Laser Cutter Venting System Progress

The laser cutter is now connected to the new vacuum pump!  I’d still like to do some endurance testing on it to fully put it through it’s paces, and we need to finish the last leg of the vent pipes up in the loft, but otherwise you can use it to cut wood and such just as you did before.  I wouldn’t suggest cutting any plastic just yet as the vent pipe is just discharging over the hallway by the bathrooms.  There’s an instruction sheet on how to turn the vacuum pump on and off taped to the machine and my contact number if you run into problems.

You can see pictures here:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/milwaukeemakerspace/pool/with/6471649899/

November 29th Meeting Minutes

A total of 14 members were present and 2 guests attended the meeting.  We did not have Google Hangout up and running that night.

DIY CNC Day – December 4th

The CNC router has been repaired and Z-axis has been restored.  Come out and join us for the Third Monthly DIY CNC Day.  The event is loosely scheduled to begin noon however work will likely be going on all day Sunday.

Current Project Roundup

The meeting was fairly brief and concluded with members discussing various current projects.  Topics included larger than life winter yard decorations, curing the forge to begin using it, hammermills, electric truck suspension systems, DIY tongue & groove flooring, laser cutter projects, and the RFP for a Bay View Art Project.

November 1st Meeting Minutes

A total of 18 members were present, 3 joined via Google Hangout, and 5 guests attended the meeting.  At least three guests expressed interest in becoming a member that night.

Guest Introductions

After welcoming everyone, some guests went on a tour of the space while other members continued with the meeting.

Second DIY CNC Day – November 6th

Black Friday Hack-A-Thon – November 25th

Ideas for items to make were shared with the group.  Pete noted he has found some pieces to be made on the CNC router and Royce noted the tie-pin boards are on order.

Contacts and Promotion

Adam plans to drop some posters off with MSOE’s Studer Activities Office and Jason plans to speak with his contact at Marquette.  Royce mentioned he visited UWM’s Art and Technology Group last week.

Welding Equipment

Tom has some Hobart welders he plans to bring to the space and convert at least one to TIG welding for aluminum.

Space Clean-Up Day – Last Sunday of the Month

Kevin suggested we either move the day or schedule it later on Sunday to allow for more people to attend.  The group agreed and plans to meet next on November 27th at 1:00 PM.  Tom emphasized that the Clean-Up Day was always meant to be a Clean-Up and Cook-Out Day and we will plan to cook out next time.  Brant and Royce also plan to meet and salvage some of the lists and pages from the old website.  The Clean-Up Task List and Vendor List were among the most important.

New Video Ideas

David proposed doing a series of interviews with members and several people were interested.  Jason also mentioned that he would like to produce some quick “Meet the Maker” segments.

Storage

Ron and others pointed out that some pallets on the top of the pallet racks are difficult to reach safely with the forklift.  It was suggested that members with pallets on the lower racks or floor relocate their work or ensure the pallets are shelved as far back as they can be.

October 25th Meeting Minutes

A total of 12 members and 4 guests attended the meeting.

Guest Introductions

After we went around the room and spoke a bit about ourselves and what we do here, our three guests shared how they found our group.  The responses included Googling ‘electronics clubs,’ attending Electric Car Club Meetings at Tom’s House, finding us on Hackerspaces.org and meeting members at BarCampMilwaukee6.

Chill Out Space Proposed

Adam had suggested we consider building a “chill out space” for makers and guests to hang out, talk, and generally relax.  Our Lab and Library spaces are separated from the rest of the workshop, but still lack adequate space when others are present and working.  Other members agreed and enthusiastically brainstormed possible features of such a space including a couch, a TV, video game systems, a stereo, etc.  The Loft was proposed as likely the best location and immediately following the meeting, Adam, Kevin, Shane, and others walked through The Loft while continuing the discussion.

Skillshare

Earlier this week, Milwaukee was added to the number of cities with a Skillshare website.  The site connects teachers, instructors, and students together for classes and meetups as a sort of non-traditional learning community.  Our group is considering listing our Thursday Night Demos and other events on the site once more are scheduled.  See the website at: http://www.skillshare.com/learn?city=milwaukee

Future Demos

The list of possible demos people are interested in either hosting or attending continues to grow.  Demos and classes mentioned included welding, sweating copper pipes, an intro to AC/DC motors, Processing, Arduino, Blender, and OpenSCAD.

Housekeeping Items

Jason asked to begin considering online financial services for group business and invoicing since our current accounting software is somewhat lacking.  The group proposed that instead of paying for access to an online accounting service, we first check retailers and bookstores for discounted software.  Jason also mentioned that integrating the access control system with our accounting software would be a great item for our Space Wish List.

Matt N. mentioned that he visited a rapid fabrication workshop at MSOE earlier in the week and in his opinion powder systems are too messy and expensive and the parts they make are too fragile.  He recommended that if we want to add a rapid prototyping machine to our Wish List, we should consider the Ultimaker.

Matt N. also asked if the current CCTV system could be make to broadcast to the web so members and visitors could keep an eye on the space when not around.  He offered a $100 prize for anyone who manages to do so.  Obstacles to setting up such a webcam have included our bandwidth and ISP connection, software issues, and firewalls.

Adam noted he spoke with some people at MSOE regarding hanging up posters or distributing flyers and Brant said he would talk to Tom about seeing what it takes to underwrite an ad on WMSE.

 

 

First DIY CNC Club Meeting

Today marked the first monthly meeting of The DIY CNC Club at Milwaukee Makerspace.  Ron Bean and Tom Gondek, the creators of the router, guided members and guests through the use of CamBam CAD software to generate G-code and Mach3 software to operate and control the router.  The day before, Tom and Mike tested the machine’s ability to cut aluminum.  On Sunday, Rich created a decorative wooden sign and Brant began making plastic shapes for a project enclosure. As Ron pointed out, in less than 24 hours we had worked in three different materials: wood, metal, and plastic.

Several items were also crossed off our wish list.  Two emergency stop buttons were added to the front of the machine and wired together in series.  Hitting either one stops all motion in the X, Y, and Z planes and pauses the program.  We also built a relay-controlled receptacle box that when wired into the CNC computer, will be able to stop the spindle so hitting the E-stop will kill all motion in all axes and the router.  For some reason the pins we’re using on the parallel port are only producing 1.6 volts instead of the 3 or 5 we expected and the relays won’t turn on.  All in all, a very productive weekend.

October 18th Meeting Minutes

A total of 13 members and 1 guest attended the meeting.

“State of the Space” Presentation

Jason presented a series of charts and graphs that described various aspects of our group. Membership increased over the last few months with most gains happening after the Grand Opening in April.  Our peak number of members was 26; we had more but not all at the same time.  Some past members have moved away or left the group.  Jason noted that adding different classes of membership for students and part-timers has helped us grow.  Our financial situation is currently sustainable, however attracting new members would help support new projects and provide more of a cushion.  The conversation turned to attracting new members which led into the other discussions mentioned below.

Marketing and Promotion

Royce mentioned that someone from an UWM Arts & Technology group contacted him recently.  They were interested in our group and said we might be interested in theirs.  Royce asked if anyone would be willing to go to UWM in the future and see their group and space.  Matt, Brant, and Rich were interested.  Some other organizations and schools in the area that we would like to reach out to include MATC, WCTC, Marquette, MSOE, MIAD, and Alverno.  Brant and Tom also agreed to work on a potential radio ad or show.  The idea of a membership drive was also discussed.

Class Ideas

Past classes have been successful, however no new ones are currently scheduled.   Ideas discussed included Electric Motors by Brant, Processing by Pete and Jason, Arduino by Royce, Welding and/or Sweating Copper Pipes by Rich.  The group agreed that classes could be organized and scheduled to begin January or February 2012.

Guest Introductions

Housekeeping Items

A toilet in the Ladies’ Restroom was clogged and the floor is dirty from when the drain in the Janitor’s Closet was backflushed recently.  Tom noted that the lack of toilet paper supplies lately could mean others that use that restroom are using paper towels instead and that could more easily clog the drains.  Signs will be posted to dissuade any men from using the Ladies’ Room and any one from leaving a mess.  (On Thursday, Elizabeth posted signs, cleaned the bathroom, and bought a plunger.)

Royce, Tom, and Rich reminded everyone that broken drill bits can be recycled and are usually worth money.  A container will be provided by the drill presses to collect them in the future.

October 11th Meeting Minutes

A total of 15 members and 3 guests attended the meeting.

Guest Introductions

Housekeeping Items

The sink is being repaired, but until then, there is a garden hose out by the bathrooms.  All other plumbing fixtures still work.  The group reminded everyone to check the back door is closed and locked when leaving.  Also, the air compressor is currently out of order.  Rich and Tom will be repairing it shortly.

Black Friday Make-A-Thon

We are planning our second annual Make-A-Thon for the day after Thanksgiving.  Several project ideas have been suggested including CNC or saw cut wooden snowflakes, Makerbot-made cookie cutters, decorating eggs with the Egg-Bot, and soldering LED tie-pins.  We’re still open to ideas, especially those that have more guest involvement and less fabrication time like CNC designs would need.

CNC Work Days / Club Meetings

Ron announced that CNC Club Meetings will likely occur on the first Sunday of each month.  As a reminder, the Electric Car Club meets on the second Sunday of the month.  More info to come.

Game Day

Sunday, October 16th will be our first ever Game Day.  Elizabeth has offered to bring in The Impossible Machine and Timeline: Inventions.  Tom will bring Empire Builder and Ticket to Ride.  Settlers of Catan, Warhammer, and others have also been suggested.  Events start at 3pm.  See the discussion on our Google Groups page. 

Real Steel Matinee

The group is planning an outing this Saturday, October 15th to go see the new Hugh Jackman movie “Real Steel” featuring boxing humanoid robots.  Meet at Marcus South Shore Cinemas prior to the 4:20 PM start time.  See the discussion thread for more info.

A Visit From An Ethnographer 

One of our guests this evening was Michael, an anthropology major from Beloit College, about 75 miles southwest of us.  Michael is interested in becoming a member and studying the culture and community of hackerspaces.  We just happen to be the closest one he’s found.  Over the next several weeks Michael will be interviewing members, observing projects, and working in the shop.  When completed, we have been promised a copy of either part or all of the finished work.  There is also a presentation component that Michael will be organizing for his class.

Builder’s Night Out – October 6th

After weeks of revisions and sitting idle, the “Podium” project was completed last night.  Constructed from a tri-fold photo booth enclosure and a rolling base, the Podium holds a binder full of Guest Release Forms to introduce visitors to our space while also performing a very practical and necessary legal responsibility.

In addition to the variety of projects that were being worked on last night, Shane and Brant rewired Chris H.’s “American Horseshoes” game cabinet and reconnected the speaker.  After a few rounds, we understand why it had been disconnected.  It’s definitely a bar game.  Regardless, it will make a great addition to the Workshop.

October 4th Meeting Notes

A total of 14 members and 3 guests attended the meeting.

BarCampMilwaukee6 Wrap Up

Our “Learn to Solder” booth at BarCamp was a smashing success!  We had nearly 60 campers solder up either a Milwaukee Makerspace Logo Board or the Maker Shed Robot Board.  Our location out in the loading dock also put us close to the 3D printing group so we better got to know people from PS:One, Sector 67, and TC Maker.  On Saturday, we ferried people from Bucketworks over to our space and gave 30 or so people a tour.  The whole weekend was a great event and we’re glad we were invited to be a part of it.  Pictures from BarCamp6 can be found on the Flickr photo pool.

Electric Car Club Meeting Sunday, October 9th

CNC Machining Club Proposed

Ron has announced that he intends to start a CNC Club for those interested in computer controlled milling, routing, machining, and fabrication.  Meetings will likely occur on Sundays, but specific days are yet to be determined.  Stay tuned for more information!

Black Friday Make-A-Thon Revisited

Last year Milwaukee Makerspace hosted an all day “make-a-thon” at Bucketworks where guests were invited to make light-up Christmas tree ornaments and other small trinkets rather than go out and fight the crowds at department stores.  The group discussed possible projects for this year and garnered interest for a 2011 event.

Innovation in Milwaukee – MiKE

A new organization has been formed in Milwaukee that promises to foster innovation, technology and design, entrepreneurship, and collaboration.  MiKE’s partners include General Motors, Kohl’s, Briggs & Straton, Spreenkler, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and many others.  An introduction meeting is scheduled for Thursday in their new space in Grand Avenue Mall with an open house to immediately follow.  More information is available on their website at http://www.innovationinmilwaukee.com/

By-Laws and Voting

The mailing list has been buzzing with talk of how to best make fair and informed decisions regarding the direction of our group.  The discussion Tuesday clarified several procedures and reiterated how our by-laws work.  In short, the major points included were:

  • Any member can propose a vote be taken or require that vote be delayed
  • Members will be notified prior to a vote taking place, usually one week
  • Those who put items to a vote will be expected to express why a vote is necessary
  • Voting by proxy is allowed since not everyone can attend every meeting
  • If a simple majority agrees, votes can be re-examined
  • Typical topics requiring votes include membership, purchases, and major rule changes

For more information on our organizational structure and operations, refer to the By-Laws Page.

Officer Elections and Other Business

After the discussion on policies and voting, the group voted on new officers.  The roles of President, Vice President/Treasurer, and Secretary were opened for new nominations and votes cast.

  • Royce remains President
  • Jason G. replaced Tom G. as Vice President/Treasurer
  • Brant remains Secretary

The attendees also approved a budget of roughly $450 for 500 custom PCBs and parts for new Makerspace “Learn to Solder” Boards since we have exhausted our handmade supply during past events.  Royce is handling the pricing and ordering.  A budget of $20 was also approved for a rubber logo stamp so we can mark guests’ Hackerspace Passports when they visit from other spaces.  Pete is leading the stamp project.