Weekly Maker Spotlight #6 – Emily M.

emily-mHow did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I heard a lot about Milwaukee Makerspace while I was in undergrad at UW-Milwaukee. I had complete studio(s) to work in though, so never made it down to the space until after I had graduated. I finally got a membership through work so I could make things for my job.

Why did you decide to join?

I needed access to equipment and knowledgeable people that I was sorely lacking after exiting academia.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

I make devices, prototypes, and templates for work. So far I’ve gotten to work with the laser cutter, 3D printers, powder coating equipment, metal shop and finishing areas.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

There’s something for everyone at Makerspace, and there’s always people willing to lend a hand or a brain to get your project done.

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

I’m currently working on a measuring device for work that will help us measure the length and girth of custom garments that are near impossible to accurately measure. I would also like to get back to the jeweler’s bench and get going on a couple of personal projects.

New machines are about to come online!

In addition to making things, many of our members like making machines that make things! We should have a functioning vacuum former, a 4’x8′ CNC Router, and a 4’x8′ CNC Plasma Cutter in the the next couple of months. While the vaccum former was acquired from an auction, the other two have been built at the makerspace over the last year and a half from scavenged materials. The frame and the rails for the plasma cutter were used in a perfume bottler in a past life. We can’t wait to see what our members will make from these awesome machines!

A few pictures of the above mentioned equipment can be found below:

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Zallus Reflow Oven Controller

zallus run completeA few months ago, we noticed a Kickstarter being run in Milwaukee for a pretty nifty looking reflow oven controller by Marquette student Nate Zimmerman. We love to support makers in their endeavors and as it happened none of our members had ever gotten around to converting a toaster to reflow. This, despite the fact that a number of us regularly design and build surface mount boards.

So, a few of us got together and backed Nate’s Revision 2 controller kit. The kit came in last week, I picked up a cheap toaster on clearance, and this past weekend we installed the kit into the oven.

From the kit installer’s perspective Nate’s kit couldn’t be simpler. A supplied SSR is inserted in series with the main AC line, and a K-type thermocouple is fed into the oven cavity. Both items connect up to a pre-assembled circuit board and LCD touchscreen.

Zallus runningWe fired up the oven and ran it through its paces right from the touch screen. It performed great right away. There were no real issues. I did manage to install the display upside down, but that will take 5 minutes to flip the next time I’m at the space. I just plain ran out of time. Next time I’ll also be able to play a bit with the PC software, but it was great that the controller fired up and ran right away without having to mess with the PC at all.

So now the space has a nice profiling reflow oven! I am looking forward to using it! I know one member already has a board lined up to go this Tuesday (Feb 3rd, 2015). So if you’d like to see it run in person stop on by the space on Tuesday at 7PM!

Weekly Maker Spotlight #5 – Lance Lamont

DSC_0012How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I saw a blog post on some “Pot ‘O Gold” parade buggies that some cool guys made. I watched the video a few times, then noticed that it was in Milwaukee – where I was! Too Cool. From there, I searched out the group and introduced myself.

Why did you decide to join?

I decided to join because I love the combination of meeting new people and learning new skills. I, like many other members, am a skill collector and really enjoy having a ton of experiences and skills.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

I’ve used many of the tools in the space – anything ranging from the laser cutters and sewing machines all of the way to the wood shop, metal shop, forge and welding areas. Essentially anything and everything.

The most impressive thing that I’ve made at the space was a giant 30′ diameter UFO “crashed” in front of Maker Faire Milwaukee 2014. I’ve made cases for projects and modified a trailer to carry kayaks and bikes behind my Mazda Miata.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

The Makerspace is a great place to learn new skills and become a member of a vibrant and creative community. The people involved in the group are great, and the projects that are done at the building – be they solo or as groups – end up being amazing. It’s a great place to be a part of when you run into challenges on your project – TONS of creative individuals to help solve them.

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

Through Maker Faire Milwaukee I have started a relationship with the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. I am working with a couple of other members of the ‘space on two different projects – a large array of touch sensitive full RGB LED buttons, and a kinetic art sculpture using almost 500 stepper motors. I’ve been focused on the firmware development for both projects.

Member Badge Contest Starting Now!

Makerspace Logo

Milwaukee Makerspace

Member Badge Competition

What is it?

This is a very open-ended competition: Build a name badge that looks awesome and shows off some of your skills!

What are the rules?

All badges must display your name.

There are 3 classes that you can compete in:

  • Class 1: New Member Badge Replacement

This badge must hang on a single plastic strap and metal clip – like the ones that current badges utilize.  Additionally, it must be easily made by a new member as an introduction to a tool, process, or the makerspace in general.  This badge should take no longer than 2 hours to create.

  • Class 2: Standard Badges

Like the new member badge replacement, this must also hang from a single plastic strap and metal clip.  There are no limitations on complexity or build time.

  • Class 3: Unlimited

This is the unlimited class.  All badges must be able to be transported by a single person, no wheels allowed.  Otherwise, anything goes!

When is the contest?

It’s starting RIGHT NOW!  Come up with an awesome badge idea, build it and show it off!

The contest Ends April 21st!

What can you win?

Each and every contestant will win (your own) memorable Member Badge!  We welcome suggestions for awesome awards that can be presented to the participants.

How do I enter?

Present pictures of your completed badge along with a 2-3 paragraph description of what you did to make it to badgecontest (at) milwaukeemakerspace.org.  Your descriptions and pictures will be used to create a blog post and run open voting within the membership.  Bonus points for members that provide in-process pictures and how-tos on the construction of their badges!

 

We now have an Acrylic Bender

Many of our members have used heat guns and strip heaters to soften and bend acrylic in the past. While that method works most of the time, we decided it was time to get one that just works all the time. Since we acquired it, we have been finding all kinds of uses for it. A few finished projects are listed below.

IMG_0788Stepper Motor Mounts

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Tooth Brush Holders

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A Fork!

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Robot Chassis

 

Happy Shiny Bolts

Bolts

When you buy a bolt, it doesn’t typically have a nice flat head on it. It’s got a bunch of markings, and usually some sort of part number, or something. Here’s a bolt I found on eBay. Look at all those numbers and letters!

Bolt Close-up

Here’s a close-up I shot of a bolt head. What does it all mean? Well, Brant told me that the manufacturers add these markings to help prevent counterfeit parts. He even mentioned that years ago a building was built with some knock-off fasteners and it collapsed causing terrible damage. Terrible!

Well, I brought a bolt to the makerspace because I wanted it to have a nice smooth and shiny top. Bill**2 was kind enough to show me the new metal buffing area, which has a nice belt sander (which we used to remove the lettering) and 6 (yes, six!) buffing wheels of various grit. I used all six to give my bolt a nice clean shine.

Shiny Bolt

Here’s my bolt after removing the letters and buffing it up. I probably could have done a bit more, but this was still a hundred times better than before I started. And yes, it is hooked up to an AT42QT1010 Capacitive Touch Breakout Board and a Teensy.

Weekly Maker Spotlight #4 – Jon Hughett

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How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I first heard about the Milwaukee Makerspace from a poster that was displayed at American Science and Surplus. I was a regular haunt at the store so I often saw the sign hanging there. At some point I found out about the first open house when the ‘Space was at Chase Avenue location. It was a great and interesting time. It was the first time I had seen a Power Wheels race. My interest was definitely piqued, but for some reason I didn’t pursue joining at the time. The next time I attended, was after the move to Logan avenue, unfortunately.  I didn’t read the webpage close enough and I tried to return to the Chase location only to find locked gates. Thank goodness for Smart Phones! I got to the meeting late but still in time to get a tour.

Why did you decide to join?

At my first visit to the Logan Avenue building, I decided that I couldn’t afford not to. I really wanted to join and started waffling about it. I thought I would go home tell the wife about it and then hem and haw and return an see about joining in the future, and that’s when I figured I should just join and quit agonizing over something I was going to do anyway.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

I guess I should start off by saying I’m the area champion of the Jewelry Area. I’m working on getting a proper workspace for Jewelry construction going. Everything from simple processes to brazing, lost wax casting, hydraulic forming and more. Currently we are expanding the area to include Watchmaking. Aside from Jewelry, I use the Laser Cutter a lot for various projects, something I hadn’t foreseen as an interest in when I joined. I do a little Blacksmithing on the forge. I spend a bit of time on building tools to use to make jewelry.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

Just come down to one of our Tuesday night meetings to check things out and Welcome to Wonderland!

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

I am finishing work on a twenty ton hydraulic press for jewelry forming. I have an ongoing project to finish a magnetic finishing machine. I am working with a number of people at the ‘Space who are going to be building Daleks from the Doctor Who series.

Merry Christmas Maker Space!

A few weeks back, at a Tuesday night meeting, a topic was brought up about projects that needed to be done for the Milwaukee Makerspace (MMS). Things like general cleaning, sorting the trash for cash recycling box, machine wiring and putting windows in the doors leading out of the main meeting room to the shop. What a great gift this would be, for the members that complete these tasks to the MMS as a whole.

After a meeting, one night, I didn’t have anything I really needed to work on so I took a project that was a little out of my comfort zone. I put a small window, in the door leading from the lobby/ greeting area by the laser room to the East warehouse. I say it is out of my comfort zone because it deals with wood products and I’m a metal guy. Put me in front of a mill or lathe and I feel right at home, but wood is not my strong suit. I’m still picking slivers out of my fingers and palms, that stuff is nasty! Well the first window went in so well that when I was back at the space the following Sunday I put another window in the door leading out of the main meeting room to the wash sink room by the alley door entrance.

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So why give a gift to the MMS you ask?

To me, the MMS is more than a place to find a machine to use that I do not have any other access to for the low, low price of $40.00 a month. Sure you could just pay your money and work on your projects, maybe complain that a specific tool was not working when you needed it or you had to clean a spot to work on your project before you can even begin to work on your own stuff (that really burns my butt when it happens to me!) but there is a lot that happens at the MMS that most members don’t even realize. The affordable price of $40.00 a month does not allow for the MMS to pay a cleaning service to vacuum the rugs, clean the bathrooms, sweep the shop floors or do regular and preventive maintenance to the environment.

The value of the MMS is worth more than the bargain price of $40.00 a month to me. To me, MMS is a place I can go to and, yes use a machine that I do not have any other access to. I can also learn new skills and pick up positive energy from like-minded people. Seeing things made on machines that, before coming to MMS thought, you needed years of training to use I.E. (laser cutter, and 3D printers). The basic skills for some of the processes, only take a few minutes or a few hours to learn.

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You will find that in any organization there is a, 80/20 rule, 80% of the needed work is done by 20% of the members. I would rather be in the 20% minority and help build a place for others to enjoy then be in the majority and only work on what benefits me alone.

I love giving back to MMS. It allows me to do and be a part of so much, so Merry Christmas Milwaukee Makerspace!

I can hardly wait for the next holiday to come along so I can give even more gifts to MMS.

Adrian

Niles – the Ball Bearing Glockenspiel

I have been working on a ball bearing glockenspiel. The contraption will be comprised of 3 systems – ball bearing launcher, ball bearing collection and return mechanism, and the instrument itself.

I started with the the launcher. There will be 25-30 notes and a fast and accurate launcher will be needed for each one. My design parameters were to launch 4 bearings a second within a 1/2 inch diameter over a 2 ft. drop. Here’s my first attempt.

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A pipe feeds ball bearings to a rotating platform with a hole just large enough for one bearing. When it’s ready to drop, the servo rotates the platform by about 30 degrees and the bearing falls out the bottom. The platform then rotates back  to the home position and loads the next ball. The mechanism could definitely deliver the balls quickly but the accuracy just wasn’t there. The balls would hit the side of the hole as they were exiting. On to the next iteration…

3.0

3.0.1

I forgot to take a picture of this one so I am posting the drawings instead. The concept is the same as the previous version, except the slider is linear instead of rotary. I added a longer channel after the initial drop to guide the ball bearings as they fall. But I had the similar accuracy issues.

So, I kept iterating the design to minimize potential disturbances after the ball is launched. And of course, decided to use magnets. The bearing are made out of steel and magnets suspend the ball till a servo controlled “plunger” launches them. This design worked beautifully! I have attached two slow motion videos below. As you can see in the second video, it’s so accurate the balls are literally hitting each other like Robin Hood “splitting an arrow”!

Next, I will work on making this design more compact and also, several ball return mechanisms.