posts tagged with the keyword ‘make’

2015.02.06

Prusa i3 Parts

I’ve got a box full of Prusa i3 Rework parts! Well, not the full box, but we’re working on it. When I say “we” I mean myself and my team. This is all for a class titled “Digital Fabrication and Craft: Machines that Make”, which Frankie mentioned recently.

The class so far has been a blast! We’ve talked about the RepRap movement, and open source hardware and software used for 3D printing, and we’ve even designed a coat hook (yes, a nod to Adrian Bowyer.)

For the first assignment we are build Prusa i3 RepRaps, hence all the parts. We have a few MakerBots in the DCRL and the other students have been frantically printing parts. Meanwhile, I’ve printed most of my team’s parts on my RepRap Prusa i2. I sort of like the idea of my i2 making an i3. I may print enough parts to build out a frame and then transfer my i2 electronics and extruder over to it. Or I may just build another 3D printer instead.)

We’ve talked a lot about machines that make, and a little bit about MIT and what they’ve done. If you’ve seen the Othermill, you may or may not know it originated from an MIT project called MTM Snap.

And there’s more! For the second assignment each student needs to design and build a machine that can make things, and then we need to make things. Yes, we are rapid-prototyping rapid-prototyping machines. It’s a class made for makers, for sure.

One thing I’ve come to realize over the years is that you can design and build a thing, and you can design a product, and you can manufacture a product, and there are always compromises in process, materials, complexity, cost, quality, and fifty other things. A recommended reading in this area is Confessions of a Hardware Startup. Here’s an excerpt:

Our obstacle was that Jonathan had never intended MTM Snap for production. It was a design challenge experiment: to see if he could build a machine without screws. This is a great feature if you’re trying to save money as a graduate student, but from a manufacturing standpoint it had two major disadvantages.

Go read the whole thing if you’re interested in this. Since I’ve also been designing kits that are meant to be assembled and disassembled multiple times, I’ve seen similar (but different) challenges arise. But honestly, this all fits under the heading of “design” to me, because I still think design is about solving problems.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the machine I’ll build. I probably won’t build a drawing machine right now (more on that later) but there’s a reason I’ve been researching the Othermill and been hankering to use a Shapeoko. It’s all coming together!

2015.01.15

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!

2014.12.28

Stabuilt Blocks

I’ve been looking into press-fit construction techniques for a while now, and I stumbled across this 1917 building set “The Embossing Co Stabuilt Blocks” yesterday. (Nice font, eh?)

Stabuilt Blocks

It consists of a bunch of wood blocks with round round holes and pegs that hold them together. (I know you’re probably thinking I’m a big fan of LEGO, or maybe TINKERTOY. You’re half right. I’m more interested in the design of these things, and in making my own than I am in building things with them. I’m weird like that.)

Stabuilt Blocks

I didn’t examine all of the pieces, but one of the longer pegs looked a bit off with the cuts on the end. Maybe many were off like that? It almost gave it a DIY look. The DIY aspect is what I liked about this set. You could (somewhat) easily make one of these yourself if you had access to a basic wood shop.

With digital fabrication techniques you can easily create your own press-fit set. In fact, it’s a thing. For MIT’s “How To Make (almost) Anything” class one of the assignments is press-fit construction.

Vincent Chow's Desktop Organizer/Decorative Art Piece

There’s not a good master index, but you can browse through some of the student work from the past years and stumble across their press-fit assignments. (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, etc.)

If you don’t get lost in all the documentation of other interesting projects, check out this Fab Academy page about press-fit construction, which has even more links at the bottom.

I’ve got a few projects for 2015 that will rely on press-fit pieces, so if you’ve got any good links, send them my way!

2014.06.19

Milwaukee Maker Faire

The news is out! We’re throwing a Maker Faire right here in Milwaukee! The fine folks at Milwaukee Makerspace in collaboration with the file folks at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum have been planning for months (and months!) and can now officially announce our own Maker Faire. (And yes, it’s a full-scale event, not just a Mini Maker Faire. This is going to be big!)

Maker Faire Milwaukee is happening Saturday and Sunday September 27th & 28th, 2014 at Wisconsin State Fair Park. (For the record, this Maker Faire is within 5 miles of my house. Exciting!)

And best of all, this Maker Faire is totally FREE to attend, thanks to the sponsorship of many fine Milwaukee organizations.

So yeah, plan to attend, and check out makerfairemilwaukee.com in the coming weeks as we add more information. If you do the social things, follow @mkemakerfaire, like makerfairemke, and +1 all the posts.

If you’re interested in being involved or helping to run things, get in touch with me and I’ll point you in the right direction.

(And hey, I’ve got plenty of time to prepare my talk…)

2014.06.17

Day of Making

The Day of Making is upon us! Help me celebrate June 18th (which also happens to be my birthday) by pledging to not just make things, but help others make things. Pledge to share your knowledge with others, to help make the world a better place.

Start a new project, finish an old project, tell others about a project… Don’t sit idly by consuming when you could be creating. Check out the Make: Projects site, or Instructables, or Hackaday Projects.

I'm a Maker

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