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.

A Clockwork…Room Divider

A 6 foot tall, clockwork gear inpired, tri-fold room divider

Hopefully, we can use this as a backdrop for events like the Art Jamboree.

I’ve been toying with the idea of room dividers for a while now. I don’t exactly have use for one, but I think they look neat and it’s basically a blank canvas. Drawing inspiration from my Clockwork Boxes, I decided that a gear motif would best suit the makerspace, thus giving me a new use for the piece: as a backdrop at events we participate in such as Art Jamboree and the various Maker Faires.

A picture of myself, Jason, and Matt, standing around the room divider

There are 3 of us in this photo. Really.

The actual screens were cut out with a large-scale CNC router, while the frame was ripped from 2×4′s, with a dado groove down the center for the screen to slip into. Thanks, Jason H.!!

Assembly went well, although there were a few hiccups.  The drill bit wasn’t long enough, so some minor splitting occurred at a couple of spots. The frame was slightly warped and so needed to be clamped and glued before being screwed together.

After allowing the paint to dry overnight, myself, Matt W., and Jason H. assembled this thing just prior to heading to the Art Jamboree at the Hilton in Milwaukee.

EDIT: I’ve just entered this into the Furniture Contest that Instructables is running. Click the link. Vote. Be thanked. :)

LEGOlamp

LEGO_lamp_2_complete_dark   This is the assembled LEGOlamp.  It will be mounted as a ceiling fixture, with an internal bulb.  To light it for this picture, I used a desklamp to project light into the tube.

One idea I tried after the previous post, was slicing the tube into 16 rings.  The idea was to glue the bricks to the tube, with the bricks stacked vertically, then offset the rings after the bricks were attached.  That approach failed.  I was unable to cut the rings smoothly, resulting in large gaps between them.  When stacked, they looked horrible.

In the end, a simple change of adhesive and application made the difference.  First, I abandoned both hot glue and epoxy.  I discovered gel super glue has sufficient open time to position the bricks, but also sets quickly enough that clamping and supporting the bricks was unnecessary.  I addition, I realized the important joint is between the bricks.  If the bricks are firmly cemented to each other, the connection to the tube can be a series of comparatively weak joins.  Less glue on the end-face means less glue to smear, and less chance of accidentally gluing the template in place.

 

drillpress_dremel_saw  Many people have asked how I cut the LEGO bricks.  Initially, I used a sharp chisel.  That was tedious, as each brick had to be clamped.  After that, I switched to a rotary-tool held in a fixture, with a standard abrasive cut-off disk.  That worked well enough.  Finally, I hit on chucking a Dremel-sized circular saw blade into a drill press.  That provided a rock-solid platform.  Better still, once the height was set it didn’t vary.  Unlike the abrasive disk, the bricks weren’t heated by the saw blade.  No molten plastic flying around.  Using this method, the bricks required little-or-no touch-up work with a sharp knife.

Another Art Jamboree!

Art Jamboree!

It’s that time again, folks… Time for another Art Jamboree! Join us on January 25, 2013 from 7pm to 11pm at the Loyalty Building (Hilton Garden Inn) 611 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The event is free and open to the public (and all ages are welcome) and there will also be a cash bar, prizes, art raffles, free hi-fives and some of your favorite Milwaukee Makerspace members showing off things they’ve made, many of which could be considered “art”!

We’ll also have some interactive pieces for you to experience, but we can’t give away all the details yet, because we’re all about secrecy and the element of surprise, so you’ll just have to show up and see what we do. (Safety glasses and ear plugs are highly recommended!)

Oh, and our friends at Art Milwaukee (who are putting on this event) have all the info on the Art Jamboree you’ll need. We hope to see you there!

MAKE

MAKE

Kevin did a great job updating Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture “LOVE” into a piece he titled “FEAR”, and it inspired me to create something to give us hope in these dark times…

Rather than use a cold, harsh material like aluminum, I opted for something a little more comforting… plastic. Also, mine comes in a handy desktop version!

(See Also: The Making of MAKE.)

Categorizing Projects

Friday Night Drawbot

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.

Arc-O-Matic

I started thinking about some of my projects, and I think they fit into a few categories:

  1. Idea Only: These are projects where I come up with an idea but never follow through on them.
  2. Completed/Forgotten: Projects that get “done” and then I just move on from them without ever improving or creating new versions.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

HOPPY NEW YEAR!!!

WE DID IT! We made it to 2013. To celebrate, Milwaukee Makerspace built the New Year’s Hop Drop. This was epic from the beginning. Jeremy from Art Milwaukee asked me if I wanted to build a giant beer hop for new years. LOL, What? Sure! So here goes the process…

This is the concept rendered by the great Ali Carlucci.

Victory shot after set-up at The Milwaukee Art Museum.

We started out with the skeleton for the hop. Designed by Makerspace’s own Shane Thelen.

Here’s another Maker, Matt Wittmann, attaching the leaves on the hop.

After attaching the leaves we built the base to support the hop. The hop will rise 20 feet and get lowered at the 30 second countdown to the new year.

Here’s Shane painting the base.

Now, to test the motor.

WooHoo it works! Here is a video of us doing a test,

Hoppy New Year! Stay safe, Stay classy.

Snow-Globe Video

Just a minor update here from my recent Snow-Globe blog entry ( http://milwaukeemakerspace.org/2012/12/custom-snow-globe/ )

I made two VIDEOS about the snow-globe. The first is just a brief video showing the finished project. The second video is a longer “How-To” which includes some video, but is mostly a photo slide-show of all the steps I took to create the project.

For an in-depth step-by-step of how I built the project, check out the info I posted on Instructables. http://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-Singing-Snow-Globe/

-Ben

Custom Snow Globe

 

Well, I’ve been slaving away on creating a unique X-mas gift for my wife and two-year old daughter, and I think I got it right. They loved it!

I’m talking about a Custom Snow Globe!

A while back, I was working in the driveway on a styrofoam project. Of course, that white stryrofoam dust gets static-charged and STICKS TO EVERYTHING. I also found that the best tool for cutting it was my wife’s kitchen electric carving knife. When I headed inside to take a break and warm up, I was COVERED with styrofoam. My two-year-old girl looked up at me and squeeled “Daddy a Snowman!”.

Indeed I was. I imagined myself inside a snow-globe with styrofoam swirling around me like a snowstorm. But could I actually BUILD a snowglobe that would match my imagination?

I started looking at every snow globe I could find and set to work building one. I looked around and found a glass dome, used for light fixtures. I got two of them, and gave one to my brother-in-law, who is a clay artist, among other things, and commissioned him to make a caricature of me. Since he had one globe, and I had the other, he could make a figure that would fit inside the globe, and I could do the woodworking on the base, and insure that the globe fit that.

I headed to the local cabinet shop and talked to old high-school class-mate Steve about what wood to use for a base. He gave me a maple block, and I grabbed some scrap maple from the bin to practice cuts and routering on. At my Dad’s back-of-the-garage shop, I experimented with routing, until I could get it right, and routed a circle for the base of the glass globe, cut the wood base to length and cut a 45-degree bevel on the top edge, and routed a pocket in the bottom for the electronics.

I wanted to make a “singing” snow-globe, so I bought a singing greeting card at the Hallmark store, and then dissected it for parts. The electronics were then mounted on the bottom of the  wood base, along with a custom switch.

I headed to the Milwaukee Makerspace to use the laser-cutter.

Using the vector graphics program on the laser’s computer, I laid out an inscription for both the top and bottom of the snow globe base. I practiced on a piece of paper, and then when I actually focused the laser properly and had everything else figured out, I wood-burned the maple block, front and back.

I also used a solder station to add the momentary on switch to the greeting card electronics, so that the song would play whenever the globe was picked up to shake up the snow.

Next, was clear-coating the figure and the wood base. I used “Parks Super-Glaze”, a two-part epoxy clear coat used for bars, to completely seal and waterproof both the figure and the base, as well as to permanently attach the figure to the base.

Then, it was a matter to holding the globe upside down, filling it with water, filling the routed circular grove of the base with silicon glue, and flipping the figure and base, upside-down, into the dome of water. Once it was cured, the snow-globe can be flipped right-side-up, gift-wrapped, and put under the tree!

I’m glad to say that the project turned out just great! It was a bit of a stretch to my skill-set, so THANK YOU to the people who gave me a hand with it. Nothing quite like a project that runs the gamut from sculpture to wood-working, electronics, glass, water, laser-engraving, and more! But that’s how we grow… by stretching a little bit more every time!

Merry X-mas

From Ben the Snowman.