posts tagged with the keyword ‘wisconsin’


The Bodgery

There’s a new makerspace in Madison, Wisconsin. The Bodgery is the new home of the Mad City Makers, a group that’s been around for a while, but didn’t have a physical space. Now they do. :)

Of course Madison already has Sector67, so why would it need another space? I had my own ideas about this, but inevitably people started asking me before I got the inside scoop, so I got in touch with Karen and John at The Bodgery and discussed the need for another Madison space. It was pretty much as I assumed; different spaces cater to different audiences. A space (just like a company or any organization) will have a specific culture, a vibe, and a way of doing things that might not work for everyone. I don’t think anyone involved with Sector67 or The Bodgery is concerned, in fact, I think that everyone involved is pleased to see the Maker Movement growing, and the need for another space in Madison.

Right now Milwaukee Makerspace has approximately 170 members, and there’s a projection that we may hit 200 later this year. That may or may not happen, but my own prediction is that there will be a second space, completely separate from Milwaukee Makerspace, within the next 18 months. (I could be totally wrong on this, time will tell.)

In the meantime, I’ve been tracking other Wisconsin spaces on the wiki, and while a new one gets added now and then, we’ve also seen a few disappear in the last 12 months.

Back to The Bodgery… I’ve not yet had the chance to visit, but I do keep up with their antics on Facebook. If you’re in Madison, go check it out! I know for a fact that there are some awesome and friendly people there who are excited about sharing the love of making.



Hi, I’m the minority.

I know that hearing a white male who identifies as a heterosexual saying he’s the minority may sound odd, but that’s how I feel.

There have been rare times in my life I’ve felt like I was in the majority, but overall, I think I’ve been in the lesser half. Most people in Wisconsin love football, and love beer, and use Windows, and voted for Walker, and do all sorts of stuff I don’t do. Life goes on, and that’s fine.

My problem is that I’ve got friends that are not males, and don’t identify as heterosexual, and I don’t think it’s right that they aren’t treated as I am, and are not given the sames rights as I am. I’ve got friends who are teachers, who have made sacrifices because they believe that educating our youth is important, maybe more important than another career that might pay more money.

I feel like those on the right are concerned that someone is getting something they don’t deserve, while my own point of view is that I’m concerned that someone else is being denied something most others get. That “something” being the things I get because I’m a white male heterosexual.

I’m not a greedy person. I don’t live in a fancy house (I don’t even own a house) and I drive a crappy old car that frequently breaks, and I still eat Mac & Cheese and peanut butter sandwiches all the time, and I fine with all that. I guess what I’m not fine with is telling women that they should make less money than I do for the same work, or telling LGBT folks that they can’t have the same rights I do, or telling teachers that they’re lazy and trying to steal my tax money.

Maybe I’m just an optimist, and like to try to see the good in people instead of assuming the worst and living in fear that someone will get more than they should, and by that happening I’ll somehow get less than I should.

So yeah, I’m in the minority again, and that’s fine, because I’m used to it, but I still wish there was a way for everyone be treated equally, and beyond all that, I’ve got one request for you: please don’t be an asshole.


Wisconsin in Sketchup
Wisconsin in Sketchup

After seeing the blog post about the United States Electoral Vote Map, I decided I needed to print out a 3D version of Wisconsin. So I grabbed one of the Sketchup files from Thingiverse and deleted every state except the one I live in. (Which, you know, happens to be Wisconsin.)

Wisconsin in ReplicatorG
Wisconsin in ReplicatorG

Once I had our dear state all on its own, I used this “Sketchup to DXF or STL” plugin (download skp_to_dxf.rb) to export it as an STL file so that I could load it into ReplicatorG.

Yeah, I know it’s tiny. But since everything up until now was the easy part, and the actual controlling of the MakerBot and the print process was the (supposedly) difficult part, I decided to start small. Here’s where it gets hard.

See, last week when I had my first MakerBot Adventure, Drew (the owner/operator and fellow Milwaukee Makerspace member) did all the hard work, while I just handed him a file. This time, he wasn’t around, nor was the laptop that normally connects to the MakerBot, so I was on my own.

I wish I could say skimming this wiki page titled How To Print revealed the secrets to the MakerBot universe, but it took a whole bunch of wiki pages, and some Google Groups messages, and some random searching based on error codes, and at some point, I got it mostly figured out. Mostly. (I also had to remember that I was using a Cupcake and not a Thing-O-Matic, as they have a few differences.)

ReplicatorG Control Panel
ReplicatorG Control Panel

Ah, the Control Panel… where the magic happens! Or should happen. Or something. All that digging around on wiki pages provided me with just enough info to be dangerous here, and put in some values I thought would work. The one thing Drew said was “As long as you don’t drive the extruder head into the platform, you should be good.” That was enough to scare me into being overly cautious, and my first attempts obviously had the head too high. The other issue was, the feed rate of the filament was zero. I tried really hard not to force things, but eventually applying more pressure got the filament moving. (Thanks Royce!)

One thing I noticed about the Control Panel is that the settings did not seem to stick, and I had to enter them over and over again. (Which is why I’m posting it here.) Besides that, ReplicatorG was fairly easy to use. I’m still not sure how to determine the size of the thing being printed, but I’ll work on that.

So at this point, I had the extruder head down low enough, plastic was flowing, and the platform was moving. That’s right folks… I was 3D printing!!!

And how did it turn out, you may be asking? Well, here’s some amazing images of my first “all on my own” 3D print.

Wisconsin [3D]
Wisconsin (with quarter, for scale)

Yeah, like I said… it’s tiny. No matter. I’ve made it this far… Now on to bigger and better things.

View the super large photo, or the alternate, at Flickr.)


Rise Above



BTW, we moved to Delafield…

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