Power Racing Series – Detroit 2013

Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team

The Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team (Pete, Chris, Tony, Sean, and Audrey) took three cars out to Maker Faire Detroit to race against other hackerspaces around the country. How did we do? We did pretty good! And by “pretty good” I mean that we had fun, no one got hurt (too badly) and we returned with plenty of good stories to tell.

Chris on Mr. Fusion

Since Matt W. couldn’t make it, Chris took over Mr. Fusion (our newest car) for the weekend. There were some transmission problems, which we got figured out, but Mr. Fusion failed before the end of the weekend, which we sort of expected. The highlight of the weekend was Chris flipping the car and getting pinned under it. (Well, he might not agree it was the highlight!)

Tony on Jake N Stein

Jake N Stein was driven by Tony and myself, and I think Chris may have take a few laps as well. Jake N Stein did pretty well during the weekend, and only died right before the end of Sunday’s Endurance Race. Jake N Stein is pretty solid right now, though we’ll probably be upgrading the water cooling system for the motor. We did get a warning for “being on fire” that was actually just steam. Luckily it wasn’t 95 degrees in Detroit this year.

Dan on Jake N Stein

Dan (our resident Blacksmith) gave us a call as he just happened to be in Detroit for the weekend, so we recruited him and he ended up driving Jake N Stein during some of the races!

Audrey Fits

This photo shows that Red Lotus was pretty much built for Audrey, and by that I mean, she’s the only one who can sit in it and not have her knees sticking way the hell out.

Audrey on Red Lotus

Even when we forget the right batteries and have to do an emergency battery replacement, it’s no big deal to Audrey. It helps to have a driver that you can fold in half to fit into the car. Oh, the batteries, yeah… we somehow left the small batteries Red Lotus uses in Milwaukee, so we rigged up the big batteries the other cars used, and removed the hood of the car, and attached it to the trunk. I figured we couldn’t leave it off because (1) it’s part of the original body, and you’re supposed to maintain that and (2) the transponder was attached to it. So we zip tied the hood onto the trunk, which worked fine, until…

Sean on Red Lotus

Sean was driving and the hood (and transponder!) fell off. We tried to get Sean into the pits but he just grabbed the hood and did a bunch of laps holding it. It totally worked and gained us a few laps until we had to pit.

The Pits

All in all, the Power Racing Series event in Detroit was awesome. We met a lot of cool people, and worked together as a team to get all the cars functional and keep them functioning for the races.

We’re currently planning to head to the Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire in September for one more race. We may even try to build a new car by then, because we are crazy.

Sugru Build Night Results

Instructables & Sugru

We had out first Instructables Build Night recently and a few of the members wrote up Instructables showing what they did with the Sugru… here they are:

Thanks to Instructables, Sugru, and everyone who took part in the event. We’ll be hosting another Instructables Build Night in August, so keep an eye on the calendar.

Fix It Milwaukee

Fix It MKE

Milwaukee Makerspace is proud to team up with the Milwaukee Area Time Exchange and Milwaukee County for “Fix It Milwaukee” with the goal of repairing those broken things you’ve got around the house so they can become useful again and not end up in the landfill.

We’ve got a great team of volunteers who are skilled at troubleshooting and fixing everyday items because, well, we do it ourselves all the time. Many appliances can be fixed with the simple replacement of a switch or wiring repair. If things like computers or bikes or torn clothing seem beyond your skills to get back to 100%, we’re here to help.

Bring your broken things to Milwaukee Makerspace on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 between 12 noon and 4pm and we’ll do our best to get them working again. (If we can’t fix it we’ll give you our best advice on what to do next.)

So what types of things should you bring? Well, if you can fit it in your car and get it to Milwaukee Makerspace, we’ll take a look at it. We’ve got a shop full of almost every tool imaginable including stuff you won’t find in your basement workshop (unless you’ve got laser cutters and 3D printers!)

If you have specific questions or need more info, feel free to email info@milwaukeemakerspace.org

We Frolicked Again

Frolicks 2013

Hey, we frolicked again!

We successfully made it through another parade, this time the 2013 South Shore Frolics Parade, which didn’t “officially” happen last year, but did happen two years ago. (And yes, we did it two years ago as well.)

Somehow Tom and Tony managed to get all 5 of the Power Wheels cars we had functional, and all were driven in the parade. Red Lotus broke down, Mr. Fusion ran out of batteries, something weird happened to Jakenstein, and as pointed out, the only cars to not have any problems were the last-minute hacked together pair of old-time (illegal!) cars known as Grave Digger and Baby Burrito. (And yeah, Joe almost flipped Grave Digger, man, that car sure lives up to its name!)

We also had a few bikes, some people walking, and my Honda Element in the parade, which played marching band music (it seemed appropriate.)

We hope to return next year, but in the meantime Mike snapped a few photos during the parade.

Instructables / Sugru Build Night

sugru Build Night

Join us on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 for the sugru Build Night sponsored by our friends at Instructables!

How does it work? After the 7pm meeting we’ll have a bunch of sugru on hand and all you have to do is create something cool with it. Make something more ergonomic, fix something that’s broken, or come up with something completely new.

Oh, and if you’re not familiar with sugru, it’s a self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. It molds like Play-Doh, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight. Check out the Gallery for some ideas on what you can do with it.

And where does Instructables come into it? They sent us the sugru, and we’re going to create a few Instructables based on what we do with it.

If you’ve got something that needs fixing, bring it in. I’ve used it in the past to fix a broken griddle and to repair a broken letter opener.

This is a free event, just bring yourself (and your ideas!) to 2555 S. Lenox St. in Bay View and make something cool with sugru.

Return of the Frolicking Makers

Parade Makers

Remember way back in 2011 when Milwaukee Makerspace took part in the South Shore Frolics Parade? Well, I guess we were so awesome that they had to skip a year, but it’s back, and so are we!

That’s right! The Parade is Back! South Shore Frolics is this weekend, and you’ll want to catch the parade on Saturday, July 13th, 2013 at 11am. The parade begins on S. Kinnickinnic Ave. near E. Smith St. and proceeds south on Kinnickinnic Ave. before turning northeast on S. Ellen St., and finally east on E. Nock St. to South Shore Park.

This is known as “Milwaukee’s Best Parade” and we hope to help it live up to that reputation… So what are we planning?

In the words of Dr. Song: Spoilers!

Hackerspace Challenge 2013

Team Milwaukee Makerspace

Last year it was East vs. West, and this year it’s Milwaukee Makerspace vs. some unsuspecting challenger! That’s right, we’ve been chosen to take part in this year’s Hackerspace Challenge put on by Popular Mechanics and RadioShack!

During the month of July our team will be busy building, uh, something, and we may be a bit hush-hush about it until it’s done, but don’t worry, once completed you’ll see and hear all about it! :)

Oh, and this year’s theme is “Turn something old into something new” which you can imagine we’re going to have quite a bit of fun with…

Etsy Craft Party

Etsy Craft Party

Our friends at Etsy are helping us throwing a little party on Thursday, June 20th, 2013 and you’re invited!

And what is an Etsy Craft Party exactly? Etsy has a blog post that explains it, but basically:

Etsy Craft Party is a one-day celebration of meeting and making. Around the world, we come together to share creative skills with our neighbors. You can organize a Craft Party, or join one in your area. All you need are good friends, craft supplies, and fun!

Well, Hannah Kleinhans is a local Etsy fan here in Milwaukee, and when she needed a place to host the event, we though Milwaukee Makerspace was a natural fit!

You can check out the event on Facebook, and grab a ticket on Eventbrite.

The event is free, but we are asking asking for $5 to help cover the cost of materials, but we’ll do our best to put the tools and skills of our members to work to help out with the making. And what are we making? Well, there are three projects:

Craft Station #1: Lil’ Free Library

Craft Station #2: DIY Wedding Gifts

Craft Station #3: Crafting for our 4 Legged Friends

(Check out Facebook or Eventbrite for full details.)

There’s some FAQs here from Etsy, and if you’ve got a specific question, post a comment or email Hannah at kleinhah[at]gmail.com

Hello Kuka!

Kuka KR 30

We recently got an email from a guy who runs a manufacturing company in the Milwaukee area. He said he had some extra equipment he was looking to donate, including a welder, and some wire, and some scrap steel, and oh yeah, a Kuka KR 30 Industrial Robot!!!

We said, sure, we’ll come and pick it up. ;)

To be fair, he did mention it “needs work” but we’ve already assembled a team of members interested in getting this thing up and running. We’re hoping that with the varied experience our members possess, from electronics to industrial controls to robotics and general hacking and tinkering, we’ll get this thing swinging around in no time.

And what will we do with it? Well, besides the silly suggestions of arm wresting, can crushing, and free high-fives at the next Art Jamboree, there’s been talk of multi-axis milling, 3D printing, and hey, just being awesome with a giant industrial robot arm!

Before we even think of firing it up we’ll be mounting it securely to the floor and building a safety cage. The last thing we want to do is reduce our membership due to an “accident” with the giant industrial robot arm!

Of course, until it’s up and running, it’s available for amusing photo opportunities. ;)

robot002