Maker Faire Milwaukee Needs You!

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


Documented Projects


I like to think that there are 3 stages that a project can exist in:

  1. In-Progress
  2. Completed
  3. Abandoned

In-Progress might mean you are in the planning stages, or you’ve completed it, but are revisiting it, perhaps improving it. Some projects never move out of the In-Progress stage, and that’s fine, for multiple reasons.

Completed usually means “it’s done!” (but could mean it’s a project you don’t actively work on anymore.) Maybe there’s little things here and there, maintenance issues, if you will, but for the most part, it’s considered done. You might even just call a project Completed if you get frustrated and don’t want to take it any further.

Abandoned is an interesting one. You might think that some projects get abandoned before they even get started, but since I consider the planning part of a project In-Progress, I would suggest that every project exists as long as you are thinking about.

Thinking about a project is a good idea, but if you take it further, you might talk about it, and hey, you might even write about it.

In any stage of a project, you can document it. You can write about it, and take photos of it, and even shoot some video. (You may also publish this documentation, which is a good thing to do!) Documentation allows us to look back and learn about what we did. It allows others to look at what we did and learn from it, and maybe improve upon it, take it further, solve the problems we couldn’t. Even if you had an idea, started a project, and abandoned it, there is great value in documenting it. Others can learn… learn what went right, what went wrong, and maybe decide to try solving the problems you could not.

Documenting (and publishing) information about your project has another value: inspiration. You can inspire yourself (and others) when you look at what you’ve done.

So please, document your projects… the world needs more inspiration.



Design Inspiration

Design Inspiration

I need to collect some good links for an upcoming project… Anything with interior design, industrial design, signage, package design, graphic design, or just plain design

Workplaces, spaces, collaboration stations, desks, conference rooms, displays, doors and windows, walls, art, digital, physical, and on and on…

I’ve got a list of sites that highlight interesting design, but if you have more, please let me know!

OK, that’s my list… any suggestions?


Verbal Assault (Affected Me!)

Verbal Assault - Trial The year was 1988. I heard Verbal Assault’s album Trial, and I fell in love.

I spent the entire summer enjoying that album. And then fall, and winter, and the next year.

Verbal Assault also came to Milwaukee, and played at the Odd Rock Cafe to a small crowd. A very small crowd. I think it was a Saturday afternoon… the weekend Summerfest opened. It was great seeing them, but the live experience doesn’t have an affect on me the same way Trial does… even today.

For years I didn’t hear Trial… I had it on vinyl and it wasn’t available on CD, and my respect for artists prevented me from trying to find some illegal download of it. For years I checked hoping to see Trial get released in some digital form, but it never happened. Finally, I gave up, and digitized my old worn out copy of 12″ musical magic. Hisses, pops, and cracks galore…

And it’s amazing. The sound quality is not great… I’ve got a worn-out needle on an old turntable with my battered vinyl. It’s also the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.

Maybe it transports me to an idealized time in my life: young and mostly care-free, but I tend to not buy into that salad days bullshit and in thinking about it, it’s the powerful words and music that still affect me.

Listening to it more than 20 years later, I start to wonder if it’s had a major effect on my life, or if it’s some strange coincidence that I find so much of it relevant to whom I’ve become.

So many of their songs have to do with persevering, and not giving up, and continuing when the odds are against you. Never stop. In all my years, I’ve always found it hard to quit things I believe in. It’s a rare thing for me to do. I don’t like to admit defeat. There’s plenty of things I probably should have quit over the years, but didn’t for one reason or another. I find a way to rationalize things. (I guess It’s a good thing I tend to do creative things, and not self-destructive things.)

So right now, I’m listening to Trial by Verbal Assault. And when I’m done with that I’ll probably listen to it again. That may continue for a while.

Here’s what someone else has to say about Trial.