I’m such a “blockhead”

I love architecture, and I also love blocks!  Several years ago I started designing my own “building blocks” in Solidworks, with the hope of eventually machining them out of wood.  That will probably not happen soon…about a year ago I tried using the Makerbot “Cupcake” model 3D printer at the Milwaukee Makerspace; the results were ok, but i found it to be an unreliable device.  Now we have a Makerbot Replicator, THE newest thing…I didn’t like it at first; turns out I had a few minor settings wrong, and now the results are fantastic!!

I have hundreds of designs for these little cubes, now the next step is to start printing them in “batches”, ie, start at midnight and come back at 8 am to hopefully collect 8 of ‘em.

I hereby renounce work, sleep, food, etc… :)

-MattN

MakerBot Visit [Video]

My motto isn’t “better late than never” but let’s pretend it is for now… Remember when the MakerBot guys stopped by the space in June? Well, at least one member said he would be out of town, and hoped there would be video… So here, my friends, is some video. Sorry it took so long…

Also worth noting, Milwaukee Makerspace now has its own MakerBot Replicator, and we may just bring it to the next 3D Printing Meetup.

MKE 3D Printing Meetup – August 2012

MKE3DP

Remember that 3D Printing Meetup we had? You probably read all about it. Well, people liked it, so we’re doing it again.

If you’ve got a MakerBot, RepRap, Mendel90, Solidoodle, Bukobot, Quantum ORD Bot, or some other oddly named CNC machine that spits out melted plastic, pack it up and join us… if you don’t know what the heck those names mean, but you’ve heard the phrase “3D printing” you can join us too, and we’ll answer all your questions.

We’ll be meeting on Sunday, August 12th, 2012 at 1:00pm. We won’t be at our space because we’ve partnered with our friends at Bucketworks for this one! Details are below.

Bucketworks
706 South 5th Street
Milwaukee WI

Note: This event is FREE and open to the public! Everyone is invited.

3D Printing Meetup ReCap

Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup

It was just a few weeks ago we mentioned the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup we were planning, and being the first meeting, we weren’t quite sure how it would go. Luckily, we’ve seen over the last few months that more and more members have built (or are building) their own printers, and we’ve got some “friends of the Makerspace” in the area who have also built printers. All of that coupled with the great visit from MakerBot last week made us pretty hopeful this would be a grand event.

We met in the lab at UWM and they’ve already got a few printers there. The monster is a ZCorp Z402 (like they have at Freeside Atlanta) and there’s a few Prusa and MendelMax models as well, and they’re making more parts all the time. Here are the numbers I scribbled down:

Our friend Michael didn’t bring his Stratsys FDM 1600 as he said it would need a small truck to transport it, and he likes to let it warm up for two hours. He did however bring a certain part he printed, and the quality looked amazing.

3D Printers

I heard more than one person say that the event felt like what we’ve heard the old Homebrew Computer Club was like. A bunch of people really excited about new technology, and willing to build it themselves. No one really has it all figured out yet, but we’re having fun trying.

I’d like to give a big thanks to Frankie Flood for hosting the event at UWM. The lab they have there is like a Maker’s Playground or something… very inspiring.

As for the meeting itself, it was totally informal. No slides, no presentations. We just introduced ourselves, and then we all talked and looked at all the printers, and printed some things. Since 3D Printers are still a fairly new thing, I think everyone who brought one was just happy to geek out about it with others who were just as enthusiastic. I’d also guess that almost everyone walked away learning a least a few tips & tricks.

So will we do it again? I’m sure we will. There’s no set date or time yet, but we’ll let you know. And if you missed it, I’d recommend you try to make it to Sector67 in Madison on July 21st, 2012 for 3D Printing Camp.

MakerBot Brings the Awesome!

R. Maker

As we mentioned, the fine folks from MakerBot Industries were planning a visit to our space, and I must say, they did not disappoint. It was all part of Matt & Michael’s Miraculous Midwest MakerBot Tour, or MMMMMT as we’d call it at Milwaukee Makerspace. (We’re big on the ‘M’ words.)

The Crowd

Besides the excellent pizza from Classic Slice and various local libations, they brought two Replicators and plenty of plastic. They got both machines up and running, kicking out some awesome objects, and then Michael Curry (Skimbal) stayed behind to keep the Replicators happy while Matt Griffin from MakerBot (along with a small crew) set out to capture some of Milwaukee’s charm in 3D. We first set our sights on the Bronze Fonz, and made a few more stops on the way to pick up the food & drink. How did the Fonz turn out? We’re not sure yet… Matt, let us know, we’re eager to print it!

Matt

Apart from the hi-jinx involved in circling the Fonz with an iPad, seeing the Replicators at work, as well as some of the samples of previous prints, was great. While we’ve had an old MakerBot CupCake at the space, and a few members now have their own printers, I’ve not seen any match the quality output of the Replicators. (Not yet anyway!)

Michael

I’d just like to give a big thanks to the MakerBot folks for taking the time to hang out with us and show off their wares. If they happen to come to your town, or you can see them at a Maker Faire, I’d highly recommend it.

And hey! If you’re interested in the 3D printing thing, you can join us for the first Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup on July 1st, 2012 at UWM to learn more about it.

MegaMax 3D Printer

MegaMax 3D Printer

MegaMax 3D printer based on MendelMax but bigger and minus plastic parts.

This is my on-going project at the Milwaukee Makerspace.  It is a 3D extruded plastic printer with about 1 cuft build envelope.  I want to print life-size human skulls (among other things) from CT scan data.  The printer is made mostly from salvaged parts and materials so the cost has been very low.  When it’s finished it will have a heated 12″x12″ bed (13″x13″ if I can find an aluminum plate that big) and dual extruder so it can print in two colors.

I have learned a lot on this project- some things that work and others that don’t work so well, and how to use a milling machine to drill holes precisely and square the ends of the 8020 extrusion pieces used to build up the frame of the machine.

I could not have done any of this without access to the people, materials, and tools at Milwaukee Makerspace.  Every time I go there to do some work on this project someone says something that gives me new ideas for improvements to the design.   I frequently find materials and parts left for me on the machine’s cart by other members who know what I’m trying to do.  If you have a project idea find your local Makerspace and get busy- there is nothing that will get your creative juices flowing like being around a bunch of people with similar interests and different skills and experience!

A Visit from MakerBot

MakerBot Industries

Milwaukee Makerspace Members, mark your calendars for the evening of Monday, June 25th, 2012 as we welcome the fine folks from MakerBot Industries to the space. They’ll be here to show off their Replicator and talk about 3D printing. (Rumor has it they may even provide us with some food & drink!)

MakerBot is one of the original names in affordable 3D printers. (They even got their start at a hackerspace.) They also brought us Thingiverse, which provides “digital designs for real, physical objects”, produce the awesome MakerBot TV, and kick out some great blog posts as well.

If you’re not a member, you can still attend the meeting. Besides seeing what MakerBot has to show you, we’d love to give you a tour of our space and have you meet our members. Just stop by around 7pm, the door will be open. :)

3D Printing Meetup

Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup

3D Printing is getting more and more popular, and we’ve got a bunch of members who have built printers, or are building printers, or just know a heck of a lot about 3D Printing, so we figured we should meet up and discuss the topic.

So if you’ve ever wondered what in the world a MakerBot was, or heard of RepRap or Printrbot, or just wanted to see an actual 3D Printer laying down molten plastic to make a real-world object, well… we’ve got just the ticket.

Join us for the first Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup! We’ll be meeting on Sunday, July 1st, 2012 at 1:00pm. We won’t be at our space because we’ve partnered with our friends at UWM for this one! Details are below.

UWM’s Kenilworth Square East Building
1925 E. Kenilworth Place
3rd Floor; Room 368
Milwaukee, WI

If you’ve got a 3D Printer, feel free to bring it! If you don’t have one, check out the different ones at the meetup. Bring some questions, and we’ll provide the answers. And of course we’ll show off things you can print and we’ll melt some plastic. :)

Note: This event is FREE and open to the public! Everyone is invited.

3D Printer (x 3)

3D Printers

Last night after the weekly Tuesday night meeting we had a quick show ‘n tell featuring three different 3D printers.

From left to right: a MakerGear Prusa Mendel, a MakerGear Mosaic, and a Printrbot.

We’ve also got a member building a 3D printer of his own design, and at least one member with an old-school MakerBot CupCake.

Speaking of MakerBot, we’re expecting a visit from the MakerBot folks near the end of June. They’ll demo the MakerBot Replicator for us and get all geeky about melted plastic, which is what 3D Printing Nerds do. (We’ll post an update when we have all the details.)

RepRap Build

MakerGear RepRap

It’s not a secret, but I haven’t really posted here about here it yet: I’m building a MakerGear RepRap Prusa Mendel.

I’ve posted a few photos of it in progress in the Make Flickr Pool, and Make mentioned a few of them, but I really need to start writing more about the process. (I’ve posted stuff on Google+ along the way, mainly to get feedback/share with a few other RepRap builders.)

I’ve still got a number of hours to put into it before it’s ready to extrude, but if you want a bunch of posts from someone who already finished theirs, and is doing all the tweaking and documenting it, check out Brazen Artifice. Lots of great posts there!

Once it’s done I’ll be sure to bring it to the space for a demo.