Fix It Milwaukee ReCap

Fix It Milwaukee

On Saturday, August 10th, 2013 Milwaukee Makerspace hosted the first “Fix It Milwaukee” event. We invited the people of Milwaukee to bring in their broken things, and we did our best to fix them.

The idea for the event came from Milwaukee County District Supervisor Jason Haas, and we partnered up with the Milwaukee Area Time Exchange to make it happen. We really didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out great, and we’ve already got members interested in doing it again.

Fix It Milwaukee

So what did we fix? There were lamps, computers, printers, furniture, a bird feeder, musical instruments, gardening tools, zippers, a battery charger, a dog’s chew toy, clothes, and even bikes. (Speaking of bikes, we should also thank Truly Spoken Cycles who sent over Sam, one of their expert bike fixers.)

Did we fix everything? Nope… some things are either too difficult to repair, or made so cheaply that they are not worth repairing, but percentage-wise we did really good, and I’d estimate an 80% success rate for fixing things.

Fix It Milwaukee

Throughout the event we probably saw about 25 people bring in items, and we had about 20 members helping fix things. At few members mentioned that it was a lot of fun troubleshooting things and working in teams to determine the best method of repair, and at least one member picked up a few new skills along the way, which is what we’re all about!

Keep an eye out for our next Fix It Milwaukee event… The more items we can keep out of the landfill, the better!

Fix It Milwaukee

Fix It MKE

Milwaukee Makerspace is proud to team up with the Milwaukee Area Time Exchange and Milwaukee County for “Fix It Milwaukee” with the goal of repairing those broken things you’ve got around the house so they can become useful again and not end up in the landfill.

We’ve got a great team of volunteers who are skilled at troubleshooting and fixing everyday items because, well, we do it ourselves all the time. Many appliances can be fixed with the simple replacement of a switch or wiring repair. If things like computers or bikes or torn clothing seem beyond your skills to get back to 100%, we’re here to help.

Bring your broken things to Milwaukee Makerspace on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 between 12 noon and 4pm and we’ll do our best to get them working again. (If we can’t fix it we’ll give you our best advice on what to do next.)

So what types of things should you bring? Well, if you can fit it in your car and get it to Milwaukee Makerspace, we’ll take a look at it. We’ve got a shop full of almost every tool imaginable including stuff you won’t find in your basement workshop (unless you’ve got laser cutters and 3D printers!)

If you have specific questions or need more info, feel free to email info@milwaukeemakerspace.org

Brown Dog Gadgets on Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Joshua is a recent addition to Milwaukee Makerspace, and as we mentioned before, he runs a kit company called BrownDogGadgets. Well, the latest on Joshua is a Kickstarter campaign he’s running… and yeah, did we mention it’s over $71,000 now!?

He originally had a goal of $5,000 but the backers showed up in force to support his Folding USB Solar Cell project, and even though it’s been cloudy and raining all week here in Milwaukee, it’s all sunshine and smiles at the success of the campaign so far.

Check it out on Kickstarter if you’re into solar power, got an iPhone you need charged, or just like brown dogs. :)

88nine Lazzored!

Radio Milwaukee Lazzored!

I used the laser cutter to make a Raspberry Pi case, and rather than leave the front of it all boring, I added an 88nine Radio Milwaukee logo to it. (Since I had a project that involves a Raspberry Pi and 88nine, it seemed appropriate.)

Radio Milwaukee Logo

I started with the original 88nine logo, which is brown and orange. I couldn’t find a nice hires version, but a quick web search turned up something that would work…

Radio Milwaukee Logo

To start with, I converted the logo to black and white, since color wasn’t going to matter to the laser cutter…

Radio Milwaukee Logo

I then separated the top bars (which are orange in the original logo) and dithered them to create a visual separation from the bottom part of the logo that was brown in the original.

Radio Milwaukee Logo

Here’s a close-up of the dithering pattern. It’s extremely simple, but it worked. I’ve done a lot of work with halftones and dithering, and you can get extremely complex, but sometimes the simple things just work.

Radio Milwaukee close-up

Here’s a close-up of the final piece of Baltic Birch plywood with the logo etched in it. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

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!

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

Robotics @ UWM

Robot

We’ve got a number of robot builders at Milwaukee Makerspace, but we’re not the only robot-lovers in town… via Frankie’s blog, check out this video about Tom Consi and the robotics work he’s doing at UWM.

(We’ve seen some renewed interest in the Milwaukee Robotics Club recently, so we’ll probably start up regular meetings again in the next few months… that way everyone can show off what they’ve been working on.)

Wraparound Milwaukee – The Block

The Block

In March 2012 Jason H. introduced the group to Jessica Zoch from Wraparound Milwaukee. Wraparound Milwaukee is a unique type of managed care program operated by the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division that is designed to provide comprehensive, individualized and cost effective care to children with complex mental health and emotional needs.

Jason

Members of the Milwaukee Makerspace (led by Jason H. and Rich N.) helped create “The Block”, a work of public art that was hand-constructed by over 50 local youth. We basically did the construction of the piece, which was designed by local architect Alison Carlucci, and the kids all painted individual blocks. (There’s 170 of them!)

Rich N.

The Block is an interactive piece, as each block rotates to show four different sides. Want to see what it looks like? It’s on permanent display outside of the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division.

The Block

I think Jason H. and Rich N. (and all the members that helped with this project) deserve a big round of applause. It’s one thing for our members to show up at the space and work on their own projects, but helping out in the community, especially helping those who are helping others in need, is a good thing, and I think it shows another aspect of what a makerspace (and its members!) can accomplish.

(Also, thanks to David from Korporate-Media for documenting this with photos and video!)

Art Jamboree (at City Hall!)

Art Jamboree

I was a bit disappointed that I missed the first Art Jamboree that we were invited to, so I really wanted to make it to the next one, and hey, it just happened to be at Milwaukee’s City Hall!

It was without a doubt, a total blast. We had the Friday Night Drawbot and the MakerBot CupCake running, and both drew a lot of attention. People were really fascinated by 3D printing, and the samples we had on hand.

Art Jamboree

From the Makerspace, Royce was there, and besides showing the spin cast jewelry he had made, I heard him explain the Drawbot to plenty of people, explaining Arduinos, and servos, and programming. MattN has his latest CNC Router work there, which is still in progress, but looks pretty amazing so far. Shane had one of his laser etchings, and Adam had the MakerBot doing its thing. (We even printed a few whistles that actually worked.) And Brant? He just did an awesome job talking about everything. Jason H was also there, and Kevin even showed up. We probably had the largest group of people, which was great to see.

Art Jamboree

The best part of the evening was all the great people we met. Lots of folks stopped by to check us out, but we also had a lot of great conversations with people too. I talked to two different high school teachers, one from Bay View who thought it might be a good idea to show her students that robots could do more than fight with each other. The other high school teacher told me he built furniture in his apartment, but could only do so when he knew his neighbors were not home. (Sounds like a potential member!) There were also people from UWM’s Art Department, a guy who used to sell vacuum forming machines, a girl who said “my boyfriend always talks about CNC machines, but I never know what he’s talking about!” (she took a photo of the MakerBot to send to him.)

Art Jamboree

As long as we didn’t need my laptop for the MakerBot, I figured I’d run a Processing sketch I had been playing with. It’s based on the ASCII Video sketch with my own tweaks added, and made to capture an image every 15 seconds. (Yes, a time lapse video will follow… Update: Here it is.)

Art Jamboree

I think we did a great job of letting people know what kind of stuff we do at the Makerspace, and beyond all that, it was just genuinely fun to share it all with people, especially people who got really excited about it.

And hey, if you saw us at the Art Jamboree (or heard about us from Art Milwaukee) and want to find out more about us, feel to stop by any Tuesday night at 7pm for our weekly meeting. We’d love to show you what we’re all about. :)

Makerspace Represents at Made in Milwaukee (Sept 3rd)

Made in Milwaukee

CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK – September 3rd, 2011

We here at the Makerspace are always looking for ways to reach out and raise awareness in the community of our existence.  When an opportunity like Made in Milwaukee comes along, how can you pass that up.  We will be at this festival (click image above for more info) all day showing off our inspiring creations and supervising hands-on maker activities.  So please stop by our tent and show us some love!