The Wiener is a Winner!

We built a scaled-down version of the Winenermobile and took it to Maker Faire Kansas City to race it in the Power Racing Series and we won!

Yeah, that all sounds a little crazy, but that’s the sort of thing that happens at Milwaukee Makerspace…

I think it was mainly Kathy’s idea to build a Wienermobile, since “Oscar Mayer Weinermobile” [sic] was on the “hit list” of desired vehicles for the series.

Building it involved carving the body (dog and bun) from foam and then covering it with fiberglass to create a solid structure. It was messy and time consuming, but it turned out great!

Because the Power Racing Series is all very last minute, here’s what we had just a few weeks before Maker Faire KC. A pile of parts still not fully assembled. Kyle spent a lot of time putting things together in the last two weeks while Pete worked on figuring out the electronics. Somehow it all worked in the end.

People ask how it drives, and hey, it drives like a tiny Wienermobile! Actually, Kyle said it’s like riding a quad, and he proved to be our best wiener rider. Most other people got thrown off the wiener at least once, but he held on tight and rode the wiener to victory!

(While the Wienermobile is a fast car, the Power Racing Series also awards points for being “awesome” and we managed to have the most awesome vehicle of the weekend, racking up the most Moxie points helped us secure the overall win for the race weekend.)

If you like hot dogs, you’ll have another chance to catch this winning wiener at Maker Faire Detroit and then again at Maker Faire Milwaukee.

Week of Making 2017!

Week of Making

The National Week of Making starts June 16th and runs through the 22nd this year, and we’re opening our doors on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 for you to come check out Milwaukee Makerspace.

Okay, to be fair, we open our doors nearly every Tuesday night at 7pm for anyone in the community to come check out what we do. We have a meeting every week and love to have guests come and talk about the project they’re working on.

(BTW, we will not be open on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 so if you’re planning another Tuesday night visit, that’s a good night to skip.)

Milwaukee Vice!

This is our Post Vice at the Makerspace. It is a specialized type of vice used by blacksmiths. Designed to handle the abuse of clamping something very hot and heavy and allowing to to beat on it with a hammer. These are not really mass produced anymore, so when you outfit a forge you typically end up buying a used vice. Since these were so well built they basically last forever. Ours is somewhere around 100 to 150 years old.

Most of the dents you see were there when I bought the vice 4 years ago. However, the slices running near the top, left face are new damage, and go considerably deeper than the surrounding dents. I was concerned about the concentration of stress at those points and the potential for cracking the jaws. It was time for refurbishment and repair.

In this photo, 2 recent dents that were caused by someone missing with a heavy hammer. And you can see where the jaws of the vice have cracked away. The vice is constructed using some kind of iron, but due to the age, we’re not exactly sure what. The jaws style of construction indicates that they were forged, not cast. This is a good thing, it suggests they could be either steel (exact carbon content would be unknown) or wrought iron. It means it should be possible to weld new steel onto them! This is what we’re going to try to do.

We don’t know exactly what alloying elements are mixed into the iron, so it could weld smooth, or it could blow bubbles and burn up under the torch! No way to tell until you try, which is nerve wracking when the object in question is an antique. There are things you can do to tilt the odds in your favor… Continue reading

Spindles of Wood

“Spindles of Wood” is not the name of the latest album from some obscure Icelandic emo band! Instead they are actually the front wheel spindles for our No-weld PPPRS vehicle. (You probably remember the frame from last time.)

While most teams in the Power Racing Series just buy pre-made spindles and weld them in place, our “No-weld” spindles were built using wood, glue some staples/screws, and use some 5/8″ bolts to attach to the car, and for the wheels to attach to.

We’ve still got to get the whole steering thing worked out, but we’re on our way! (Things are moving a bit slower than we had hoped, so we might debut this thing at Detroit in July instead of Kansas City in June, but we’ll see how it goes.)