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.

Instructables / littleBits Build Night

littleBits
Have you heard of littleBits? It’s an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. If you’re the kind of maker who tends to avoid the Electronics Lab, littleBits might be just what you need to start experimenting with circuits.

We’ll be hosting a number of littleBits Build Nights in June, sponsored by our friends at Instructables, who have provided us with a bunch of littleBits Deluxe Kits, as well as a number of their new Arduino at Heart modules, which let you add an Arduino brain to your littleBits creations.

If you come up with something cool, we’ll help you post a step-by-step Instructable for it, so others can enjoy your creation. If you need some inspiration, check out some of these littleBits projects.

These events will be free, just bring yourself (and your ideas!) to 2555 S. Lenox St. in Bay View and make something cool with littleBits.

$5 Upcycled Desk Clock

Last summer I came across a collection of car parts at a garage sale; instrument clusters, lights, gauges, and some digital clock displays.  For $5, I became the proud owner of a JECO Japan, vacuum fluorescent clock display.  The plastic housing held all the clock electronics, membrane buttons for setting the time, and a four-pin connector.  After powering it up, I realized one of the pins could be used to dim the display, which is a pretty nice feature to have.

I’ve worked on it off and on for a few months, but finally decided to finish it this weekend.  On Saturday, I tweaked some dimensions and laser-cut the final enclosure.  I wasn’t happy with the button holes and text I had on the front of the first iteration, so I got rid of them for the final.  You can adjust the time by slipping a jeweler’s screwdriver or a paper clip through a gap in between the plexiglass sides and pressing the buttons to add hours or minutes. 

I added a small single-pole, double-throw toggle to switch between bright and dim, then soldered the connections before closing it up.  The whole thing is clamped together by a single #10-32 machine screw and a wingnut.  The final result doesn’t look half bad.

DIY Exterior Ashtray

For the longest time, members and guests were treated to this gorgeous sight:
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We can do better! All it took was some scrap metal, an old light fixture, and scrounged hardware. Grinding, welding, drilling, done.
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Ninety minutes later, I had chucked the vile plastic bucket in the dumpster and this hotness was bolted to the wall. One project done and a great way to start the Memorial Day weekend.
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The Stratasys lives!

Last spring, I brought in a Stratasys FDM 2000 3D printer for the Makerspace to use for a few months before delivering it to our good friend Frankie Flood for use in UWM’s Digital Craft Research Lab.  Many people had items printed on it and wished we could keep it at the space, so I promised that the next Stratasys I acquired would indeed have a home here.  Fortunately, that didn’t take long, but unfortunately, the machine wasn’t fully working and needed a new support nozzle solenoid and had persistent jamming in the support extruder.  It functioned well enough with just the model material that we were able to run it successfully at Makerfest, but it needed much more work to run properly.

fdm2000 better wiki image

Thanks to another FDM owner, the solenoid was quickly replaced, but the jamming remained.  I assumed that it was something in the extruder tube itself, and set about a long process of clearing it of all obstruction.  Unfortunately, this provided no benefit whatsoever (but I at least got the satisfaction of a successful head teardown/rebuild and understand the internals better than before).

scumbag nozzle

Even after carefully drilling out all traces of plastic from the nozzle with tiny drills and a pin vise, it would still clog and jam.  Replacing it with another 0.012″ nozzle cured all jamming issues.

2000 first chess set print

As proof, here is a grainy, Loch Ness Monster-esque photo of a print done with support material.  Since printing Duchamp chess sets are all the rage, this seemed like a perfect inaugural print.  Much more tweaking remains – the XYZ offset of the support nozzle needs to be dialed in, there’s a bit of slack in the cable drive system that I think may be causing ripples in the part surfaces, and I’m not convinced that the ‘moonstone gray’ model material is running as well as other colors.  Regardless, full operation is within grasp – ladies and gentlemen, prepare your STL files!

Bay View Gallery Night

Bay View Gallery Night

We did it before, and we’re doing it again! Get ready for Bay View Gallery Night, happening on Friday, June 6th, 2014. Join us from 5pm to 10pm for art from local artists, as well as demos of various things around the space. Interested in learning more about blacksmithing, making armor, screen printing, lasers, crafting with CNC machines, electronics, boat building, tiny electric race cars, fighting with magnets, giant industrial robots?* Come on down!

* While other venues may have a few of the things mentioned, we have all of these things in our 16,000 square foot workshop for crazy people!

Ressusciter Les Mort

About 7 years ago I was given the honor of caring for the family violin. What I got was a neck (separated from the body), the body, and one tuning peg. This is an especially sensitive item because the name written on the inside holds the name Stradivarius, and came over with my family from France. Turns out it’s not a Stradivarius, but it’s estimated to be 100 years old. It’s also estimated to have been silent for about 80 years and no living Massie has heard it played. - More on its background on my personal blog, this blog is for makers

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REBUILD:
I investigated options to pay to have it repaired back to play grade, repaired enough to be an art piece, or just leaving it as is. It is a family heirloom so lending it out for someone to play was selfishly not attractive. Repairing with current parts would obfuscate what was part of the original and what is new. Finally, leaving busted up was just not cool.

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At a later trip to the museum I saw the T-Rex had a bright white resin femur place holder unit they could get a real one. I assumed the stark contrast in color was to not confuse what was original and what was a replacement. I.D. Magazine also had an article some time ago about some Dutch students repairing damaged wood furniture with lime green plastic replacement parts inlaid with the originals.

These use cases inspired me to try replacing the parts in some type of acrylic or pop color plastic replacement.

PROCESS:
As a Milwaukee Makerspace member I felt the best solution would be to replace all the missing pieces in 3D prints based off original parts (scanned and/or measured out). I additionally chose white cause it stood out against the dark wood.

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I measured out the Tuning Peg by hand, rebuilt in SketchUp (don’t laugh) and printed to a Makerbot Replicator for first run prototypes.

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Similar models of the tailpiece and the chin rest were purchased, sanded down, painted a flat brown and then scanned on a 3D scanner.

Once all pieces scans were complete, it was time to bring it all together (Thingiverse STLs  - Violin Peg, Chin Rest, Tail Piece). This was the easiest part, cause it just involved me handing someone a bag of money. Final edited STL’s were sent off to Shapeways to be printed and once returned all parts were taken to someone to be cleaned, assembled, strung and tuned.

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So now that it is done, it’s time to get it into able hands to have it played for the Massies that are still alive.