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.

Thursday Night Time Lapse

A time lapse video complied from the Milwaukee Makerspace CCTV system. 7 hours of video compressed into 4 minutes. All events took place between 4:30 and 11:30 PM Thursday, September 29, 2011.

Activities include:
– Rich welding
– Chris and Rich working on their electric cars
– Chris driving his electric car in and out of the shop
– Tom, Adam, and Royce working in Diptrace
– Bret, Rich, Royce, and Adam blacksmithing items with the forge
– Various people working on misc. projects and chatting
– Royce, Brant, and Adam etching and tin-plating circuit boards
– Pete working on his Makerbot 3D printer

Builder’s Night Out – September 29th

In addition to the usual hackery and makers working on their electric cars, Bret fired up the forge again last night.  Rich turned some horseshoes into hangers, Adam flattened a steel rod, and Royce folded a metal bar.

In preparation for BarCampMilwaukee6 (this weekend!) Royce and I have been mass producing circuit boards for a “learn to solder” class we’ll be holding.  The boards are 1.5″x1.5″ square and include a battery, two resistors, traces in the shape of our logo, and two red LEDs for eyes.  The copper traces were tinned using “Tin It” to prevent oxidation and make it easier to solder.  We’ve made 65 of the “tie pins” so far and the project gave us an opportunity to tweak our methods for PCB etching.  We prefer etching with ferric chloride, but muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide are looking more attractive as they’re cheaper chemicals, can be obtained locally, and etch much faster without heating.  Also, red Sharpie markers seem to work really well at cleaning up traces with the muriatic acid solution.  Specifically red, not sure why.


September 27th Meeting Minutes

A total of 14 members and 1 guest attended the meeting.

BarCampMilwaukee6 is this weekend!

If you haven’t yet, go visit their website at http://barcampmilwaukee.org/

Membership Promotion

Jason proposed that we actively engage the public and recruit new members.  He volunteered to lead a small group and make contact with people at area schools and colleges.  More to come shortly.

Jumpstart Sponsorships

Rich presented an idea to sponsor people who regularly attend meetings and help out at the space, but lack the disposable income necessary for membership.  Candidates would be eligible for two or more months of part-time or student level membership.  A fund has already been set up using donations from other members.

Jason noted that PS:One and other groups offer incentives to bring in materials, clean the space, teach classes, etc. and earn points which can be redeemed for merchandise, discounted dues, and more.  More details to come.

Doorbell Project

It was noted that Shane, a regular at the space but not quite a member, was left waiting outside in the rain last Friday without anyone to let him in.  People were in the space, but did not know he was out there.  The group discussed the need for a doorbell to alert occupants to the presence of guests waiting outside.  Ross volunteered to help build a system with a bell and lights and began working shortly after the meeting.

Electric Car Club Meeting October 9th

As usual, the Electric Car Club will be meeting on the second Sunday of the month.  Tom asked for a few volunteers to come to the space and help direct any guests that attend the meeting.  People will hang out between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM with the meeting somewhere in the middle.  Tom noted that Ben is working to make the group an official chapter of the Electric Automobile Association.

September 20th Meeting Minutes

A total of 13 members and 4 guests attended the meeting.

Introductions – Guests Welcome

This week Royce asked the guests how they found us.  Answers included seeing the Arduino float in the South Shore Frolics Parade, recommendations from co-workers, our website, and like-minded  maker group and reseller websites.

Upcoming Events

The group voted to proceed with plans to create Milwaukee Makerspace LED blinkies in time for BarCampMilwaukee6.  The blinkies will be part of a “Learn to Solder” class that will be offered at the event.  There is not enough time to have professional custom PCBs made in time for the event so Royce has agreed to design a circuit in-house and Brant to etch and drill them.  Tom is currently putting together a Digikey order for the parts.  If anyone wants to combine orders from Digikey, respond to the mailing list thread ASAP.

Brant asked who from Milwaukee Makerspace will be teaching sessions at BarCamp this year.  Ron B. is planning to host a session on CNC CAD/CAM programs like CamBam.  Other sessions TBD.  For more information visit barcampmilwaukee.org

Power Wheels Kickstarter

Donations for the Power Racing Series Kickstarter Project began Tuesday.  See the post immediately below this one for more information.


Bob D. noted he had started to build a 2-seater hovercraft and has ribs for sale if anyone is interested.  Inquire on the mailing list.

Electric Watt Hour Meters!

American Science & Surplus is selling residential style electric watt hour meters. Awhile back I picked up this analog one from them for $14, but they also have digital ones for less at their tent sale going on this weekend.  I finally found some time to play with it and I managed to get it working.  I’ll probably turn it into a lamp or something!

Electric Watt Hour Meter

Electric Watt Hour Meter from AS&S

Electric Watt Hour Meter Disc

Electric Watt Hour Meter Disc

Electric Watt Hour Meter Connections

Electric Watt Hour Meter Connections

September 13th Meeting Minutes

A total of 14 members and 5 guests attended the meeting.

Introductions – Guests Welcome

Bookkeeping Items

Tom indicated that we have paid the fee for Made in Milwaukee and we will be cutting a check to sponsor BarCampMilwaukee6.  For more information visit barcampmilwaukee.org The group agreed to put donations from members toward the sponsorship and pay the remainder out of organization funds.

Upcoming Events

This Sunday, September 18th from 1-3pm Royce will be teaching a class on the DipTrace printed circuit board design software.  You can RSVP on Facebook.

The First Annual Wisconsin Science Festival will be held in Madison September 22nd-25th.  Milwaukee Makerspace is not actively participating however the event has been shared on the mailing list.  wisconsinsciencefest.org

BarCampMilwaukee6 is scheduled for October 1st-2nd and many of our members will be in attendance; a few will even be teaching!

Wiki and Website Content Discussion

There is a discussion on the mailing list about starting a Makerspace Wiki.  Jason, Ross, and Royce led most of the discussion in the meeting Tuesday.  While it is not clear if members would maintain or use a wiki, blog posts are being made often so the website is staying fresh and up-to-date.  Is it also not clear at this time if WordPress has “collaboration” style pages like Drupal did with the former website.  Brant volunteered to port the old cleanup task list and recommended vendors list over to the new website.  Brant and Jason expressed interest in tagging the equipment with QR codes or something similar to track relevant information and possibly maintenance.

Current Projects

The group went around the room and shared what projects they are currently working on:

  • Royce P. – Gyro Belt/E-Textile Project for Dancers
  • Rich N. – Electric Ford Ranger Conversion & Restoring the Craftsman Lathe
  • Chris H. – Electric Ford Escort Conversion, transmission work
  • Ron B. – Wants to build a large electric clock using wooden gears, plans to level the CNC milling surface soon
  • Tom Gr. – Tweaking the Electric Dodge Neon, battery monitors and “smart” battery chargers
  • Mike K. – Temperature control circuit for an ATV, motor controller, possibly a Tesla coil soon
  • David R. – Motorcycle repairs, RFID audio plane
  • Jack D. – Continuing work on the ambulance, siren and PA coming soon
  • Jason G. – Coaching a FIRST Lego League Team
  • Matt N. – Looking to fabricate aluminum porch post covers
  • Ross O. – LED scrolling display hacking, analog synthesizer, repairing various test equipment picked up from yard sales
  • Brant H. – Scoreboard clocks, video projector hacking, making a key for the TP dispenser in the Women’s Room
  • Brett – Continuing work on the forge, needs to make tools and casting forge, also a LilyPad bicycle illumination project for night riding