Congrats, Bodgery!

Big congrats to The Bodgery in Madison, Wisconsin for moving to their new location at the former Oscar Mayer campus in Madison, now known as “OM Station”.

We’re happy to see another Wisconsin makerspace thriving and growing. Many of their members are friends of ours, and some of our members are even former members of the Bodgery who moved to Milwaukee.

Since there’s a whole Oscar Mayer tie-in for them, we were more than happy to loan them our Wienermobile (which was the League Champion of the Power Racing Series for 2017) for their Grand Opening this past weekend.

Best of luck, Bodgery! We expect to see great things from you!

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!

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!

ShopWare and Markforged

We had a visit from ShopWare during our open night on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019. They thought we might be interested in seeing a Markforged 3D printer capable of printing with nylon, Kevlar, and carbon fiber. And they were right, we were interested!

They showed a few videos that featured the capabilities of very strong 3D printed parts, and then answered questions, and had a number of samples to pass around and show off. They also brought a Mark Two for us to take a look at.

One of the weird things about how the Mark Two functioned was that it homed the x and y after every layer it printed. It also lowered the z just a bit while it homed the x and y, then raised the z back up to meet the extruder (which was dripping a small bit of filament) before then starting a new layer. (None of us could figure out why it was doing that, or what benefit it offered, though we had some guesses.)

These appear to be some sort of brake lever, maybe for a bicycle or motor cycle. They were very strong. There was no flex at all when trying to bend them by hand. Typically parts printed with PLA or ABS feel pretty “breakable” but these seemed like you’d need some tools to break them. (I really wanted to crush one in the hydraulic press when no one was looking!)

Printed threads are no problem, and again, appeared to be very strong, and the ball joint moved pretty good.

The metal part was not printed on the Mark Two, but another Markforged printer. The part gets processed after it’s printed, so it shrinks a bit, but the software deals with sizing up your model before printing so it comes out the correct size when done. We’re pretty sure this part was “finished” a bit after printing as well, perhaps on a lathe, which would explain why the rounded part is polished while the flat hexagonal part is not.

While the extreme cold weather kept some members away, we had a pretty good turnout to welcome ShopWare, and for those who were there, got to see some cool technology we home to someday have a the space.