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.

Pleasant Prairie Mini Maker Faire

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we headed down to Pleasant Prairie to take part in the second Pleasant Prairie Mini Maker Faire. It was a small event, with about 40 makers and 1,400 attendees but we had a good time showing off some of our projects and taking to people about making.

As always, Mark’s Van de Graaff generator was a big hit, shocking young and old alike, and making people’s hair stand up on end. Mark also brought Ultra MegaMax Dominator so people could see a huge DIY 3D printer in action. (Sadly since the event was so short, he couldn’t do a very large print, but he had some to show off.)

Besides Mark’s UMMD I brought a 3D printing pen I got from Monoprice for cheap and Shane and I made various 3D printed “doodles” with the pen while talking to people about it. At least a few visitors were interested in it as a holiday gift.

Besides Mark, Shane, and myself, Karen was there and did a bit more of her melted crayon ornament craft for people. We also had a few other members show up and hang out for a while, which was nice as it gave us a break to check out the Faire.

Oh, as for the venue, it was at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex which was like a YMCA, and it was a little weird that there were basketball games going on right behind us, but luckily there were able to use the pool for a cardboard boat regatta that some of the young makers took part in. There was plenty of room for Makers, and I can imagine that the Faire will grow over the years and have plenty of space to double in size.

See you next year, Pleasant Prairie!

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!)

Goodbye TechShop…

TechShop has closed its doors. If you never heard of TechShop, it was a creative space, similar to Milwaukee Makerspace, but it was a for-profit venture with all the best equipment, paid instructors, and fell under the “commercial” category in regards to makerspaces. There were TechShops in various cities across the US, including Detroit and Pittsburgh.

TechShop never made it to Milwaukee (and it won’t now) but if you are interested in starting a space, we here at Milwaukee Makerspace are willing to help. We’ll share what we’ve learned in the last 8 years. (A great deal about how we operate can be found on our wiki.)

We’ve got close to 300 members, and it’s still amazing that a city the size of Milwaukee really only has one community makerspace. People ask if we’re afraid of new competition, but we aren’t. We believe everyone should have access to a makerspace. In the past year or so we’ve seen many of the local universities launch spaces for use by students and faculty, and we’ve seen some amazing maker programs happening in high schools. This is all great, and as makers, it makes us pleased to see more makers.

Outside of Milwaukee, we’ve got some great friends at Sector67 and The Bodgery in Madison, and up north at the Appleton Makerspace. There’s a few other spaces around the state (some of which have failed or failed to gain traction) but Southeastern Wisconsin could certainly support another. (There’s also been an idea floated that Milwaukee Makerspace should open a second location a bit west, like in the Brookfield/Waukesha area. Hmmmmm…)

We consider ourselves fortunate that Milwaukee Makerspace has been as successful as we have been. We don’t do everything right, and we probably aren’t a good fit for everyone, but with 290 members, we’re keeping a good number of makers in the Milwaukee area happy enough to keep coming back. :)

Feed Your Soul

On November 3rd, 2017 Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin held an event called Feed Your Soul where artists and makers presented object to be auctioned off for charity. Each object began as a plain wooden bowl, and was transformed into amazing art.

(Check out some of the coverage from Fox6 and CBS58.)

We really enjoyed being part of the event, and we’ve got members who are already planning for next year. :)