UWM

I haven’t really posted much about school since I mentioned it in August, but the first semester went well. I made good progress with some of my projects, learned a lot, and ended with 4.000 GPA. I’ve also met some amazing people, and have become re-energized about art and design.

This semester should be even more exciting, as I’ll be a Lab Instructor for Digital Arts: Culture, Theory, and Practice. In Guan-speak I will have what are known as “ducklings”, though I believe “students” is the term most people use.

I’ll also be putting in a bunch of hours in the DCRL doing various projects, which is pretty exciting. I’m hoping to have a new pile of skills by the end of the semester.

There’s also some classes in history, and philosophy, and concepts, and other things I’m not as interested in, but hey, requirements, right? I know it’s all valuable, but sometimes lectures and seminars leave you itching to get into the studio and make things instead of just talk and think about things.

OK, kids, here’s to a great semester!

Ice Hammer

I present to you… The Ice Hammer! Which is, of course, a hammer made of ice, and not a hammer made of something else that is mean to pound ice. That would be ridiculous, obviously.

Makeshift Milwaukee

I’m sure you’re wondering how I made this ice hammer. I shall tell you. Over at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum there’s plenty of great stuff for kids. You might be young at heart, or just love hands-on science-type fun stuff, but as an adult you can’t really go to the museum without a child. Yeah, adult without a kid? You’re out of luck. The museum folks realized this wasn’t ideal, so they are starting a program called Makeshift which is an “adults only” thing at night, for adults interested in maker related activities.

I attended last night, and besides the provided food & (adult) drinks, we got to use a plasma cutter, play with a re-purposed/hacked pen plotter, see a trio of 3D printers spitting out plastic, and play around with other fun things. There was sewing and craft related stuff as well, and… oh yes, a vacuum former. You may have seen the hammer I made.

Ice Hammer

After we vacuum formed the hammer, I thought that it would make a nice mold for… something. Eventually I determined that it could hold water (well, after taping up a small crack caused by releasing the original hammer from the plastic sheet.)

Ice Hammer

I filled it with water, and carefully (uhhh) placed it in the freezer. And then wiped up all the water I spilled. Pro-tip: fill it with a cup while it’s in the freezer, or put it on something flat to transport it.

Ice Hammer

After freezing it was fairly easy to get it out of the plastic. I had thought I might have to let it melt a little, or add some warm water, but it came out in once piece.

Ice Hammer

I then made a second hammer, this time adding some food coloring to the water. The different colors didn’t really mix well, so I mixed them together, but I may do this again and let them stay separated from each other.

Ice Hammer

You can see the colored one broke. That happened when removing it from the plastic. Maybe I was a bit rougher on this one, or maybe the food coloring caused some strange weakness in the ice. (OR maybe I took it out too soon!) I’m not actually a scientist, but I welcome any ideas on the topic.

The next event is February 5th, 2015 and the topic is “Hot Stuff!” which could have something to do with Valentine’s Day, but I’ve heard rumors there will be soldering, hot glue, and drinks.

Keep an eye on the Makeshift page for upcoming events and other info… See ya there!

The Hammer of Futility

The Hammer of Futility

The Hammer of Futility

The Hammer of Futility

hammer4486

We use tools and machines to extend the reach of the human body. Our expectations do not always live up to our dreams. The Hammer of Futility is a kinetic sculpture created from laser-cut wood that consists of a hammer attempting to hit a nail, and failing, repeatedly. The piece was designed with software, and cut from wood using a laser cutter, then hand assembled, and wired for motion.

Cops and Robots

I’ve been thinking a bit about the role of police in society lately, and with good reason. Of course, I’m also a sci-fi nerd, and I love robots, so I thought about the Three Laws of Robotics.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

And I wondered, if police truly are public servants, could we establish a set of laws that they should follow?

  1. A police officer may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A police officer should respect all human life, and do what they can to serve humans, except where such action would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A police officer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

It’s a bit simplistic, and in theory, there are already laws/rules that police officers should follow.

Of course when a robot breaks the rules they can be reprogrammed or dismantled. We do not as of yet have a similar punishment for human police officers.

Baltimore Node

It’s been a while (two years) since I’ve been to Baltimore, and since I got to visit Baltimore Hackerspace last time, I really wanted to visit Baltimore Node, which I originally tried to visit in 2011! This time I succeeded.

Maze was kind enough to show up and give us a quick tour. He said that they have about 35 members now, and oddly enough Michael D. who was one of the original members of Milwaukee Makerspace is/was a member. I was hoping he could give me a tour but oddly enough he was back in Milwaukee when I was in Baltimore. Missed Maker Connection!

Han in Carbonite

In the front room is our old pal Han Solo… in carbonite! We’ve discussed making one of these at Milwaukee Makerspace but it hasn’t happened yet. Supposedly this one was made from a mold that was made for the film, but wasn’t the one that was used in the actual film. It still looks good, though! There’s also some fine furniture, a box fan, and an old-timey lamp on the wall.

OK, I’m just gonna get this out of the way. Baltimore Node has a blue box. It’s not a TARDIS. It’s a bathroom, which they affectionately call the “Baff-Frume”.

Baff-Frume

I didn’t get a photo of the inside, but it’s pretty much a toilet and a roll and not much else, surrounded by thin plywood walls. I mean, it works, and luckily, it’s small so it should be easy to clean!

Baff-Frume

And hey, how many spaces can claim then have a rocket almost as large as their bathroom? (It appears there is also a ventilation fan. Good call!)

German Scary Death

The side of the “Baff-Frume” features a wonderful poster showing all of the best ways to get electrocuted or otherwise killed in Germany. Dr. Prodoehl points out her favorite.

German Scary Death

As we all know, everything is more terrifying in German. Especially operating a forklift. Unheimlich!

3D Printing

3D printing, with a MakerBot Replicator (1st gen) and an old MakerBot Thing-O-Matic. There’s also an inkjet printer, but I think it just prints ink on paper in two dimensions. There’s also a video game cabinet in the back. We started talking about MAME cabinets, so I can’t remember if this was a MAME cabinet or a specific game.

Electronics

Electronics area, soldering irons, components, oscilloscopes and all that jazz…

LED LED

There was a big big LED thingy that was moved to the new space probably didn’t get installed and up and running yet. I asked Maze how many LEDs there were and he said “A lot!”

Shop

The shop area is in the back. The space was previously used by the current landlord who does wood working on another floor of the building. Having a maker as a landlord is probably an ideal situation.

Tools

Plenty of tools for making, and it’s even fairly organized… Screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers. Come on down to Cunningham’s Hardware!

Laser Cutter

Here’s the big-ass Chinese laser cutter. Also, someone likes trains, or is planning to maker a laser-cut train, or something. Say it with me “Motion card SoftDog no same!”

Crafty

The craft area, where at least two people can get crafty at the same time. Maze said every now and then someone comes in and wants to do some sort of crafty thing.

(I always appreciate that spaces will have some small collection of things for a specific making discipline. I think it was i3Detroit that also had a really small craft area. The effort is worth recognizing.)

The Last Thread

I’m going to call this one “One Thread to Rule Them All” or maybe “The Last Thread” or something. It’s not even conductive thread! :)

Thanks again to Maze for the quick tour. I love seeing other spaces and checking out the equipment and projects, and just seeing how they are laid out and function.

Sadly, I did not get to Hive76 in Philadelphia during this trip, which was my second (failed) attempt. I’m hoping to visit other spaces this year if possible. I keep a list of spaces I’ve visited here.

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