3D Printing Camp ReCap

3D Printing Camp Wisconsin

It all happened pretty fast… I think it was the beginning of May when Bob Waldron floated the idea of a BarCamp-like event focused on 3D printing past me, and of course I couldn’t ignore it. I helped set up the web site and did some promotion and sponsor-wrangling, because I figured if he was throwing such an event, I wanted to see it happen so I could go to it. :)

3D Printing Camp

Getting sponsors took a lot of time, but in the end (and I mean very end!) we got what we needed, and were able to cover most of what we wanted for the event. People got fed, Sector67 got a few bucks for use of their space all day, and nothing went wrong… well, almost nothing.

If you attended 3D Printing Camp you owe a big round of applause to Bob Waldron, but you couldn’t give him one on Saturday because he was not there! Despite all the comforts of our modern world, if your plane gets delayed, and you get stuck, you miss things… and Bob missed the event. (Don’t worry, this will just ensure he does it again next year.)


So what did we do? Well, we printed. A lot. And we also had a few sessions related to 3D printing, modeling, security, repairing things, and we just generally got to meet everyone else who is into 3D printing. Remember back when you were the only person you know (not counting online) who was really into something, and if you got to hang out with others who were into the same thing, how awesome that was? Well, yeah, that was it. I think we had about 20 printers, and saw over 60 people come through the door throughout the day. Not a bad turnout at all.


For me one of the highlight was learning more about Sketchup. Kemper Smith led an amazing sessions showing tips & tricks for 3D modeling and I took plenty of notes.

And then there was Tony Warren, who showed up with a partially done RepRap and got it printing by the end of the day. I can certainly attest to the fact that having an unfinished printer is something no on wants, so getting it running is pretty awesome.


The event was pretty laid back, and plenty of people just spent most of the day (and evening!) printing, which is cool. There could have been more sessions, but when you’ve got all those printers in a room, you want to talk about them, and trade tips, and melt some plastic. It’s all good.

As for the RepRaster 5000, it started a little shaky because I could not get my bed up to temperature, then I noticed a ceiling fan above me! I moved and all was well, for a while. I printed a few things, and then I did a print that failed, then the next one failed, and then it was time to just give up. I had managed to knock things out of alignment earlier and I think things just went pear-shaped from there. Too much printing I guess. Once I got home I got everything back to normal, leveled the bed, and it’s back to normal. (It’s always a RepRap adventure somewhere…)


3D Printing Camp


For me, this story starts back in October 2011 at BarCampMilwaukee6. A few of us stayed up the entire night with a MakerBot CupCake printing things. I’d pretty much caught the 3D printing bug at that point.

So when Bob Waldron pitched the idea of “3DPrintingCamp” I was interested. I helped launch the web site, and have contributed (at little bit) to organizing and attempting to get sponsors (I’ve got none yet) there’s still a lot of work to do before July 21st, 2012.

Yes, the date is July 21st, 2012. The location is Sector67 in Madison, Wisconsin. All the other details are at

And what is 3DPrintingCamp? Well, it’s a participant-driven unconference focused on the emerging technology of 3D printing. You may be interested in 3D printing for personal fabrication of functional parts, or maybe you want to create beautiful objects that would fit in the “art” category. Perhaps you want to produce organs to save lives. The people involved in this event believe that 3D printing will change the world.

If this is all a bit above your head, that’s OK. Join us and learn about 3D printing technology. Find out what a spool of plastic and an open source bot can do for you.

Oh, this event is FREE, but you do need to register. As of my writing this we’ve got 41 people registered and we’re limited to 125 people max, so sign up now.

And if you’re interested in sponsoring, we could really use the help to make this event even more awesome… thanks!


Wisconsin Hackerspaces / Makerspaces

Wisconsin Hackerspaces / Makerspaces

Just over a year ago, I don’t think I could have created this map… but here’s the current list of hackerspaces/makerspaces (that I know of) in Wisconsin. Some are well established, and some are just getting started. Either way, if you’re looking for a group of people and/or a space to hack/make things, here’s a guide.

I’ll start in Milwaukee, where we have both Milwaukee Makerspace and Bucketworks…

Bucketworks has been around (in various locations) since 2002 and besides being the venue for BarCampMilwaukee for the past 6 years, it’s also a great place for co-working, meetups, hackathons or other creativity-related activities.

The Milwaukee Makerspace as a group has been around for about two years, but just got their space less than a year ago. In that time they’ve managed to build up membership and acquire quite a list of impressive equipment. If you’re into physical making of things in the areas of electronics, robotics, woodworking, metalworking, 3D printing, electric vehicles or any sort of building/making, it’s an awesome place filled with smart people.

Over in Madison we’ve got Sector67, which is more of a “community workshop” where pretty much anyone can come in off the street and work on a project. If you want to be a member, you’ll help keep the place alive, and gain other privileges, but if you just need help on a project, show up and see what happens. They’ve also got some private space set aside as a small-business incubator.

Up in Appleton we’ve got a group known as The DHMN (which stands for “Distributed Hacker/Maker Network”) The DHMN doesn’t have an actual space yet, but they’ve got some dedicated and enthusiastic members who meet regularly and are slowing building up members so they can someday have a permanent space.

MakeBit is just a bit south of Appleton in Fond du Lac. I don’t know a whole lot about MakeBit, but Tim Bertram is the guy behind it, and hopefully he can make it happen get a space at some point. (Right now it seems they are just gathering interest, which is definitely the right way to do it.)

A bit north of Milwaukee and Madison (and about the same distance from each) is the Beaver Dam Makerspace. Hacker/Maker Jason Gullickson is the guy behind this space. I say “space” because it appears they do have a space thanks to some solid connections in the city, but they’re still finding people interested in being members. I’m hoping we see some action here in 2012.

The newest group/space I’ve heard about is the Wausau Collaboration Center. The folks behind it seem pretty focused on making it happen, and seem to be following along the lines of Sector67’s “community workshop” idea. This isn’t surprising, as many of the people involved in these groups/spaces have met each other, know each other, or someone influence each other. (That’s probably a good thing!)

Oh, there’s a few more spaces mentioned on but the domains seem to be gone and I’ve never heard of them.

And if I missed any, let me know! I’d like to eventually visit them all, meet the people behind them, and maybe even get stamped.