A visit from Marc Teusch

Marc Teusch

A few weeks ago we got an email from Luxembourg. Well, more specifically, from Marc Teusch, one of the founders of syn2cat. He said he’d be visiting Milwaukee and was wondering if he could stop by Milwaukee Makerspace… the answer was YES!

Visiting other spaces is awesome. It’s great to see the differences (and similarities) between different hackerspaces. I visited Baltimore Hackerspace and highly recommend you try to visit other spaces in your travels.

Anyway, Marc stopped by during our weekly meeting, then afterwards I gave him a tour of our space and we talked about making, hacking, Luxembourg, the US, and all sorts of other things.

If you didn’t get a chance to talk to Marc that night, check out his recent TEDx Talk: Makerspaces – The Future of Education

Red Lotus Repairs (Part II)

Power Wheels Repair

We made some good progress last time, but the repairs continue, and this time we got as far as a test drive!

We managed to finish the motor mount, get the chain on, repair the kill switch, and fix a wobbly wheel. We still need to get the new brakes in place, reattach the cooling fan, and see about some replacement wheels. But yes, it is running!

If all goes well we should have it ready by Minne-Faire on April 13th, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (We decided not to drive it there, but instead will put it in the back of a regular old gasoline-powered vehicle, just so the batteries are fresh when we get there. :)

Driving!

Check the video (which is a time lapse of the repairs) and you’ll see a few shots of driving it (note to self: take camera out of time lapse mode when driving!) There’s also a short bit of real-time video at the end showing a first-time guest driver taking it for a spin. (Literally!)

Raspberry Pi Challenge Update

Eric

Previously on The Raspberry Pi Challenge

Just a quick update on the “Milwaukee Makerspace Traveling Mascot” project as I caught Eric doing a bit of Raspberry Pi + GPS hacking last night.

Raspberry PI + GPS

I’m excited to see how this project progresses. I’ve not had a chance to get hands-on with the Adafruit Ultimate GPS Breakout yet, but there’s a great tutorial on using it with a Raspberry Pi and one that covers Arduino usage as well.

The Art Jamboree is Here!

Art Jamboree

When we say “The Art Jamboree is Coming” we really mean The Art Jamboree is Coming! That’s right, Art Milwaukee is bringing the next Art Jamboree to us. Mark your calendars for Friday, March 29th, 2013 when the Art Jamboree will take place at Milwaukee Makerspace.

This one is titled “The Maker” and besides the usual awesomeness that includes the best in Milwaukee art, there will also be raffles, food & drink, and free low-fives(?) We’ll also be adding our own maker-related art to the mix. Expect some some interactive pieces as well as art in mediums you may not be used to. (Sure we like paint, but we also like lasers and molten plastic and beer.)

This event is free and open to the public. (All ages are welcome, but keep an eye on the kids. We have a lot of rotating blades, but we’ll do our best to keep them powered-down during the event.)

Mark your calendars for March 29th, 2013 from 7pm to 11pm. We’ll see you at 2555 S. Lenox Street in beautiful Bay View.

Pssst! Want to see who else is going? Check out the event on Facebook.

Panoramic Photos

A few years ago I built a panoramic camera head (mostly out of scrap wood) and while I’ve wanted to build a new one, this one (mostly) works, so I just keep using it. It also helps that Hugin keeps getting better and better at stitching panoramas together.

I was lucky enough to be at the space on a Saturday morning before it got too busy and shot a few panos. (You can see larger versions on Flickr by clicking on each photo.) Enjoy!

Craft Area Here’s the craft area… something we didn’t have at the old Chase location.

Office Here’s the Meeting Room & Electronics Lab. (Often called “The Office”)

Wood Shop The Wood Shop is constantly improving… this photo is already out of date!

Metal Shop The Metal/Machine Shop has some heavy duty equipment. And lots of room!

Storage Room Here’s one end of the storage room…

Storage Room And here’s another end of the storage room.

It’ll be great to look back at these photos and see how things have changed over time. It shouldn’t take long though, as things are in a constant state of development. (Oh, there’s more rooms, but I ran out of time! More to come… Stay Tuned!)

Red Lotus Repairs

Red Lotus Repairs

Tom and I spent some time this past weekend repairing Red Lotus, our #55 Power Wheels Car. Working with Tom is great because I end up learning a ton of new skills, like how to use an angle grinder, and the mill, and some welding tricks. These will all come in handy when the car breaks (and it will break) in the middle of a race.

Besides fixing up the car, we’ve also been building up the team, and it looks like at least two of us will try to make it to Minne-Faire in April for a bit of pre-season racing fun.

Here’s a quick time lapse video of Tom and I doing some repairs.

Can you guys build me a…

Work It!

Every so often we get a question from someone along the lines of “Hey, can you guys build me a…” where the thing in question might be easy to build, or hard to build, or cheap, or expensive, or… a dozen other things.

It might be worth explaining how Milwaukee Makerspace works, for those who are not quite sure. Milwaukee Makerspace is a number of things: it’s a physical place (a hackerspace or makerspace) but at its heart, it’s also a social club for people who like to make things.

Most people who join Milwaukee Makerspace already have personal projects in mind that they want to work on. Others just want to learn new skills; like forging metal, or wood working, or digital fabrication. At the weekly meeting people talk about what sort of making they are into, and it ranges from electronics to photography to welding to sewing. There’s a lot of skills in the group, and that’s good!

When people contact us asking if they can hire us to build something, the answer is usually not as simple as yes or no. It’s complicated…

No one ‘works’ at Milwaukee Makerspace we’re all just members, and we are not a business. We’ve done group projects for other organizations in Milwaukee, but it’s usually to help people in need, support a community effort, or for fun.

So here’s the deal: if you want someone at Milwaukee Makerspace to make something for you, or help you make something yourself, your best bet is to come down to a Weekly Meeting at 7pm on a Tuesday and introduce yourself, talk about what you want, and see if anyone is interested in helping you out. You never know, you might find someone up for a new challenge, or just as excited about your potential project as you are.

(If you just can’t make it to a meeting, consider posting on our mailing list. But if you can attend a meeting, it’s definitely better to meet up in person than just shoot emails back and forth.)

The Raspberry Pi Challenge Accepted!

Raspberry Pi

Remember our recent announcement about the Raspberry Pi Challenge we’re running? Well, we’ve found our challenger, and it’s Eric B!

Eric’ joined Milwaukee Makerspace last summer, and rumor has it he’s a pretty skilled software guy, so hopefully the challenge of writing code for the Raspberry Pi won’t be too difficult for him. He’s also done a bit of metalwork, woodworking, and a few electronics projects. But wait, we should explain what he plans to do!

Here’s the project that Eric proposed:

As an outgrowth of the Travelling Gnome Prank, many groups have adopted their own traveling mascot, where a statue, doll, gnome, or action figure voluntarily travels with various group members to far off places. The group documenting the travels of the mascot collects photos and travel reports

I propose that a Milwaukee Makerspace traveling mascot be equipped to report on its own travels. Built around a Raspberry Pi, with the addition of a battery, GPS unit, and a camera sensor, the traveling mascot could take its own photos and report its own location.

I believe that with this kit, a few additions, and the tools at the Milwaukee Makerspace, I could pull off making a working self-reporting traveling mascot. With the help and input of artists, designers, developers, and makers of any kind, we could make this thing great.

This project can help build the Milwaukee Makerspace community by keeping the space in our member’s minds as they travel, sharing with our community. Also, the traveling mascot will encourage frequent additions to our website.

Sounds cool! I don’t think anyone has used a Raspberry Pi to create a self-documenting mascot that can track itself. Eric’s made it clear that he wants this to be a community project, and is hoping for input (and assistance) from other Milwaukee Makerspace members. We’ll keep you up-to-date with blog posts as things progress.

(Thanks again to Adafruit Industries for helping make this project possible.)