posts tagged with the keyword ‘mkemakerspace’

2019.03.14

40x40-extrusion

I managed to get the 40mm extrusion I need for the RepRap frame at Milwaukee Makerspace. Mark is our 3D Printing Area Champion and he’s managed to collect a bunch of pieces from a scrap dealer, pretty much at scrap prices!

reprap-v12

I tweaked my render a bit expanding the frame slightly, and adding in the rods and rod supports. Speaking of the rod supports…

sk12-render

I could not find an acceptable file for the SK12 rod supports. I found one on GrabCAD (which I’ve never used before) but even there I found the file formats very disappointing. I managed to convert something to an STL and I didn’t like it so I used it get dimensions and then remodeled it.

Yes, I could just buy some SK12 rod supports (eBay has some for cheap) but the last time I used cheap rod supports they were not great, so I figured I’d print them for now, and I can always replace them later. (And yes, the nice thing about having access to a good/working printer when you are building a printer is that you can print the parts you need.)

sk12

I printed one on the Prusa i3 at work with low infill to test the fit, and it was perfect on the second attempt. (My 3mm screw and nut hole were just a bit off on the first try.) Oh, the mounting holes are sized for 5/16″ carriage bolts, which fit right into the slot of the 40mm extrusion. That’s another trick I picked up from Mark. (5/16″ is just about 8mm as well.)

sk12-rods

After the second test I was satisfied, and printed the rest on my Monoprice Maker Select Plus at home. It’s also nice to have a variety of 3mm hardware I can use this time around. The first RepRap I built was a kit and came with everything I needed. (Well, in theory.) This time I’m figuring out a lot as I go, but I have a lot of the things I need already.

These linear rods are 12mm diameter and plenty long, so they’ll need to be cut down a bit. I pulled them from a large laminator I pulled apart a few years ago. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m going to be using lots of parts I’ve been collecting over the years, so hopefully I can keep new purchases to a minimum, at least to get up and running with this printer.

(Note: SK12 Rod Support is available on YouMagine and Thingiverse.)

2018.12.15

mms-collateral-4934

Billy, one of the new Board Members at Milwaukee Makerspace, was interested in having some letterhead made up so he could solicit donations in a more professional manner, so I designed a letterhead and also made up new cards while I was at it.

mms-collateral-4923

In case you didn’t know, I actually have a degree in Graphic Design. I don’t do a lot of “classic” graphic design for print, and most of my design work nowadays is in developing products and projects and physical things. Still, it was fun to do a little design work.

card-generic

Here’s the front of our “generic” card which we hand out to anyone, at events, etc. Basic info about the space. I brought back our old “Conceive, Collaborate, Create!” motto. (Weird spacing at the top is due to issues.)

card-back

On the back I added the part about being open on Tuesdays. Telling people to come on a Tuesday at 7pm is the most common thing I say.

card-pete

Each member of the Board of Directors also got a card designed. They could choose if they wanted their phone number on it. (Not all members wanted cards.)

letterhead

The letterhead itself has a clean look, and a line that says “Milwaukee’s Hackerspace and Fabrication Lab” which is also found on the web site and a call back to the early years of describing ourselves.

Since this is a makerspace (or hackerspace) at least one member had to argue about the cost of having letterhead made. We pointed out that the cost of letterhead was a fraction of the amount of money Billy had already saved us by soliciting donations and getting us cheaper services from our waste collection company and Internet service provider. (Some people just like to argue.)

mms-collateral-4931

We got the printing done using one of those “cheap” online services where you upload your files and then show you a preview and you hope it’ll all work out. Things are not 100% perfect. The cut lines and bleed were not totally right, but they’re good enough for our purposes. (Spacing on the letterhead is much better than the cards, but again, we’ll survive.)

mms-collateral-4904

Big thanks to Billy for pushing me to get this done, so he can do more awesome things for Milwaukee Makerspace.

2018.06.16

beexcellent

Milwaukee Makerspace has a weekly meeting every Tuesday at 7pm. We go over upcoming events, new stuff happening at the space, and we show off projects and welcome guests. And there’s one more thing we do… we recognize awesomeness.

In an effort to make members aware of the fact that nothing happens at the space without a member doing it, we typically have a segment of the meeting where any member (or guest) can stand up and publicly thank another member for doing something awesome, or being awesome. Sometimes this might happen if a member sees another member take out the trash, or empty a vacuum cleaner, or it might happen if someone takes the time to help someone with their project, or to train them on a piece of equipment.

Milwaukee Makerspace has no employees, and no staff, and everyone who is a member is expected to volunteer in some way. Seven of the members volunteer to be on the Board of Directors. and they pay the same dues everyone else does, and besides helping to run the space, they help when and where they can. Some members serve as Area Champions, and are in charge of a specific area of the space, and get to make the rules there, and also get a budget and yet others don’t want any official responsibility, but are more than willing to pitch in when cleaning is needed on Space Improvement Day.

It’s common to hear someone stand up at a meeting and say “I want to thank Harvey for emptying all the trash cans today.” or “Thanks to Tom for getting us [insert name of tool he got on auction for super-cheap]!” And after a few meetings you start to see who the people are that are regular contributors to the space, and you come to value those people.

Members are always free to call out others on the mailing list when they are excellent, but there is something special about being recognized at a meeting, in person. Typically there’s some applause for the person being recogznied, and hopefully it makes them feel good about their contributions.

In the end, it’s one more way we’ve tried to help build a community of makers, and not just be a building full of tools and weird stuff.

abeexcellent

2018.05.16

wetherosies

We the Builders is a project that uses crowdsourced 3D printing to assemble large sculptures. For the most recent build, they decided to celebrate the contributions and diverse identities of women and non-binary makers by scaling up a sculpture of Rosie the Riveter to monument-size and printing her in a spectrum of skintones. The sculpture will be over six feet tall and made up of 2,625 parts.

I posted about this on the Milwaukee Makerspace Facebook page and asked for people interested in helping, and a woman named Gwen was interested. Seems her grandmother was an actual “Rosie” back in the day. We met up at Milwaukee Makerspace and tried to print a piece for her, and because 3D printing is full of failure, did not succeed.

So I printed it at home. And then I printed more for me, and more for her, and in total I think we did 10 parts. Sadly had to hit the road for BAMF so I didn’t get to print more, but it looks like (as of writing this) there are less than 250 pieces and we’ve still got five days.

gwen

When Gwen showed up to pick up the pieces (she offered to ship them) she was wearing an awesome Rosie shirt depicting the sculpture, so I asked her to get a photo of it with the pieces, and she did!

Sadly I will not be making it to NOMCON to assist with assembly, but I look forward to seeing the final piece, and hear about what happens next with the Nation of Makers. (I will be at BAMF though, so I hope to see other #WeTheBuilders people there!)

brownpieces

2018.05.07

Makerspace Autodidact

Typically an autodidact is described as a self-learner, and sometimes seen as “education without the guidance of masters or institutions”. An autodidact is an individual who chooses the subject he or she will study, his or her studying material, and the studying rhythm and time. I think makers and those who follow the DIY ethic are often autodidacts. I don’t think autodidacts have to work in solitude though, and can learn from others, but in a self-paced and more unstructured setting than what is typically seen in a classroom.

I’m proposing that membership to a makerspace can be considered “Job Training for the Autodidact”. If you’ve got the desire to learn, and you are willing to put in the time, the environment of a makerspace might be exactly what you need to gain the skills needed for your next job.

Milwaukee Makerspace currently has over 300 members. Among those members are people who are experts in woodworking, metalworking, digital fabrication, electronics, sewing, textiles, costuming, photography, film making, leather working, ceramics, casting and forging, and CNC. Want to learn to use a lathe, mill, table saw, sewing machine, or even write code? There’s probably people there who can teach you, and equipment for you to use. I guarantee I’ll probably never have a Bridgeport mill or Southbend lathe at my house, but I can learn to use both of them at Milwaukee Makerspace.

Pumping Station: One has over 400 members, and if you’re interested in embedded system development you could join their NERP meetup and start learning. If instead you’re interested in some of the things I mentioned above when talking about Milwaukee Makerspace, don’t worry, PS:1 has almost all the same equipment, and most likely members with similar expertise. Also, it’s worth mentioning that at Milwaukee Makerspace we have some members who have worked in an industry for their whole lives and then retired, and joined the space. I’ve heard at least half a dozen new members say “I’m a retired machinist, and I live right down the street, and this place is awesome!”

Now, not every space will have all of the same tools or expertise, but they are typically filled with people that possess a great desire to learn new things, and as someone who has hired people, that’s one of the most valuable skills a potential employee can possess.

A friend of mine mentioned that his son was interested in carpentry, or some other job that involved “working with his hands” and I suggested that joining the makerspace might be a great way to learn about different jobs and trades and get hands-on with some different tools and equipment and making and see what really interests him.

(That said, I always warn people who are all fired up and ready to learn that it can take time… Training on equipment doesn’t always happen as quickly as people would like, and occasionally things are broken or not working at 100%, but some patience goes a long way.)

I’ve personally benefited from the knowledge and skills I’ve learned at Milwaukee Makerspace and hold my current position in part due to my $40 a month membership and doing all I could to learn new skills the first few years I was a member. (And yes, I continue to learn new things every day!)

I’m considering doing a survey, because I’d really like to see who has been hired due to new skills they’ve learned at Milwaukee Makerspace. Even if you’re not interested in a new job, or advancing in your career, I think a makerspace membership can help make you a more well rounded person, who perhaps knows more than just the skills needed to get by each day. And to be honest, you never know when a new skill might come in handy.

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