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…


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 group 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.



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.