Art, LEDs, Tables, Shocking!

What’s been going on at the makerspace? A few members have been making art for the WMSE Art & Music event coming up. Kathy H. used a variety of gears in her piece.

Jack has been working on trying to hack some LED lights to work better with the high speed photography he does. A few members have had good advice, so we’re hoping it’s not too complex.

William finished up this beautiful table. The wood top looks amazing and the pipe legs are functional and make taking it apart very easy.

Mark has upgraded his Van de Graaff generator to throw bigger sparks and make bigger shocks! If you haven’t been shocked by it in the past, look forward to the next event where he brings it out to play.

MMPIS2 is up, at last, for now!

I’m a big fan of getting projects done. Not all of my projects get done. Sometimes a project being “done” is just about learning something. Like, all the ways things can go wrong. I did not keep detailed logs of the project known as MMPIS2 because it was meant to be a clone of MMPIS, and should have taken, at most, a few hours… not just shy of a year. But finally! MMPIS2 is working!

We originally had the idea before March 2017. Before that I had worked on using an HDMI to VGA converter to use a really old TV as a display. I think we got as far as hanging it on the wall but then I never got the hardware, and I also didn’t get around to producing low-resolution versions of the pages it would display. (It was one of those “We could do this!” moments without asking if we should do it.)

Eventually Tom brought in some better TVs, and then there was a swap and on went away, but we still had one, so we put it on the wall. Tony they jumped in to connect up the Pi and realized that the TV was locked (!?!?) and could only be unlocked with the remote control, which we did not have.

Oh, and somewhere along the way I had to find metric hardware. Looking for the correct length 6mm bolts at the space was a challenge, but with enough washers I found some that worked! (When I told this to Tom he said he’s bring in a pile of extra hardware from some old TV mounts.)

We gave up on the TV because no one wanted to order a remote (or thought about it) until later when Maks thought about doing it when I said we should smash the TV. (We didn’t. I think. Wait, maybe we did.)

Along the way there was also an issue with no Ethernet cable nearby, so I had to get a WiFi dongle and configure that. We also lacked a power cord that was long enough (had one at home) and an HDMI cable (had plenty at home) so yeah… fun times!

Then a member posted about a big TV he wanted to get rid of. It had no sound, which was fine with us! I picked it up from him and also got some audio stuff for the Dalek Asylum folks. Now we had a working TV, we just had to mount it. Wait, okay, holes are not the same. Time to cut a new piece of wood and attach it. I let Maks mark the holes to drill. It didn’t go well. I then showed him how to “elongate” holes with a drill. We also may have used a file. It eventually worked, taking 10 times longer than it should have…

Once the TV was up… it all worked! Hurray! And then… I came back a week later and the file system had gone corrupt. Sigh… start over. It took me a few weeks to remember to fix it, and when I finally did it worked again!

Also, the 3D printed plastic case was a little tight and the power cord didn’t fit right, so I used a cutter to nibble away some of the plastic. I cut too much and a piece broke. Tape fixed it well enough…

Since it was up and running, I tried to access MMPIS to copy the URLS to MMPIS2. No good. I checked the IP address Dan gave me, then I ran NMAP looking for things with port 8080 listening, and… nothing. Seems the software decided to stop running the web server or something. Dan SSH’d in and then we both worked on getting the data we needed from SQLite3 (more fun!) and then setting it up on MMPIS2. Also, two of the URLs he gave me didn’t work, seems he rewrote the code and the URLs changed… and then the server was unavailable. Of course it was.

So with this blog post, I declare MMPIS2 tentatively done! I still plan to swap out a few thing and make a backup. Totally. Backup this time.

Somewhere along the way I mentioned to Dan that this should have taken a few hours, not close to a year. He mentioned how I should probably go build one for work in the meantime, and I mentioned that I already did.

Photos from the Makerspace

In an effort to share more visuals from Milwaukee Makerspace we’ve decided to start doing some photo roundups of thing we see at the space mixed in with shots of projects people share on the mailing list. Enjoy the first batch!

Isaac made this engraving guide you can use with the laser cutters. If you want a nice 1″ grid on the bed to see where you need to set your materials for etching, this might be useful!


Greg made this (literal) guitar amp as a gift. He got some help with the electronics from other members and put the rest together himself. It’s looking awesome!

Mat has been putting the large powder coating oven to good use to recycle HDPE scrap into blocks and sheet material. This is basically “plastic lumber” that is strong, durable, and ready to be cut, drilled, or milled.

Jake has been ramping up some of his Tesla Knight Productions projects and is almost done with a set of apple boxes for MKE Production Rental.

There’s a new group project happening in the hallway near the Laser Lab. Want to learn about aeroponics and grow some plants? Join the fun!

Check out these feet! Or least a Fusion 360 rendering of some feet…

After Billy spent some quality time with the CNC router…

He’s got some great looking feet for a lamp project he’s been working on.

Kathy H. upcycled some Knob Creek bourbon bottles into this lovely holiday decoration. She got the idea from Pinterest and used some old sheet music from a book she got at an estate sale. The letters were cut out using the laser cutter and then decorated and attached.

And last (but not least) is this wooden 3D vase created using the laser cutter. Marcin (one of our new Laser Lab Area Champions) has been doing some amazing work lately, and helping to keep the laser cutters running and well maintained. Thanks, Marcin!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this photo roundup… We’re already planning to do it again next month!

The AnyBox

It’s that time of the year again.  Now that all your gifts are made it’s time for the fun part.  Wrapping them!  You could do what you do every year and layer the gifts to made for your closest friends and family in tape and ribbon.  Why not make the perfect box for your gift?

The AnyBox design

With Fusion 360’s new(ish) sheet metal mode you can laser cut the perfect size box for your gift.  Best of all the work is already done.  All you have to do is download “The AnyBox” file from the link below and change the parameters to fit your gift.  Just follow these instructions for a one size fits all box!

Download the Fusion 360 file HERE.

From the “modify” menu in the “sheet metal” section choose “changeparameters”.

Change the BoxHeight, BoxWidth, and BoxLength for your item.  Change MaterialThickness to match your box material.

Click “OK” and create a flat version of your AnyBox by selecting “unfold” from the “modify” menu.  Select any face as the “stationary entity” and check the “unfold all bends” box.

Finally export your flat box as a DXF file for your laser.

Repeat for each of your gifts.

Holiday Make-A-Thon 2017!

Make-A-Thon 2017

MAKESGIVING: A Holiday Make-a-thon!

Top 5 can’t-miss activities at MAKESGIVING: Holiday Make-a-thon.
Why Buy Gifts on Black Friday When You Can Make Them for FREE!

The Milwaukee Makerspace and the Bay View Neighborhood Association is getting ready for the annual Holiday Make-a-thon, where we help kids (and adults) of all ages to get their hands a little dirty and make some of their holiday gifts rather than buy them. MakesGiving: A Holiday Make-a thon!, is a free community event from 1pm-5pm on Black Friday, November 24th, 2017. Join us at the Milwaukee Makerspace, from 1pm-5pm, to learn some new skills and create unique gifts for friends and family.


3D Printed Miniature Refrigerator Vase
Add a magnet and some tiny flowers to a 3D printed vase to bring sunshine and cheer till spring is near. A great gift for someone with a refrigerator or locker!

Laser Cut Ornaments
One of our members designed a 8-part laser cut ornament. Assemble and decorate your very own laser cut Baltic Birch ornament to hang on a tree, a window, or a rear view mirror!


Ever-popular Melted Crayon Ornament
Melt and mix your favorite crayon colors into a clear glass globe. Gift this ornament to share your favorite colors with your favorite person.


Learn to Solder a Tie Pin
Double whammy! Learn to solder and create a tie pin for anyone who has an unwieldy holiday tie. Take that ugly sweater contests!


Braided Fleece Dog Toy
Use the square braid weaving technique and a pile of felt strips to make a chew toy for a special puppy. Even if you don’t have a dog, join us to make some toys and we will donate them to the humane society for dogs in-between homes.

Please RSVP on our Facebook events page if you want to attend. (It’s not required, but it helps us estimate how many people might be joining us!)