Pleasant Prairie Mini Maker Faire

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we headed down to Pleasant Prairie to take part in the second Pleasant Prairie Mini Maker Faire. It was a small event, with about 40 makers and 1,400 attendees but we had a good time showing off some of our projects and taking to people about making.

As always, Mark’s Van de Graaff generator was a big hit, shocking young and old alike, and making people’s hair stand up on end. Mark also brought Ultra MegaMax Dominator so people could see a huge DIY 3D printer in action. (Sadly since the event was so short, he couldn’t do a very large print, but he had some to show off.)

Besides Mark’s UMMD I brought a 3D printing pen I got from Monoprice for cheap and Shane and I made various 3D printed “doodles” with the pen while talking to people about it. At least a few visitors were interested in it as a holiday gift.

Besides Mark, Shane, and myself, Karen was there and did a bit more of her melted crayon ornament craft for people. We also had a few other members show up and hang out for a while, which was nice as it gave us a break to check out the Faire.

Oh, as for the venue, it was at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex which was like a YMCA, and it was a little weird that there were basketball games going on right behind us, but luckily there were able to use the pool for a cardboard boat regatta that some of the young makers took part in. There was plenty of room for Makers, and I can imagine that the Faire will grow over the years and have plenty of space to double in size.

See you next year, Pleasant Prairie!

Holiday Make-A-Thon 2017!

Make-A-Thon 2017

MAKESGIVING: A Holiday Make-a-thon!

Top 5 can’t-miss activities at MAKESGIVING: Holiday Make-a-thon.
Why Buy Gifts on Black Friday When You Can Make Them for FREE!

The Milwaukee Makerspace and the Bay View Neighborhood Association is getting ready for the annual Holiday Make-a-thon, where we help kids (and adults) of all ages to get their hands a little dirty and make some of their holiday gifts rather than buy them. MakesGiving: A Holiday Make-a thon!, is a free community event from 1pm-5pm on Black Friday, November 24th, 2017. Join us at the Milwaukee Makerspace, from 1pm-5pm, to learn some new skills and create unique gifts for friends and family.


3D Printed Miniature Refrigerator Vase
Add a magnet and some tiny flowers to a 3D printed vase to bring sunshine and cheer till spring is near. A great gift for someone with a refrigerator or locker!

Laser Cut Ornaments
One of our members designed a 8-part laser cut ornament. Assemble and decorate your very own laser cut Baltic Birch ornament to hang on a tree, a window, or a rear view mirror!


Ever-popular Melted Crayon Ornament
Melt and mix your favorite crayon colors into a clear glass globe. Gift this ornament to share your favorite colors with your favorite person.


Learn to Solder a Tie Pin
Double whammy! Learn to solder and create a tie pin for anyone who has an unwieldy holiday tie. Take that ugly sweater contests!


Braided Fleece Dog Toy
Use the square braid weaving technique and a pile of felt strips to make a chew toy for a special puppy. Even if you don’t have a dog, join us to make some toys and we will donate them to the humane society for dogs in-between homes.

Please RSVP on our Facebook events page if you want to attend. (It’s not required, but it helps us estimate how many people might be joining us!)

Goodbye TechShop…

TechShop has closed its doors. If you never heard of TechShop, it was a creative space, similar to Milwaukee Makerspace, but it was a for-profit venture with all the best equipment, paid instructors, and fell under the “commercial” category in regards to makerspaces. There were TechShops in various cities across the US, including Detroit and Pittsburgh.

TechShop never made it to Milwaukee (and it won’t now) but if you are interested in starting a space, we here at Milwaukee Makerspace are willing to help. We’ll share what we’ve learned in the last 8 years. (A great deal about how we operate can be found on our wiki.)

We’ve got close to 300 members, and it’s still amazing that a city the size of Milwaukee really only has one community makerspace. People ask if we’re afraid of new competition, but we aren’t. We believe everyone should have access to a makerspace. In the past year or so we’ve seen many of the local universities launch spaces for use by students and faculty, and we’ve seen some amazing maker programs happening in high schools. This is all great, and as makers, it makes us pleased to see more makers.

Outside of Milwaukee, we’ve got some great friends at Sector67 and The Bodgery in Madison, and up north at the Appleton Makerspace. There’s a few other spaces around the state (some of which have failed or failed to gain traction) but Southeastern Wisconsin could certainly support another. (There’s also been an idea floated that Milwaukee Makerspace should open a second location a bit west, like in the Brookfield/Waukesha area. Hmmmmm…)

We consider ourselves fortunate that Milwaukee Makerspace has been as successful as we have been. We don’t do everything right, and we probably aren’t a good fit for everyone, but with 290 members, we’re keeping a good number of makers in the Milwaukee area happy enough to keep coming back. :)

Feed Your Soul

On November 3rd, 2017 Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin held an event called Feed Your Soul where artists and makers presented object to be auctioned off for charity. Each object began as a plain wooden bowl, and was transformed into amazing art.

(Check out some of the coverage from Fox6 and CBS58.)

We really enjoyed being part of the event, and we’ve got members who are already planning for next year. :)

Fun in the Booth at the Milwaukee Maker Faire

Last minute decisions work out once in a while.  For example, I was going to be at the Makerspace booth at the Milwaukee Maker Faire for the weekend and wanted some examples of the sorts of things you can use a 3D printer to make, so I grabbed the usual collection of sample prints, and then I thought, “sure, why not?”, and loaded the Van de Graaff generator into the car.  It sat on the floor in the booth for about 1/2 of Saturday and I was getting a little bored, so I moved it closer to the foot traffic and plugged it in.  Wow!  Kids and adults with stunted emotional development went nutz!  They were zapping themselves and each other as if it were more fun than painful.

Sparks!

Sparks!  The VDG produces about 400 kV.

Then I found a plastic bucket and the fun really started.  We had kids and many adults who were definitely much too heavy, standing on the bucket and making their hair stand up with moms, dads, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, partners all taking pictures.   I had to move one gentleman who was breathing oxygen from a tank away from the machine.  Fortunately, no one fell off the bucket or caught on fire, and next year we’ll do it right and take a block of styrofoam for people to fall off of  to stand on.

Kylee was ready to join the Makerspace just for this… and with that shirt, she’d fit right in!

 

Blondes really do have more fun!

Blondes really do have more fun!

Even Gordon couldn't resist!

Even Gordon couldn’t resist!

 

Last year Son of MegaMax (a 3D printer built at the Milwaukee Makerspace) went to the Faire.  This year he had two companions to keep him company- an extra-beefy printer being built by Erich Zeimantz: MiniMax XY.  MMXY isn’t complete yet, but promises to be a super high quality, high speed printer.  He’ll be operational at next year’s Maker Faire.  SoM also brought his big brother, Ultra MegaMax Dominator, named that because he is ultra, mega, maximum, and he dominates.

MiniMax XY at Milwaukee Maker Faire

MiniMax XY at Milwaukee Maker Faire

 

Ultra MegaMax Dominator and Son of MegaMax at the Milwaukee Maker Faire

Ultra MegaMax Dominator and Son of MegaMax at the Milwaukee Maker Faire

UMMD and SoM rotated between the booth and the dark room where the both printers’ UV lighting and fluorescent filament was a big hit.

UMMD in the Dark Room at Milwaukee Maker Faire 2017

UMMD in the Dark Room at Milwaukee Maker Faire 2017

We had a few things besides 3D printers at the booth.  Tony brought in some Bismuth crystals to give away, and surprisingly, they didn’t all disappear in the first hour.  Tony thinks people left them because the Makerspace logo on the info board on which the crystals were sitting looked a lot like the skull and crossbones that usually indicates poison.  The crystals do have an other-worldly toxic look about them.  Oh well…

Bismuth Crystal

Bismuth Crystal

Marcin’s LED signs on the table at the booth and hanging above the entrance to the Dark Room were also very popular and hard to miss, though I managed not to take any pictures of either.  The one above the Dark Room was so bright that if you saw it, you’ve probably still got its image burned into your retinas.

Everyone involved had a great time and we’ll be there again next year with even more cool stuff!