posts tagged with the keyword ‘makerfaire’

2017.10.15

NoiseMaster VII

The next noisemaker in this ongoing and seemingly never-ending series is one of my favorites. This time we’ve done away with any sort of real “enclosure” and everything is just mounted on a board. We’re also using a real Arduino on this one. It’s an Arduino Nano, which you can find online for approximately $3USD nowadays. It’s quite a step up from the ATtiny85 chips used in many of the previous noisemakers.

NoiseMaster VII

Even though we moved away from an enclosure on this one, we still have to mount things, so why not model and 3D print some things? We’ve got a button and a potentiometer as our controls, and each one has a small printed part to allow for mounting to the board.

NoiseMaster VI

Again, the best thing about 3D printing in this process is you can create exactly what you need. With bits of scrap wood you’re constantly cutting and drilling to get things the right size. With designing your own parts, you make what you need. Here’s a piece that holds the button I had and has a small hole near the base to allow wires to come out.

NoiseMaster VI

This piece holds the potentiometer. It’s the correct thickness to allow the potentiometer to fit and the shaft to go through the hole. The holes for mounting screws are also the exact dimensions needed to work with the #4 screws I had. Making things fit together is about 90% of making.

NoiseMaster VII

Here’s a neat trick. Remember all those hard drives we took apart? Well, I saved all the magnets, and they’re handy to have around. Since they are attached to pieces of metal with mounting holes on them, I screwed one down to the board…

NoiseMaster VII

…and it’s perfect to hold a speaker in place. Really. That speaker ain’t going nowhere! You can pull it off, but it’s on securely enough that it takes some force, and it’s not going to fall off or get knocked off easily.

NoiseMaster VII

The Arduino Nano is on one of my Nano BOB boards. I use these to allow screw terminal connections to a Nano. (I really should get these listed on my Tindie store one of these days.) Power is provided by a Mini USB cable, and yes, there’s two 3D printed standoffs under the PCB. As a bonus, the wires used were pulled out of some phone wiring I rescued from a dumpster.

NoiseMaster VII

I like this one so much, I may be reusing some of the parts in another build I’m working on. Hopefully I can post about that in the coming weeks.

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

2017.09.30

dalek-headwear-0195

One of the big attractions for Maker Faire Milwaukee this year was a Guinness World Record Attempt for the “largest gathering of Daleks” and since I was drafted to be part of the “Dalek Dream Team” I thought I should make something to be part of it all.

You may have seen a few in-progress shots on Instagram of the Dalek eye which was 3D printed and then painted, but I’ll cover a bit more of the construction of the rest of it.

dalek-headwear-8796

For those of you unfamiliar, the Daleks are evil creatures from the television series Doctor Who. Above is a photo of a Dalek so you can see what the head looks like. I was aiming to replicate the head on a low-budget, and without much time as I was just a little bit busy organizing Maker Faire.

dalek-headwear-0197

I started with a large metal bowl I got from a retired science teacher who was cleaning out her house and garage that held 30 years of classroom experiments and materials. Getting the bowl (and a bag full of plungers) was pretty much the inspiration for this project… along with the fact that the folks at Dalek Asylum Milwaukee were on a rampage building Daleks at Milwaukee Makerspace every time I was there.

Once I had the bowl and acquired a lovely gold spray paint, I grabbed an eye from Thingiverse, split it in two pieces, printed it, and then painted it and attached it to the bowl with a bolt.

eye-half

I forgot to get a photo of the two halves, but this is a trick I often use, printing in two pieces and the assembling together. This time I drilled a hole through the bottom part, stuck a bolt in, and the hot glued it in place before gluing both pieces together. It worked out well.

dalek-headwear-0198

Jon (Master of the Daleks) gave me two light cages, which appear to be laser cut Acrylic glued together and painted silver, along with two ping pong balls. I then got two size PM-40 pill bottoms which I Dremeled to the right size, and put sliced in half pudding cups inside of to hold the ping pong ball at the right height.

dalek-headwear-0199

I also cut some 1/4″ Baltic Birch (by hand) to put on the bottom of the light cages. I hot glued those in place then attached Velcro® Hook and Loop so I could easily attach them to the bowl (and remove them if needed.)

dalek-headwear-0200

The next part was the most difficult. I should state that I really never make costumes or wearable things, so… yeah. I originally tried to make something with foam, and I thought about chin strap, but then I got a hard hat for about $7 on Amazon and thought that if I could attach that, it would be easily adjustable to (nearly) any size human head. The hard part was getting it attached to the bowl. I tend to deal with rectilinear things, not curvy shapes.

I brought the whole thing to Milwaukee Makerspace and asked for ideas… One member said he could make a wooden frame for it, and we did that, but it ended up being really heavy. Like.. uncomfortably heavy. I ended up removing that and using Great Stuff, as another member recommended. I’ve never used Great Stuff before, and let me tell you, it’s terrible.

I got Great Stuff on my hands, and that shit is nasty! I tried to scrub it off, and eventually using Comet cleanser, probably not the best thing to clean your hands with, but then again, Great Stuff shouldn’t be on your hands either. Wear gloves! I ended up getting my hands clean enough to not be sticky, but my fingers were stained for a few days. Yuck!

dalek-headwear-0201

I ended up spraying the Great Stuff into the bowl, then laying down plastic wrap and pushing the helmet in to shape the Great Stuff into a helmet receiving shape. It actually worked okay. Then to get the helmet to stay in place, I turned to my old friend, hot glue. There’s a liberal amount of hot glue holding the helmet to the Great Stuff. It’s ugly as Hell, but it works.

dalek-headwear-0203

Since I also had some plungers (from the science teacher’s house) I painted one gold to go along with the headwear. Every Dalek should have a plunger and a whisk, or a paint roller, or something that looks like that silly Dalek arm… the one that is not a plunger.

dalek-headwear-0204

The first time I painted the plunger I ended up flexing the rubber part and flaking off the paint a bit, so I turned to… hot glue, once again, to make a sort of “weld” thing around the base to prevent the rubber from flexing. It worked, but I forgot to bring the plunger with me (a symptom many were guilty of) so it didn’t get to be part of the ensemble.

dalek-headwear-9500A

And here’s Rick from Milwaukee Makerspace wearing the Dalek headwear while holding the 10 foot ladder I was standing on. The headwear does work okay, but if you’re moving around it tends to fall forward. And forget about running or leaning forward. Perhaps it does need a chinstrap. Or maybe I’ll just keep it around without actually wearing it. I don’t know… it’s just another ridiculous thing I made because I love Doctor Who and Maker Faire.

2017.09.27

Moxie

A large part of the Power Racing Series is Moxie. Moxie is best described as, being awesome. The crowd gets to vote for your car using the Moxie Board. Each button press equals a vote. Being fast is one way to get points, but another way is by being awesome… so, Moxie.

Above you’ll see a photo of the official Moxie Board used by the series. Since we also had a PPPRS race during Maker Faire Milwaukee, which overlapped the race in New York, we had to build our own Moxie Board, so here’s what we did…

The Moxie Board

It looks fairly similar, but it’s a bit smaller and lighter than the original, and it’s got 24 buttons instead of 30 (though I believe the original was recently expanded to have that 30 buttons. Who knew there’d ever be that many cars in a race!)

I got some Coroplast from Midland Plastics for super cheap, and they didn’t have any wide enough, so the black strip running down the center is gaff tape used to hold two pieces together to be wide enough. I then found some scrap wood in the shop at work which was long enough, but too skinny to be used for anything else, and built a simple frame with some small blocks of HDPE in the corners to hold it all together. (I was told the reduced weight of this Moxie Board was a big plus.)

The front is screwed into the wood frame, and the back is held in place with some VELCRO┬« hook and loop so we could open it to get to the electronics…

As for the inside and the electronics, while the original uses an Arduino Mega with a Bluetooth module to send real-time updates to Patrick’s Android phone which is running some special app, I chose to do it differently.

moxie-board-04

I’m using a Teensy 3.5 which has plenty of input pins and a built-in MicroSD card slot. The way it works is simple, each button represents a number from 1 to 24, and when pressed, the Teensy gets the value of every button, with the ones not being pressed equal to 0 and the one being pressed equal to 1, and then writes it to a file called MOXIE.csv. When the race is over you just put the MicroSD card in a card reader and import the CSV file into a spreadsheet and grab the last row. (Hopefully your spreadsheet is set up with the names of the cars in the corresponding columns.)

In testing, this all worked fine, but obviously the real world had to come along and crush my hopes and dreams…

moxie-board-05

Failure #1: Because the Teensy is a low power device, it doesn’t draw much power from the USB battery pack we were using. I’ve seen this before, so I use a battery pack with a built-in LED “flashlight” that stays on, as long as you press and hold the button when turning it on. I told this to two people, but forgot to write instructions to put inside the Moxie Board, so there’s a chance this was not done properly and power was lost. (There is an indicator LED that lights up when a button is pressed, but not a “POWER ON” LED which would have helped… maybe.

Maybe Failure #2: It could be that my code isn’t quite right. I do not have the most recent code that the official Moxie Board is running, but I have an older version that may be close. My code is a little different, but should yield the same results… I think. This is worth checking on.

I also do not have a good way to attach Moxie Labels, so they are just attached with tape or Hook and Loop for now. Ran out of time for anything better. :/

One more note! In the photo there’s a bunch of green wire and LEDs attached to the front of the Moxie Board. Those were added for the night race. All the actual wiring for the Moxie Board is located on the inside.

moxie-board-03

I’ve heard of one other group working on a Moxie Board that will use a Raspberry Pi, which I thought about doing as well, but ended up choosing a Teensy instead. As we add more races, we’re going to need more boards, so I’m hoping we see more ideas and eventually come up with even better ideas. (Note that I wanted to stay simple because simple gets done while over-complex builds, while fun, don’t always get finished, or work properly. But then, who am I to talk!?)

2017.09.09

UWMakey

Last year I was really pleased to see so many people & groups from UWM involved in Maker Faire Milwaukee. We’ve got another great batch this year, which I’ll share below.

I also want to call out Bryan Cera, an alumnus of UWM, and an all-around amazing maker. If you’re not familiar with Bryan check out his Maker Spotlight. Bryan is now a Professor at the Alberta College of Art and Design, but we’re pleased to see he’ll be returning to Maker Faire Milwaukee this year.

We’ve also got a few returning favorites, and some new friends joining us:

Among the list are a few current students and recent graduates. We’ve also got few alumni working as producers and crew this year. Even Stephen Pevnick, Professor Emeritus is joining us! He was one of my instructors many, many years ago at UWM. It was great to meet him again and get a tour of his studio, and I look forward to see his Graphical Waterfall at Maker Faire Milwaukee this year.

2017.08.17

Hello Friends, I’m here to tell you about Maker Faire Milwaukee, and to ask for your help. If you’re not familiar with Maker Faires, they are events that happen around the world, and are part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new. We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth.

Most of the Maker Faire are smaller in scale, typically a one-day or even half-day event with a dozen or so people sharing their passion for making things. Here in Milwaukee we decided to go big. We did a two-day event which grew into a three-day event by the third year (the third day being a Field Trip Friday for disadvantaged youth in our community) and we also hold the distinction of being the largest FREE Maker Faire in the North America. In 2015 we had over 50,000 attendees see amazing things, and experience hands-on making. Many attendees were kids, but Maker Faire is not just for the young, or the young at heart, we’re for anyone who likes to learn and loves to see new things.

henry

This is Henry. When he was 6 years old he came to Maker Faire Milwaukee, and when he left he told his dad that he wanted to make a robot for Maker Faire, and in 2016 he brought his creation to show it off and share it with others. We love this kid! We want everyone to be inspired by Maker Faire and leave wanting to create new things.

bill

Here’s Bill teaching a young girl how to use a nail gun to build a shed. Bill works in the Be A Maker space at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and spends his days teaching kids how to build the world they’ll inherit. He probably showed a few hundred kids how to properly use a nail gun over the course of the weekend.

r2d2

Oh yeah, not just for kids! We’ve got plenty of adults who live normal lives and have jobs and families and spend their free time building things, like props or robots or costumes from their favorite films, books, and TV shows. Droids, Daleks, 3D Printers, machines that etch wood with electricity, you name it!

jenie

There are also professional artists and art instructors who take the time to teach people about their art, and how to make it, and how to clean the ink off of your hands after you’ve make your first block print. You might discover that something you’ve never done before is fascinating, and you can talk to someone who can tell you all about it.

jake

Or maybe you’ll see a college kid playing with 20,000 watts of power flowing from a home-built Tesla coil while wearing a suit of armor he made himself at Milwaukee Makerspace. Who knows?

Now, I did say that Maker Faire Milwaukee Needs You, and we do. To make this incredible event happen for our community, including field trips for disadvantaged youth, and a professional development conference for teachers that happens during Maker Faire, we need you. We need help from sponsors, we need help from volunteers, we need help spreading the word, and we need you and your family and friends to come to Maker Faire Milwaukee and see what we are trying to do for the Greater Milwaukee Area.

Find out more at milwaukee.makerfaire.com

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