posts tagged with the keyword ‘mkemakerspace’

2017.11.22

MMS

I recently heard the word “potluck” applied to a makerspace. So what exactly is a potlock and how does it work?

A potluck is a gathering where each guest contributes a different and unique dish of food, often homemade, to be shared.

(Okay, ignore that bit about food.) Many spaces are started by groups of people who come together to form a community around making. Making usually requires tools. They may be traditional tools like saws, and drills, and sewing machines, and may include laser cutters, 3D printers, and CNC machines. While you may own a few tools, chances are you don’t own all the tools. Typically there’s two reasons you don’t own all the tools. You probably don’t have space for them all, and you probably can’t afford them all. This is where makerspaces come in.

The “potluck” style makerspace encourages everyone to bring the tools they have, together, in one space, and share that space, and share the tools. No one owns everything there, but everyone owns something. Now, there are spaces where a single person or small group provides all (or a majority of) the tools, or where the space itself (as an organization) owns all the tools. It can certainly work in many different ways.

Milwaukee Makerspace operates to a great deal like a potluck. When we started, everyone brought in whatever tools they had. We tried to avoid duplicates in most cases. If we had a table saw, but someone else said they had a better table saw, we’d evaluate and discuss and see if we wanted to “upgrade” by bringing in the new tool. Now, the question comes up “What if Bob decides to take his chop saw home? Then we have no chop saw!” and yes, this is true, and it does happen. I’m pretty sure within the last year the chop saw disappeared because the owner moved away, or took it home, or some other weird reason. Typically we’re without a tool for a short time until someone else brings one in, or we find another way to replace it.

One of those “other ways” is a group buy. Sometimes a member (or more likely a number of members) want a new tool. They basically “crowdfund” the money needed to purchase the tool and the tool the stays at the space. Occasionally there is a majority stakeholder who might have paid for a large percentage of a tool. If, in this case, the member who is a majority stakeholder wants to remove the tool, they would have to buy out all the other members who pitched in for it. This is a rare occurrence, in fact, I’m not sure it’s happened more than once or twice.

Occasionally a member who owns a tool wants (or needs) to sell it, perhaps due to financial strain or needing money more than they need the tool. Often members have bought tools from other members so that they can remain at the space. And yes, we’ve also seen group buys so that tools could remain at the space. (This was the case with one of our laser cutters.)

The largest example we have is the Tormach. Larry wanted a vertical milling machine, and was looking at a Haas, or another larger used machine. Since we didn’t have luck with the previous used machine we had, many members were in favor of something a bit newer, and easier to use. The Tormach purchase was funded by over 30 members. Some contributing as little as $10, and a few contributing close to or more than $1000. Larry covered $5000, which was close to half the cost. I personally pitched in $50 and I still haven’t even used the machine! I’m okay with that, because I’ve seen other members make awesome things, and I know that if I have the need, it’s there and I can use it.

What about when things break? Well, each area has a budget for purchases and maintenance (I’ll cover that more in another post) but we also follow the “crowdfunding” method in this case. When the laser tube died pretty much everyone who ever used the laser cutter was willing to pitch in some money. Occasionally someone orders a spare lens, or new saw blades, or whatever other consumable there is because we don’t charge for machine time, but if you’ve used a machine a lot, we expect you to be awesome and contribute in some way. (And yes, there are other ways to contribute, again, that’s a future post.)

Anyway, I hope this helped explained the “potluck” method we’ve used over the last seven years or so. It’s not perfect, but it’s worked fairly well. When we orient new members, we let them know that every tool in the space belongs to someone, and that someone is another members, so respecting and taking care of the tools is just one more way to be excellent to each other.

2017.07.23

beach

Whew! Hey folks, I’m back. It’s been over a month since my last post, but don’t worry, things are going good, they’re just going a lot, or there’s a lot going on, or something like that. I’ll just update everything.

First of all, I spent a week at the beach. The ocean beach! We went out to Maryland and I was actually out of the office for five whole days! I barely worked at all, besides a phone call and a bunch of emails to keep thing moving for Maker Faire Milwaukee.

Oh yes, we’re just 60 days out from Maker Faire Milwaukee and there’s a heck of a lot of things to do this year. I’m also headed to Maker Faire Detroit this week. (And there’s a chance I’ll hit up Pittsburgh and/or Orlando as well.)

One of the projects I’ve been working on for Maker Faire Milwaukee is called NoiseMaster 3000 which will consist of a bunch of DIY noise making devices. Here’s a few in progress.

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster)
on

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster)
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A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster)
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I’ve been combining 3D printed parts with scrap wood and really enjoying the process. I’ve been thinking a lot about how the two materials fit together, and I’ll probably write up some thoughts on that later.

Oh yeah, I also went to Kansas City with a Wienermobile. That was exciting. Find out more! Meanwhile, we’re still working on our no-weld vehicle, sometimes using wood where maybe wood doesn’t belong. Oh well! Also, photos from Kansas City!

I saw Wonder Woman and The Big Sick and they were both great movies. I’ve also been trying to get caught up with Doctor Who, but besides that I still don’t watch very much TV. (I haven’t seen Game of Thrones or House of Cards or Breaking Bad. I hear there’s a new Star Trek showing coming out soon!?)

I’ll be speaking at the Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Kenosha & Racine next month on the topic of Arduino. I should probably prepare for that. Also, the mayor of South Milwaukee wants to meet with me, because of something I posted on Facebook. (Don’t worry, I’m not in trouble!)

Okay, well… that’s all I can think of for this update. You can follow me on Instagram for previews and peeks at my current projects, and I sometimes post things on Facebook, as well.

mfbuttons

2017.03.13

MMS WebCam

It’s been way too long since I posted anything about the Time Lapse Bot project. Here’s some good background info, if needed.

Time Lapse Bot 3, which I haven’t written about since 2011 (or maybe 2012) has seen a few upgrades. Don’t worry, it’s still running an ancient PowerBook G4 (how, I don’t even know) but we long ago upgraded to a Logitech C910 USB camera. We then added a long gooseneck to allow for easy adjust-ability. And finally, it’s also known as the Milwaukee Makerspace Webcam, and it published views of Milwaukee Makerspace at http://mkemake.us/webcam

But really, Time Lapse Bot 3 hasn’t changed very much in the past few years… probably because I’ve been working on Time Lapse Bot 4, which uses a Raspberry Pi.

tlbot4

Time Lapse Bot 4.01 made an appearance at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2016, using a completely hacked together frame on one of my old rolling chair bases, and it worked for the weekend, but I’ve got plans… I’ve got plans.

I’ve made a lot of progress with software, and picamera is something I highly recommend! I’ve also got TLBot4 automagically uploading to a server, just like the Milwaukee Makerspace Webcam (running EvoCam, which may be dead now, as the web site of the developer has gone AWOL) and it’s also doing the daily videos compiled from the still images. I’m 90% happy with the software… I mean, the last 10% is the hardest, right?

I’m also working on a new physical build of Time Lapse Bot 4, which will feature many mounting solutions, and an interchangeable wide angle lens for capturing crowds.

Hopefully I can get TLBot 4 up and running for an event in the next few months, but in the meantime, I’ll be testing it in my workshop. (And hey, it’s offline now, so what the heck!?)

Also, I used the knowledge and experience I’ve gained (especially from picamera) to create part of a museum exhibit that has been running trouble-free (knock on HDPE!) since November. Huzzah!

2016.08.28

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.

This is just one post in a series, check out the other posts as well:

2016.06.12

The Sonic Titan

The Sonic Titan was created for Bay View Gallery Night in June 2016 and was displayed at Milwaukee Makerspace.

The Sonic Titan

Similar to the piece I created last year, The Sonic Titan has a musical connection, which is fitting for Bay View Gallery Night which is “A celebration of local art, music, business and community.”

The Sonic Titan

You can find out more about this device/object/thing by checking out the project page for The Sonic Titan.

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