Weekly Maker Spotlight #3 – Tami Weiss

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How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I don’t know. Which is a terrible answer, I know. But I had heard something about shared work spaces, and through some means or another had directly heard about Makerspace, because I know I eventually searched for the name Milwaukee Makerspace. It was like it was floating in the ether but I’m not exactly sure what source it came from.  I know I dallied about for a year before finally acting on it.

Why did you decide to join?

The tools! Yes, that sounds mercenary. It is. A frustration I often had is just that I can’t afford every tool I need to make the things I want to make. And Makerspace has all the tools I might want, and so many more! I never knew I wanted to use a laser cutter or 3D printer, but gosh darn it, that’s an option now.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

When I first joined, Brant and I had a lovely conversation where he referred to a condition afflicting some members where they have “an allergy to finishing projects.” I groaned, because that’s me. I am so embarrassed to say that is me and I haven’t finished one thing yet. I’ve started some lovely things, though. I can say that.

Most of what I do there revolves around my primary hobby, which is breeding seahorses. And while I haven’t really finished a project at the space yet (though I’ve started many), I have used the space to do little things that add to projects I’m working on at home; painting something in the winter, working on a wood stand with my husband to put fishtanks on, sending him to make something I need, etc.

The biggest problem I have is that I walk into Makerspace and it’s such an endless world of possibilities, that my project idea list has tripled since joining.

The other thing I like to do though is just go there as a place to hang out. I went there for a while regularly while working on a freelance project when I needed to get out of the house. I’ve gone there just to hang out on the couch and think. It’s that kind of place.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

I probably sound like someone with a gym membership who never goes, but I love Makerspace and couldn’t imagine not being a member. It has some of the nicest, most helpful people there doing insanely creative things. I haven’t run into any egos or crazy politics that many groups succumb to. Everyone is excited to be there. And there is so much potential at the space. My biggest hurdle is the distance to Makerspace – we live just far enough away that it can be a hassle to go there without a lot of planning. But I’m looking to move to Bay View or a nearby neighborhood specifically because I want to be nearer to the space. That’s the kind of place Makerspace is.

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

Really boring stuff. I wish I had a really cool project to talk about. I need to clean up some mistakes I made on painting some aquariums for my fish room expansion. I painted the wrong end, so I need to clean and repaint the other end. I’m using glitter spray if that makes it sound more interesting! It’s part of a larger project since I’m expanding my fish room to make more space for more species, and to semi-automate some of the processes for raising the babies.  I’ll be using peristaltic pumps and an Arduino controller. That’s like a 6 months to a year timeline though because I have a lot to build before I can get that far.

 
 

Bay View Printing Co.

The Milwaukee Makerspace is about to get an exciting new neighbor!  Ashley Town, a former professor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) has recently purchased the > 100 year old Bay View Printing Company @ 2702 S. Howell Ave, less than a half-mile from our space!

Ashley is taking over a print shop with a rich heritage as well as several beautiful presses, a Linotype machine and dozens of wood and metal typefaces.  She plans on doing custom work as well as running classes and building up a community around the lovely art of printmaking.

Bay View Printing Company is in the final days of its fundraising drive on IndieGogo to raise money to pay for some renovations to the space to make it more amenable to Ashely’s goal of making this a community-driven space.  The IndieGogo campaign has some great rewards like private lessons on the Vandercook press.  I’m so thrilled this is coming to Bay View that I have challenged Makerspace members to donate and will match up to $500 in donations!

Bay View is extremely lucky to have a new creative space!  If you want to support them, hurry up, though!  The IndieGogo campaign ends at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 2014.  As of this writing, they have raised $7,635 out of the desired $11,000.  Let’s help them out and welcome our exciting new neighbor!

Read a bit more about the space at these local outlets:

Weekly Maker Spotlight #2 – David Heino

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How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I forget how I first heard of it. I made several trips to the space when it was in the complex off Oklahoma Avenue.

Why did you decide to join?

A big factor was I could afford the dues after the big change. I think of myself as a life-long maker, although I tended to use the older term, craftsman. I joined because I wanted to explore.

 What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

Just now, I’ve been using the space to prepare for an upcoming exhibit. I make paintings and things you might call sculpture.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

In my opinion, it is a very good and interesting make. It’s most valuable asset is the variety and depth of knowledge and skill to be found amongst the members.

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

Once I’m done with the exhibit, I want to:
1. take advantage of the opportunities the space offers to expand the tools and technologies I can use in my work.
2. I wish to work on objects that make interesting sounds that can be “played” by the user’s movement.
3. I want to work on a projector capable of producing large scale lighting effects.

 
 

Weekly Maker Spotlight #1 – Mike B.

 

We’re adding a new feature to our blog!  We’ve started sending brief surveys out to our members at random.  Each week, we will select one and publish it on our blog.  Our first participant is Mike B.!
 

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How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I believe I met Tom G and Ben who were speaking about their home made electric vehicles at a Barcamp.

Why did you decide to join?

I joined up because I had a couple projects where I needed a little advice/training to get me over the hump.

 

 

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

So far, woodworking and metalworking.Testing p1

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

You’re guaranteed to find someone with some experience in any skill or technique you’re looking for.

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

I need to do a little basic electrical work to build an EXIT sign lamp. I’m also looking at a welding project to build a bench with a coat rack for my apartment.


See Mike’s blog posts here:
Building Patio Furniture For Fun and Profit
How to Build a Kitchen Table in an Assortment of Easy Steps

Sense 3D Scanner

STL Tissue Box

Let’s say you want to 3D print a scale model of that box of tissues on your coffee table because you want to commemorate being sick last week. You can do that. We can do that. Yes, Milwaukee Makerspace can now scan 3D objects, thanks to our friends at 3D Systems who sent us this lovely Sense 3D Scanner.

Scan Selection

When you launch the software, it will ask if you want to scan a person, or an object. (I would have scanned a person for the first test, but everyone was sleeping at 6am.)

Scan Selection

If you choose object, it will then ask you what size the object is. I chose ‘Small Object’ for the tissue box.

Scanning

When the scanner sees the object it will highlight it. You can then click the start button to start scanning. I ended up holding the scanner and my laptop in my hands and walking around the table looking at the screen, trying to keep the object centered.

Scanning

Here’s our object being scanned. It takes a little bit of practice to walk around with the scanner and laptop. Whenever I’ve seen people get scanned (their heads anyway) they usually sit in a swivel chair and spin while the scanner stays stationary. We may want to try building a turn-table for small objects.

Lost Tracking

If the tracking gets lost, you need to try to realign things… or start over. It doesn’t take very long to do a scan, so starting over isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The Tissue Box Scanned!

Here’s our scan! We now have a 3D model of a tissue box. Exciting!

Cleaning it up

You may need to do a bit of editing. The most important thing is to ‘solidify’ the model. It needs to be ‘water-tight’ or manifold before you can 3D print it. Solidify fills in the holes.

Cleaning it up

You can also erase things. The erase tools lets you draw around things with a red line, which it will then delete.

Enhancing it

There are a few enhancements you can perform if needed… otherwise, it’s time to save it!

Saving it

The files are saved as ‘Polygon File Format’, with a ‘.ply’ extension. Typically I use STL files, so we’ll convert to that next.

MeshLab

MeshLab can easily import a PLY file and export it as an STL.

Resizing

I like to use Pleasant 3D to view and resize STL models. (It’s Mac OS X only, but there are options for other operating systems.)

Resizing

After making our model a bit more reasonably sized, it’s ready to print! Who wants a hard plastic tissue to blow their nose with!?

Be careful what you ask for!

Zamboni 6 photo

Several months ago, a humorous request went out for a Zamboni that could be used on the Nerdy Derby track.

Last year the Milwaukee Makerspace held a Maker Fest and a Nerdy Derby track was made for the occasion. The design allowed the track to be disassembled in 4 foot long sections.

When the track was reassembled, earlier this year, for the South Side Chicago Maker Faire, it was found that the joints did not match up as well as when it was first put together. Small ledges, that went up and down, would cause the cars to bounce off the track or hit the bottom of the car. Both of these scenarios prevented the cars from traveling freely down the track.

As many of you know, we just had a GREAT Maker Faire here in Milwaukee last month and the Nerdy Derby track was needed again!

We produced, and ran, over 1000 Nerdy Derby cars over the 2 day event. Wow!

Zamboni 10 photo

A month or so before the event I started working on an idea for a Zamboni type of device. My first thought was of a custom contoured planer that could be used at each joint to smooth them out. This idea seemed like too much work so I proceeded forward with my second design. This consisted of a simple sled hat used a drum sander, which smoothed out the high spots. Wood putty was then used to fill in any low spots.

 

Bay View Boo!

I’ve lived in Bay View for the past 9 years and I have always loved trick-or-treating night here in the neighborhood (despite the fact that it isn’t actually on halloween!).  After I got some good photos of great costumes last year, I wanted to run a photo booth in front of the house on trick-or-treating night.  Add some procrastination, python and a couple of arduinos to a good idea and voila: Bay View Boo! was born!

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I started by building a shelf to hold the photo booth (and double for an extra shelf in the garage for the other 364 days of the year).  On the shelf, I set up an HDMI monitor, driven by my laptop and a logitech webcam for the camera.  The electronics were simple: I had an orange sanwa arcade button attached to an arduino to trigger the photo to be taken and another Arduino connected to a thermal printer from Adafruit to print out a link to the photo.  On the computer, i had a Processing sketch to drive the display, perform the countdown when the button was pressed and send the filename to the printer.  I also ran a little python app that pushed the images to Google Cloud Storage.  An AppEngine app displayed the photos.  I was in a bit of a rush to finish Saturday as I spent half the afternoon at Fantasticon and in my haste I forgot to add page navigation links to the front page.  Oops!  Ah well.  I had the site updated after i tore everything down for the night.  I had one trick or treater ask me if I had “like a Raspberry Pi in there or something” and I said, “Nope, but i have a couple of Arduinos!”.  “Cool”.  Cool, indeed.

None of the individual pieces of the project were very difficult and it all came together pretty nicely.  The most gratifying part of the night was hearing from people that they had heard from other people to come over and get their photos taken.  Word spreads quickly in Bay View!  I’ll be posting all the code to a github repo shortly and I’ll update this post with the link when I’ve done that.

For next year, I plan on making a couple of changes.  First, I want to have a nicer enclosure for the photo booth and something more permanent to mount the button and printer in than the white cardboard box i cut holes in with an X-ACTO knife.  The second thing I want to do is make some interchangeable front pieces for the booth.  I could use this for lots of events and it would be great to be able to bolt on something that was more thematically appropriate than a painter’s drop cloth with holes cut in it and secured by shiny duct tape!  Ah well, it got the job done and after a while it was dark enough that no one could see my shoddy craftsmanship!  That brings me to my final change for next year: lighting. I had one 250W light ready for when it got dark and it basically sucked.  To everyone who showed up in awesome costumes once it was dark: I’m sorry.  I’ll have better lights next year so everyone can get a great looking photo, even if you don’t come out before the sun goes down!

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Here are a few of my favorite photos from the booth.  I hope everyone who stopped by had a good time and enjoyed your photo!  I’ll see you again next year!  In the mantime, head over to Bay View Boo! to browse all the photos from the evening!

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An etched copper presentation certificate

Five years ago, a dear friend designed the logo for my business, which I subsequently protected with a service mark. Although I paid her for her work I wanted to say thank you with more than just money.

Having an interest in decorative etching (among other steampunk pretensions), I decided to etch the service mark from the patent office into a 9 x 12 sheet of solid copper. After trying to transfer etch resist to the plate a number of ways (transparency and newsprint and a hot iron didn’t give sufficient quality), I finally hit on success after BrantH suggested I spray paint it, and remove the paint with the laser cutter. Here’s the process from start to end.

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Join us for Doors Open Milwaukee 2014!

This is your invitation to get out and explore Milwaukee!
We’re just one of several dozen buildings that will be open this weekend for guests to come and visit.  We will be giving tours both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, between 10 AM and 5 PM.  If you visit, please enter at the north side of our building which is on Otjen Street.

You can our building and all the events going on this weekend at the Doors Open website:
http://doorsopenmilwaukee.org/

CubePro Trio

CubePro Trio

We recently got in a CubePro Trio from the folks at 3D Systems and while we’ve still got a lot of testing to do, we’ve started to run it through its paces.

It’s definitely a nice looking machine. Professional quality build all around. Matt N. spent some time setting it up and hit “print” on a rather challenging model (with tiny spires and everything!) The first print turned out OK, but as with any 3D printer, there’s probably a bit of tweaking (or reading of the manual) to do.

Print from CubePro

We’re excited to see what our members can do with this machine, and how it compares to the MakerBot, LulzBot, and Solidoodle we currently have in the 3D Printing Lab.

Stay Tuned!