Wedding LED Unity Display

I’m getting married in less than a week from now. My fiance and I didn’t want to use a traditional unity candle for our ceremony, so I came up with something a little different. I used some RGB LED strips to create my own LED unity display.


The LEDs are controlled by a relay and two arcade buttons wired in series. When both arcade buttons are pushed the LEDs in the two smaller frames are are turned off and the LEDs in the large frame are turned on.


Completing this project required using the laser cutter, the CNC router, making my own PCB, and even a little bit of wood working to put the frames together.





XBee Breakout Board

I recently purchased a couple of XBee modules from Sparkfun for a new project I’m working on.  I’ll be using them to send a wireless signal from an ice fishing tip up when a fish is on the line. I was frustrated after I received my XBee modules because I realized they do not fit into a standard breadboard!

After I got over the initial frustration I started designing a breakout board that would allow me to use the XBee modules with a breadboard. I used Dip Trace to design my first two sided board.


After I got everything laid out in Dip Trace I etched the board using the equipment at the makerspace. I used our standard process for etching the board.

  1. Print the board design on press and peel blue using a laser printer.
  2. Transfer the circuit design from the press and peel to the copper clad fiberglass board using a heated press.
  3. Etch the board in ferric chloride.
  4. Drill all of the pads with a #65 drill bit using a Dremel.


Here is the finished breakout board.

2012 Power Racing Series

Jim Burke from Pumping Station: One has created a kickstarter project for the 2012 Power Racing Series. The goal is to raise $20,000 by October 20th. The donations will go towards funding a new timing/scoring system, more races, safety equipment for drivers, and a few other things. We have participated in this event the past two years, and we had a great time both years. We are looking forward to next years races.

Please donate to this awesome kickstarter project at

Event description from PPPRS website

“The Power Racing Series (PPPRS) is an event where Hacker/Whateverspaces turn those toys cars that everyone wanted into highly competitive sort-of racing machines. Teams are allowed quite a few liberties (motors, batteries) but we also made a few restrictions so you masochistic engineers can pleasurably cry yourselves to sleep at night. You have $500 to do this with (aside from safety equipment, cause we don’t want to mop you up either). You also compete in three events, and you’ll have to do more than just drive fast (re: be entertaining) to win points. After all, it’s not like we want an actual race to break out. Oh and it is rather unsafe, so you’ll sign a waiver. You built it, so we knew you’d understand.”

 Photo by Opacity.

See the Power Racing Series website for complete details about the 2012 season and kickstarter project.

August 30th Meeting Minutes

A total of 13 members and 1 guest attended the meeting.

Secretary Special Election

I will be stepping down as secretary of the Milwaukee Makerspace. Brant Holeman was unanimously elected as the new secretary.

Podium and Guest Liability Wavier

Elizabeth presented the finished guestbook. There was some concern about the wording of the guest liability wavier. Jason will investigate an alternate wording for the liability wavier and report back to the group. Right now we will keep the current wording for the guest liability wavier and move forward with completing the sign in podium.  Brant and Shane will be working on completing the podium.

Made in Milwaukee

We will be participating in Made in Milwaukee this Saturday September 3rd. Shane will be putting together a flyer that we can hand out at the event. Here are the ideas for the wording on the flyer that we came up with.

  • social club for skill collectors
  • physical space
  • for makers, hackers, tinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, hobbyists
  • Co-Op for builders
  • Like the YMCA – but with tools instead of gym equipment
  • Think tank with tools, evil scientists with good intentions

We will be unloading the trunk at Cathedral Square at 6am on Saturday. Tom will be packing the trunk on Friday night at the Makerspace. Any help would be appreciated. We will be bringing the following equipments and supplies.

  • Power Wheels
  • Power Strips
  • MakerBot
  • Egg-Bot
  • Giant Jacks
  • TV/DVD Player
  • Tables
  • Soldering Irons
  • Donation Jug
  • Arduino Float

Tom got the learn to solder kits from the Maker Shed in the mail. We will be handing them out and teaching people how to solder. Brant will make Milwaukee Makerspace stickers that we can attach to the kits. Jason recorded what times people will be volunteering at and posted it to the mailing list.

Guest Book From Grand Opening

All of the guest names and email addresses from the grand opening still need to be input into a spreadsheet. Brant volunteered to do this.

August 23rd Meeting Minutes

Made In Milwaukee

We will be participating in Made in Milwaukee on Saturday September 3rd. We came up with the following ideas at the meeting

  • Power Wheels demo
  • Beer Can Float
  • Arduino Float
  • Soldering Class or Demo
  • MakerBot
  • Egg-Bot
  • Giant Jacks
  • Show our videos
  • Create an info pamphlet to hand out

Adam will make a blog post on the website this week. Tom ordered and simple LED blinker kit from the Maker Shed that we can use to teach people to solder. We will be unloading at 6am on Saturday.


The new website is live! Members can login and start making blog posts at


BarCampMilwaukee6 will be at Bucketworks on the first weekend of October. The Milwaukee Makerspace will be a sponsor. Royce is thinking of giving an Arduino presentation. Everyone is encouraged to come up presentation ideas.

Tuesday August 16th, 2011

16 members and 6 guests attended the meeting.


Welcome Podium Updates

  • Elizabeth showed the draft of the wording for the new welcome sign. Elizabeth’s wording was accepted with minor changes.
  • Brent will cut the welcome sign wording on vinyl.

Upcoming Demos

  • Cam Bam Demo on 8/18 (Tom Gondek)
  • Dip Trace Demo on 8/25 (Royce Pipkins)
  • Maker Bot Demo on 9/1 (Drew Dominguez)
  • Welding Demo on 9/8 (Rich Neubauer)

Made In Milwaukee

  • Made In Milwaukee is on Saturday 9/3 from 9am to 11pm at Cathedral Square in downtown Milwaukee.
  • Adam Cohen volunteered to be the lead organizer for the event.
  • We will have 4 10×10 squares at the event.
  • Event Ideas
    • Soldering Class
    • Maker Bot Demo
    • Giant Jacks
    • Ruebens Tube Demo
    • Makerspace T-shirts for sale
    • Business Cards and info pamphlets
    • Egg Bot Demo
  • Volunteers are needed to staff the event all day. Contact Adam Cohen if you are interested.

New Website

  • The new website is almost done.


  • Ron noticed that we are missing two sets of alan wrenches in the shop. We will need to purchase a sets of alan wrenches if we can’t find the missing sets.
  • Pumping Station One is having a party on Saturday September 10th. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Screen Printing

Brent Bublitz gave a great screen printing demo at the makerspace on Thursday night. He showed a group of us how to screen print t-shirts without the need for any fancy equipment. I was amazed at how simple the process is.

Here are some pictures from the demo.