Aaaaaand… Cut!

Silhouette Cameo

Hey, we got something new! It’s a Silhouette Cameo, which I like to refer to as a “Desktop CNC Cutting Machine”, though you can call it a vinyl cutter if you like. (It can also cut paper and fabric.)

I personally own one of these, and get a lot of use out of it, and I got sick and tired of hauling it back and forth to the space, so after posting a message on our email list to see if anyone else wanted to chip in and get one, we got one. In fact, there was so much interest we also got a bunch of vinyl, and spare blades and cutting mats.

The Silhouette has a wiki page, and we’ve already used it in a class. Now you can make your own crazy signs and other vinyl-covered things.

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?

The Tool at Hand(s)

One Tool
Mark Lindquist, Dowel Bowl, Hardwood Dowels, Glue, 5 1/2″ H x 36″ D, 2011. Copyright © 2011 Lindquist Studios – All Rights Reserved

You may remember Kevin writing about the The Tool At Hand, or maybe you saw this wild video… either way, I just wanted to remind you that The Tool at Hand Milwaukee Challenge is happening this Saturday, March 17th, 2012 from 1pm to 5pm.

So what is this “one tool/tool at hand” thing all about? Here’s a description:

“Milwaukee is a city full of creative people. The Chipstone Foundation has invited makers in the city to explore the concept of creating a work of art using only one tool.”

Yup… just one tool. Does that mean one tool with 500 attachments, or does it really mean just “one” tool?

I’m not entirely sure, but I’m not just posting this so you can check out Kevin’s work… We’ve got a number of Milwaukee Makerspace members involved and showing what they’ve created with just one tool. If I recall correctly we have Kevin, Shane, Jason H., and myself all showing work.

Also, does anyone else like the fact that they specifically used the word “makers” instead of “artists”? :)

First DIY CNC Club Meeting

Today marked the first monthly meeting of The DIY CNC Club at Milwaukee Makerspace.  Ron Bean and Tom Gondek, the creators of the router, guided members and guests through the use of CamBam CAD software to generate G-code and Mach3 software to operate and control the router.  The day before, Tom and Mike tested the machine’s ability to cut aluminum.  On Sunday, Rich created a decorative wooden sign and Brant began making plastic shapes for a project enclosure. As Ron pointed out, in less than 24 hours we had worked in three different materials: wood, metal, and plastic.

Several items were also crossed off our wish list.  Two emergency stop buttons were added to the front of the machine and wired together in series.  Hitting either one stops all motion in the X, Y, and Z planes and pauses the program.  We also built a relay-controlled receptacle box that when wired into the CNC computer, will be able to stop the spindle so hitting the E-stop will kill all motion in all axes and the router.  For some reason the pins we’re using on the parallel port are only producing 1.6 volts instead of the 3 or 5 we expected and the relays won’t turn on.  All in all, a very productive weekend.

Future Makers

hammer

After the welding demo last night, and a successful run with the MakerBot, I came home and couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was all the new ideas running through my head, or something else, but I started to think about what Royce has said about being a “Skill Collector” and having a checklist of new things you’re able to do. I didn’t take a welding class when I was in high school (they did offer it, and lots of kids took it) but I did take woodshop for a few years, and my dad (and his dad) had a great basement workshop where things would get built, and taken apart, and repaired.

It’s been over 20+ years since I’ve been in high school, and things have changed. From what I hear many schools don’t have any sort of shop classes, and that’s a shame. Maybe they should have some sort of “DIY” or “Make/Craft” classes at least.

Anyway, while I couldn’t sleep, I came across this article: Why your teenager can’t use a hammer.

As a maker, and someone who loves to learn how things work, it’s a little sad. I remember teaching my kids to use a power drill when they were less than 9 years old, and while they haven’t used the saw yet (they’ve asked) that’s also on the to do list.

(Someone also posted the link to the Pumping Station: One mailing list. There’s some good insight there as well.)

Simple Wood Tool Box

Here is a simple wood tool box. It’s easy to make one (or several of them) in an afternoon.

The vertical, open, design means you can easily see and access all your tools – no more digging to the bottom of a bag!

This is one my father made, based on a tool box he was given over 40 years ago. See more images of this tool box in the “misc” image gallery.

I also posted it at: http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Wood-Toolbox/

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