MARRIED TO A MAKERSPACE GEEK

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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

Parade Time!

South Shore Frolics Parade!

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!

Member Graph

Well, Pete did us a solid with the HMMDMMH.. I took it to the next level, by graphing the data the HMMDMMH provides!

MMMG

MMMG

You can change the number of weeks’ worth of data it displays, by adding “&weeks=xx” to the URL, like this.  There’s a little bit of missing data here and there, which is why there are some skipped week numbers. Right now, I’ve collected approximately 25 weeks worth of data. This will only grow as MMS does, though! You might end up seeing this in the MMMPIS too!

Also, coming soon: A stand-alone executable version (for Windows) of the HMMDMMH!

EDIT: 2014 Week 26: After this was implemented we looked closer at the numbers and found an error. It has been corrected, hence the drop

3D Printable shock mount for PCM-M10 digital recorder

PCM-M10 Shock Mount

PCM-M10 Shock Mount

Several years ago I played with a lot of audio stuff including making binaural recordings of things like cicadas, train rides, and festivals in Japan, and the singing of tree frogs in my back yard when I lived in a forest in Missouri.  Those recordings were done on a MiniDisc recorder because it was the best available audio quality recorder for people on a budget (i.e. cheapskates) like me.   Time and technology wait for no one, and I’ve been getting the itch to do some recording again, so I recently picked up a Sony PCM-M10 recorder.   This little machine records in many different formats up to and including 24 bit/96 ksps (though self-noise really limits the machine to about 15 actual bits).  The audio is recorded onto micro SD cards so unlike the MiniDisc, you get access to the raw digital data without any compression or associated quality degradation.

My previous recordings were done using a DIY binaural microphone that used a roughly matched pair of electret condenser mic capsules mounted on a wire bail that held the capsules inside my ears.  Even though those mic capsules were pretty noisy, the recordings came out pretty good.  When you listen to them with headphones you get a real “you-are-there”, surround-sound experience that can be quite startling.  You can hear those recordings here: http://mark.rehorst.com/Binaural_Recordings/index.html   Soon, I’ll be starting a new binaural mic project to go with the new recorder, this time using much higher quality mic capsules.

In the meantime I was looking for a shock mount to use when making recordings using the built in mics.  The shock mount prevents low frequency noise from handling, bumping the table the recorder sits on, etc., from being coupled to the mics through the body of the recorder.  I did a web search and found only a couple unsatisfactory designs so I did what any maker would do- I made!

One of the flaws in the few designs I saw was that some of the numerous switches and I/O jacks on the recorder would not be accessible when it was bolted to the shock mount.  They also didn’t look very nice.  After a lot of sketching possible designs on a whiteboard and paring the thing down to a minimal implementation, and spending much too much time making a 3D model of the recorder, I came up with a printable 3-finger design that holds the recorder either on a tabletop or a tripod and keeps ALL the switches and I/Os available.  The only thing you can’t do while the recorder is mounted is swap batteries (but with 40 hours record time on a set of two AAs, that shouldn’t be a problem).

I used DesignSpark Mechanical to make the recorder model and design the shock mount.  DesignSpark makes rounding corners of complex 3D objects easy (nearly impossible in Sketchup), but I did run into some of its limitations that I hadn’t previously considered.  One huge limitation is that there is no way to put any form of text into a drawing without some special work-arounds (use Sketchup to make text, then import into DesignSpark).

CAD drawing of shock mount

CAD drawing of shock mount

PCM-M10 on shock mount- CAD

PCM-M10 on shock mount- CAD

This shock mount design is available here:  http://www.thingi

verse.com/thing:384567

 

I printed the shock mount on MegaMax using Coex3D Aqua ABS filament.

 

KC Maker Faire, here we come!

Lotusaurus Wrecks

Audrey has been working her butt off on Lotusaurus Wrecks, with help along the way from Tom, Ed, Tiffany, and other members, to get ready for the Power Racing Series event happening at Maker Faire KC this weekend.

But wait, that’s not all! There’s still a good chance Tiffany’s car “Iron Rose” will be ready to roll at the races as well. I mean, it’s not done right now, but as of typing this we still have nearly 24 hours to finish the build. I guess we can test it during qualifying. ;)

So yeah, if you’re in Kansas City for Maker Faire this weekend, stop by the pits and say “Hi” to us, and wish us luck, and award us some Moxie points… We always need more Moxie points!

#TinkerOn, my friends… #TinkerOn

To celebrate the National Day of Making we’re proud to share these great videos we made with the folks at Liquid Wrench for their Tinkernation web site. Big thanks to Tom, Audrey, and Tiffany for being the voice of Milwaukee Makerspace, and to all the other members involved and our pals at Pumping Station: One in Chicago who run the Power Racing Series.

Warning: The videos range from fun to educational to a little ridiculous. Enjoy!

Hubba Hubba – a Power Wheels Fairy tale

A long time ago (last summer) in a place far far away (Detroit, New York or something) there was a power wheels race car called Red Lotus, crying alone in the pits.

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Red Lotus

All of the sudden, out of nowhere with a screech of tires and a puff of tire smoke appeared the Fairy Godfather (after all, Fairy Godmother wants “nothing to do with that dangerous racing stuff.”)

The Fairy Godfather asked Red Lotus “What’s the matter little race car?”

Blown tires

“Well Fairy Godfather, every time I try to catch up with the other cars my tires just pop!”

“Well little car, what you need are magic tires! and please call me FGF – all my drinking buddies laugh when someone calls me ‘Fairy’ ”

And with a wave if his enchanted tire iron POOF! a magical tire appeared!

New tire

“Really?” said Red Lotus “That rim won’t hold up for 20 seconds on a power wheels track.”

“Hey!” exclaimed FGF “You get a magical tire, you can figure out the rim yourself!”

Old hub

And so Red Lotus did figure out the rim herself. Thus was born the Quad Bolt, Flange Welded, Wood Spaced, super rim!

And all the rest of the season Red Lotus didn’t pop a single tire – at least not a rear tire…

Then one day when all the races for the season were over, once again Red Lotus was sitting alone in the pits crying.

With a squeal of tires and more blue smoke FGF appeared!

“What are you bawling about now? Didn’t I give you magic tires? Didn’t they last the entire season with out popping?”

“yes, they are wonderful” sobbed Red Lotus “but” (there’s always a ‘but’) “my front tires keep popping and the hubs I made suck.”

FGF thought for a minute and said “so why don’t you buy some real tires and make your own hubs to hold them?” “Here, I’ll show you how:”

Foam and tube

With a wave of his magic Tire Iron POOF pieces started to appear!

“Yum!” squealed Red Lotus “Pink frosted doughnuts!”

Bit foam

—- CRUNCH —-

“These are awful doughnuts, they taste like Styrofoam!”

—- SMACK —-

FGF knocks the doughnut out of Red Lotus’s mouth. “Those aren’t doughnuts, they’re hub patterns!”

Assembled pattern crop

“Put them on the tube like this”
“Pack it in sand”
“And pour molten aluminum all over it”

Casting

“And you get something like this”

Raw Casting

“Ewww” said Red Lotus “That’s gross!”
“Well its not done yet, you need a little time turning it on a lathe to turn it into something beautiful”

Turned casting

“Now you have your solid aluminum, hand cast, personally machined unbreakable super hub!”

And with a hearty belch FGF vanished leaving Red Lotus to do a whole bunch of work.

Tune in next time for the story of the PPPBBB – Pronounced:

Jack Manufacturing Concentrated Magic!?

Jack Manufacturing Concentrated Magic

We had a group from Liquid Wrench and Tinkernation out to shoot some promo videos about our Power Racing Series team a few weeks ago and they dropped off some Jack Manufacturing 3 ounce samples of Concentrated Magic “The World’s Best industrial Hand Soap.”

After working in our shop one Sunday I was ready to get cleaned up and I had several hand cleaners to choose from, something in an orange bottle with a pumice, green bar soap with pumice, a bottle of blue dish soap or the Jack Manufacturing Concentrated Magic.

I used the Concentrated Magic sample. Wow did it work great! It got out all that little dirt that hides in the crevices of your skin and also it did not dry my hands out!

Thanks Liquid Wrench and Jack Manufacturing for all your great support, and for the product samples.

(Want a free sample? Check out their web site!)

Girls in Tech + MM + PPPRS

GiT MKE SOLVE

A few months ago we connected with some of the women behind Girls in Tech Milwaukee and we talked about collaborating and sharing the joy of making with some local Girl Scouts troops. Well, things are still progressing, but if you’re a supporter of increasing the number of girls and women interested in technology, computer science, engineering, and design, you might want to check out the 2014 Girls in Tech SOLVE Launch Event.

And if you do, be sure to say “Hello!” to Audrey, one of the stars of our Power Racing Series team, as she talks about the engineering involved in designing and building an electric race car. Audrey joined the space last July, and in less than a year she’s gone from “Sure, I’ll drive a car” to “Sure, I’ll rip this old car apart and rebuild it better than before!”

(Oh, Audrey is also a Research Technologist, has attended MIT, and will be doing her graduate studies at Boston University. That’s what keeps her busy when she’s not building electric race cars!)

Red Lotus

A few facts about the Power Racing Series: Karen “Cannonball” Corbeil has the most wins (10) over any driver in the series. No other racing series boasts as many wins by women drivers. 6 women have won races in the Power Racing Series. Dozens have contested. This actually gives the PPPRS the highest gender balance of any “motorsport” in the world, and most every other sport too.