Sugru Build Night Results

Instructables & Sugru

We had out first Instructables Build Night recently and a few of the members wrote up Instructables showing what they did with the Sugru… here they are:

Thanks to Instructables, Sugru, and everyone who took part in the event. We’ll be hosting another Instructables Build Night in August, so keep an eye on the calendar.

Fix It Milwaukee

Fix It MKE

Milwaukee Makerspace is proud to team up with the Milwaukee Area Time Exchange and Milwaukee County for “Fix It Milwaukee” with the goal of repairing those broken things you’ve got around the house so they can become useful again and not end up in the landfill.

We’ve got a great team of volunteers who are skilled at troubleshooting and fixing everyday items because, well, we do it ourselves all the time. Many appliances can be fixed with the simple replacement of a switch or wiring repair. If things like computers or bikes or torn clothing seem beyond your skills to get back to 100%, we’re here to help.

Bring your broken things to Milwaukee Makerspace on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 between 12 noon and 4pm and we’ll do our best to get them working again. (If we can’t fix it we’ll give you our best advice on what to do next.)

So what types of things should you bring? Well, if you can fit it in your car and get it to Milwaukee Makerspace, we’ll take a look at it. We’ve got a shop full of almost every tool imaginable including stuff you won’t find in your basement workshop (unless you’ve got laser cutters and 3D printers!)

If you have specific questions or need more info, feel free to email

Rolling Cart with Retracting Wheels


When we first started the Makerspace, before we had even rented a building, we talked about having members build rolling carts that would serve as portable bench space with personal storage underneath, and which could be rolled out of the way when they weren’t being used. We ended up using pallet racks for storage, and a random collection of tables and benches for work space. But I always liked the cart idea.

You don’t want the cart rolling around while you’re working, and I didn’t want separate toe brakes on each wheel. After looking at several possibilities, I ran across this page, with a nice solution to a similar problem:

Here’s what I came up with:

cart2 cart3

More info here:

Simple/Cheap Tripod


A tripod can be handy for taking pictures of projects, but good ones are too expensive to leave laying around for casual use, and cheap ones can be difficult to use, due to their cheap telescoping legs. The one shown here cost almost nothing to make, and is sturdy enough for my purposes. The triangular hubs were cut from scrap 1/2” plywood on the CNC router, and the “1x2s” (actually .75”x1.5”) were ripped from a 2×4 that cost less than $3.

More info here:

Why don’t you just die.

As I am finalizing my MagneTag prototype for a small production run, I have been looking into efficient ways to cut fabric.  Right now I trace by hand and and cut with scissors.  I’m currently thinking I may want to make several hundred of these initial units.

With that in mind I am going to try die cutting my design with a shop press.  Since I’m not exactly sure what my final product will look like aesthetically, I am reluctant to shell out a lot of money to have a die professionally fabricated. What’s the fun in that?  I figured I would try my hand at a home brew hacked version.

I laser etched my design into two different substrates: wood and acrylic.  Then a took an old rusty bandsaw blade and hammered it teeth down into the laser kerf.   Then I took a Dremmel and ground a sharp edge into the steel.

An initial test on a manual hydraulic press gave mixed results.  The wood is too soft to keep the blade from becoming embedded; the steel needs to pass all the way through the substrate.  The acrylic seemed to work better, and surprisingly did not break when I tried to use it.

There is still lots of room for improvement, but I’m pretty happy with this first attempt.

DIY Bandsaw Blade Cutting Dies.

DIY Bandsaw Blade Cutting Dies.

Gettin' my grind on.

Gettin’ my grind on.

P.S. This is the 500th post on this blog!

Canvas Fabric Workshop Recap

Last night, Milwaukee Makerspace held a workshop in the Craft Lab to sew something out of canvas. Using cotton canvas drop cloths from the hardware store, we made aprons and messenger bags custom fit to each person.

Here are some of our members (and family of members!) sewing up a storm and Joe B showing off his new messenger bag!


As always, you can learn about upcoming workshops and events by joining our public mailing list!

The Return of the Ridiculously Large Jacks!

Ridiculously Large Jacks

(photo by Mike Massie)

The Ridiculously Large Jacks made another appearance at this year’s Great Milwaukee Race!  Members Jason Hillesheim and Mike Massie helped me run 64 games of jacks with teams from the race and a couple of families that stopped by to see what the hubbub was all about!

The Great Milwaukee Race is an annual scavenger hunt race that sends teams of 2-4 sprinting across downtown Milwaukee after decoding clues to various locations where they will be asked to do various challenges.  Some stations had teams exercising, putting together an outfit from thrift store clothes, making funny poses, rock climbing or playing games of giant jacks!  The Makerspace has been a proud sponsor and participant every year.

This year we were at a super location – in front of “The Calling”, Mark di Suvero’s sculpture near the Milwaukee Art Museum.  As you can see from the photo above, “The Calling” looks like a giant jack, so we were particularly pleased!

Etsy Craft Party 2013 Recap

Every year, Etsy throws a global craft party where people from local communities organize, come together, and craft. This year, Milwaukee Makerspace joined forces with Hannah K., a local DIY crafter, to be the Milwaukee location for this event.

Etsy’s theme this year was “Crafting for the Community” and our members crowdsourced some great community themed ideas for the event along with wedding craft goodness. One of community themed projects was assembling lil’ libraries from wood pieces that Makers Brant H. and Vishal R. pre-cut for the event using our awesome wood shop.  (Psst, you can use the tools too, become a member!) We had two designs, a gabled house and a double decker and in classic do-it-yourself style, we provided the wood and a drawing but left it up to people to figure out how everything went together.

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While people were drilling and gluing away, we had pet crafting stations set up to make cat nip toys and dog chews along with some wedding crafts and a button making station.  If the dog chews look familiar it’s because they were created in the same way you made lanyard friendship bracelets in summer camp!

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We hope you all had a great time at our little shindig and if you missed this event, be sure to join our public mailing list so you don’t miss the next one!

Weekend Project: Simple rocket launcher

For years I have wanted to make a simple device to launch a model rocket. This Saturday, my son Tim and I built it at the Makerspace. The launcher consists of a project box with some external connectors for the wires that go to the rocket, an arming switch, an LED to signal that the circuit is good, and a launch button. It took about four hours to make including several mistakes and backtracks.

We tested the circuit and it works as planned. The real test will be tomorrow when we attempt to launch some rockets at the park.