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!)

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!

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!

KC Maker Faire, here we come!

Lotusaurus Wrecks

Audrey has been working her butt off on Lotusaurus Wrecks, with help along the way from Tom, Ed, Tiffany, and other members, to get ready for the Power Racing Series event happening at Maker Faire KC this weekend.

But wait, that’s not all! There’s still a good chance Tiffany’s car “Iron Rose” will be ready to roll at the races as well. I mean, it’s not done right now, but as of typing this we still have nearly 24 hours to finish the build. I guess we can test it during qualifying. ;)

So yeah, if you’re in Kansas City for Maker Faire this weekend, stop by the pits and say “Hi” to us, and wish us luck, and award us some Moxie points… We always need more Moxie points!

#TinkerOn, my friends… #TinkerOn

To celebrate the National Day of Making we’re proud to share these great videos we made with the folks at Liquid Wrench for their Tinkernation web site. Big thanks to Tom, Audrey, and Tiffany for being the voice of Milwaukee Makerspace, and to all the other members involved and our pals at Pumping Station: One in Chicago who run the Power Racing Series.

Warning: The videos range from fun to educational to a little ridiculous. Enjoy!

Girls in Tech + MM + PPPRS

GiT MKE SOLVE

A few months ago we connected with some of the women behind Girls in Tech Milwaukee and we talked about collaborating and sharing the joy of making with some local Girl Scouts troops. Well, things are still progressing, but if you’re a supporter of increasing the number of girls and women interested in technology, computer science, engineering, and design, you might want to check out the 2014 Girls in Tech SOLVE Launch Event.

And if you do, be sure to say “Hello!” to Audrey, one of the stars of our Power Racing Series team, as she talks about the engineering involved in designing and building an electric race car. Audrey joined the space last July, and in less than a year she’s gone from “Sure, I’ll drive a car” to “Sure, I’ll rip this old car apart and rebuild it better than before!”

(Oh, Audrey is also a Research Technologist, has attended MIT, and will be doing her graduate studies at Boston University. That’s what keeps her busy when she’s not building electric race cars!)

Red Lotus

A few facts about the Power Racing Series: Karen “Cannonball” Corbeil has the most wins (10) over any driver in the series. No other racing series boasts as many wins by women drivers. 6 women have won races in the Power Racing Series. Dozens have contested. This actually gives the PPPRS the highest gender balance of any “motorsport” in the world, and most every other sport too.

Instructables / littleBits Build Night

littleBits
Have you heard of littleBits? It’s an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. If you’re the kind of maker who tends to avoid the Electronics Lab, littleBits might be just what you need to start experimenting with circuits.

We’ll be hosting a number of littleBits Build Nights in June, sponsored by our friends at Instructables, who have provided us with a bunch of littleBits Deluxe Kits, as well as a number of their new Arduino at Heart modules, which let you add an Arduino brain to your littleBits creations.

If you come up with something cool, we’ll help you post a step-by-step Instructable for it, so others can enjoy your creation. If you need some inspiration, check out some of these littleBits projects.

These events will be free, just bring yourself (and your ideas!) to 2555 S. Lenox St. in Bay View and make something cool with littleBits.