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!

 

 

Casting Maker Faire Ingots

For the last few months Kayla has been working on casting a pile of ingots for Maker Faire Milwaukee.  These ingots are made from scrap metal donated to the Milwaukee Makerspace by its members.  Everything from Kayla’s personal favorite, hard drive casings, to parts of tools and engines.  Its really cool to see her take trash and turn it into treasure in the form of aluminum bars.

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Be sure to watch for Kayla at Maker Faire Milwaukee pouring hot metal and helping people make stuff September 24th-25th at Wisconsin State Faire Park.

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Maker Faire Signs

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Over the last few weeks the Maker Faire team has been hard at work making some new signs to hang in the exhibit hall.  These signs are 10 x 5 feet and will make finding your way around much easier.  The logos are first traced on vinyl sheets and then carefully cut out.

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After the stencils are cut they are laid out on the fabric banner for painting.  It can be a challenge to get the curved lines of these very large logos to lay flat.  Kim, Mike, Kathy, and Pete have been doing a great job.  This project has been a labor of love for Kim who designed these signs and has seen them from drawing to fabrication.

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Be sure to look for these signs and lots of others this month at the largest free Maker Faire in the US right here in Milwaukee at Wisconsin State Faire Park.  For more information about Maker Faire Milwaukee and all the amazing makers that will be there click here.

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I made a thing!

This project began much like many of my projects at Milwaukee Makerspace have: an off-the-cuff discussion; in this case, with Lance Lamont about a possible project for Maker Faire Milwaukee. After a few rounds of discussion, we came up with the idea of an electromagnetic crane. I decided I’d attempt to build one similar to this style, and that I’d start off with the magnet. I purchased several small electromagnets from Tom‘s favorite website, Banggood. Thus, the MicroMagnetArray was born:

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And failed miserably. Running at 18v (50% more than its rated voltage!), it was only drawing ~200mA, and could only lift 2-4 of the 7/16ths nuts I’d borrowed for use as ballast.

So my inner maker came boiling to the surface and yelled at me, “why not wind my own!?”… Continue reading

Let’s Detonate!

Dan Loves Fire!

Dan loves fire! It’s a fact! For Maker Faire Milwaukee we made a fire poofer which was triggered by pressing a button. Tons of kids (and adults) pressed that button over the course of the weekend.

While Dan the Blacksmith (and John McGeen from BBCM) were the primary builders of the fire poofer, I did the trigger electronics and enclosure.

The Detonator

I’ve written up a blog post with lots of images explaining the (somewhat rushed) build of the device. It’s Arduino powered, has some relays and a beeper, and looks semi-nefarious. Read more about The Detonator.

The Detonator Insides