Electronics Experiments

Ever get excited after seeing an YouTube video?  It happens to me all the time.  When I was Thomas Sanladerer‘s video on using an MSLA printer to make PCB’s I knew I had to try it.  In fact I have worked it into February’s Model Monday project.  This month we will be designing an Addressable LED strip control box electronics and all.  You might not know that Fusion 360 can do electronics design but after a few classes you’ll be up to speed and ready to design.

I have been looking for an excuse to learn more about the electronics design work space in Fusion 360 and I had a member request it as a project.  It’s great to be able to have electronics parts and cad design all in the same software.  This is going to be a fun one with lots of new things to learn for all of us.  Join us Mondays @7pm live or watch the recordings on YouTube at your convenience.

Salon Divider

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I could help with a project for his wife’s new salon and I jumped at the opportunity.  I had been looking for a project that would mean using the big new 100W laser since it was donated.  My friend sent over a design and I got to cutting.

This is by far my favorite laser we have.  The software is easy to use and the laser makes aligning the uncut piece in the laser bed a breeze.  This project was also a chance to show off some of the new things I am learning in Blender to make a nice rendering of the final product.

Money Shooting Tool.

Are you a boat or home owner?  Do you wish paying your bills was more fun?  Do you have stacks of cash sitting around just taking up space?  Well this is the project for you!  Over the next month we will be designing version 2 of the Rain Maker.  It’s a tool that you load with cash and then launch at about the speed most of my project eat cash lately.  Version 2 you ask?  That’s right most of the longer projects we model in class take me several attempts to get right.  Here is a link so you can see it in action. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYP6pMlIizE/

The first draft lets me work out the ideas and see if I can get a working prototype.   In this case I knew I wanted to try over molding like our favorite tool company here in Milwaukee and I was not sure if my cash accelerator device would work.  About a hundred hours of printing later I can tell you it does and I learned a lot of do’s and don’t when over molding on 3d printed parts.  I do really like the feel of the urathane rubber in my hand and it is so much fun to see money shooting our the front of the tool.  This is going to be a fun one so join us Mondays @ 7pm or watch the series on YouTube.

 

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!

 

 

Ahoy, LOY!

The photo above was taken in March of 2013, just two months after we moved into the building that is now home to Milwaukee Makerspace. Before January of 2013 we were located in the Chase Commerce Center, and Royce was the President, and Willie came to Royce with the idea of using the space to build a boat.

On the left side of the photo is the frame that Willie would build his boat upon. For the next (nearly) five years, anyone who came through the space for a tour, or showed up for an event, would at some point be told “And this where Willie is building a boat.”

Every week, or month, you’d see some progress. Willie would be working diligently on the boat. He thought it would be done in 2015, and then he thought it would be done in 2016, and finally, In August of 2017 the boat (named “LOY”) was ready…

And on September 2nd, 2017 Willie, along with his family, and friends, and members of the space, celebrated, and launched the boat into Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful day, and I’m not just talking about the weather. It was the culmination of years of work, and a testament to what Milwaukee Makerspace can be.

Royce, one of the Founders of Milwaukee Makerspace, said a few words about Willie, LOY, and the space. Royce doesn’t get to the space as often as he used to (kids, life, etc.) but it was great to see him talk about Willie and the boat, and how it all came together to happen at the space.

Willie pours champagne on the wreath at the bow of the boat. Much better than smashing a bottle against the hull!

It’s nearly in the water! Wolfgang mans the lines and keeps things steady for the moment LOY touches the waters of Lake Michigan for the first time.

It floats! Willie made a joke that most boats only sink one time. He then got to work doing all the rigging necessary for a sailboat. There’s a lot of setup involved for the masts, sails, rudder, etc.

Captain Willie in command! Ready for the maiden voyage of LOY.

And they’re off! Seeing LOY sail away was an emotional experience. Many of our members know what it’s like to build large and complex projects, and some members know what it’s like to work on a project for years, but seeing that beautiful boat, and knowing all of the hours Willie put into it… it was something to behold.

Also, check out Carl’s video of the launch. It does a great job of compressing the morning into a few minutes, and hopefully you get a feel for the excitement of the day.

Finally, if you want to see LOY in person (and you should!) Willie will have his breathtaking creation at Maker Faire Milwaukee on September 23 & 24, 2017.