How do you make the BADASS more badass?

Simple.  Add lasers.

Video of Vectorized Laser PCB Fabrication

The next generation BADASS board was too big to fit through the card laminator, so I figured I’d try my hand at Tom’s laser etching method.  By using the trace program included with CorelDraw I was able to make a vectorized path for the board.  One pass takes about 5 min at 50% speed.

Tiny Programmer Shield


Hold me closer Tiny programmer.

I heart Arudino.  But for my current project I need a distributed network of wearable microcontrollers. For this task I think the 328 chip is a bit overkill on the number of pins I need, so I decided to stretch my skills and try to program a different chip: the ATTINY45.  This chip is an 8 pin through hole, meaning I can make much smaller boards (and cheaper).  Since I was only just getting comfortable programming my Arduino, I found a very nice path of least resistance.  The interwebs turned up a very nice ATTINY how-to from MIT which I followed to the letter, and pleased to find out that yes it actually works.  So I can just modify my Arduino sketches to run on this new chip.  The SparkFun Eagle library has all the necessary components needed to whip up a quick schematic.  After a frenzy of press-and-peel, lamination, and etching I was able to fabricate this board from scratch in less than 90 min. Not a bad turnaround time.  The gallery shows a little documentation of the process.







Makerspaces and the Future of Education

As a former teacher I am rather passionate about the value of good education to society. I believe this piece in the New York Times describes well my feelings towards our current dysfunctional system.  It is hard to ignore that the innovators and leaders of the new technology economy in this country had to reject traditional schooling and unlearn many the bad lessons they received.  We don’t need to be trying to teach everyone multivariate calculus;  we need to revive the apprenticeship system.

I think that the Maker Movement has a large role to play in this idea vacuum in educational policy.  I firmly believe that no student should be allowed to graduate high school without being able to make something.  Be it a chair, a dress, a motor controller, or whatever.  The root of success is failure.  This needs to be taught in school, where currently teachers embrace mediocrity to avoid confronting failure.  There is no shorter path to failure than to try to make something.  The maker mentality needs to be incorporated into every student’s curriculum.

Learn To Solder – Making little Makers

The learn to solder booth at Made in Milwaukee was a resounding success. So nice to see a child’s face light up with the joy of creation. The same goes for the adults that stopped by to give it a try. Never to old to learn something new. Participants assembled a very simple blinky circuit which doubles as a pin. Very Neat Indeed!

Royce and Sean inspire the kids!

Makerspace Represents at Made in Milwaukee (Sept 3rd)

Made in Milwaukee

CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK – September 3rd, 2011

We here at the Makerspace are always looking for ways to reach out and raise awareness in the community of our existence.  When an opportunity like Made in Milwaukee comes along, how can you pass that up.  We will be at this festival (click image above for more info) all day showing off our inspiring creations and supervising hands-on maker activities.  So please stop by our tent and show us some love!