Luckily Inventables provides technical drawings and CAD files, so I grabbed the PDF file and opened it in Inkscape…
I had to delete a lot of the measurements on the drawing, but when I was done I had a file that I could easily laser cut. But alas! I have no laser cutter at home… No worries, a bit more work on the file (changing all the curves into segmented lines, connecting all the disconnected lines) and I was able to save a DXF file…
And the DXF file was easy to import into OpenSCAD and extruder as a 3D (well, 2.5D) file and get an STL file, which can be printed on a 3D printer, which is what will be happening in a few minutes…
Digital Fabrication… it’s a thing.
The folks from Solidscape dropped by the DCRL at UWM to talk about their 3D printers that can print with wax. These are typically used in the jewelry industry for lost wax casting, but also used in the medical, dental and engineering fields.
The resolution of the prints was simply amazing. They’ve also got some unique things that their printers do, like milling the build plate flat before each print.
Their machines are not cheap, starting at $25,000 and going up to $55,000, but the quality is pretty amazing, and depending on your needs, that price may be cheap.
Obviously lost wax casting in metal is a prime use of these pieces, but there were a lot of other applications mentioned, including multiple methods of creating silicone molds.
The details was pretty amazing, and not even in the same ballpark as what I’ve seem from any FDM printer. If you get a chance to see the output from a Solidscape printer, do it. It’s pretty impressive!
Grace Choi is pretty awesome. She’s come up with a way to print makeup using a hacked inkjet printer. Yeah, what? You can check out this HOW TO, or just check out how she plans to disrupt a huge and extremely profitable industry.
I found her demo to be a bit unpolished from the software end, but she seems to know that there’s a great opportunity for developers to fill that gap.
I’m not really into makeup, but I am into 3D printing, and disrupting entire industries is definitely an interesting proposition. Here’s a bit of what Grace had to say that really illustrates the kind of person she is.
“One person alone can’t disrupt this entire beauty market,” Choi says. “Together, as a community, we can disrupt it. I’m willing to take a hit financially because my number one motivation is for change. This is a very important social mission for me. I think of Mink as an educational tool for kids, and one that can get girls interested in technology. I don’t need to be on some billionaires list. I’m aggressive and I’m going to make this happen. Before I die, this [beauty revolution] will happen.”
And if that’s not enough, there’s also this one:
“The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullshit. They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.”
Definitely one to watch…
Yesterday I was talking to Caitlin (a fellow Grad Student at UWM) when two Undergrads approached us, and asked if they could ask us a question, and that question was “What gift would you give to the next generation?” I tried to answer something along the lines of “A better world” but I wasn’t very articulate. I thought about it a bit more, and here’s my answer.
I want to give the next generation a better world. A world with more understanding, and more knowledge. Not just information, but real knowledge. Useful data that can be used to make informed decisions. A world with less problems. Solutions to existing problems so that the future generation doesn’t have to worry about them.
I was thinking about the idea that you should leave your campground better than you found it, and stumbled upon The Boy Scout Rule (applied to software in this case, but it doesn’t matter.)
The Boy Scouts have a rule: “Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.” If you find a mess on the ground, you clean it up regardless of who might have made the mess. You intentionally improve the environment for the next group of campers. Actually the original form of that rule, written by Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, the father of scouting, was “
Try andleave this world a little better than you found it.”
I’d highlight “leave this world a little better than you found it.” (And yes, I marked the “try and” in the above quote as deleted because I’m trying to leave this bit of wisdom better than I found it. :)
That’s it. It should be that simple: Leave this world a little better than you found it.
Did I mention I’ll be at Maker Faire New York on Sept. 20th & 21st, 2014? Well, I will! (Actually, I’ll be arriving on Friday the 19th, to be exact.)
I’ll mainly be covering the action for the Power Racing Series with multiple cameras and multiple roles. Chances are good you’ll see me running around the track and lying on the ground during the races. I may do a bit of driving as well on Sunday.
I also hope to catch a lot of the fair, as there will be much to see, and so little time to see it all…
If you’ll be there too and want to meet up, look for me at the racetrack, or get in touch with me through the various methods that seem to work for such things.
Hey, this post is only four months late! I had these files sitting on my desktop so I thought I should do something with them instead of just deleting them. I’ll explain a little bit about the process of preparing artwork for screen printing in a timely manner. (Unlike this blog post.)
Back in May I did a screen printing demo at Bay View Gallery Night at Milwaukee Makerspace, so I figured I would make a new screen. I also figured I would use the vinyl method.
I started with some weird drawing of a TV monster with the letters “BVGN” using a Sharpie on scrap paper.
I scanned it in as a black & white image at 600 dpi and saved it as a TIFF file.
The resulting scan looked like this. No grey tones, just high contrast black & white.
I then imported the (raster-based) TIFF file into Inkscape so I could convert it to vector artwork. The “Trace Bitmap” command lets you do the conversion.
Here is the artwork as an outline. Vector artwork is needed for the vinyl cutter part of the process. Typically there would be some cleanup after the conversion process, but I was doing this all really quickly and didn’t have time for perfection.
For the event, I tore pages from an old book on video production and used the pages to print on. I wasn’t after amazing quality with these prints, I just wanted something to demo during the evening. I got a few clogs since the screen sat around with ink in it for over five hours, but that’s how these things go.
The nice thing about using vinyl is that it’s fast, and if you’ve got an idea you can go from a hard-drawn image to screen printing it in a matter of hours. The vinyl method doesn’t work for all artwork though, but that’s the trade-off.
Well, folks… I’m quite pleased to announce, it’s time for a change!
In December of 1993 I graduated from UWM with a BFA in Graphic Design. Now, nearly 21 years later, I’m returning. I’ll be pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in a new program focused on Digital Fabrication and Design at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. Yes, I’m going to Graduate School.
I’ve had quite a bit of variety in the last two decades of my career, and the list of things I’ve done is getting lengthy, including design, software & web development, project management, photography, video, and audio production, system administration, model/actor, prop maker, technical editor, communications director, product development, writer, robot builder, race car driver… (OK, that last one is only slightly true.)
The one thing I’ve been surprised by when telling people about this change is that nearly everyone has been extremely supportive and excited about it. Their excitement may be due to my own excitement being reflected back, but I’ll take it!
Anyway, you can expect more changes in the coming months, but I’m pretty sure that no matter what the change brings, it’ll be exciting.
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
We’re planning a Nerdy Derby event at Maker Faire Milwaukee, and like last year, I wanted to 3D print a bunch of wheels, and yes, it is fun designing strange wheels. Most of my designs this year are refinements from last year, and I wish 3D printing were as simple as hitting “print” and walking away, but that’s not always the case.
I found that if I printed one object, it worked fine. If I tried multiple objects, things were failing, either with one or more objects, or everything. I’d try to print two wheels at once, and one would work, the other would fail. Slic3r allows you to generate the G-Code needed to print files, and has an option to print multiple objects, either by printing them all at once, or one at a time. Both of those options just weren’t working for me, for whatever reason. (My 3D printer is a RepRap I built myself, and yes, it has issues now and then.)
But you know the old saying… if you can’t fix it in hardware, fix it in software! So I did… You’ll notice that the image above shows four wheels with a small square connecting them. I ended up pulling an STL file into OpenSCAD (my favorite 3D modeling application) and then duplicating it four times and adding a small 1mm tall square between them to connect it all into what the printer would see as one single object.
It worked! I’m now seeing much more success with printing, and getting sets of 4 wheels connected with a thin piece of plastic that’s easy to remove. Oh, I should also mention that our friends at Inventables were kind enough to donate some filament to this cause, so if you have fun building a car with 3D printed wheels at Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Inventables booth and thank them for making it happen.
(BTW, MegaMag is printing way more wheels than I am, and going 40-Up!)
So the President (of Milwaukee Makerspace) emails me and says “MMPIS countdown days to Maker Faire… can you make it happen?” Luckily, I can decipher this to mean he’d like to see a countdown screen on the MMPIS. Oh, the MMPIS is the Milwaukee Makerspace Pi-powered Informational System, and whipping up a new screen to do something simple is, well, simple. So I did.
It’s one image, about 20 lines of CSS, 20 lines of HTML, and a few lines of PHP. I hacked together some code, uploaded it, and sent Brant the instructions to load it into the kiosk via Screenly.
So the next time you’re at Milwaukee Makerspace, take a look at the countdown, and then freak out about how little time we have until Maker Faire Milwaukee!
Much has been written about the death of Robin Williams this week, and much more will be said in the days to come, but after reading Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves, I don’t know that I want to read any more…
In June we hit up Kansas City, but everyone knows that July means Maker Faire Detroit, and the craziest Power Racing Series event of the year, pulling teams from the Midwest and East Coast (and even NIMBY from the West Coast joined us this time!)
It was definitely crazy, with eighteen cars we ended up splitting one of the races into two heats, one for “fast” cars and one for “slower” cars. (And hey, Audrey drove Lotusaurus Wrecks to victory for Milwaukee Makerspace in the slow race!)
Once again I did a lot of filming during the event, and this time had three GoPro cameras in place. Here’s the official #PPPRS video:
But wait! There’s more! There’s a YouTube playlist titled Power Racing Series – Detroit 2014 with nearly 40 videos of the action. I’ve still got a lot of uploading to do, including more Moxie skits, but it should keep you busy for a while.
There are still a few more races this season, including Fort Wayne, Indiana, New York City, and even something in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! I’ll be at that last one, as it’s five miles from my house, though I’m not sure about the other two… If anyone wants to sponsor me to attend a Maker Faire, let me know!
Disclaimer: I’m not really much of a car guy. I mean, I own a car, but I’ve never been into repair and maintenance of them. Probably because when I was in high school there were “gearheads” (people totally into cars) and I just didn’t get it. I’ve mostly considered cars as a means to get from point A to point B. I’m more concerned about being able to haul things than I am about doing it in some super-powerful manner or even looking going doing it.
While I’m still not really into “regular” cars, I’ve had a good time being involved with the Power Racing Series, where we modify children’s toys and race them. Milwaukee has had a team since the start, and I’ve been involved for three seasons now. It really is a combination of serious fun and serious engineering, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that repairing a car body by drilling holes in the plastic and connecting pieces with zip ties is the right way to do it.
Yup, totally serious. That’s how I repaired my wife’s car this past weekend. Drilled holes, connecting pieces with zip ties. Done. (And yeah, this isn’t the first time I’ve repaired this car with zip ties!)
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.
Saturday night I got a text message from someone at CBS58 telling me that Brett Wiesner had died, and asking if they could use one of my photographs for a news story. The news was shocking, to say the least, but I immediately gave permission to use any photos I’d taken. My wife and I were driving through Bay View at the time (I was the passenger) and I thought about what photo was being referenced, and then checked Flickr, and informed my wife that she too was in the photo. It freaked her out a bit (she was a big fan of Brett’s) but I told her they would probably crop her out. (They didn’t, which made it all the more weird when we watched the news.)
I didn’t know Brett very well, but did work with the Milwaukee Wave for years while z2 was doing all the marketing and photography for the team, and he seemed like a great guy, so the news of his death is even more saddening.
Last year we did a little Power Racing Series event in Fort Wayne, and at the last minute I was asked to do the filming. Fort Wayne was fairly laid back as compared to some of the other bigger events, but it was a ton of fun. I handed all the footage to Jim at PPPRS and the video turned out good (check it out!)
This year my services were requested again, and I had a bit more time to prepare. Once again, Jim kicked this out pretty quickly, especially considering I handed him about 50GB of footage. (I had a total of five cameras running during some of the races.)
Chances are good I’ll be shooting again in Detroit at the end of the month, and there’s a chance I’ll be shooting in New York in September. If you see a guy laying on the tires with a camera, that’s probably me. (And yeah, I’ll get around to doing my own edit at some point!)
The news is out! We’re throwing a Maker Faire right here in Milwaukee! The fine folks at Milwaukee Makerspace in collaboration with the file folks at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum have been planning for months (and months!) and can now officially announce our own Maker Faire. (And yes, it’s a full-scale event, not just a Mini Maker Faire. This is going to be big!)
Maker Faire Milwaukee is happening Saturday and Sunday September 27th & 28th, 2014 at Wisconsin State Fair Park. (For the record, this Maker Faire is within 5 miles of my house. Exciting!)
And best of all, this Maker Faire is totally FREE to attend, thanks to the sponsorship of many fine Milwaukee organizations.
So yeah, plan to attend, and check out makerfairemilwaukee.com in the coming weeks as we add more information. If you do the social things, follow @mkemakerfaire, like makerfairemke, and +1 all the posts.
If you’re interested in being involved or helping to run things, get in touch with me and I’ll point you in the right direction.
(And hey, I’ve got plenty of time to prepare my talk…)
The Day of Making is upon us! Help me celebrate June 18th (which also happens to be my birthday) by pledging to not just make things, but help others make things. Pledge to share your knowledge with others, to help make the world a better place.
Start a new project, finish an old project, tell others about a project… Don’t sit idly by consuming when you could be creating. Check out the Make: Projects site, or Instructables, or Hackaday Projects.
Being a maker, creative, designer, artist, whatever, you may tend to have a different perspective on things. When I moved to designing things with a computer (instead of on paper) over 20 years ago, I still wanted to have things on paper, so printing things made sense. I used to go to service bureaus to have nice prints made, and eventually I got a good (enough) printer at home that allowed me to design and print all on my own.
The first night I ever got hands-on with a 3D printer, my questions were about designing things with it. and I used software to design something and then we printed it. This, I believe, is the maker way. Now, contrasting this with selling points of the New Matter MOD-t, which is (of course) “a 3D printer for everyone”, I have to wonder if 3D printing really is for everyone…
Maybe it makes sense, as 3D printing is definitely a disruptive technology, but I often think that there’s a lot of hype. Here’s what they say:
What if you could send a physical object to a friend like a text message? What if you could subscribe to a series of objects like you do with a podcast? What if adjusting a 3D model was as easy as Instagramming a photo?
Wow, that would be awesome to come home and see my printer has yet another whistle sitting on it. (Kidding!) But really, subscribe to a series of objects? Instagramming an object? These are all things that have more to do with software and distribution than with 3D printing. In fact, you can (sort of) do all those things now. I’m wondering if the “Consumer” 3D printer will be like the inkjet printers we have today. Just sort of “there” and not something people think much about.
Remember Gutenberg, the dude who introduced printing to Europe?
…the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information — including revolutionary ideas — transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities…
That’s some revolutionary stuff, there! In fact, it sounds a little like the Internet. Sure, people may tell you that the Internet is for cat videos and to see where your friends are currently getting drunk, but that’s the silly stuff. There’s some big-picture things that you may not be aware of if you missed the early years of the web (1994 to 2004).
I see the power of 3D printing for creative people first, for those who have ideas about creating things, and improving things, and changing lives, and yes, eventually it’ll become mainstream and some stupid person will send someone a 3D model of their genitalia so they can 3D print it, you know, just like a text message.
Recently Steve asked about my setup for the photos I take. So I thought I’d show a few behind the scenes shots.
The setup consists of a table with a white sweep. There’s a roll of white paper held up by a few pieces of wood and a length of PVC pipe. This lets me unroll the paper to replace it as it gets dirty and worn out. A few spring clamps hold the paper in place at the edge of the table.
The camera sits on a tripod and there are two light stands with flashes and umbrellas. The flashes are old, and fully manual. One of them does have a dial to adjust the intensity, but the other does not. I end up moving them closer or farther a lot to adjust the light. The stands make it easy to move them around and raise and lower them. (There’s also some sandbags holding them stands steady.)
The flashes are fired by a set of wireless triggers, and even though I’ve had them for years, I’ve rarely had to replace the batteries. The flashes are a different story. I’ve got a set of 12 Sanyo eneloop rechargeable batteries and two chargers. Each flash takes 4 batteries and they tend to eat through them pretty quickly!
I shoot with a white background most of the time, but if I need black I’ll toss down some black fabric, or more likely, a piece of black posterboard. I’ve also been known to use hot pink posterboard, or yellow, or blue, or whatever I pick up at the dollar store.
I’ve got a few folding reflectors as well, but often I’ll just grab a piece of white foamcore board to use as a reflector. (Cheap foamcore is also available at the dollar store, though I tend to use the better stuff from a real art supply store)
I also shoot RAW images, which gives you a lot of room to adjust things when processing the images. Oh, and right now I’m shooting with a Nikon D3200, and for lenses there’s a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 and a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 that tend to get used the most.
That’s the basic setup. Any other questions?