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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
You’ve probably heard a little bit about MagneTag before if you’ve seen Adam or Jason H. around the space. Adam’s been working on it for a few years now, and Jason H. jumped on board when he saw how awesome it was. The latest in MagneTag news is a call back to the TV show Shark Tank.
Yes, that’s right. Shark Tank. It seems they were in Milwaukee recently scouting ideas for the show and our MagnTag boys impressed them enough to pique their interest, so they’re preparing to wow them again, and we’re pretty sure they’ll succeed!
MagneTag is a bit of a makerspace success story. Adam and Jason H. would agree that without Milwaukee Makerspace, it would not have come this far. Let’s all wish MagneTag luck as they wade into the shark-infested waters of potential investors!
This Gram-stained photomicrograph depicts numbers of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which is the etiologic pathogen for pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
Makers, a call to (non-dominant) arms!
I’ve just recently gotten my TDaP booster shoot (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) and it occurred to me that many of you may have forgotten this over the course of the last decade.
That’s right, a tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years and, with the advent of the TDaP back in 2006, I would highly recommend getting your shots. Pertussis (whooping cough) has been making the rounds plus, as a maker, you may well be using materials and equipment that could expose you to tetanus.
This post is not to fear-monger, but it is a gentle reminder that we come into contact with some pretty dirty stuff and it could be worth your while to get vaccinated.
I was able to get this shot for free, courtesy of my local health department, so check for something in your area and get safe!
We know you’re wondering what Mike B. has made recently. Well, he made this chair. And he liked it so much he made another one. Now he’s got two chairs like this sitting on his front porch.
What did you make this week?
I’ve known since I met my Makerspace Geek husband that he could fix ANYTHING. It didn’t always look pretty but it would work. I’m reminded DAILY just how talented he is. Unfortunately, over the years, being somewhat of a minimalist, I ran out of things to put on his Honey-Do List. I would find myself, at times, racking my brain trying to think of something he could fix or make. Because after completing a task and joyfully erasing it from the fix-it/make-it board, he was happy, contented and fulfilled. Lo and Behold he discovered Makerspace. I should celebrate the day as one would a major holiday. It has transformed my little geek into a big geek. He LOVES Makerspace and I love that he has a place to go where he can share, with other like-minded individuals, all the geeky thoughts spinning in his head. He still shares some of that with me but I know that oftentimes my head kind of goes on blank mode and I find myself just looking at him, trying not to nod off and listen. After his joining and I got over his starting every sentence with something about Makerspace, or his approaching total strangers and handing out a Makerspace card, or striking up conversations with family and friends and droning on for, what seemed like hours, about Makerspace, I surrendered. Why??? Because it makes him darn happy, that’s why. And who doesn’t want to see someone they love being happy??
So now when we’re eating dinner and I see him chomping at the bit because he wants to be at the club, I wish him well on his merry way and sit back to a quiet evening. If I’m awake when he gets home I get to hear all about the goings-on. I admit to crashing, often before he gets home because when he does he’s often so jazzed that I then have trouble falling to sleep .
Thanks, Makerspace, for making a space for him
Do you know what time it is, kids? It’s time for the South Shore Frolics Parade! That’s right, Bay View, the lovely neighborhood we do our making in, has its own parade, and it’s happening at 11am sharp on Saturday, July 12, 2014. The parade starts at Kinnickinnic and Linus, and travels down Kinnickinnic Avenue towards South Shore Park.
If you’re a maker and want to join us, show up at the space around 10:45am and we’ll head over to the line-up. Feel free to walk or ride a bike or some other contraption you’ve built. We might even have a few modified Power Wheels rolling for the event!