Maker Faire (UW) Milwaukee 2016

I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t see some of my favorite UWM people at Maker Faire Milwaukee this year because they either accepted jobs elsewhere (including outside the country) or they were too busy with work/personal stuff.

To cheer myself up I thought I’d make a list of UWM people/groups that will be at Maker Faire this year. Some include my former and current students, and some are colleagues, and some are just doing awesome things and want to share.

It’s a long list… Check it out below!

facilitator

I recently heard someone I know say “Yeah, I used to be an artist…” and they sounded disappointed when they said it. I’m not sure I know many people who are full-time artists and have the time/money/resources to just create whatever it is they want to create.

What I do know is that many of the artists I call my friends and colleagues spend time teaching, and sharing, and organizing, and basically facilitating things so others can be creative, and do things, and learn things, and make art…

And I’m fine with that.

Art can be a selfish thing, and it can be hidden away, but facilitating others to be creative usually fosters a community, and sharing, and working with others, often in an attempt to make the world a better place.

And I’m totally fine with that.

Data Loss

Data Loss is a sculpture I’ve been working on for Maker Faire Milwaukee. Here’s a description:

Data Loss consists of 130 hard drive platters suspended in air with zip ties. The platters contain physical fingerprints which can be easily seen, and digital fingerprints which cannot be easily seen. The data on the platters is (for all intents and purposes) unretrievable, but you can still see yourself in the data.

Data Loss has been a group effort in many way. It started when we were dismantling hard drives at Milwaukee Makerspace. Harvey and a few other people spent a good amount of time taking apart hard drives and saving the platters for me. (Thanks, Harvey!)

After a few failed attempts at connecting the platters together I decided to use zip ties since Stacie at BBCM got a ton of zip ties for super-cheap at a local rummage sale. Kaivahn (ex-DCRL) helped me put together a ton of zip ties and put up with me requesting they go together with only 3 clicks and then be trimmed short with a diagonal cutter…

Zip Ties

My daughter Madeline then helped use the zip tie harnesses to connect up strings of platters to prepare them for hanging. Right now there are over 100 platters sitting in a box waiting to be attached to the frame. I’ll probably get that done within the next week so the zip ties have time to stretch/straighten a bit before Maker Faire.

Besides being a sort of “light sculpture” (as it will be placed in the Dark Room at Maker Faire) it may also serve as a sound sculpture, but I’m still doing a bit of testing on that part of it.

Stay Tuned!

Star-Blinken Stand

I got quite a bit done for my Star-Blinken project last week. I started by throwing a bunch of scrap wood I had in the garage into the car to take to Milwaukee Makerspace to build into some sort of stand to hold the 36″ x 29″ piece of steel.

I didn’t really have a plan for building, which is a way I occasionally like to work, just a big pile of raw materials and the appropriate tools. Another member, Kyle, said that he had a bunch of scrap wood to unload from his vehicle, so I helped him do that, and then ended up using the wood he brought instead of any of my wood. I did end up grabbing a piece from the scrap pile in the Wood Shop, but besides a box of screws I bought, the entire stand was built from scrap at the space.

Star-Blinken Stand

The stand ended up being very heavy, and I had to get it on a cart to easily move it around the space. I still need to add the star to the metal so we can fill in the LEDs. I’m hoping to have the preparation for this project done by the end of the week, though we can’t add the LEDs until the evening of Thursday, September 22nd, 2016. I’ve been experimenting a bit with the LEDs to checking the blinking rate, and I think it’s going to look awesome when all lit up!

And of course if you want to see the final product, come to Maker Faire Milwaukee on September 24th &&/|| September 25th, 2016.

LED Testing

I’ve been testing some flashing red LEDs with CR2032 batteries to see how long they’ll last. My first test confirmed that they’ll definitely go 48 hours, which is good, because they’ll have to last the duration of Maker Faire.

Here are my completely unscientific notes taken this week after starting a new test on Monday night.

Day/Time Status
Monday 11pm Extremely Bright
Tuesday 11pm Extremely Bright
Wednesday 10pm Very Bright
Thursday 11pm Somewhat Bright
Friday 6pm Not Quite Bright
Saturday 6pm Dim
Sunday 6pm Very Dim

I think we can expect three solid days of bright LEDs, and maybe another day or two of acceptably bright LEDs. Working backwards, this means that if we want the LEDs still going strong by 6pm on Sunday, we need to start getting them in place by Thursday night.

Hmmm, Thursday night is when I teach class. Perhaps I can just make this into a group project for my class, or maybe DECODE can lend a hand…

LED

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