Nerdy Derby ReCap

Derby Car

It’s been a few weeks, but honestly, it took that long to recover! Yes, we all survived Milwaukee’s First Nerdy Derby race (well, a few cars may have been damaged) so here’s a look at some of the coverage.

Ed put together this great video of the race…

Kevin put together a car that was deemed too dangerous (or was it ‘too awesome’?) but you can read about that here.

Sling Shot

Collin’s car won the “Longest time” category, and here’s a video of Rolling Thunder in action…

Have Blue put together a super-detailed blog post about his car, which definitely won the speed competition, and also won the “Run backwards up the slope and launch” category.

There’s more car photos on Flickr. I’ve been told a few people want to have another race, and this time we may even need “motorized” and “non-motorized” categories as multiple cars sported propellers, motors, ducted fans, etc.

I’m not sure if anyone bothered to keep track of all the winners in all the categories (we created about 8 categories you could win) but the main thing most people will remember is the fun we had. Kids and adults were cheering and laughing during the race, and also had a fun time just building cars out of all the scrap we supplied. It was probably the most awesome thing that happened at BarCampMilwaukee this year.

I’d also like to give a big thanks to Buggs, Vishal, and Brant for providing the track and running the race. A little organization goes a long way!

Milwaukee’s Nerdy Derby

The Nerdy Derby

One of the things happening at Maker Faire New York this year is the Nerdy Derby, which is described as such:

A no-rules miniature car building and racing competition inspired by the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby. With a larger, more undulating track and no restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.

We thought this looked like fun and decided to get in on the act and hold our own Nerdy Derby right here in Milwaukee. There’s been a bunch of talk around the space about car design, melting lead, putting the new lathes to work making wheels, and of course, laser cutting cars.

I’ve actually finished my first car, which has a body make entirely of laser cut Baltic Birch plywood, and is filled with sand for weight, which I call “Poundin’ Sand”.

Poundin' Sand

We’ve also got interest from people outside the space, in the greater maker community in Milwaukee. Here’s the amazing progress of Frankie Flood, who is building a replica of a “belly tanker” for his car.

Frankie's Belly Tanker

I can see this thing winning on style points alone! :) (And yes, there are multiple categories you can win, not just “fastest car.”)

There are other cars in progress, and lots of ideas being thrown around the Makerspace about what people are planning to build, so it’s just a matter of time before we start careening down the track. Speaking of the track, we’ve got a regulation Cub Scout track so far, which we may try to modify to match the “official” Nerdy Derby track before the big race.

And when is this “big race” you ask? Well, we’ll probably do a good test race at the space this month, and then if all goes well, we will have the big race at Bucketworks on Saturday night, October 6th, 2012 during BarCampMilwaukee.

And we want you to join us! All you have to do is build a car, and show up. I know we said “no-rules” but we do have two semi-rules: don’t damage the track,and don’t make anything so dangerous it could easily injure someone. Besides that though…. anything goes! Don’t have all the parts you need to build a car? We’ll do our best to provide some parts at the race so you can make one on the spot.

See you at the races!

Builder’s Night Out – September 29th

In addition to the usual hackery and makers working on their electric cars, Bret fired up the forge again last night.  Rich turned some horseshoes into hangers, Adam flattened a steel rod, and Royce folded a metal bar.

In preparation for BarCampMilwaukee6 (this weekend!) Royce and I have been mass producing circuit boards for a “learn to solder” class we’ll be holding.  The boards are 1.5″x1.5″ square and include a battery, two resistors, traces in the shape of our logo, and two red LEDs for eyes.  The copper traces were tinned using “Tin It” to prevent oxidation and make it easier to solder.  We’ve made 65 of the “tie pins” so far and the project gave us an opportunity to tweak our methods for PCB etching.  We prefer etching with ferric chloride, but muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide are looking more attractive as they’re cheaper chemicals, can be obtained locally, and etch much faster without heating.  Also, red Sharpie markers seem to work really well at cleaning up traces with the muriatic acid solution.  Specifically red, not sure why.

 

September 27th Meeting Minutes

A total of 14 members and 1 guest attended the meeting.

BarCampMilwaukee6 is this weekend!

If you haven’t yet, go visit their website at http://barcampmilwaukee.org/

Membership Promotion

Jason proposed that we actively engage the public and recruit new members.  He volunteered to lead a small group and make contact with people at area schools and colleges.  More to come shortly.

Jumpstart Sponsorships

Rich presented an idea to sponsor people who regularly attend meetings and help out at the space, but lack the disposable income necessary for membership.  Candidates would be eligible for two or more months of part-time or student level membership.  A fund has already been set up using donations from other members.

Jason noted that PS:One and other groups offer incentives to bring in materials, clean the space, teach classes, etc. and earn points which can be redeemed for merchandise, discounted dues, and more.  More details to come.

Doorbell Project

It was noted that Shane, a regular at the space but not quite a member, was left waiting outside in the rain last Friday without anyone to let him in.  People were in the space, but did not know he was out there.  The group discussed the need for a doorbell to alert occupants to the presence of guests waiting outside.  Ross volunteered to help build a system with a bell and lights and began working shortly after the meeting.

Electric Car Club Meeting October 9th

As usual, the Electric Car Club will be meeting on the second Sunday of the month.  Tom asked for a few volunteers to come to the space and help direct any guests that attend the meeting.  People will hang out between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM with the meeting somewhere in the middle.  Tom noted that Ben is working to make the group an official chapter of the Electric Automobile Association.


September 13th Meeting Minutes

A total of 14 members and 5 guests attended the meeting.

Introductions – Guests Welcome

Bookkeeping Items

Tom indicated that we have paid the fee for Made in Milwaukee and we will be cutting a check to sponsor BarCampMilwaukee6.  For more information visit barcampmilwaukee.org The group agreed to put donations from members toward the sponsorship and pay the remainder out of organization funds.

Upcoming Events

This Sunday, September 18th from 1-3pm Royce will be teaching a class on the DipTrace printed circuit board design software.  You can RSVP on Facebook.

The First Annual Wisconsin Science Festival will be held in Madison September 22nd-25th.  Milwaukee Makerspace is not actively participating however the event has been shared on the mailing list.  wisconsinsciencefest.org

BarCampMilwaukee6 is scheduled for October 1st-2nd and many of our members will be in attendance; a few will even be teaching!

Wiki and Website Content Discussion

There is a discussion on the mailing list about starting a Makerspace Wiki.  Jason, Ross, and Royce led most of the discussion in the meeting Tuesday.  While it is not clear if members would maintain or use a wiki, blog posts are being made often so the website is staying fresh and up-to-date.  Is it also not clear at this time if WordPress has “collaboration” style pages like Drupal did with the former website.  Brant volunteered to port the old cleanup task list and recommended vendors list over to the new website.  Brant and Jason expressed interest in tagging the equipment with QR codes or something similar to track relevant information and possibly maintenance.

Current Projects

The group went around the room and shared what projects they are currently working on:

  • Royce P. – Gyro Belt/E-Textile Project for Dancers
  • Rich N. – Electric Ford Ranger Conversion & Restoring the Craftsman Lathe
  • Chris H. – Electric Ford Escort Conversion, transmission work
  • Ron B. – Wants to build a large electric clock using wooden gears, plans to level the CNC milling surface soon
  • Tom Gr. – Tweaking the Electric Dodge Neon, battery monitors and “smart” battery chargers
  • Mike K. – Temperature control circuit for an ATV, motor controller, possibly a Tesla coil soon
  • David R. – Motorcycle repairs, RFID audio plane
  • Jack D. – Continuing work on the ambulance, siren and PA coming soon
  • Jason G. – Coaching a FIRST Lego League Team
  • Matt N. – Looking to fabricate aluminum porch post covers
  • Ross O. – LED scrolling display hacking, analog synthesizer, repairing various test equipment picked up from yard sales
  • Brant H. – Scoreboard clocks, video projector hacking, making a key for the TP dispenser in the Women’s Room
  • Brett – Continuing work on the forge, needs to make tools and casting forge, also a LilyPad bicycle illumination project for night riding

 

Fun with 3D

Milwaukee Makerspace 3D Egg

Here’s a recent Egg-Bot experiment, putting the Milwaukee Makerspace logo on an egg… in 3D!!!

Well, it’s not really 3D exactly, as I just plotted with blue, then again with red, and the fact that registration isn’t perfect makes it look like 3D printing. But you know, we do have a box full of 3D glasses at the space, so maybe we should test it out.

BarCampEgg

I also made this egg for BarCampMadison, which happened this passed weekend. The Sector67 guys were there, and gave a session on 3D printers which included the RepRap, and the MakerBot. Speaking of the MakerBot, we’ll be doing a demo of it this week Thursday, September 1st, 2011 at the space. The demo will start around 7:30, and it’s open to the public, so come on down. You can also RSVP on Facebook if you like.

BarCampMadison

MadCamp

BarCampMadison (also known as MadCamp) is this Saturday, August 27th, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.

BarCamps have been great events to connect with other makers, and at last year’s BarCampMadison, Mitch Altman was even in attendance and gave a talk on the Hackerspace Movement.

This year there are some proposed sessions which may be of interest to makers, including How I built a 2-axis CNC laser out of (mostly) junk from my basement, Learn to Solder (from the Sector67 folks) and one I’ll be leading, An Introduction to the Egg-Bot.

If you can’t make it to this BarCamp, don’t worry… we’re about 5 weeks away from BarCampMilwaukee6. :)