Busy Weekend! Hacking, Games, 3D Printing, Con!


Whoa! Super busy weekend at Milwaukee Makerspace!

There’s a DC414 Meeting on Friday April 4th, 2014 at 7pm, but don’t stay up all night hacking away on things, because there’s more fun on Saturday.

On Saturday April 5th, 2014 from 11am to 6pm is Table Top Board Game Day! Bring your friends and your games!

Saturday is also the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup at 1pm.

But Wait! There’s More!

This one’s for members only, but we’ll be running a Makerspace Monthly Orientation Class on Saturday at 10am. If you’re a new member, please attend!

And if the space is too crowded for you, head over to KappaKon/Concinnity 14 happening on the 3rd floor of the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Student Center.

The DC414 Meeting, Table Top Board Game Day, and Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup are all free and open to the public, so come hang out at Milwaukee Makerspace with us!

LulzBot… Soon!


LulzBot is know for producing and selling open source 3D printers, and in the spirit of open source, they do their best to give back to the community. In the past they’ve helped make Slic3r better, and more recently they’ve done a printer giveaway to hackerspaces… and yes, we’ve been chosen!

We are one of the LulzBot Hackerspace Giveaway 2014 Winners, and we’re pretty excited about it!

We (as a space) acquired a 1st gen MakerBot Replicator (the one with the wooden frame) and it’s served us well (ok, we never quite got the second extruder working, and it was down for repairs more than a few months last year.) Anyway, the MakerBot has been our best 3D printer to date, but with a LulzBot TAZ on the way, we’re really hoping to up our 3D game to include bigger and better prints, and hopefully explore new materials like Nylon, wood, and NinjaFlex. Being fans of open source ourselves (a makerspace is all about sharing!) it’ll be great to have a high-quality printer for our members as well as events like the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup.

Once we get the TAZ in and up and running, we’ll share the results. Thanks again, LulzBot!

Camera Accessory Mounting System

CAMS pieces

Those who know me know that besides being cheap (hey, it’s part of being a maker and being DIY) I tend to use cameras a lot. Well, on occasion camera related things break, or I’ll need a part that doesn’t exist yet, or exists, but it too expensive, or isn’t designed right, or whatever.

All of the issues mentioned above lead me to create “CAMS” the “Camera Accessory Mounting System”, which will be a modular system that allows me to mount things to cameras, and mount cameras to things.

The connecting pieces of CAMS are 3D printed, and design is happening in OpenSCAD. The other parts of CAMS consists of standard 1/4″ hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, etc. There are also knobs that fit onto the nuts to allow for easy finger tightening.


There’s a wiki page for CAMS, which doesn’t have a ton of info yet, but you can also check out blog post #1 and blog post #2 about the arm.

Open Source Ecology in Milwaukee

Open Source Ecology

Marcin Jakubowski, TED fellow & founder of Open Source Ecology, will be visiting Milwaukee and speaking at three public lectures on the topic of Social Entrepreneurship.

Open Source Ecology is a non-profit organization with the goal of designing 50 industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The idea is that true economic power can be unleashed in developing countries when they gain access to the CAD files, how-to videos and other engineering specs required to make tools to build houses, agricultural equipment, etc.

(We’ve got a few members who are huge fans of Open Source Ecology and the ideas behind it.)

Open Source Ecology

Here’s the details on the three lectures taking place:

MSOE Lecture
When: Tuesday, February 18th at 7pm
Where: 1025 N Broadway St. Milwaukee, WI 53202
Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center Building, 3rd Floor
more info

UW-Milwaukee Lecture
When: Wednesday, February 19th at 12pm
Where: 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd. Milwaukee, WI 53201
ANSYS Institute for Industrial Innovation, EMS Building, 1st Floor
more info

Marquette University Lecture
When: Wednesday, February 19th at 8pm
Where: 1637 W Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233
WI Energy Foundation Classroom, Engineering Hall, 2nd Floor
more info

And here’s a video of Marcin talking about Open Source Ecology:

Glass Etching


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


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…


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!