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!

Glass Etching

Bottles

I did a few glass etching classes last month, and the timing was good because people were looking for unique gifts they could make for the holidays, and a personalized etched drinking glass makes a fine gift!

We started out by cutting vinyl on the Silhouette Cameo and then sticking it onto glass bottles. This let everyone get a feel for the sandblaster before they moved on to a real glass.

After everyone used the sandblaster I helped people get their artwork ready, we cut the vinyl, and then everyone etched their glass or mug. (We also got a few lessons on troubleshooting the “temperamental” sandblaster.)

Unfortunately I was too darn busy running the class to take any photos (though Ben did) but I liked what Audrey did, so I pretty much copied her and made my own “Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team” drinking glass. Here it is!

Glass Etching

Here’s a close-up of the etch. It looks pretty good! The process isn’t too hard, but there are a lot of little details to know along the way. I’m glad I could get people up to speed. (I guess my etching of 300+ items back in October helped!)

Glass Etching

If there’s still interest, I can run another class, but there’s only two people right now who missed it, and I’d like to get a few more people before committing to a full class. (Rumor has it we may also be seeing a sandblaster upgrade soon!)

Bay View Gallery Night

BVGN

It seems like just four months since the last Bay View Gallery Night… oh wait, it was!

We’ll once again have a group show, this time titled: More Awesome Things From the Makerspace, which is our way of saying “come check out all the crazy things we do!”

It’s all happening Friday, September 27th, 2013 from 5pm to 10pm. And as always, we’ll have some sort of magical surprise to knock your socks off!

(Or who knows, maybe it’ll be something that gently removes your socks and then carefully places them into the nearest laundry basket…)

Molding & Casting a Prop Bracer

The mold and final cast part.

The mold and final cast part.

As someone who has gone to GenCon quite a few years and knows several of the GMs of major events, I’ve started getting asked to make props…  This year I have decided to expand my experiences in molding and casting in order to make one of the props.  The prop requested was a “Bracer that looks like it is made of Amber – part of the shell of an insect”.  Thankfully I was afforded quite a bit of creative leeway beyond that.

 

In the past I have used Smooth-on products, but one of the members of the Makerspace mentioned they were a distributor for Alumilite, so I thought I would give them a try.  This was my first experience with most of the Alumilite products.

 

I ordered the following supplies:

UMR 12 oz.

Alumilite Dye 1 oz. Red

Alumilite Dye 1 oz. Yellow

Mold Putty – 15 2 lb. Lt. Blue

Amazing Clear Cast 2 gal. Kit Clear

Synthetic Clay

 

Other items I used:

PVC Pipe form

A form made out of a 3″ PVC pipe shaped to look like a human arm.

3” Diameter PVC Pipe – Approximately 18” long

3” Diameter Hose Clamp

Plaster Bandages

Vaseline

Disposable Mixing Containers

Stir Sticks

Steel Wire (to hold the mold together)

Syringe

Drinking Straw

 

I wanted to make a “generic” bracer that would fit either arm, not a right or left arm bracer, so I didn’t want to do a life cast of my arm first – it would be too specific.  Instead I picked up a piece of 3” pvc pipe, cut a section out of most of it (leaving a part connected) and then used a hose clamp to tighten the open end down.  It turned into a really good stand-in for a human arm.  The shape is close enough that it is recognizable, but is not left or right arm specific.  (Note that the screws in the picture were added at a later stage)

 

Once I had the basic form for the arm, I used the synthetic clay to create the shape of the bracer.  I was going for an organic look, so I wanted curves and no sharp edges.  The biggest challenge I had was trying to smooth out the sculpt.  I still need to figure out the right technique.  Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of the sculpted bracer.

 

The form and original covered with mold putty.

The form and original covered with mold putty.

Once I had the sculpture complete, I added some screws around the edges as alignment points.  I was careful to make sure the heads were close to the PVC so they would not get stuck in the molding material.  Then I got to try my first new material – the Mold Putty.  I really liked the idea of it – take two parts, hand-mix, then just push it onto the original.  It essentially worked exactly that way.  I thought the mixed consistency was almost perfect for my application.  Unfortunately, the biggest difficulty is being sure not to trap air in it – particularly when placing a second mixed batch next to an already placed batch.  I ended up with some imperfections in the final mold because of this.  Would I use it again?  Yes, but I think I may also try other approaches – either a box and pourable rubber, or brush-on rubber.

 

The mold with half of the mother mold present.

The mold with half of the mother mold present.

Given the way I wanted to cast the bracer – standing vertically – I wanted to make sure that I was able to hold the rubber mold to the arm form well.  So, using the plaster bandages, I made a two-part “mother mold” for the rubber mold.  First, I coated everything with Vaseline as a release agent, then I covered half of the arm piece with plaster bandaging, making sure the edges were particularly strong, and that the top edge, where I would be creating the second half of the mold, was also quite smooth.  After the first half of the mother mold cured, I then coated the edge of the plaster with Vaseline to make sure the other half would not stick to the first half.  Once I was done placing the Vaseline, I then coated the other half with plaster bandages.

 

Once all of the plaster dried, I used a sharpie and drew lines across the edges of the plaster.  These lines are so that I could realign them easily after I took the mold apart to remove the original sculpt.

 

After I removed the original sculpt, I realized I forgot something major…  A way to get the resin into the mold.  Oops!  After a bit of thought, I decided the easiest way to get the resin in would be to drill some holes through the PVC pipe and pour it in that way.  Ideally, I would have designed pour holes and vent holes into the original design of the sculpt.  Something to remember for the next one!  In order to try to control the fluid a bit better, I used straws to extend the holes out.  Bendy straws would have been good – I’m not sure how effective straight straws were.

 

Using the volume of clay from the original sculpt, I did a rough guess at how much resin would be needed to fill the mold (~12oz).  I measured out 6oz of each of the two parts, added one drop of red and six drops of yellow to one of them, then mixed it.  I used a syringe to suck up the mixed resin and transfer it into the mold.  It worked quite well, although it was a bit disconcerting because of the number of bubbles that were exposed during the suction process.  Thankfully, as soon as the resin reached normal pressure the bubbles disappeared.

 

The raw bracer prop as removed from the mold.

The raw bracer prop as removed from the mold.

The resin takes 24 hours to cure.  24 hours wondering if it turned out.

 

And after that full day of waiting, I de-molded it.  Quite the pleasant surprise!  I think it may have slightly too much red, so I’ll have to correct that for my next iteration.  I’m still debating about sanding and buffing it in order to get it to be more glass-like.

Bay View Gallery Night

Bay View Gallery Night

Summer is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for the first Bay View Gallery Night of the year, and now that Milwaukee Makerspace is located in the heart of Bay View, we just had to get in on the action, so we’re inviting you to join us in what we sometimes refer to as “16,000 sq feet of Art”.

And hey, it’s not all art, as we do a zillion things at Milwaukee Makerspace, as long as it involves being creative and making things, we do it. We’ll have plenty to see and experience, including our group show titled: Awesome Things From the Makerspace.

If that’s not enough to convince you, we’ll also be hosting a show from our friends at the Bay View Arts Guild, so yeah, even more art!

It’s all happening Friday, May 31st, 2013 from 5pm to 10pm. And as always, we’ll have some sort of magical surprise to knock your socks off!

(Note: If you’re not wearing socks, we can’t be responsible for what might happen to your feet. You’ve been warned!)

Art Night

Art Night

If you happen to be out and about on Friday, April 19th, 2013 you might want to swing by Milwaukee Makerspace at 2555 S. Lenox St. in Bay View.

While we aren’t officially part of any gallery night events this time around, we’ll be open to the public on Friday from 6pm to 9pm for anyone who wants to stop by and take a tour, or check out some of the art (and art making tools!) we have at our space.

And if you want to see us in full art swing, you’ll only have to wait until the end of May. ;)

The Art Jamboree is Here!

Art Jamboree

When we say “The Art Jamboree is Coming” we really mean The Art Jamboree is Coming! That’s right, Art Milwaukee is bringing the next Art Jamboree to us. Mark your calendars for Friday, March 29th, 2013 when the Art Jamboree will take place at Milwaukee Makerspace.

This one is titled “The Maker” and besides the usual awesomeness that includes the best in Milwaukee art, there will also be raffles, food & drink, and free low-fives(?) We’ll also be adding our own maker-related art to the mix. Expect some some interactive pieces as well as art in mediums you may not be used to. (Sure we like paint, but we also like lasers and molten plastic and beer.)

This event is free and open to the public. (All ages are welcome, but keep an eye on the kids. We have a lot of rotating blades, but we’ll do our best to keep them powered-down during the event.)

Mark your calendars for March 29th, 2013 from 7pm to 11pm. We’ll see you at 2555 S. Lenox Street in beautiful Bay View.

Pssst! Want to see who else is going? Check out the event on Facebook.

Another Art Jamboree!

Art Jamboree!

It’s that time again, folks… Time for another Art Jamboree! Join us on January 25, 2013 from 7pm to 11pm at the Loyalty Building (Hilton Garden Inn) 611 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The event is free and open to the public (and all ages are welcome) and there will also be a cash bar, prizes, art raffles, free hi-fives and some of your favorite Milwaukee Makerspace members showing off things they’ve made, many of which could be considered “art”!

We’ll also have some interactive pieces for you to experience, but we can’t give away all the details yet, because we’re all about secrecy and the element of surprise, so you’ll just have to show up and see what we do. (Safety glasses and ear plugs are highly recommended!)

Oh, and our friends at Art Milwaukee (who are putting on this event) have all the info on the Art Jamboree you’ll need. We hope to see you there!

We help in all departments!

Becky Tesch

We’re currently in the process of moving to our new space, but we had our last Tuesday night meeting of the year this week and we had a few guests stop by looking for help with some projects.

Becky’s a local artist who works in “duct tape & bike parts” making unique recycled jewelry and other things. (You can check out some of her work on Etsy.) She was interested in using the laser cutter for some of her pieces. While we didn’t get a chance to do any test cuts due to some laser downtime, we grabbed some inner-tube rubber and we’ll be giving it a test run for her.

The Artery

While talking to Becky, a guy named Jacob showed up and asked about cutting some stencils to sandblast things for rewards. Rewards? Yeah, he’s one of the guys involved in a recent Kickstarter campaign. Check out Matireal in this OnMilwaukee story. We gave Jacob some good advice and a member offered to cut the stencils he needs. Pretty cool! (And yeah, it did seem a little weird that we had one person who works with old inner-tubes and another who works with old car tires, but we love recycling too!)

So yeah, we like helping people who like making things, and even if the laser is down or we’re in the process of moving the entire Makerspace, we’re glad to help!