NoiseMaster X

Just a few more of these noisemakers… I swear! Yes, if you are not aware, I made a lot of them. I also brought them all to Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017 so people could play with them. That’s the sort of thing I tend to do. On with the show!

The speaker for this one is from an old stereo that Dana told me to get rid of because parts of it broke. I did actually get rid of the receiver by dropping it off on the Hack Rack at Milwaukee Makerspace, but I kept the speakers. ;)

NoiseMaster X

The enclosure this time consists of some offset pieces of wood stained two different colors. The electronics are again somewhat exposed. On top are two controls that allow for user input.

NoiseMaster X

The controls consist of a button to enable the sound, and a potentiometer to alter the sound. The knob for the potentiometer is 3D printed, and it’s a knob from this thing. I’ve used these knobs before, many years ago, thanks to the old RepRap. Luckily the new printer did a much better job this time around.

There’s also a ring beneath the button. This ring is 100% there to cover up a mistake I made by drilling the hole too large. I’m more than happy to honestly admit I screwed up, but I also found a way to fix things, and I think it worked.

One other interesting thing abut this one is the pencil lines that are clearly visible on the wood. I realized that I could draw on the wood and still have it show up fine after staining it. Now I’m tempted to explore this method more and see what else I can do with it. Hooray for weird experiments! (Oh, I also totally screwed up with the assembly and mismatched the sides, but again, I made it work and you probably wouldn’t know if I didn’t admit it.)

NoiseMaster X

As for the electronics, I once again went with an Arduino Nano, a super-cheap microcontroller with plenty of inputs & outputs (especially since I only used a few.) It’s also easy to power with a MiniUSB cable and a 5 volt USB power supply.

NoiseMaster X

Here’s a bit more on the knob. The bottom hole is sized to fit the shaft of the potentiometer, and it’s a tight fit (by design) so that it wouldn’t be easy to remove.

NoiseMaster X

The side of the knob features a small hole that accepts a 3mm set screw. It’s a “headless” screw so using an hex wrench to tighten it up hides it inside the little slot. Extra insurance against the knob twisting or coming off.

NoiseMaster X

And here’s the 3D model of the small plate that goes under the button to hide the spot where I drilled the hole too wide. All good. Ready to go!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

NoiseMaster IX

Once again we’ve got a noisemaker to tell you about. As you may know, there’s a whole series of these things, and they were all at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017, and each one is getting a blog post. (More links are at the bottom of this post.)

NoiseMaster IX

This one features a really nice (looking) speaker that was donated to the cause when I posted about needing unused speakers. This one was in a cabinet that was probably 25 years old, and had what I assume was fiberglass insulation inside of it. I ripped the cabinet apart at Milwaukee Makerspace one day and trashed everything but the sweet speakers which have “Muscle Magnet” power!

NoiseMaster IX

We’ve got a Teensy LC in this one, along with a Teensy Prop Shield (Low Cost version). I made the mistake of soldering a Teensy LC onto it instead of a Teensy 3.x and then realized it wouldn’t play the sounds I wanted to play, but it can do some speech synthesis stuff, so I embraced that. (You’ll hear what it sounds like spouting random phrases in the video below.)

NoiseMaster IX

One of the weird things I did with this one was make the wood look like plastic, and the plastic look like wood. Sort of. I mean, the wood is really MDF, but I gave it a glossy coat of paint, to move away from the stained wood I used in other noisemakers, and I sort of thought it looked more like a plastic surface. (Except for the sides, because MDF is stupid.)

NoiseMaster IX

For the “spools” I 3D printed them with wood filament, so they sort of are wood, but still plastic. Sort of. It’s confusing. Everything about this one is confusing I guess.

spool

Here’s the spools I modeled to serve as standoff between the top and bottom pieces. The spools came about after I modeled the feet. What feet?

foot

These feet! While the wood (uh, MDF) and plastic were on the controller part, I made bright green plastic feet, which are actually modeled as tiny speakers, to attach to the large blue speaker so it could “stand” face down on the table.

NoiseMaster IX

Because the Prop Shield has a built-in amp, it was much louder than most of the other noisemakers, so this was a good way to dampen the sound a bit. Hear this noisemaker in all its glory!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

NoiseMaster VIII

We’re back after a short break with another noisemaker! Oh yeah, there’s a whole series of these things, all of which were shown at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017. (More links are at the bottom of this post.)

NoiseMaster VIII

I built this one very quickly while Maks was using my shop. I tried to stay out of his way and built it off to the side while he was using the workbench. I grabbed an Arduino Leonardo I had on hand and I just stuck some wires in the header pins and stuck them down with gaff tape. I also hot glued a small speaker into place and added a small terminal block to wire things up. There’s a MicroUSB cable to provide power.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one was built with a bunch of scrap wood and MDF. The one tricky thing with this one was something I wanted to try with the button. I used a breadboard compatible button and mounted it on some perf board and drilled a hole through a 6mm piece of Baltic Birch and used a Forstner bit to pocket out a space for the square body of the button so it would sit flush. (This was meant as a test for a future project, so I was glad it worked out.)

NoiseMaster VIII

Super-boring looking! Fast build, no decoration, plain wood and MDF, with a few screws and a tiny button. Plain. Simple. Blah.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one did have what I considered a fun sound though. It’s pretty much a siren. Woo-Woo-Woo-Woo goes the noisemaker! I can’t remember where I got the code from but it uses freqout, so that’s exciting. Enjoy!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

miami-laser

As mentioned in my previous post, I got to help out at Maker Faire Orlando and while I spent most of the Faire working, I did get a chance to check out some of the makers and exhibits that were there. Here’s my report!

miami-makers

The folks from Moonlighter helped organize the Miami Makers Pavilion and showed a lot of fun projects. (I got to visit Moonlighter back in January, so it was nice to see them again.)

learn

I really liked these CNC’d words offset with some nuts and bolts to make a simple 3D piece. I can see making some of these on the large CNC we have in our shop.

bmo-videogame

This cute lil BMO from Adventure Time housed a video game system. I didn’t get a look inside, but I’m guessing it might have been a Raspberry Pi-based RetroPie.

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

My favorite piece from the Miami Makers was this super-simple demo that served as a visualization of sound waves. It was a pan of water on top of a cabinet with a speaker below that played sounds. Here’s a short video showing how it worked.

jeremy-cook

Jeremy S. Cook was there with his ClearWalker. I’ve been a fan of Jeremy’s posts for quite a while, and if you haven’t see his YouTube channel, check it out! One of the things I love about Maker Faires is being able to meet makers I’ve known online for years.

marbelous-bells

Marbelous Bells was a lot of fun. It was inspired by Wintergatan, and built by a father/daughter team called Just for Fun. I remember reading about this online and I didn’t quite get how it worked, but as soon as I saw it, it all made sense. I then spent about five minutes closely examining it. :)

cardboard-arcade

I came across this Cardboard Arcade while I was putting up all the signage for the Faire, and I wanted to come back and meet the maker who made it. For some reason I assumed some young maker(s) were behind it, but it turned out to be a maker called “DanBot 5k1″. He told me he loves building things with cardboard, and that as kids were checking it out they’d get excited because they realized they too could build things with cardboard. It’s pretty much free, and all you need is some tape, glue, some markers, and a few other things. Cardboard!!!

fire-daisy

The Fire Breathing Daisy was a really nice sculpture that also gently shot fire into the air. I believe this was the first fire exhibit that Orlando ever had, and oddly enough, it wasn’t the only one this year…

game-of-fire

Kathy brought her new exhibit Game of Fire all the way down to Orlando! (It debuted at Maker Faire Milwaukee just last month.) It was quite the spectacle and since it wasn’t hot and humid enough in Orlando (kidding!) having five fire poofers going off made us even warmer. ;)

wienermobile

Kathy doesn’t like to do just one thing, so she also brought the Wienermobile down to Orlando for the final race of the season for the Power Racing Series. (And yes, the Wienermobile brought home the Tesla Cup, as the overall winner of the 2017 season!) Kyle and Kathy make a great (and hilarious) team.

orlando-ppprs

We also have a lot of other great teams & cars for the PPPRS race. ACME and Donatello from Michigan/Texas/parts unknown came to have some fun and lay down some laps. They were joined by Orlando’s (2016 winner) Driftie Monster for podium of the Endurance Race on Sunday.

botsy

Finally, one of my favorite exhibits was a drawing machine named Botsy. If you know me well, you may know that I’ve got a thing for drawing machines, and I used to design and build them. Botsy is a well designed machine. It’s similar to a concept I had three years ago, but never actually built. That might have been part of my fascination with it, that it’s the realization of something I dreamed about.

Liza Kholodkova is the maker behind Botsy, and it was great to talk to her about the development. One of the things I really liked about Botsy was that it looked like a finished product, not just a loose collection of wires and wood and an Arduino (which, oddly enough, describes many of my own projects!) Botsy is meant as an aid for mural artists to assist in creating the outline of the artwork fast. It’s definitely faster than any of the string & gondola polarbots I’ve seen in past years. You can check out a few articles about Botsy if you want to find out more.

So that’s my recap of Maker Faire Orlando… I hope I can make it back next year and lend a hand in making it happen again.

Update: Lots of great photos!

mfo-2017

Maker Faire Orlando happened the weekend of October 21st & 22nd, 2017, and I was there! The team that produces the event asked if I could be part of their team as a “Producer in Residence”, so I jumped at the chance and after a few weeks of recovering from Maker Faire Milwaukee, I was headed to Florida for my first Maker Faire down south. (I managed to miss Nashville and Pittsburgh because I had some other commitments and wasn’t sure doing four Maker Faires in four weeks was the best idea.)

mfo-synth

When I produce the Milwaukee Faire I’m part of a small team that coordinates everything. I’m usually in charge of Maker Relations as well, so that means I deal with 250 makers in some way or another. It was strange (and exciting) going into Orlando not really knowing any of their makers. (Well, even that isn’t really true, as I started browsing the list and looking up some of the makers I definitely wanted to meet.)

mfo-bmo

I arrived Wednesday afternoon and headed right to MakerFX Makerspace, which is home to the Maker Effect Foundation, which organizes Maker Faire Orlando. We took care of things there with a plan to hit the fairgrounds Thursday morning. Compared to Milwaukee, it felt like we were a little behind schedule. In Milwaukee our core crew goes on-site Tuesday morning and starts moving things in and getting set up so that we can bring in large exhibits and complex setups on Wednesday. In Orlando we were running just a bit behind, so we spent a good amount of time Thursday chalking the floor grid, dealing with signage, electrical, water, barricades, and other set-up things. More people joined the crew as time went on, and everyone was busy getting things ready.

mfo-color

Friday was the day for maker load-in, and I think that’s always a bit hectic no matter what city you’re in. It’s all about getting dozens (or hundreds) of people and exhibits in place as quickly and efficiently as possible. All at once. Does anyone have this process perfected yet? We also had a Maker Mixer Friday night and then some of us managed to get a bit of sleep before the Saturday morning madness began.

mfo-wood

Again, Orlando is different than Milwaukee. We’re both at a fairgrounds, but Milwaukee is a free event, and Orlando is a paid event. Both of those create a unique set of challenges, but both share many of the same issues. That said, while we had to scramble a number of times, the critical things got resolved quickly. (One of the biggest problems was air conditioning not working properly, or working too well. People were too hot, people were too cold. You can’t please everyone, right?) Orlando had a much larger crew than Milwaukee, and everyone had a radio with an earpiece, which made a huge difference! The best thing about helping out in Orlando was seeing how they do things, and being able to analyze the process in Milwaukee to look for improvements.

mfo-ppprs

While I was busy making a list of all the things Orlando does really well (often by just quickly snapping a phone photo of something) I also offered advice about how Milwaukee does things, and some of the problems we’ve been able to solve in the past four years. Through all of this, Chad from HackPGH was an MVP (that’s Most Valuable Producer) because he’s been a producer in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Orlando, so he’s seen a lot. He’s also served on the crew for Bay Area Maker Faire, and the National Maker Faire. I see Chad as a conduit between Maker Faires, and able to share best practices between them.

mfo-makey

Saturday was a long day, with a lot of running around dealing with various issues, but we got a short break to hang out at FamiLab in the evening. (This was my second visit, as I was there back in 2016.) Sunday in Orlando was typical of many Maker Faires I’ve been involved with. A bit more relaxed than Saturday. Most of the critical issues are dealt with by then, and you can ease back on the throttle and let things run a bit. I was really pleased to be able to take a break on Sunday and see a good amount of the exhibits. (I also handed out some Maker of Merit ribbons, which was super fun!) After the Faire ended we had to deal with load-out, which again, is not a lot of fun, and pretty hectic and stressful. (Once again, does anyone have this process perfected yet!?)

mfo-wmc

So yeah, I’ve now helped produce a Maker Faire that wasn’t in Milwaukee, or even in Wisconsin, or even in the Midwest. It was in Florida, where it’s hot and humid and they have “fire ants” and no cold water from the tap. It was awesome and amazing and different… and I loved it.

Oh, I diverted from where I thought this post was going, so I’ll be following up with a look at some of the exhibits and projects I saw.

Stay Tuned!

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