Glass Etching

Bottles

I did a few glass etching classes last month, and the timing was good because people were looking for unique gifts they could make for the holidays, and a personalized etched drinking glass makes a fine gift!

We started out by cutting vinyl on the Silhouette Cameo and then sticking it onto glass bottles. This let everyone get a feel for the sandblaster before they moved on to a real glass.

After everyone used the sandblaster I helped people get their artwork ready, we cut the vinyl, and then everyone etched their glass or mug. (We also got a few lessons on troubleshooting the “temperamental” sandblaster.)

Unfortunately I was too darn busy running the class to take any photos (though Ben did) but I liked what Audrey did, so I pretty much copied her and made my own “Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team” drinking glass. Here it is!

Glass Etching

Here’s a close-up of the etch. It looks pretty good! The process isn’t too hard, but there are a lot of little details to know along the way. I’m glad I could get people up to speed. (I guess my etching of 300+ items back in October helped!)

Glass Etching

If there’s still interest, I can run another class, but there’s only two people right now who missed it, and I’d like to get a few more people before committing to a full class. (Rumor has it we may also be seeing a sandblaster upgrade soon!)

MMPIS is fully operational

MMPIS

The MMPIS (Milwaukee Makerspace Pi-powered Informational System) has been moved to its permanent home and is fully operational. Witness the power of the MMPIS!

The MMPIS will let you know about the upcoming events on our calendar, display photos of members, regale you with silly quotes, tell you where to park, and make suggestions on what you should build next.

I can already hear you saying “Well that’s all good, but I need more info!” fear not dear makers, there’s a wiki page for the MMPIS with the BOM, other details, and links a bunch of blog posts about the creation of it.

(Thanks to a donated Raspberry Pi and big TV, minimal parts were needed to complete the build. If you’d like to see more MMPIS installations at the space, donate your HDMI capable TV and we’ll see what we can do.)

The End is Nigh!

Crazy Calendars!

Just a reminder that we’ll be skipping our regular Tuesday Night Meeting / Open Night this week so you can celebrate New Year’s Eve and ring in 2014. We’ll be back with our regular weekly meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014. Join us then to find out what we plan to make in the new year, or to share what you plan to make. Meet some members, take a tour, share and learn!

If you can’t join us on the 7th, no worries… We have our weekly meeting every Tuesday night at 7pm, and it’s open to the public to come in and find out what we’re all about. We’ve also got “Builder’s Night Out” every Thursday at 7pm. There’s no meeting, so people generally just focus on their own projects, but you’ll still find plenty of makers to hang out with.

Happy New Year 2014

2014, we’re ready for ya!

Aaaaaand… Cut!

Silhouette Cameo

Hey, we got something new! It’s a Silhouette Cameo, which I like to refer to as a “Desktop CNC Cutting Machine”, though you can call it a vinyl cutter if you like. (It can also cut paper and fabric.)

I personally own one of these, and get a lot of use out of it, and I got sick and tired of hauling it back and forth to the space, so after posting a message on our email list to see if anyone else wanted to chip in and get one, we got one. In fact, there was so much interest we also got a bunch of vinyl, and spare blades and cutting mats.

The Silhouette has a wiki page, and we’ve already used it in a class. Now you can make your own crazy signs and other vinyl-covered things.

Holiday Make-A-Thon Recap

Holiday Make-A-Thon

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.

Tom makes some ornaments

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.

Learn to solder

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.

Jenie does some printmaking

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…

Make-A-Thon

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!

Awesome Aluminum Anodizing!

Anodizing
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.
Annealing
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.
METAL!!!
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.)
The Anodizing Bath
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.
Metal Shop
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.
Orange Metal

Forming Metal

Buffing Metal

Dye Baths

Squishing Metal

Note: See Frankie’s post for a ton more photos!

Hackerspace Challenge Results…

Inspiration Labs

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.

We asked for your votes, and we got a lot of them, but in the end, the folks at Inspiration Labs got more. But hey, they built a TARDIS, so we love their project too!

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!

M6

Where do I park!?

Parking!?

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.

mkiemake.us/park

Just fire up the browser on your mobile device, and go to the handy short URL mkemake.us/park

Opposite

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.

Add to home screen

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.

Handy Icon

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.)