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February 16 2015

Last Minute Leather Belt Making Class – This Saturday!

Why spend 80$ on a high quality leather belt at a random store when you can not only learn how to make your own for a fraction of the cost, but at the same time learn how to manipulate and understand leather so you can use the knowledge learned in this class for possible further […]

February 15 2015

Gimbal Hack

Well, it would be awesome if I had a sweet drone to fly around so I can take some awesome videos.  Even if I had one I’d probably crash it.  I don’t have one, but I did get my hands on a sweet Tarot GoPro gimbal.  If you didn’t know, gimbals are devices that use active feedback to cancel unwanted pitch and yaw. I’m not a good cameraman, so I need this if I want to take some decent video for a Kickstarter project I’m working on.  The gimbal is supposed to take 7-16 volts, but I hooked it up to a power supply at the makerspace and found out that it can function at 5V, which is great since I have some spare USB power banks.

The high tech gimbal hardware was combined with my low-tech “block of wood and random rods I found in the makerspace” technology. This hack took about 20 minutes, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.



February 13 2015

Emergency Power

10957720_594803736637_7918288386385030315_nA few Lab members recently asked me "how do you survive power outages?"

Here's how, and it's all available at your website or department store of choice (cough cough Amazon, Wal-Mart)

One (1) marine deep cycle battery, as large as you can afford
and/or can carry (approx $80) (must buy in store)

One (1) 12 volt trickle charger (approx $30)

One (1) 12 volt to 120 volt inverter, sized according to your needs. 200 watts will power a few devices for around $40; do yourself a favor and get a 600 watt Tripp Lite or similar, around $90

Optional: One or more 12V accessory plugs, to wire into b10988927_594803641827_8314235716196964016_nattery (approx $10/ea)

My current "Power Box", pictured below, is currently out on an off-grid island staged and waiting to run some Civic Wireless customer premises equipment. The box will run network gear on a small inverter for weeks on a full charge.

Part 2: Exploring solar trickle charging.

Questions? Email: help [at]

Weekly Maker Spotlight #7 – Brad Felber

bradfelberHow did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

Doors Open Milwaukee

Why did you decide to join?

Get out of the house once a week and learn how to make things for my two young daughters.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

Learn new skills.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

It’s a great place to get ideas on making.

What do you plan to work on in the next few weeks?

An Aldo Leopold bench.

February 11 2015

Test Event Test Post

I am testing to see if a new way of doing eventbrite. If this works we will have a local copy of all of the events we have and it will be integrated into our website non-shittily. I am quite frankly suprised that this doesn’t break our website like the last attempt. Also, Please don’t […]

Art -> Code

Come in for a cuppa Thursday in Tog for some delightful doodling!


DSC_1201 DSC_1191


Amazing art & mess making session, open to all from 4pm on in Tog.

Stick around from 7pm for some computer wizardry for Coder Night


Tog 2.0 keeps it kickin’!

Past Life Regression and 3D Modeling Workshop

February 10 2015

Tarot Deck Making and Reading Workshop
Updates on The Temple of the Unticketed

February 09 2015

Open Source LED Cube Software
Resistor Projects at Art Hack Day

Hive game using real insects

So I came across these interesting insect specimens encased in acrylic, and thought to myself that these would make snazzy custom hive pieces.

First step was to measure up the acrylic blocks for size then take a photo and bring it into inkscape. Draw a rectangle that lines up with the acrylic block edges, select the picture and rectangle and go Object->Clip->Set to crop the image to the edges of the block. Then scale down the image to the real block size in mm.

These blocks are 45mm by 30mm so I create a green rectangle to those dimensions then center the picture in this green box.


To create the hexagon go the pentagon&star icon, then enter 6 sides and drop the hexagon near the picture. I’ve made the hexagon 30mm from face to face so that it maximizes the area of the block. Line up the hexagon in red with the parallel sides in line with the width.

The original tiles are either 25mm or 38mm depending on the version, but as these are custom it’s an acceptable compromise between the two.


Another compromise is that the insect icons have the head pointing towards the flat face in the original but we point them to the corner, otherwise we end up cutting into the body of the insect.

Once happy with the alignment, set the bed area in inkscape to 1220mm wide by 610 high in File->Document properties. This is a prerequisite for using our Lasersaur, but it also makes it easier then to place where the piece will be cut relative to the bed.

Save your work out and remove all the elements except for the green rectangle. We save off this rectangle as rect.svg then do the same for the red hexagon that we center centered with the rectangle. Start up the lasersaur app or connect to it as a web service and import in the rectangle. Add it to the queue and set the feed rate to 1500 and the laser power to1% . What we are doing here is just scoring the mdf destruction sheet so we can line up the acrylic block.

Once the rectangle is scored do the same for the hexagon.



Then take one of the acrylic blocks and spray mount the back of it. (More on this later). Align the block with the scored square and press down lightly.

Send the hexagon back into the lasersaur queue but set it to 3 passes with each pass at 50% power at 300mm/min feed rate. This should get through the 8 to 10 mm of acrylic.


Once the heddy fumes have extracted out from the bed we can open it and examine the piece. It should just lift from the mdf with minor force.

A few more runs and we have the start of our own custom set of Hive pieces.



As the spray mount is tricky to remove, some white spirits will wipe it off quite easily. The trouble is that if you machine or laser cut acrylic it can set up micro striations in the material (crazing) that show up once you apply a solvent or glue. A workaround could be to stick down the block with double sided sticky tape.

Another issue is that you need to get the feed rate & power balance so that you don’t scorch the edge. You can tidy this up by using a scrape or stanley blade to clean up the edges, then flame polish the edge with an oxy-acetylene torch.

February 08 2015

Book scanner

Starting making book scanner today in tog.

February 07 2015

Maker Faire UK 2015



We will be off again to Newcastle in April for Maker Faire UK. Being the largest Maker Faire in the UK, its a huge gathering of all sorts of makers. We always have a great time talking to the public and seeing our fellow UK Hackerspaces. This will be our 3rd year showing casing at the event.  Last year, we got a great surprise seeing students of from Trinity’s CTVR on the Intel stand. (Photos) We hope this year to see some more Irish makers taking the trip.

Weekly Maker Spotlight #6 – Emily M.

emily-mHow did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I heard a lot about Milwaukee Makerspace while I was in undergrad at UW-Milwaukee. I had complete studio(s) to work in though, so never made it down to the space until after I had graduated. I finally got a membership through work so I could make things for my job.

Why did you decide to join?

I needed access to equipment and knowledgeable people that I was sorely lacking after exiting academia.

What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

I make devices, prototypes, and templates for work. So far I’ve gotten to work with the laser cutter, 3D printers, powder coating equipment, metal shop and finishing areas.

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

There’s something for everyone at Makerspace, and there’s always people willing to lend a hand or a brain to get your project done.

What do you plan to work on in the next few weeks?

I’m currently working on a measuring device for work that will help us measure the length and girth of custom garments that are near impossible to accurately measure. I would also like to get back to the jeweler’s bench and get going on a couple of personal projects.

February 06 2015

New machines are about to come online!

In addition to making things, many of our members like making machines that make things! We should have a functioning vacuum former, a 4’x8′ CNC Router, and a 4’x8′ CNC Plasma Cutter in the the next couple of months. While the vaccum former was acquired from an auction, the other two have been built at the makerspace over the last year and a half from scavenged materials. The frame and the rails for the plasma cutter were used in a perfume bottler in a past life. We can’t wait to see what our members will make from these awesome machines!

A few pictures of the above mentioned equipment can be found below:

2015-02-03 19.51.14

2015-02-03 19.51.21

2015-02-03 19.52.05

2015-02-03 19.52.17

2015-02-03 19.52.42

2015-02-03 19.53.20

2015-02-03 19.53.28

2015-02-03 19.53.34

2/15/15 – Inaugural Tanning Station: One leathercraft interest group meeting

Due to a strong showing of interest, we will be holding the first Tanning Station: One leather craft interest group meeting on Sunday, February 15th! We will meet in the textiles workshop upstairs at 7pm.
What is TS:One?
  • A forum for sharing experience and knowledge about leather, leather crafting, tooling, and leather-related topics
  • A group of craftsmen and craftswomen who will share their projects and give constructive criticism
  • A place to find project inspirations and/or help others with their projects
If you’re interested, please come at 7pm on Sunday, 2/15. Additionally, if you are experienced in leather crafting and would like to demonstrate a skill or discuss something interesting, please email me at rasputin243 [dot] gmail [dot] com or comment on this post! I would like to have one or two people present during the first meeting.
For more information, check out our wiki article!
See you on Sunday, 2/15!

Skull Radio on the Pat Kenny Show


Our very own Jeffrey Roe was on News Talk‘s Pat Kenny Show to talk about Skull Radios and engineers week. A bone conduction kit that allows the user to listen to sound without making a sound. The full interview can be found on the news talk website 27 minutes into the clip.  Click here to listen back.

If you want to make your own skull radio come along to our workshop.

February 02 2015

Lasercut Manicures

CNC Build Club – 2/5/2015 7:00pm

This month’s CNC Build Club meeting will be a demo night.  Bring something to show.  It can be a project you finished, something you made, a work in process or something we might think is cool.

I will be bringing several things I have recently completed.

The bipolar ORD Bot: This is a CNC machine I built for 2015 ORD Camp.  It is a super simple drawing machine with some fun math behind the motion.

The DC Power Supply Interface: This is something I did for Inventables that we will be selling soon.   It really cleans up the wiring when you use a DC power supply on a CNC machine.

The TB6600 Stepper Driver Shield:  This is another Inventables project.  The TB6600 can do a ton of cool CNC stuff.  Now you can interface it to the free grbl CNC controller.

The CNC Club is a monthly meeting of Chicago area people passionate about learning, building and using digital fabrication equipment.  It is held at the Pumping Station One Hackerspace.  It is open to non members.  We also have a Google Group called CNC Build Club.

Each meeting we talk about, build, train on and use CNC machines.  We have 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers and vinyl cutters.  Come out and join the fun.

Please RSVP on Meetup.  I will have a CNC or Inventables related door prize to a random person who RSVPs and is present at the meeting.

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