Makerspace rocks Sustainability Summit

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Members of the Milwaukee Makerspace built and manned a booth at Milwaukee’s Sustainability Summit this week.

Josh Z. and Ben N. talked with the crowds, showcasing member’s projects ranging from an electric motorcycle to 3D-printing, aluminum casting, CNC woodworking, lasers, and more! Several of the event organizers told us that we were the busiest booth there, which was pretty obvious, because my throat is still sore from speaking with attendees for two days straight!

The 3D printer was especially eye-catching to the crowds and there was a strong interest in 3D printing and laser-cutting.

We did NOT have electricity at the booth, so in true DIY-style, we MADE our own with a real-world “Vehicle-to-Grid” Display, powering a laptop, 2 computer monitors and the 3D printer directly from the electric motorcycle. Our display featured a slideshow of Maker projects on the double monitors, the hands-on Laser Kalidescope, and even conductive Play-doh!

One of my favorite moments was speaking with the owner of the “Cow Sailboat” out in Madison about converting its diesel system over to an electric drive. We also briefly saw Ed Begley, Jr. and Will Allen. (Thanks to Growing Power for the sprouts!)

All in all, it was a great event! The organizers donate the booth space to us because they love the real-world, hands-on teaching and excitement that we bring!

If you were at the Summit, and are swinging over here to the web-page after learning about us, WELCOME! Stop on by, meet some members, and take a tour, we’d love to have you!

Thanks to Josh, Ben, Shane, Pete, and others that loaned projects for us to display!

 

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!

Aluminium Casting Night

This past Thursday was another great aluminium pour! I came prepared with a mold I made at work (benefits of working at a minerals company). I can’t show you guys the cast I made, cause it’s a Christmas present, but I can show you the pour!

Be on the look out on the Milwaukee Makerspace Calendar for future Aluminium pours on Thursday night at 7:00, or just come on by any Tuesday or Thursday night at 7:00 pm for our Open Meeting and Builder’s Night Out. See ya there!

Bay View Gallery Night September 28th, 2012

Several Makers packed up some tools, samples and some very raw materials and set up shop in the Alterra parking lot for the September 28th Bay View Gallery Night.

We rolled in with Matt N’s CNC router and a bunch of his foam architectural pieces, the Makerbot and a few dozen 3d printed samples and after a while had the Replicator fired up cranking out Tardis models (Tardii???). Those were accompanied by a robot from Matt W, some proximity switch-controlled LED strands from Brant, Pete’s Egg Bot and Laser Kaleidoscope and a bunch of Shane’s intricate boxes and laser cut images. Whew! We came with a full crew and more stuff than would fit on our tables. :) We also may have blown the power briefly, but it was an accident, we swear. Even if we did, the sun was still shining for quite a while after that incident.

The surprise hit of our table was the Fruit Synthesizer i put together at, umm, literally the last minute. I was still tweaking it 15 minutes into the event! I used a Makey Makey connected to 2 halves of a watermelon, 2 pickles, a horned melon, a pair of bananas, Max MSP and GarageBand to make a really goofy synthesizer. The Makey Makey is a great little board that operates as a USB keyboard and mouse and lets you alligator clip to any conductive material to make a weird ad-hoc controller. I had intended to have it trigger guitar sounds, but it was way more satisfying as a drum kit, so we kept it set up as a drumkit for most of the night. I loved seeing people jump when they touched the banana and loud bass drum boomed out at them. We had some people coming back several times and bringing more people over to play with the kit. We did a lot of demos where I would high-five someone already connected to the Makey Makey to trigger the drums and one of my favorite uses was the couple that kissed to trigger the instrument. This simple project really engaged people in a fun and quirky way. Not bad for a project i threw out on a lark! We all had so much fun with the Fruit Synth that i am positive it will be making a comeback at future events.

Fruit Synth with Tiny Banana Drumsticks

Aside from goofy fun, we had a couple hundred people rolled through over the course of the night and heard from a lot of people who were interested in the space and have heard about us. We’ve been really focused on getting the word out Makerspace and finding out that a lot of folks are hearing about and interested in Maker/Hackerspaces was really gratifying. We hope to see a lot of new faces at the space in the next couple of weeks!

We learned a few things, too. The first is that the interactive displays were a big hit. The second is that we should bring some stuff to sell next time! There were several families that wrote down “sparkfun” and “makey makey” and many kids who wanted to use a Makey Makey for a science fair project at school. We could have sold a half dozen of them if we had more than the one used for the Fruit Synth. The 3d prints were a hit, too, and we should probably have a bunch of Milwaukee-themed prints on hand to sell to folks for our next event.

Big thanks to Pete for organizing our presence at BVGN, the other artists that showed at the event and the folks at the new Bay View Alterra for hosting us all!

For a few more photos, check out the set Brant posted on Flickr.

MakerBot Visit [Video]

My motto isn’t “better late than never” but let’s pretend it is for now… Remember when the MakerBot guys stopped by the space in June? Well, at least one member said he would be out of town, and hoped there would be video… So here, my friends, is some video. Sorry it took so long…

Also worth noting, Milwaukee Makerspace now has its own MakerBot Replicator, and we may just bring it to the next 3D Printing Meetup.

3D Printing Meetup ReCap

Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup

It was just a few weeks ago we mentioned the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup we were planning, and being the first meeting, we weren’t quite sure how it would go. Luckily, we’ve seen over the last few months that more and more members have built (or are building) their own printers, and we’ve got some “friends of the Makerspace” in the area who have also built printers. All of that coupled with the great visit from MakerBot last week made us pretty hopeful this would be a grand event.

We met in the lab at UWM and they’ve already got a few printers there. The monster is a ZCorp Z402 (like they have at Freeside Atlanta) and there’s a few Prusa and MendelMax models as well, and they’re making more parts all the time. Here are the numbers I scribbled down:

Our friend Michael didn’t bring his Stratsys FDM 1600 as he said it would need a small truck to transport it, and he likes to let it warm up for two hours. He did however bring a certain part he printed, and the quality looked amazing.

3D Printers

I heard more than one person say that the event felt like what we’ve heard the old Homebrew Computer Club was like. A bunch of people really excited about new technology, and willing to build it themselves. No one really has it all figured out yet, but we’re having fun trying.

I’d like to give a big thanks to Frankie Flood for hosting the event at UWM. The lab they have there is like a Maker’s Playground or something… very inspiring.

As for the meeting itself, it was totally informal. No slides, no presentations. We just introduced ourselves, and then we all talked and looked at all the printers, and printed some things. Since 3D Printers are still a fairly new thing, I think everyone who brought one was just happy to geek out about it with others who were just as enthusiastic. I’d also guess that almost everyone walked away learning a least a few tips & tricks.

So will we do it again? I’m sure we will. There’s no set date or time yet, but we’ll let you know. And if you missed it, I’d recommend you try to make it to Sector67 in Madison on July 21st, 2012 for 3D Printing Camp.

MMS Eclipse watching party

Although poorly attended (only one full and one future member) everyone had a great time observing the 98% solar Eclipse.

Using the official MMS pinhole card:

 

 

 

 

Too bad the eclipse image is so poor, what a minute – whats that on the building next door?

 

Openings between the leaves of trees are acting as pin hole cameras and giving hundreds of images of the eclipse, we felt a little silly looking at the tiny ones the card was making for the first half hour :-)

You can also see some on the leaf in the foreground (I’m writing this on an old netbook so I can’t tell how the pictures are coming out, so I didn’t clip or tweak them)

And just so you don’t think its some other effect, here’s a shot at the max we witnessed, notice the arc is at the top instead of the side:

I’m still not sure why we had such a poor turnout, after all its only a 36 hour drive to San Francisco!

 

 

Spring 2012 Gallery Night

Kevin's Noise Box
Kevin’s Noise Box (Photo by Pete Prodoehl).

On Friday April 20th, 2012, several members of the Milwaukee Makerspace participated in the Spring Gallery Night event hosted at BucketWorks and put on in collaboration with ArtWorks for Milwaukee.  Several hundred people came through the space to check out works from both groups.  ArtWorks also had a nice write-up of the night from their point of view. We love getting our crazy work out in front of people.

So, gentle Reader, I present to you an inventory of our Makers and Their Works:

  • Kevin Bastyr
    • The Mahoganator – A noise box encased in a lovely Mahogany shell.
    • The Cacophonator – A noise box encased in a lovely welded metal shell.
    • Cast bronze tree-trunk table.
    • Angle grinder table from the One Tool Competition.
  • Adam Cohen
    • Functional MagneTag prototype! Gallery night patrons were invited to run through the space playing MagneTag.
  • Jason Gessner
    • Step – A step sequencer controlled by a Dance Dance Revolution Controller, Processing and Logic Pro.
  • Matt Neesley
    • CNC Architectural Relief Sculptures.
  • Pete Prodoehl
    • The Arc-O-Matic! A one-armed, 2 servo-enabled drawing robot.
    • Wooden Knuckles and Wooden Nickels.
    • Other crafty 3D printed replacement parts and creations.
  • Vishal Rana
    • Laser Harp and Propane Tank Drum
  • Shane Thielen
    • The Eye Wooden Block Sculpture
    • Laser Printed Periodic Table of the Elements.

Check out Pete’s Time Lapse Bot footage of the event. I’m seen messing around with my laptop a lot until I settled on a sound set I liked for the Step.

In addition, the folks from the newly-forming Spring City Launchpad makerspace in Waukesha were there to get the word out.

And if that wasn’t enough, Jason H. had 2 of Pete’s Drawbots collaborating at the Art Milwaukee Wedding after party!

Big thanks to Tim @ Bucketworks and the folks at ArtWorks for sharing the space with us and inviting us to the festivities!

More photos of the night shot by Brant are available on Flickr.

One Tool at Sweet Water Organics

Sweet Water Organics

As we’ve mentioned in some previous posts, a few of our members took part in The Tool at Hand Milwaukee Challenge recently at Sweet Water Organics, so I figured I’d add just one more post to tell you about the event.

First of all, I should state that Milwaukee’s Art Community is one of those things that makes this city special. We’re lucky to have such talented artists here, and we at Milwaukee Makerspace are honored to be a part of it. That said, the show itself was well put together, and the variety of pieces shown was fascinating. I’d suggest a big round of applause for the Chipstone Foundation for making this all happen. But, hey, we’re here to talk about our makers! :)

Kevin's piece -- Jason H.'s piece

On the left we’ve got Kevin’s piece, which includes a table and a set of “rocks” he created with an angle grinder. Kevin was unable to make it to the show, so I tried my best to answer questions about his piece. People were definitely interested in it, but alas, it did not rise to the challenge of being selected for the Milwaukee Art Museum. I think that’s fine though, as Kevin already has a spot in his home picked out for it.

On the right we’ve got a door with laser-etched glass courtesy of Jason H. (with a little help from his partner Dena.) This too is a piece that belongs in a home, and by that I mean it’s beautiful and should be on display. I get the feeling Jason may be etching more glass for people in the future…

A Dream Half-Remembered

And here we have Shane’s piece titled “A Dream Half-Remembered” which was created with the chopsaw and a lot of wood. Shane put a many hours into this thing, and it shows. There were challenges along the way, but in the end we got it there in one piece, and got it attached to a concrete wall, so I call it a success!

Plastic Sun

Last, and maybe least, is my piece, titled “Plastic Sun” which was created with a heat gun, and about 200 plastic grocery bags. I won’t go into too many details, but if you want to see more photos, or the video I produced, head over to my project page for it.

While none of our pieces were selected for inclusion into the exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum, that’s just fine. We all had fun doing this, and we met a lot of great people at the event, from artists to art-enthusiasts, some of whom were interested in the Makerspace.

The One Tool Challenge is a great concept, and who knows, maybe it’s something we might want to see happen as a Milwaukee Makerspace event, either restricted just to the members, or opened up to the public as well.

So what tool would you choose?