Shelves, Ships, Shocks, PCBs and Cows!

Issac built a shelf, well, he built a whole shelving system, actually. It’s modular and easily adjustable. It’s not totally done, but it’s looking awesome so far!

Larry must have seen Solo, because he built this ship, which is called the “Millennium Falcon” and is Han Solo’s ship in the Star Wars films. It’s built using LEGO bricks, which is not how the real ship is built. (It’s also not full sized.)

Pete made a machine that makes noise and light using high voltage generators. It uses about 5 volts to create 400,000 volts of AC at a fairly low current. It’s shocking what you can make at the makerspace!

Andrew has been working on PCBs and while he’s got single sided PCBs figured out, he’s still working on two-sided PCBs. It’s not quite there yet, but making often involves trial and error.

Ben used a vinyl cutter to turn his tiny electric car into a “Cow Car” which sort of look like a cow, which is a common animal here in Wisconsin.

Bags, Boxes, Sliders, and Worms!

Maddy got a sewing lesson from Colleen (our new Craft Area Co-Champion!) and made a hobo bag. First sewing project using a machine, nice job!

Bill R. has been learning some new woodworking joints thanks to a little help from Dillan and made some awesome looking boxes. (Isn’t it great when members learn from other members?)

Dustin has been expanding his synth hardware collection and he’s scaled things up quite a bit from what he had last year. (“Quite a bit” may still be an understatement!)

Jack has been working on an camera slider that will be controlled by an Arduino, EasyDriver, and stepper motor. He’s still got some work to do on the code so if you’re handy with Arduino development, see if he needs some help!

If Mark isn’t 3D printing something, he’s probably working on one of his 3D printers, and he might even be working on his 3D printers by 3D printing parts for his 3D printers. He’s been working on a gearbox for a wormdrive for his super-tall UMMD printer. How’s that?

Art, LEDs, Tables, Shocking!

What’s been going on at the makerspace? A few members have been making art for the WMSE Art & Music event coming up. Kathy H. used a variety of gears in her piece.

Jack has been working on trying to hack some LED lights to work better with the high speed photography he does. A few members have had good advice, so we’re hoping it’s not too complex.

William finished up this beautiful table. The wood top looks amazing and the pipe legs are functional and make taking it apart very easy.

Mark has upgraded his Van de Graaff generator to throw bigger sparks and make bigger shocks! If you haven’t been shocked by it in the past, look forward to the next event where he brings it out to play.

Hello Prusa i3 Mk3!

Wow! Wow! Wow! Mark our 3D Printing Champion is always busy, either building 3D printers, or designing and printing parts. He 3D printed a Prius Hatch Release Switch Cover and entered it into a Hackaday Contest and won an Original Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer for the space!

As we just got one of these where I work I can vouch for how nice this machine is. I built my first RepRap Prusa Mendel i2 about six years ago, and before that used a MakerBot Cupcake, so I’ve seen some evolution of desktop FFM printers. The first thing you’ll notice (or, don’t notice) about the MK3 is that it is quiet. Really quiet. Like, in our office we have to look at it to see if it’s running. It’s that quiet, thanks to the Trinamic stepper drivers. The PEI powder coated magnetic build surface is also nice, and… well, I could go on, but let’s all thank Mark for being awesome and winning this amazing new printer for the space!

MMPIS2 is up, at last, for now!

I’m a big fan of getting projects done. Not all of my projects get done. Sometimes a project being “done” is just about learning something. Like, all the ways things can go wrong. I did not keep detailed logs of the project known as MMPIS2 because it was meant to be a clone of MMPIS, and should have taken, at most, a few hours… not just shy of a year. But finally! MMPIS2 is working!

We originally had the idea before March 2017. Before that I had worked on using an HDMI to VGA converter to use a really old TV as a display. I think we got as far as hanging it on the wall but then I never got the hardware, and I also didn’t get around to producing low-resolution versions of the pages it would display. (It was one of those “We could do this!” moments without asking if we should do it.)

Eventually Tom brought in some better TVs, and then there was a swap and on went away, but we still had one, so we put it on the wall. Tony they jumped in to connect up the Pi and realized that the TV was locked (!?!?) and could only be unlocked with the remote control, which we did not have.

Oh, and somewhere along the way I had to find metric hardware. Looking for the correct length 6mm bolts at the space was a challenge, but with enough washers I found some that worked! (When I told this to Tom he said he’s bring in a pile of extra hardware from some old TV mounts.)

We gave up on the TV because no one wanted to order a remote (or thought about it) until later when Maks thought about doing it when I said we should smash the TV. (We didn’t. I think. Wait, maybe we did.)

Along the way there was also an issue with no Ethernet cable nearby, so I had to get a WiFi dongle and configure that. We also lacked a power cord that was long enough (had one at home) and an HDMI cable (had plenty at home) so yeah… fun times!

Then a member posted about a big TV he wanted to get rid of. It had no sound, which was fine with us! I picked it up from him and also got some audio stuff for the Dalek Asylum folks. Now we had a working TV, we just had to mount it. Wait, okay, holes are not the same. Time to cut a new piece of wood and attach it. I let Maks mark the holes to drill. It didn’t go well. I then showed him how to “elongate” holes with a drill. We also may have used a file. It eventually worked, taking 10 times longer than it should have…

Once the TV was up… it all worked! Hurray! And then… I came back a week later and the file system had gone corrupt. Sigh… start over. It took me a few weeks to remember to fix it, and when I finally did it worked again!

Also, the 3D printed plastic case was a little tight and the power cord didn’t fit right, so I used a cutter to nibble away some of the plastic. I cut too much and a piece broke. Tape fixed it well enough…

Since it was up and running, I tried to access MMPIS to copy the URLS to MMPIS2. No good. I checked the IP address Dan gave me, then I ran NMAP looking for things with port 8080 listening, and… nothing. Seems the software decided to stop running the web server or something. Dan SSH’d in and then we both worked on getting the data we needed from SQLite3 (more fun!) and then setting it up on MMPIS2. Also, two of the URLs he gave me didn’t work, seems he rewrote the code and the URLs changed… and then the server was unavailable. Of course it was.

So with this blog post, I declare MMPIS2 tentatively done! I still plan to swap out a few thing and make a backup. Totally. Backup this time.

Somewhere along the way I mentioned to Dan that this should have taken a few hours, not close to a year. He mentioned how I should probably go build one for work in the meantime, and I mentioned that I already did.