Annual Meeting Coming Up!

Ah…it’s that time of the year again – the time to pick new board members. This coming Tuesday, March 3rd, we’ll being nominations for the following positions:

  • President
  • Treasurer
  • Communications
  • Secretary
  • Operations Director

If you’re interested in giving back to this awesome community, please consider running for one of these positions or nominating someone you hate trust.

These (5) positions will be filled on March 17th and then we’ll begin nominations for the (2) At-Large board members. In summary, see this graphic courtesy of Brant.

borgmember

 

 

Classes and Collabortion leads to Happy Makers

If I could summarize a makerspace with one phrase, it would be a, “place to share you skills.” This post lists a few ongoing classes and collaborative build efforts at our space.

Electronics 101

Held for the first time last night, Marvin was excellent enough to teach Electronics 101 based on the lectures found here. A lot of our class attendees have can built circuits using existing schematics but don’t always understand the theory. This class hopes to bridge some of that gap. The class will be held every other Monday for the next 3 months. Next class should be on March 2nd at 7PM.

Arduino 101

Lance and Chris have taught two Arduino 101 classes in the last 3 months on Saturday mornings using the excellent Digilent chipKIT Uno32 boards donated by Microchip. Details are on the wiki. The class starts from what an Arduino is, helps you with IDE installation, and you upload your first program to blink an LED! Watch out for upcoming 101 classes. I have heard whispers of an 102 offering as well…

Blacksmithing: Make your own Trivet

This class first describes, “What the Hell is a Trivet?” Then over 3 hours Dan walks a beginner through safety, forge operation, and basic blacksmithing. In addition to these awesome skills, you end up with a unique gift for a loved one. More details here.

Glass Etching Workshop

This multi-skill collection class is one of my personal favorites. After Pete’s initial class offering, Lexie has taken on the torch. In this class, you learn how to cut your mask in vinyl. You learn the software and hardware skills required to operate a vinyl cutter. You transfer the vinyl to a glass mug and sand blast the exposed areas. You end up with a beautiful product that also makes a great gift. Class details here.

Tesla Coil Build Club

A few members will start meeting on the second Sunday of each month to make a Singing Solid State Tesla Coil. The build will be based on this style. We’re all looking forward to see what they come up with.


I will list a few more classes in another post.  Not to mention, there is so much learning, teaching, and collaboration that goes on every single day. So come on down and learn from us or teach us something.

Gimbal Hack

Well, it would be awesome if I had a sweet drone to fly around so I can take some awesome videos.  Even if I had one I’d probably crash it.  I don’t have one, but I did get my hands on a sweet Tarot GoPro gimbal.  If you didn’t know, gimbals are devices that use active feedback to cancel unwanted pitch and yaw. I’m not a good cameraman, so I need this if I want to take some decent video for a Kickstarter project I’m working on.  The gimbal is supposed to take 7-16 volts, but I hooked it up to a power supply at the makerspace and found out that it can function at 5V, which is great since I have some spare USB power banks.

The high tech gimbal hardware was combined with my low-tech “block of wood and random rods I found in the makerspace” technology. This hack took about 20 minutes, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

 

 

Weekly Maker Spotlight #7 – Brad Felber

bradfelberHow did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

Doors Open Milwaukee

Why did you decide to join?

Get out of the house once a week and learn how to make things for my two young daughters.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

Learn new skills.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

It’s a great place to get ideas on making.

What do you plan to work on in the next few weeks?

An Aldo Leopold bench.

Weekly Maker Spotlight #6 – Emily M.

emily-mHow did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I heard a lot about Milwaukee Makerspace while I was in undergrad at UW-Milwaukee. I had complete studio(s) to work in though, so never made it down to the space until after I had graduated. I finally got a membership through work so I could make things for my job.

Why did you decide to join?

I needed access to equipment and knowledgeable people that I was sorely lacking after exiting academia.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

I make devices, prototypes, and templates for work. So far I’ve gotten to work with the laser cutter, 3D printers, powder coating equipment, metal shop and finishing areas.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

There’s something for everyone at Makerspace, and there’s always people willing to lend a hand or a brain to get your project done.

What do you plan to work on in the next few weeks?

I’m currently working on a measuring device for work that will help us measure the length and girth of custom garments that are near impossible to accurately measure. I would also like to get back to the jeweler’s bench and get going on a couple of personal projects.

New machines are about to come online!

In addition to making things, many of our members like making machines that make things! We should have a functioning vacuum former, a 4’x8′ CNC Router, and a 4’x8′ CNC Plasma Cutter in the the next couple of months. While the vaccum former was acquired from an auction, the other two have been built at the makerspace over the last year and a half from scavenged materials. The frame and the rails for the plasma cutter were used in a perfume bottler in a past life. We can’t wait to see what our members will make from these awesome machines!

A few pictures of the above mentioned equipment can be found below:

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Zallus Reflow Oven Controller

zallus run completeA few months ago, we noticed a Kickstarter being run in Milwaukee for a pretty nifty looking reflow oven controller by Marquette student Nate Zimmerman. We love to support makers in their endeavors and as it happened none of our members had ever gotten around to converting a toaster to reflow. This, despite the fact that a number of us regularly design and build surface mount boards.

So, a few of us got together and backed Nate’s Revision 2 controller kit. The kit came in last week, I picked up a cheap toaster on clearance, and this past weekend we installed the kit into the oven.

From the kit installer’s perspective Nate’s kit couldn’t be simpler. A supplied SSR is inserted in series with the main AC line, and a K-type thermocouple is fed into the oven cavity. Both items connect up to a pre-assembled circuit board and LCD touchscreen.

Zallus runningWe fired up the oven and ran it through its paces right from the touch screen. It performed great right away. There were no real issues. I did manage to install the display upside down, but that will take 5 minutes to flip the next time I’m at the space. I just plain ran out of time. Next time I’ll also be able to play a bit with the PC software, but it was great that the controller fired up and ran right away without having to mess with the PC at all.

So now the space has a nice profiling reflow oven! I am looking forward to using it! I know one member already has a board lined up to go this Tuesday (Feb 3rd, 2015). So if you’d like to see it run in person stop on by the space on Tuesday at 7PM!

Weekly Maker Spotlight #5 – Lance Lamont

DSC_0012How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I saw a blog post on some “Pot ‘O Gold” parade buggies that some cool guys made. I watched the video a few times, then noticed that it was in Milwaukee – where I was! Too Cool. From there, I searched out the group and introduced myself.

Why did you decide to join?

I decided to join because I love the combination of meeting new people and learning new skills. I, like many other members, am a skill collector and really enjoy having a ton of experiences and skills.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

I’ve used many of the tools in the space – anything ranging from the laser cutters and sewing machines all of the way to the wood shop, metal shop, forge and welding areas. Essentially anything and everything.

The most impressive thing that I’ve made at the space was a giant 30′ diameter UFO “crashed” in front of Maker Faire Milwaukee 2014. I’ve made cases for projects and modified a trailer to carry kayaks and bikes behind my Mazda Miata.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

The Makerspace is a great place to learn new skills and become a member of a vibrant and creative community. The people involved in the group are great, and the projects that are done at the building – be they solo or as groups – end up being amazing. It’s a great place to be a part of when you run into challenges on your project – TONS of creative individuals to help solve them.

What do you plan to work on in the next few weeks?

Through Maker Faire Milwaukee I have started a relationship with the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. I am working with a couple of other members of the ‘space on two different projects – a large array of touch sensitive full RGB LED buttons, and a kinetic art sculpture using almost 500 stepper motors. I’ve been focused on the firmware development for both projects.

We now have an Acrylic Bender

Many of our members have used heat guns and strip heaters to soften and bend acrylic in the past. While that method works most of the time, we decided it was time to get one that just works all the time. Since we acquired it, we have been finding all kinds of uses for it. A few finished projects are listed below.

IMG_0788Stepper Motor Mounts

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Tooth Brush Holders

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A Fork!

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Robot Chassis

 

Happy Shiny Bolts

Bolts

When you buy a bolt, it doesn’t typically have a nice flat head on it. It’s got a bunch of markings, and usually some sort of part number, or something. Here’s a bolt I found on eBay. Look at all those numbers and letters!

Bolt Close-up

Here’s a close-up I shot of a bolt head. What does it all mean? Well, Brant told me that the manufacturers add these markings to help prevent counterfeit parts. He even mentioned that years ago a building was built with some knock-off fasteners and it collapsed causing terrible damage. Terrible!

Well, I brought a bolt to the makerspace because I wanted it to have a nice smooth and shiny top. Bill**2 was kind enough to show me the new metal buffing area, which has a nice belt sander (which we used to remove the lettering) and 6 (yes, six!) buffing wheels of various grit. I used all six to give my bolt a nice clean shine.

Shiny Bolt

Here’s my bolt after removing the letters and buffing it up. I probably could have done a bit more, but this was still a hundred times better than before I started. And yes, it is hooked up to an AT42QT1010 Capacitive Touch Breakout Board and a Teensy.