Holiday Make-A-Thon Recap

Holiday Make-A-Thon

We hosted this year’s Holiday Make-A-Thon on Friday, November 29th, 2013 and it was a big bundle of fun! Lots of people came and we helped them make thing. Lots of members showed up to volunteer their time sharing the maker ethos with the folks of Milwaukee, and that was great to see and be a part of.

Tom makes some ornaments

Besides our CNC cut ornaments from previous years, new member Tom showed people how to fold a diamond-shaped ornament using paper. (He even put a tree together out of pink foam Tuesday night after the meeting just so we’d have something to hang the ornaments on.) For the CNC and laser-cut ornaments we had the typical paint, glitter-glue, and googly eyes for decorating.

Learn to solder

There was also soldering using our tie-pin kit. Under close supervision, even kids are able to assemble this kit, which includes some surface mount soldering.

Jenie does some printmaking

Local printmaker Jenie Gao joined us to help people make blockprint holiday cards, and we also had crowns made from felt, melty-crayon ornaments, pet collars, necklaces, beads, bracelets, and my own personal favorite…

Make-A-Thon

Laser-cut ornaments that we let people design! We used Snowflake 2.0 from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories which is a super-easy to use Processing application that lets you design a snowflake. We had two computers set up and we helped people do the design work, and then Lance would laser cut them from 3mm Baltic Birch wood. People could then decorate the snowflake they designed.

All in all, this was a great event. People came in and saw the space, made things for the holidays, and all of our members who volunteered seemed to have fun as well. A big ol’ thanks to everyone who showed up and made it a spectacular day of making!

Can you guys build me a…

Work It!

Every so often we get a question from someone along the lines of “Hey, can you guys build me a…” where the thing in question might be easy to build, or hard to build, or cheap, or expensive, or… a dozen other things.

It might be worth explaining how Milwaukee Makerspace works, for those who are not quite sure. Milwaukee Makerspace is a number of things: it’s a physical place (a hackerspace or makerspace) but at its heart, it’s also a social club for people who like to make things.

Most people who join Milwaukee Makerspace already have personal projects in mind that they want to work on. Others just want to learn new skills; like forging metal, or wood working, or digital fabrication. At the weekly meeting people talk about what sort of making they are into, and it ranges from electronics to photography to welding to sewing. There’s a lot of skills in the group, and that’s good!

When people contact us asking if they can hire us to build something, the answer is usually not as simple as yes or no. It’s complicated…

No one ‘works’ at Milwaukee Makerspace we’re all just members, and we are not a business. We’ve done group projects for other organizations in Milwaukee, but it’s usually to help people in need, support a community effort, or for fun.

So here’s the deal: if you want someone at Milwaukee Makerspace to make something for you, or help you make something yourself, your best bet is to come down to a Weekly Meeting at 7pm on a Tuesday and introduce yourself, talk about what you want, and see if anyone is interested in helping you out. You never know, you might find someone up for a new challenge, or just as excited about your potential project as you are.

(If you just can’t make it to a meeting, consider posting on our mailing list. But if you can attend a meeting, it’s definitely better to meet up in person than just shoot emails back and forth.)

Digi-Comp Making

Digi-Comp II
Photo by Windell Oskay

I love a good blog post! And I really love a good blog post about the process of making things! From selecting the proper wood, to cutting, laser-etching, assembling, and packaging, this blog post has it all. I’m taking about The Making of the Digi-Comp II, First Edition from our friends at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

There’s a great/amusing comment on the post:

When’s the official air date on “How It’s Made”? :D

It’s funny because it is a long and detailed post about the process of making something (disclaimer: I’m a fan of shows like How It’s Made) but I don’t think a maker version of How It’s Made is a bad idea! Hmmm, maybe that’s what the MAKE TV show is going to be.

MAKE

MAKE

Kevin did a great job updating Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture “LOVE” into a piece he titled “FEAR”, and it inspired me to create something to give us hope in these dark times…

Rather than use a cold, harsh material like aluminum, I opted for something a little more comforting… plastic. Also, mine comes in a handy desktop version!

(See Also: The Making of MAKE.)

Ho Ho Lights

My Husband and I wanted to put up some kind of Christmas decorations in our apartment windows over looking the city. After talking about it for a while, I decided to make lighted letters saying, “HO HO HO” …but since we only have two pairs of windows, it would have to just be, “HO HO”.

In the wee hours on Black Friday, we got the materials: 4 sheets of wood, 4 boxes of 100 count LED lights, and extension cords. After sketching out the design…

…and cutting out the letters…

…it was time to drill the 400 holes and hot glue all the lights in place.

It only took a weekend to make and hang these and I think the end result is well worth it.

MAHRER CHRERSTMAHS

Project Remake

Project Remake

It’s Monday, May 14th, 2012 and that means we’re just about to hit the deadline to submit something to Project Remake!

MAKE Magazine and Schick Xtreme 3 launched a contest to see how you can turn what would normally be waste into something useful or beautiful. They’ll be giving away five MakerBot Replicators. Oh, I guess there is also a 2012 Nissan LEAF™ and a trip to World Maker Faire New York, but honestly I was most interested in the MakerBot, as the CupCake we have at Milwaukee Makerspace is a little wobbly, and it would be awesome to get a Replicator for people to use. :)

I entered over a month ago, and now that it’s down to the wire, all the totally awesome entries are flowing in. Looking through the gallery I keep saying to myself “Whoa! That’s an awesome idea!” and then I think I have no chance…

But honestly, it’s been fun just watching all the new entries, and by continually bugging the other members, we’ve now got 6 projects that came from Milwaukee Makerspace, and that’s pretty cool. We actually take a lot of pride in the amount of scrounging and re-use we do at the space, so even if none of us win, we’ll just keep remaking things anyway, because it’s what we do, and we have fun doing it.

Make Magazine

Make Magazine

Do you subscribe to Make Magazine? You probably do… but if you’re ever at the space and want to look something up that is in the current issue… now you can!

After we appeared on Make: Live the fine folks at Make were kind enough to provide our space with a subscription.

So keep an eye out at the space for the latest issue, and give it a read if you’re so inclined. (And if you’re not a subscriber, what are you waiting for!?)