Live on the Internet, it’s Milwaukee Makerspace!

Have you ever wanted to make it down to the space to take a tour on a Tuesday night but couldn’t make it because you work late, or you live 500 miles away? No problem! our friends at MAKE did a video tour with us. Awesome!

Big thanks to Caleb Kraft from MAKE for working with us on this and allowing us to be the first space to do a tour. We’re looking forward to future tours to get a look at other spaces as well! (Also, thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this series of videos.)

From Kansas City to Motor City

Once again the Milwaukee Makerspace Racing Team made it to Maker Faire Kansas City to race, hang out with people from other spaces, break things, and have some fun. We’ve been attending Maker Faire KC for about six years now, and it’s always a blast (even when it rains.)

We managed to fit four people and two race cars into a rented pickup truck, which worked well enough with a little creative Tetris inspired packing. The team consisted of Pete, Mat, and Andy for this outing, and we picked up Marshall from the Bodgery in Madison along the way. (And boy, it’s a good thing we did!)

Marshall didn’t bring his Mystery Machine, so we made sure he’d get a chance to drive one of our cars, which he did, but he also spent some time replacing the controller that failed on the Wienermobile Saturday morning before the first race. (And yes, Marshall just happened to bring a spare controller with him!)

Mat’s Unicorn Kart is just a year old, but it’s seen half a dozen races already, and it’s proving to be a fairly fast and reliable car, which is the combination you typically want on the track. He also debuted a new Unicorn front-end which looked amazing (and held up pretty well, despite losing hooves during the races.)

Andy was only there on Saturday, so he did a bit of racing on the Wienermobile, and yes, he drove it backwards for a bit in preparation for the “Backwards Race” (don’t ask.) We didn’t bring Andy’s Dead Bug because he’s been rebuilding it and it just wasn’t ready in time, and well, we didn’t have room.

And yeah, that’s actually Pete standing at the finish line with a medal because he won a sprint race. Typically he’s behind the camera or otherwise helping run the races, but with a smaller team this year he was more than happy to finally get a chance to drive again. (Don’t ask how long his legs hurt after the race weekend.)

Sunday’s endurance was quite a race! We let the other team from Milwaukee (Murray and Ethan) drive the Wienermobile a bit since their car spent more time in the pits than on the track during the weekend. In the end, Unicorn Kart got first in the Endurance, with the Wienermobile coming in second, and we won a bunch of other medals for Moxie and other things, etc.

But that’s not all! We’re headed to Detroit this week for more madness. Detroit has twice as many cars, and three times as many crazy people, so we’ll see how it goes. We may not go the fastest, but if we have fun, we’re all winners!

Raspberry Pi CP Terrarium Controller Using Node-Red

CP Terrarium

My first project was an attempt to learn some programming, some 3D printing, some sensor design, and combine them with a longtime hobby of growing carnivorous plants.

A Raspberry Pi 3B+ is the main control device.

1) It controls turning the lights on and off to match sunrise and sunset anywhere. Mine is set up to match the photo-period of their natural habitat.

2) It monitors the temperature and humidity and displays them on a remote dashboard that can manually override the automatic control.

3) Water level is controlled with a homebrew designed/built sensor. The sensor’s plastic element was drawn on Fusion-360. It was 3D printed at Milwaukee Makerspace. Water level status is also displayed on the dashboard and can be remotely run.

4) Coding is done with Node-Red, a graphical programming tool.

Node-Red Code

The actual terrarium is an uncovered 10 gallon tank. It has two species of Drosera  ( Sundews, a sticky leafed plant) and a Cephalotus. (Albany Pitcher Plant) Lighting is provide by a small LED fixture. Humidity and Temperature monitored with a DHT22 sensor. Water level measured with a CMOS Schmitt Trigger voltage division sensor. Remote viewing and control is done with VNC.

Real world progress is coming along. Code has been finished (until I get a better idea and redo it again) and checked. Temp/Humidity sensor is in place. Right now it’s only monitoring and displaying. Adding a heater and cooling fan is in the future plans. 3D printed sensor has been fabbed. Assembly, electronic circuit building, and testing will be the next phase I approach. Following that will be the addition of a water pump or solenoid to automatically replenish the water level when it drops.

 

TLDR version: Raspberry Pi monitors or controls a CP Terrarium’s lights, temperature, humidity, and water.

Node-Red Dashboard

 

3D printed sensor

Maker Faire Milwaukee 2019 – Downtown!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, Maker Faire Milwaukee is back for 2019, and this year there’s a new location… We’ll be at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee! (In fact, you may have already seen some of the digital signage around the Wisconsin Center District promoting the event, thanks to our old buddy Makey the robot.)

The downtown venue will bring new challenges, but we hope it brings new surprises (the good kind) and a new audience who might not have visited us before. We took a tour of the venue this week and it looks really nice, and so far we have no big concerns about the new location.

The other cool thing to share is an interactive map showing where people come from to attend Maker Faire Milwaukee. This shows both makers and attendees for 2017 and 2018. Neat! Who knew there were so many makers around Wisconsin and neighboring states.

If you want to join us this year and help make the awesome, we still need Makers and Volunteers!

Jellyfish Nightlight from a Football Helmet

   

Kathy H. entered an art contest where each contestant was provided half of a football helmet to be recycled into something artistic. It could be modified in anyway as long as the helmet was used in some manner. 

Having an idea to turn it into a jellyfish wall hanging Kathy asked another member to saw along the line she drew since she’s not skilled on all of the makerspace equipment.

In order to be able to hang it on a wall a back piece was made and attached with custom made L brackets.

After attaching the back the inside was spray painted gold and the outside was spray painted blue. The magenta shading was done by hand with a brush. Beads and ruffled ribbon were suspended from the inside with nylon string. The smaller beads were attached with hot glue. The ruffle along the outer edge was added with hot glue as well. Pearl beads and dimensional paint were also added to the outside. A tap light was attached inside with velcro. The lens of the light was colored with a hot pink permanent marker before attaching it.