I got invited to take part in a gallery show and display some of the art created by my art robots, and I must say, the whole experience reminded me a little bit of my time in the arts program at UWM. Late nights with X-ACTO knives, cork-backed metal rulers, foam core, spray glue, looming deadlines, things not working out as well as you’d like them to… repeatedly. Besides all that though, it was a lot of fun.
I tend to get distracted by other projects after I reach the stages of “it works!” and “I showed it to people!” and I’m not alone… many members of Milwaukee Makerspace suffer from this as well. We’re starting a support group. Actually, we started 5 support groups, but we keep getting distracted by other projects. (I kid, I kid!)
The thing I really like about projects that involve hardware and software is that you can work on one side for a bit, and then switch gears and work on the other side. Many of the makers I know write code all day (which they like doing) and do hardware stuff at night (which they also like doing) so combining them is a double-win.
I started thinking about some of my projects, and I think they fit into a few categories:
- Idea Only: These are projects where I come up with an idea but never follow through on them.
- Completed/Forgotten: Projects that get “done” and then I just move on from them without ever improving or creating new versions.
- Always in Progress: These are projects that are never finished. They may reach finished “stages” but there’s always a chance they’ll get upgraded, or completely rebuilt, or replaced with a better version.
- Failure: Things I try, that just don’t work out. They typically get abandoned.
You might think the Completed/Forgotten or Always in Progress projects are the best, but there’s a lot to be learned by the Idea Only and Failure projects as well. In the end, I love learning new things, so even if I don’t finish a project, learning something new, or even learning how not to do something, can be very valuable.
How do you categorize your projects?
We’re currently in the process of moving to our new space, but we had our last Tuesday night meeting of the year this week and we had a few guests stop by looking for help with some projects.
Becky’s a local artist who works in “duct tape & bike parts” making unique recycled jewelry and other things. (You can check out some of her work on Etsy.) She was interested in using the laser cutter for some of her pieces. While we didn’t get a chance to do any test cuts due to some laser downtime, we grabbed some inner-tube rubber and we’ll be giving it a test run for her.
While talking to Becky, a guy named Jacob showed up and asked about cutting some stencils to sandblast things for rewards. Rewards? Yeah, he’s one of the guys involved in a recent Kickstarter campaign. Check out Matireal in this OnMilwaukee story. We gave Jacob some good advice and a member offered to cut the stencils he needs. Pretty cool! (And yeah, it did seem a little weird that we had one person who works with old inner-tubes and another who works with old car tires, but we love recycling too!)
So yeah, we like helping people who like making things, and even if the laser is down or we’re in the process of moving the entire Makerspace, we’re glad to help!
We all love making, and we all love meeting each week and talking about making and updating the group on our latest projects, but the holidays are here, and people have a lot of other commitments, so in the interest of taking a break, we’re going to cancel the next two weekly meetings.
So on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 and Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 don’t come to the Makerspace! Well, you’re welcome to come, but know that there may be no one there, and we won’t be having meetings. (And if anyone is there, they’ll probably just be moving things.)
Happy Holidays, Maker! See you for the next weekly meeting in our new space at 2555 S. Lenox Street some time in January 2013!
If you saw Shane’s post Submission for the 100 Square Feet of Art Charity Event you probably wondered if anyone else managed to create a piece of art for the event, and if they too used the laser cutter. The answer to both questions is “Yes!” and here are the two pieces I created, M1 and M2.
There’s an in-depth (and potentially boring) post about these pieces over on my blog titled Two Square Feet of Art. Enjoy!
Looks like our old pal Frankie Flood is at it again! This time he’s building a Prusa i3 RepRap 3D Printer.
If you’re keeping track, he was building Prusa Mendels back in June, a Mendel 90 back in July, and a Rostock in September. I think he holds the record for the most 3D printers built in Milwaukee! (Or at least the most different models of 3D printers.)
(The Prusa i3 is the most recent iteration of a RepRap designed by Josef Prusa. It’s open source, which means you can download the design files, and build your own, and even make changes to it. Josef is also working on a new hotend which looks pretty sweet!)
I know the question you’ve been asking… How Many Members Does Milwaukee Makerspace Have?
Well fear not, Makers… we’ve got you covered. Just visit hmmdmmh on the Global InterWeb Network and you’ll have the answer.
But wait! I can hear you saying “Hey there Lord of Numbers and Hackmaster General, I’m on my Mobile Smart Device, will this even work!?” And the answer is yes… yes it will.
Rather than force you to install an application specific to your Mobile Platform through some silly “App Store” we decided to use the latest in Web Standards to deliver this information to you. (We call this version ‘hmmdmmhm’ with an extra ‘m’ for ‘mobile’.)
What’s that? Oh yes, how does it work? Well, right now it reads the data from this page, parses it, and stores it in a special Linux-based file system, then displays it to you. In the future our custom membership software will provide an API to get this data, but for now… it’s all beta, so just go with it.
It’s no secret that we love making, but did you also know we love helping others make things as well? It’s true… and one of the ways we like to help others is by taking part in the Holiday Make-A-Thon that happens at Bucketworks the day after Thanksgiving.
Why bother putting up with the malls and the traffic and the crowds so you can try to get some great deal on the latest gadget that will be out of date in six months. You’d be much better off joining us at the Make-A-Thon where we’ll help you make something that will serve as a great gift this holiday season.
We’ve got a few things planned, including ornaments you can decorate yourself (new designs for 2012!) You can also learn how to solder, and walk away with an awesome electronic blinky Milwaukee Makerspace logo. We’re also hoping to let people design their own cookie cutters that we will then 3D print for them. Exciting! Who doesn’t love whimsically shaped cookies!?
There will be other activities and things to make, but you’ll have to join us to find out what they are. So head down to Bucketworks on Friday, November 23rd, 2012 from 12pm to 5pm and make with us. (More details? See the Facebooks.)
(This is a family-friendly event, and it’s free to the public, though we might ask for a donation to help support the event so we can keep doing it every year.)
We saw these nice laser-cut name badges on the Pumping Station: One wiki, and thought that Milwaukee Makerspace should have some as well, and Saturday night’s alright for laser cutting so now there’s about a dozen blank badges for people to make their own badges. (And the one test badge I already make for jason.)
Have I mentioned I love our laser cutter?
Let’s say your interested in Milwaukee Makerspace, and want to check it out, learn more, meet some makers, and see if becoming a member is something you’re interested in…
Because of the structure of Milwaukee Makerspace, we want to meet you, and we want you to meet some of us, and make sure it’s all a good fit before you join us, and that’s why we invite people to stop by Tuesday nights at 7pm for our weekly meetings, or Thursday nights at 7pm for our “Builder’s Night Out” but those days and times may not be ideal for everyone. If you’ve got classes or work, or just can’t make it out on a Tuesday or Thursday night, we can always figure something else out.
Feel free to contact us about getting into the space to meet people at a time that works for you. Maybe you can only stop by on the weekend, or during “normal” business hours… either way, if you’re interested in joining, we’ll do what we can do accommodate you. We’re helpful like that! :)
How can we possibly top the recent news of our new space? We can’t! But that’s not the only new thing about Milwaukee Makerspace…
During the summer, as we searched for a new space, we were finding it more and more difficult to have decisions made by a large group. The logistics of trying to move and get 50 or more people to discuss the issues, and vote on the issues, and even do things like vote if we should have a vote… we found we were spending more time on bureaucracy and less time on making, and that’s no good!
Royce did an amazing job of being the President of Milwaukee Makerspace since it started, and we’re eternally grateful for all he’s done… and now he gets to spend more time doing awesome things while the following individuals fill out our Board of Directors:
Rich N – President
- Jason G – Treasurer
- Brant H – Operations Director
- Pete P – Communications Director
- Kevin B – Director at Large
- Adam C – Director at Large
- Jason H – Director at Large
For the next year these members will work to direct the Milwaukee Makerspace. It’ll be their jobs to discuss important issues with the members, and come to decisions that affect the group. If you’ve got important matters to discuss, find a board member and talk to them!
As we continue to grow we believe this is the right solution to managing a large group of people interested more in making than in talking about issues that may or may not affect the making. :)
Update: Shortly after the elections Rich resigned as President, and Brant was elected President in a special election. We then held another special election for a new Operations Director and Brent B. was elected. Some changes, but all for the best!