We help in all departments!

Becky Tesch

We’re currently in the process of moving to our new space, but we had our last Tuesday night meeting of the year this week and we had a few guests stop by looking for help with some projects.

Becky’s a local artist who works in “duct tape & bike parts” making unique recycled jewelry and other things. (You can check out some of her work on Etsy.) She was interested in using the laser cutter for some of her pieces. While we didn’t get a chance to do any test cuts due to some laser downtime, we grabbed some inner-tube rubber and we’ll be giving it a test run for her.

The Artery

While talking to Becky, a guy named Jacob showed up and asked about cutting some stencils to sandblast things for rewards. Rewards? Yeah, he’s one of the guys involved in a recent Kickstarter campaign. Check out Matireal in this OnMilwaukee story. We gave Jacob some good advice and a member offered to cut the stencils he needs. Pretty cool! (And yeah, it did seem a little weird that we had one person who works with old inner-tubes and another who works with old car tires, but we love recycling too!)

So yeah, we like helping people who like making things, and even if the laser is down or we’re in the process of moving the entire Makerspace, we’re glad to help!

Meetings Canceled!

Crazy Calendars!

We all love making, and we all love meeting each week and talking about making and updating the group on our latest projects, but the holidays are here, and people have a lot of other commitments, so in the interest of taking a break, we’re going to cancel the next two weekly meetings.

So on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 and Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 don’t come to the Makerspace! Well, you’re welcome to come, but know that there may be no one there, and we won’t be having meetings. (And if anyone is there, they’ll probably just be moving things.)

Happy Holidays, Maker! See you for the next weekly meeting in our new space at 2555 S. Lenox Street some time in January 2013!

Hot Stuff! Aluminum Pour Night.


To quote the Iron Worker on THE SIMPSONS,  “Hot stuff, coming through!”
I was pretty excited that I finally made it down to the Milwaukee Makerspace last night to attend an aluminum pour! I’ve seen a couple of the videos and really wanted to get in on some of that hot metal casting. I have what’s called a “speed-ring”, a metal ring that holds a soft-box for photographic lighting, and I wanted to make a copy of it.

So far, much of the casting has been using a “lost-styrofoam” method. A shape is carved from foam and set in sand, and the aluminum melts the foam as it’s poured in. But I wanted a COPY of an existing item. I asked Bret about it, and he said we could try an experiment of pretty much just pressing the ring down into some sand. An X channel was then added in the middle as a point for the aluminum to pour into and spread out into the shape.

I built a wood box for my item, and we filled it with oily sand, packed it in there, and added the X-trough. My item didn’t pull out of the sand quite as well as I had hoped, but hey, it’s an experiment…

Outside, the aluminum furnace was roaring away, heating aluminum to a delightful orange liquid. The first pour made it through Kevin’s FEAR art piece, my piece, and another members. Later, a second pour took care of Phil’s hand-casting series (which turned out great!)  and the rest went into an ingot mold.

Once my piece was cool enough, we pulled it out to take a look at the results. Not perfect, but not bad for a first time, and an experimental casting at that. There was quite a bit of extra metal, but most of that could be easily trimmed off with the bandsaw. Other members were taking photos of their work. It was obvious that everyone was pretty proud of their individual castings. Even without being the one pouring out twenty pounds of molten metal, it was still a pretty macho experience just to be part of.

If you too want to come play with crazy hot metal, come on down to the Makerspace next time we do an aluminum pour!

Halloween Skull Project

I want to open my first blog post with a statement that continues to impress me: Milwaukee Makerspace is a wonderful place! I mostly show up for the free meetings.  MMS provides an excellent environment to be social, to learn (happens every time I go!), to teach (when I can!), and to get the creative juices flowing.

I had recently started working with Arduino (after a failed run at Microchip’s PIC series of microcontrollers), and was making progress quickly.  I learned how to read infrared remote control codes, how to use an infrared motion sensor, and how to control servos. What I did not have, was a sense of direction as to where to go with all of this!

After listening to the Bay View Neighborhood Associate pitch their idea of MMS helping with the Pumpkin Pavilion, and listening to Royce Pipkins describe his idea of animatronic pumpkins singing along to a song, I was struck with my own idea: an animatronic skull.

Thus, it was born!

http://vimeo.com/55121596 <- Link to the video

I’ll post more details in a following post about how I built this guy. :)

Many thanks to Royce, Tom G., and Ed C. for their help on this project!

Aluminium Casting Night

This past Thursday was another great aluminium pour! I came prepared with a mold I made at work (benefits of working at a minerals company). I can’t show you guys the cast I made, cause it’s a Christmas present, but I can show you the pour!

Be on the look out on the Milwaukee Makerspace Calendar for future Aluminium pours on Thursday night at 7:00, or just come on by any Tuesday or Thursday night at 7:00 pm for our Open Meeting and Builder’s Night Out. See ya there!