3 years ago I started participating in the Grow Beyond Earth contest. It’s a collaboration between NASA and the Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Florida. The goal is to create a device that will grow food on the International Space Station. That sounded like fun to me! Year one focused on designing the growing area to take advantage of the 0G environment and fit in a 50cm cube. I was fortunate enough to be a finalist and walked away with some prize money. I was not able to participate in the 2nd year but I am back in for year 3.
This year the focus is on creating a robotic harvesting and planting. If you want to read all about it you can do so at the Make:Projects link below. This has been a fun project and I learned so much.
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.
Harvey got a new power supply for the CNC Mogul from Automation Technology Inc and asked me if I could help him document the replacement process. It was pretty simple and went very smooth. We’re lucky to have Harvey around as a member, and I’m glad he takes care of the CNC Mogul.
Check out the video below to see Harvey replacing the dead power supply with the new 36 volt 9.7 amp model he got from Automation Technology Inc.
Julie and Carl of Scoops Ice Cream & Candies of Kenosha, approached new Makerspace member, Brandon Minga, with their project. They were given recommendations from other projects he’s done in the are including Mike’s Chicken & Donuts and the Modern Apothecary. Scoops was looking to enhance and draw more attention to their new location with a large exterior sign. Going through the concept and design process Minga quickly decided that the sign design was also going to become their new logo. Once the final design was rendered he quickly learned how to CNC a template to hand plasma trace the design out of sheet metal. The middle of the sign was also hand cut, roll bent and broke to match the bubbly ice cream cone shape. With a little help from friends a the Makerspace, he ground down welds and drilled 44 holes for the light bulbs. After all the holes were drilled Minga fit the sign with sockets, wired up the sockets and tested the electrical. Working with Prodigy Sign in Kenosha he also coordinated the hanging of the sign.
Milwaukee Makerspace has a lot of equipment, and sometimes we get things that don’t quite work, and we try hard to get them working. We often succeed, but sometimes we decide it’s better to move on…
With that said, we’re looking to sell our Matsuura RA1F Vertical Machining Center, which is known as the “Red Dragon”.
It’s not currently running, but it was working months ago. Ultimately we decided that it would take too much work to get it into good shape for a makerspace, so selling it off as a whole, or in parts, will help fund a new CNC milling machine which is smaller and more suited to our needs.
If you’ve never used a VMC this probably isn’t for you, but if you really want a challenge, or want it for parts (and there are some very expensive parts in it) you might get a nice deal. Maybe you’ve already got one and need spare components? Perfect!