ll continue to work with the parts on other projects. Like vultures, some other members have already picked off some pieces of the kit for their projects.