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November 07 2019

Stamp Carving & Holiday Cards: November Make-Along! on Sun, Nov 17

Fusion 360 Basics Class – Nov 18th

Learn the basics of 3D design with Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is a free beginner-friendly design software that also has a deep and varied array of tools to satisfy even advanced users. As we work together to each model our own 3D coffee mug, we’ll cover many common 3D modeling skills which can easily be transferred to your own projects. 

Class is open and free to members and non-members alike. For more information and to sign up, please visit the event page on BetterUnite. Registration is required. Come join us and let’s make some 3D things!

November 06 2019

Intro to Soldering Workshop: Make an LED Tile on Sat, Nov 16

November 01 2019

Tog Activities in November

It’s now November which means the start of Makevember. #Makevember is the making version of #Inktober, the idea is to challenge yourself to make something, if possible, every day in November and share your progress with your friends on social media. We love the idea to push yourself just to try your hand at making every day this month.

from #Makevember Poc’Kit leaflet by Nikolett Sulyok

In Tog, we are teaming up with Young Engineers (YES) – Engineers Ireland to host a night of lightning talks on Thursday the 14th of November from 7 pm. Each talk will last just 15 minutes where the speakers will talk about what they are passionate about. We will have a diverse range of topics with six speakers on the night. Please RSVP via Eventbrite to give us an idea of numbers by following this link.

Electronics and Micro Controller Night: every other Monday aspiring and inspiring electronics wizards come together to create amazing things with LEDs, single-board microcontrollers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s (well what IS the plural, then?) and other electronic gear. We have a room full of components and parts for beginners and experts alike, and there is a wealth of expertise available. This month we’re open Monday 4th and Monday 18rd November, 7 pm to 9 pm. Please bring your own laptop, we don’t have a supply.

CAD Night: Bring a project for the 3D printing machine (Prusa Mk 3) or our Lasersaur laser cutter, Krzysztof and Louise will show you how to solidify your ideas in plastic. Or wood. Every other Wednesday, November 13th, November 27th, from 7 pm to 9 pm, bring your own laptop.

Open Social: The Open Social is when we throw open our doors to anyone who wants to check out where these wonderful projects happen. This month’s event will be on Saturday 16st November, for members and non-members alike. Bring food or drink to share, or try our famous pizzas as baked in the equally famous pizza oven, weather permitting. From 7 pm onwards, until the last person leaves.

Craft Night: We have a profusion of materials and machines to cater for crafters and makers from novice to expert. Try your hand at embroidery, knitting, sewing, screen printing, woodwork, crochet, whatever takes your fancy. Our newest acquisition is a leather sewing machine – that’s a machine for sewing leather – which should be up and running soon. Same night as CAD night, Wednesday, November 13th and November 27th, 7 pm to 9 pm.

Lock Picking: Conor runs Lock Picking night, in which he demonstrates how to open a bewildering variety of padlocks, handcuffs, practice locks, bicycle locks, even the occasional car clamp – and passes these skills on for free. If you’re wondering how you’re going to free your bike when you’ve dropped the keys down the drain, come along. Mondays, on the 11th and 25th November, from 7 to 9 pm.

Coding: This runs on the same night as Lock Picking. If you’re looking for a space to work on your side project, bring your laptop and plug it in. We supply wifi and (some) expertise. Mondays, on the 11th and 25th November, from 7 to 9 pm.

Wikipedia Editing: Rebecca will show you how to edit the world’s biggest collaborative venture, the Wikipedia. Bring a laptop and add share your knowledge with the world, for pizza and the joy of knowledge. Monday 4th of November.

The Science Fiction Book Club: We are all interested in the Future, and every month the Science Fiction Book Club argues about what we are going to read next. But before that, we argue about what we have already read, and this month we are reading the Kassa Gambit by M. C. Planck. Lemon Cake is available. Wednesday, November 27th,

October 31 2019

Cut and Etch Your Own Designs with Our Laser Cutter on Sun, Nov 10

October 29 2019

Science Week: Lightning Talks

Science Week takes place this year from 10th till the 17th of November. Events are happening all over the country that ranges from workshops, site visits, lectures and everything in between.

In Tog, we are teaming up with Young Engineers (YES) – Engineers Ireland to host a night of lightning talks on Thursday the 14th of November from 7 pm. Each talk will last just 15 minutes where the speakers will talk about what they are passionate about. We will have a diverse range of topics with six speakers on the night.

Please RSVP via Eventbrite to give us an idea of numbers by following this link.


Talk Title: Are groundwater supplies reservoirs for Superbugs?
Description: A look at current levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in global groundwater supplies, potential factors driving it and why that represents an issue.
Speaker Name: Luisa Andrade

Talk Title: Looking down on Marconi – Radio but not as he knew it!
Description: Guilelmo Marconi was undoubtedly a pioneer in long-distance communications so only fitting that precisely 101 years after a historic first successful communication from Wales to Australia we celebrate his memory doing something amazing with radio. How we built an ultra-long-range IPV6 meshed network using rapidly evolving microcontroller-based IoT technology. The title is not as it seems!
Speaker Name: Garry Keogh
Twitter: @garrypkeogh

Talk Title: Defense in depth an open source perspective on building cybersecurity infrastructure.
Description: A talk about how open source security tools and platforms can be brought together and used to build superior secure infrastructure.
Speaker Name: Seb Dooris
Twitter: @SebDooris

Talk Title:
Description: How aims to create an online community to support existing Hackerspaces and help them to grow.
Speaker Name: Garreth Eccleston

Talk Title: The cell therapy revolution: arming the immune system.
Description: An introduction into a new era of medicine where our immune cells are empowered to fight cancer and other diseases.
Speaker Name: Valeria Annibaldi

More speakers to follow.

October 21 2019

36C3 Presale

For the 36th time the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) will host the Chaos Communication Congress between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

It’s a 5-day event with a variety of lectures and workshops on technical and political issues related to security, cryptography, privacy and online freedom of speech. It takes place in Leipzig, Germany from Dec. 27th to 30th, 2019.

Tickets are handled via a presale system using voucher code to enabled you to buy a ticket. We have been tasked with distributing tokens for Ireland. If you are interested in going drop us an email. For more information check out ->

NYC Resistor Halloween Party 2019 on Sat, Nov 2
Intro to Internet of Things: Build a Subway Countdown Clock on Sat, Oct 26

October 11 2019

Makers on Tap

You might want to check out Makers on Tap Episode 056 because not only was it recorded at Milwaukee Makerspace, but it was also recorded the night of our Maker Faire Party which happened on Saturday night after Maker Faire Milwaukee wrapped up. The space was filled with members and makers and guests having a good time and a few of them recorded things.

The episode has a brief talk with Caleb from MAKE, Eden (one of our members), Karen from The Bodgery and PPPRS, and more people! They also mention the space, and how *ahem* awesome it is, so that’s pretty cool.

(Fans of Makers on Tap might have also noticed Episode 055 has some mentions of the space, but Episode 056 is the meaty episode.)

October 09 2019

Cut and Etch Your Own Designs with Our Laser Cutter on Sat, Oct 27

October 08 2019

Visit NYC Resistor for Gowanus Open Studios 2019, Oct 19-20

October 06 2019

Crowdfund Your Next Big Project! An interactive workshop to plan a campaign on Wed, Oct 16

October 01 2019

Freier Software Abend zu Midori

Zum zweiten Freien Software Abend im C4 hält Cris einen Vortrag zum freien Webbrowser Midori.

September 25 2019

September 24 2019

Congrats, Bodgery!

Big congrats to The Bodgery in Madison, Wisconsin for moving to their new location at the former Oscar Mayer campus in Madison, now known as “OM Station”.

We’re happy to see another Wisconsin makerspace thriving and growing. Many of their members are friends of ours, and some of our members are even former members of the Bodgery who moved to Milwaukee.

Since there’s a whole Oscar Mayer tie-in for them, we were more than happy to loan them our Wienermobile (which was the League Champion of the Power Racing Series for 2017) for their Grand Opening this past weekend.

Best of luck, Bodgery! We expect to see great things from you!

Wayfarer “Magic Box” Replacement

Wayfarer “Magic Box” Replacement


My dad has been an avid small-boat sailor for absolutely forever, with his dad taking him out for the first time in 1965 when he was 8 years old. He took to it like a duck to water (pun). Grandpa had purchased a 14′ daysailer made (at the time) by MFG, of a class called the Pintail (see, pun). Dad bought it off him in 1975. Dad started taking me out on his boat when I was about 6 months old, and I have deeply enjoyed it all my life as well.

As the story goes, he and the rest of the Pintails used to have to select race times and even lakes from a lottery, so large and myriad were the small-boat fleets in northern Oakland County in the late 1960s and 1970s. When Dad came back to SE MI a few decades later (after running about the world for work, then settling in Milwaukee and raising me and my brother), he discovered that the fleets were gone. He teamed up with the owner of Avon Sailboats to start a mixed-fleet casual racing fleet on Stony Creek Metropark, CreekFleet.

His dream the last decade has been to get into one-design racing, where all boats on a given starting line are of the same class. This means that positions crossing the finish line are the actual race results; no handicaps, no calculations in the committee room. He has been buying and selling as many Pintails as he can get his hands on, trying to bolster the fleet, since he and I are effective caretakers of the National Pintail Class Association. Trouble is, despite bringing 12 boats into the area, we can rarely attract more than a handful to race at a time.

This winter, he was approached by someone who wanted to get rid of a slightly larger boat called a Wayfarer (I bet you were wondering where I was going with this). The Wayfarer fleets in the US Midwest and all the way up into Toronto are enormously active, so this boat might finally be the chance to do one-design regattas like the Bayview One Design series or the Clark Lake Fall Regatta.

But of course there are downsides to cheap boats. This particular boat, sail #2413, had not only seen better days but also had never been raced. While the Wayfarer is a racing sloop, #2413 had spent the years since her hull was laid in 1970 as a cruising family boat, and she bore none of the fittings or controls that a racing boat of her class typically bears. While there are many further stories to tell about Wayfarer #2413, newly dubbed “THX 1138: Stay Calm.” (because my dad is a giant nerd and gave it all to me too), the particular one I am trying to get to here is that of the “magic box”.

Unlike a lot of other small racing sloops, the Wayfarer class does not tension the rig by tightening the forestay. Instead, the jib hoist is used to apply as much as 300-400 pounds of tension (sue me, I was raised in the US) to the rig. The issue is, #2413 being a cruiser, only had a bare halyard and the grunt of the crew (me) to put as much tension on it as she could (not much), hampered further by the routing of the free end of the halyard out of the bottom of the mast, through a turning block, and thus pulled upwards to tension relying then on the crew’s (me) muscles (very minimal especially after a year of HRT). Most racing Wayfarers either use a 40:1 block and tackle set to tension the halyard after the sail was hoist, or a worm-driven friction winch contraption affectionately dubbed a “magic box”.

Since dad was uncertain whether he would keep #2413, he was reluctant to put the kind of money into her just yet that either of those venerable solutions would run him. In addition, as a not-very-svelte, not-very-graceful crewmember, I disliked the solutions because they are bulky and liable to give me even more things to run into during fast racing maneuvers. Enter my replacement (finally!).


I figured that a winning design needed to meet the following:

  1. Be cheap, preferably under $100 to replicate
  2. Be reasonably easy to make with common machine shop tools (though to be honest a CNC mill would have been helpful)
  3. Be compact, preferably protruding less than an inch into the cockpit from under the deck
  4. Mount along the side of the tabernacle, to catch the halyard as is dropped out of the bottom of the mast
  5. Be operable underway without power tools

As such, I ended up basing the design around an ACME leadscrew. Compact, inexpensive, and powerful, and driven easily by a socket and ratchet onboard (though a power drill on shore makes much quicker work of it). The system is self-contained, putting minimal force onto the old wood of the tabernacle, and protrudes barely enough for a socket to clear the drive nut. A basic metal lathe and manual mill are the only machines needed to make the custom parts, though of course CNC variants of either would turn out more consistent parts more quickly.

Custom Parts

There were a handful of custom parts that had to be produced, either from raw stock or as modifications to purchased components:

Bushing Blocks
Cut from 6061, these hold the brass bushings and support the leadscrew ends
Cut from 6061, this encompasses the bronze ACME nut and rides along the leadscrew, carrying the V cleat and thus the free end of the halyard
Turned from the leadscrew stock, one end is threaded for the 1/4-20 acorn nut, then cross-drilled for a roll pin to retain it. Both ends are turned to be a turning fit in the bushings.
Cut from the S/S angle, this piece serves as the backbone of the system, to put as little force into the tabernacle as possible

Purchased Components


Approximately 20 hours of my time went into the machining and assembly of the system, though I am a slow machinist so take that as it is.

Tooling Required

  • center drill or punch
  • deburring tool or file
  • drill for 6-32 tap
  • 6-32 bottoming tap
  • drill for 12-24 tap
  • 12-24 tap (1″ long cut, so maybe bottoming too?)
  • 1/4-20 die
  • 1/8″ carbide roundover router bit (edge break)
  • 1/4″ 82° countersink
  • 3/8″ diameter 3/4″ cut length end mill, minimal radius
  • 1/2″ diameter end mill or counterbore
  • 1/8″ drill (roll pin rough)
  • 1/8″ reamer (roll pin fine)
  • 5/32″ drill (clearance for 6-32)
  • 25/64″ diameter 4″ length drill (leadscrew/bushing rough)
  • 3/8″ reamer (leadscrew/bushing fine)
  • fly cutter or shell mill
  • 1/8″ radius lathe tool, HSS or carbide



I turned the bushing seats first, then further reduced a section on one end to the threading diameter for a 1/4-20 die. Then I hand-threaded it with a die; I hate cutting small threads on the Acer.

One exciting and unexpected incident was that the length of leadscrew was slightly longer than the Acer can turn in a stable fashion, and so suddenly the section in the spindle bore threw itself to one side and violently shook until I could stop the lathe. As a result, my leadscrew is slightly bowed. I fixed this by wadding it up with shop towels until it was a snug fit, and that kept things true for the rest of the cutting work.

Bushing Blocks

I squared up the piece of 6061 that would become both blocks and the car, then indicated it in clamping in a square fixture and the vice with the long axis vertical. Then I drilled and reamed for the leadscrew clearance hole all the way through the piece — pair drilling in the finest form!

After this, I parted off the rough thicknesses for the blocks on the bandsaw, then took them to final dimensions with a shell mill. I picked up the bore with an indicator, and counterbored one face on each block for the flange of the bushing.

I drilled and tapped the two 6-32 holes on the bottom of each block, then stamped a “T” and a “B” into each, to aid in reassembly (top and bottom block, stamps face the same way). Then I shaped the top curve on the belt sander, smoothed the cutter marks on a Scotchbrite wheel, then polished with a medium grit polish and buffer.

A light press on the Arbor press set the bushings in place at depth, and the leadscrew ran smoothly in each block. I did end up coming in and reaming the bushings back to 0.2510″, because installed on the frame, the leadscrew’s gentle curve jammed the system at certain points.


Once parted from the bushing blocks above, much the same treatment was done: cut to final dimensions on the shell mill, drilled and tapped the 12-24 holes for the V cleat. However, I also carefully slotted the side to encompass the bronze nut firmly and centered on the reamed bore.

To dress and break the edges, I used a carbide 1/8″ round over router bit on the highest speed the old Bridgeport spindle can reach (about 2500rpm). Cut like a dream with a little Tap Magic. Once softened, the same Scotchbrite and polish steps were performed.


The frame was simple: On each of the two faces in turn, zero the DRO on the corner as a datum, then center drill and drill each hole per the face’s hole chart, countersinking as needed. Two tapped holes did get the better of me, but I was using cheap carbon steel taps from Lowe’s so this was more or less expected.

Bench Testing

I had to test, of course!

Tensioning Test
Relax and Break Test


  1. Had to replace the 6-32 fasteners for the block attachment fitting with 1/4-20 points because I broke off the 6-32 tap in those holes.
  2. Had to ream the bushings because the leadscrew is slightly bent due to the incident above.


Mark the top hole, ensuring that the upper end of the frame is secure against the bottom of the deck, there is clearance for the 7/16″ socket to drive the acorn nut, and the lower end is flush with the aft side of the tabernacle. Drill a hole through the tabernacle large enough for the shaft of the tee nut. Install the tee nut and clamp down to set it using a strong clamp. Install a 6-32 1.25″ screw and mark the remainder of the five mounting holes. Remove the screw and drill those, then reinstall all five screws into their respective tee nuts.

Our connecting link had an opening too small to fit over our lacing eye, so we just leave the RF280 captive by a stop knot on the halyard. To rig, once the mast is up, simply drop the block’s loop into the connecting link and secure, then hoist the jib normally. Once taut, set the halyard into the V cleat and tension using the screw.



The day before Clark Lake, we fitted the system to the tabernacle and put tension to the rig for the first time. 125 pounds, easy, and hardly any backpressure on the ratchet handle. The forestay went slack as it was supposed to, the rig being held by the halyard.

Clark Lake Regatta 2019-09-21

The local newspaper for the lake did a really nice two-part write up on the regatta this weekend. Dad and I took ninth place overall out of 12 boats in our class:
Part one, for Saturday 2019-09-21, and Part two, for Sunday, 2019-09-22.

Thoughts / Lessons Learned

The system works well, though 12tpi means lots and lots of turning. A power drill or screwdriver is recommended for shore work. The system stays nicely out of the way during even heavy air sailing (I have many bruises, but none of them from the tensioning system).

All CAD files, in both original Autodesk Inventor 2019 (*.ipt) and IGES interchange (*.igs) formats, as well as 2D prints for the custom parts in both DXF and PDF, can be found on this project’s Thingiverse page. This allows for downloading, editing, and commenting for changes.

Happy sailing!

September 23 2019

OpenChaos am Donnerstag, 31. Oktober: Open Access und Plan S

Der C4 lädt herzlich zum nächsten OpenChaos ein. Diesmal gibt es einen interessanten Vortrag, der sich mit dem freien Zugang zu wissenschaftlichen Forschungsergebnissen und der Open Access Initiative "Plan S" beschäftigt.

September 22 2019

OMG’s Booth at Make Lincoln

On September 21 we brought our creations to Lincoln’s maker faire and spent the day chatting with fellow makers and faire attendees. Our booth was outside on the grass at Trago Park along with a ring of about twelve other groups. The weather was perfect, there was always something interesting happening, and there was a constant flow of kids past our table. Sarah brought a bunch of polymer clay and invited everyone to make their favorite tiny sculptures. By the end of the day all the clay was gone and the table was covered with colorful squishy pebbles.

Freier Software Abend am Montag, 04. November: Die Programmiersprache Go

Zum dritten Freien Software Abend im C4 hält Harald einen Vortrag über die noch recht junge Programmiersprache Go.
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