I have to say there are not many things that make me feel better than making something that I am really proud of. A lot my time at Milwaukee Makerspace is spent lamenting the malfunction of my latest prototype, so I’m in a good mood today. The belt pictured below was made completely from scratch using technology. Some of it old, some of it new. The buckle was drawn up in Sketchup by importing one of those “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters from WWII (Screenshot below). The CAD drawing was converted to GCODE and fed into one of the Makerspace’s awesome CNC routers. Using a tiny tiny bit, you can route out a pretty detailed design in carving wax. The wax buckle was then sand casted into white bronze thanks to Frank (our Makership recipient), who taught us how to do it. It is noted that the Makerspace if fully equipped to do spin casting with investment, and I tried my best to make it work but failed twice. I have not given up though, for failure is the path to success. The casting came out great. It looked like some medallion from a sunken pirate ship. It wasn’t until we decided that a pendant of that size would only look good on Flava Flav, that this casting became destined for beltitude. The last step was to take some scrap metal around the shop and some solder and braise the functional pieces to the cleaned up buckle.
It is common knowledge that The Little Prince is a book densely filled with universal wisdom, written in prose a child can grasp. Both XiaoQian and I are quite fond of the characters, so we chose to decorate the belt with quotes and animations from the story. To do this we harnessed the deepest secrets of quantum mechanics to cause a population inversion in an inert gas in order to coerce 25 Watts of coherent light from the atoms. In other words we laser cut some leather that was lying around, which worked much better than it did even in my imagination.
In the end we have a meaningful and personalized accessory, made with the tools, materials, and people from Milwaukee Makerspace.