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December 22 2014

Surveyor’s Tripod Lamp

Joseph created a very unique lamp using an old surveyor’s tripod, blast proof industrial light, and galvanized pipe.

IMG_0856 (1) IMG_0853 IMG_0855


Laser 2.0… ARRIVED
New 3d Printing Station

December 19 2014

TOG open on Sat 27th December

get in hereBy Sat 27th December, after two days of Christmas festivities, hopefully you’ll be in the mood to get out and about. We’ll be opening up TOG from about 2PM until very very late. It will be open social style opening……just an excuse to come in, hang out, get some music on, call out for some food etc. If you’re around town, drop in for a break from the post Christmas shopping. The kettle will be on.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about coming in or even joining. It’s a great chance to see the space and what we’ve been up to in 2014. Whether you’re a member or visitor, its free to come in. We’ll be talking about plans and projects for 2015.  Hope to see you on the 27th. The craic will be mighty.

December 18 2014

Blinky Ornament workshop this Saturday!
Stickers! We has em again.

Weekly Maker Spotlight #1 – Mike B.


We’re adding a new feature to our blog!  We’ve started sending brief surveys out to our members at random.  Each week, we will select one and publish it on our blog.  Our first participant is Mike B.!


How did you first find Milwaukee Makerspace?

I believe I met Tom G and Ben who were speaking about their home made electric vehicles at a Barcamp.

Why did you decide to join?

I joined up because I had a couple projects where I needed a little advice/training to get me over the hump.



What do you do at Milwaukee Makerspace?

So far, woodworking and metalworking.Testing p1

What would you like to tell others about Milwaukee Makerspace?

You’re guaranteed to find someone with some experience in any skill or technique you’re looking for.

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

I need to do a little basic electrical work to build an EXIT sign lamp. I’m also looking at a welding project to build a bench with a coat rack for my apartment.

See Mike’s blog posts here:
Building Patio Furniture For Fun and Profit
How to Build a Kitchen Table in an Assortment of Easy Steps

December 17 2014

Emergency Heat

With some inspiration from the potential snow storm last week, I endeavored to test my emergency preparedness for heating my apartment when the power is out.  I never did lose power, but the test was successful and I am happy to know that if I did lose power in the winter, I can keep warm at home.

I attached an inverter to a marine battery, then plugged in my Rinnai heater and it ran just fine.  The Rinnai does buzz a bit loudly, but that's because the inverter does not produce a "true-sine-wave" signal.  I tested the setup with a box-fan attached to the inverter as well and it worked fine.

With the fan and the heater both running on LOW the draw was 115W. Some quick and super dirty math approximations tell me that the battery (if fully charged) will run this about 11 hours. This would be longer if the box-fan isn’t running (less power would be used).

105 Amp hours (sticker value, full charge)
105 Amp hours x 12v = 1260 watt hours (approximate average voltage)
1260 watt hours / 115 watts = ~11 hours

Of course, the inverter can be run from any 12V source.  My Honda Civic has an alternator with a faceplate rating of 70Amps.  Some quick math tells me how much power this can potentially provide.

70 Amps x 12 Vdc = 840 Wattsdc

I believe the inverter is well within the ability for the alternator to run.  So the car could potentially run the inverter as a generator as long as there is gasoline in the tank.

Check out the rest of the info and pictures at my blog.


Inverter attached to battery


Rinnai heater on extension cord w/ box-fan


I november deltok HackBergen i Sparkio Build Night.
Instructables håper vi kan levere 2 instructables av ting vi har laget som involverer Core med Internet Button Shield, og fristen for innlevering er 5 januar 2015.
Så hvis noen av dere har en prosjekt på gang, som bare trenger ferdigstilles – ta kontakt, så gjør vi det sammen!
Hvis vi leverer, så er det mye større sjanse for å få være med i tilsvarende build nights i fremtiden..
Spark Core with Internet Button Shield

2014-12-16 Siste hacketirsdag 2014

Takk for 2014 og velkommen tilbake i 2015!
Erfaringsmessig er det travle tider lillejulaften og i romjulen, og biblioteket stenger kl 16:00 så da utgår våre møter resten av året.
Vi sees 6 januar 2015! :)

Woodworking for Dilletantes

December 15 2014

Square(ish) Pegs

Laser-Cut Pegs

Often laser cut parts gt attached at 90 degree angles, using finger joints, or screws and t-slots, but there may be times when you want to stack pieces of wood and have them aligned…

Pegs might be the answer!

Here’s a few photos of the pegs I’ve been experimenting with. For these pieces I don’t have a lot of room to have multiple pegs at opposing angles, but I can see where that might be useful. For these pieces the peg is really just for assembly alignment when gluing it all together.

Laser-Cut Pegs

December 14 2014

Update on the Never-Ending Printer Project

I installed the Y-axis screw drive in MegaMax using the old NEMA-23 stepper motor.  A couple really good things came from this:

1) I can now adjust the bed leveling screws from the underside of the bed using thumbwheels instead of a screw driver.  I know, I know, everyone else in the world has been able to do this from day 1…

Thumb screw for leveling print bed.   Screw is threaded into teflon block.

Thumb screw for leveling print bed. Screw is threaded into teflon block.










2) Unlike everyone else in the world, with fully supported linear guide rails, the print bed does not move in any direction but along the Y axis.  In the old scheme, with the end-supported round guide rails, the rails would flex and the bed would move up and down when applying pressure to it (sometimes even the screw driver pressure to adjust the bed leveling screws).  Now, if the bed moves at all in the vertical direction it’s because the bed plate (1/4″ aluminum) itself is flexing!

A couple bad things were also discovered:

1) The vibration and noise problem I was hoping to solve has not been solved.  It has been made worse, though the character of the noise is improved to musical tones instead of just harsh buzzing and rattling.

2) Several failed test prints at ever decreasing jerk, acceleration, and speed settings have demonstrated that the old motor simply doesn’t have enough torque to drive the screw reliably at reasonable printing speeds.

Shift occurred in Y-axis due to insufficient motor torque.

Shift occurred in Y-axis due to insufficient motor torque.













Further research into the first problem indicates that the vibration and noise are inherent in using steppers, and worse in MegaMax than in machines that use NEMA-17 motors because of the higher detent torque in the NEMA-23 size motors.  Detent torque is the little bump-bump you feel when you turn the motor shaft by hand.  The solution to the problem is to use a good driver for the motor and a higher voltage power supply.  The little A4988 chips in the Pololu drivers on the RAMPS board are very unintelligent- all they do is provide microstepping.  They work OK for NEMA-17 size motors because of the speeds and low detent torques in those motors.  When used with NEMA-23 motors the driver limitations become apparent – as they have in MegaMax- lots of noise and vibration.

Good stepper drivers are DSP based and automatically sense resonance and damp it electronically.  They use phase controlled sine wave currents to drive the motors smoothly.  Fortunately, DSP stepper drivers for NEMA-23 size motors are pretty cheap.   Here’s video of the DM542a driver pushing a NEMA-23 motor around.  I have ordered a DM542a driver.

The best power supply for stepper drivers is not a switcher, and running steppers from a switching supply will often result in a dead power supply.  I will be building a simple, unregulated transformer, rectifier, and filter cap supply to go with the new driver.

Next came the question of how to determine how much torque is needed to properly drive the Y-axis.  A bit of research took me here: Motor size calculator.  You just select the scheme for which you want to size the motor, enter the appropriate data, and it magically tells you how much torque you need to do the job.  When I ran the numbers on MegaMax, it told me that I need about 350 oz-in of torque (about double the torque of the motor I have).  I did a quick search and found a Chinese made (of course) 425 oz-in motor for $50.  Also on order…

The motor mount I am using is designed for a NEMA-34 size motor with which I use an adapter plate to allow the NEMA-23 motor to fit.  Since I’m buying a new motor anyway, why not just get a NEMA-34 motor?  It turns out that the best stepper for the job is generally the smallest motor that can provide the necessary torque.  A NEMA-34 motor could provide much more torque but the detent torque and rotor inertia would work against smooth and fast operation, and require a bigger power supply.

Back side of MegaMax showing motor mount, adapter plate, flexible coupler, and drive screw  in Y-axis.

Back side of MegaMax showing motor mount, adapter plate, flexible coupler, and drive screw in Y-axis.












The ATmega2560 and RAMPS boards will be replaced by a SmoothieBoard.  It has a much faster processor, much better connections for motors/external drivers, etc.  It currently lacks an easy way to add an LCD controller, so I may have to connect to a computer to start prints up (it has ethernet and a built in web server so it can be accessed from any computer on the network).  When a clean way to add an LCD controller becomes available, I’ll add it.  SmoothieBoard review


December 13 2014

I want to document some of my travels in a better manner. After looking around for a few map design inspirations, I came across the following example from a trek across Iceland.


I spent a quite a bit of time over 3-4 days before I found a solution. I was able to create custom maps within Google Maps, Google Earth, and Open Street Maps but they all had issues. I did not like the busy look of all base maps and the Google services don’t export custom maps in a vector format. Open Street Maps can export vector maps but the my requested area was too large.  I tried a few JavaScript libraries as well but they all use the above mentioned services for map tiles and I wanted an independent file on my local machine.

So, I decided to create a map myself. I downloaded the following .SVG map of Scotland from Wikimedia.


Using Inkscape, I deleted other countries, external water bodies, and remote islands. I thought about a unified border color but I ended up really liking the representation of water versus land boundaries.


Looking better already! Now, I did not want to sit down and manually trace my journey. Since this file doesn’t contain any geographical information, my best bet was to somehow get my path in a vector format and manipulate it into the same scale, plane, etc., as map above.

I started by recreating the trip in Google maps engine. The train and bus journeys were easy to plot – it’s just like looking up directions in Google maps. Plotting a hike was a little bit more complex since I did not record my GPS location. I was lucky to find a .KML file from a better prepared hiker through a Google search and imported it into Google maps engine without any issues. I exported the .KML file when I was done.


The file was saved as a zipped .KML (.KMZ ) file so I used Google Earth to save it as a .KML. This is starting to sound like an ad for Google. I swear I am not a shill – Ask Jeeves is a much better search engine, see!


The .KML file was processed into an .SVG using my new best friend, Indie Mapper.


Since I only cared about the lines, I deleted the description and points using the menu on the left. Remember kids, always, and I mean always, read documentation. I spent a whole day scaling, rotating, skewing, bargaining, manipulating nodes, punching walls, trying to match the path output to the map from above. If I had simply read on the Wikimedia page, that the map had a Equirectangular projection and was scaled 170% in the N/S direction, I wouldn’t be writing this at 4AM in the morning. You can change the projection within Indie Mapper. Scaling was easily done in Inkscape later.


Export the file as a .SVG.


Yay! on three everyone yell, Compatible! Compatible! Compatible! Make sure you are alone.

Upon path import, the first step was to scale the height only by 170% to match the map’s relative coordinates. Then, the height and width were scaled proportionally till they “looked right.” I compared the relative location of the path to ocean and lakes (I really should say “Lochs”) in Inkscape versus Google maps so make sure everything looked right. Since I had the right relative dimensions, it only look a couple of minutes and Voila!


I manually colored the hike in green and motorized travel in red. If I decide to laser cut this file, I’ll vector “burn” the border and water bodies on lower power versus the path. I’ll keep playing around with the design and maybe add day hikes as well but I am happy with the results for now!


Reposted bykathol kathol

December 12 2014

Advent 2.0

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Yes, there will be an hardware upgrade necessary next sunday.

December 11 2014

Make-Along Workshop: All Things Paper

Watts-up-Pi misst Watts

Der Pi ist schon lange montiert (Danke Burkard!), jetzt loggt er auch die Leistung:

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Vi prøver nå fremover å poste bilder på Instagram, og ser om det er en brukbar kanal for oss å poste bilder og videoer av det som skjer hos oss.

Biblioteket har allerede en konto der, som vi av og til dukker opp i..

December 09 2014

Talk: Bitcoin – Everything you were afraid to ask … and more!

December 08 2014

3D Printed Smallpipes – Part 1

Smallpipes Printing Test RingsScotland is a place that, for the average American, provokes strong reactions. Single malt Scotch whisky. Haggis. And bagpipes. At least in America, the thought of 3D printed bagpipes may inspire fear in some people. Bagpipes were considered weapons of war, and commonly thought to be banned following the unsuccessful Jacobite Rising of 1745. (The Act of Proscription 1746 doesn’t directly mention them, though.) Personally, I’m quite a fan of pipe music, as well as other Scottish folk music, such as the Corries, and the music of Nova Scotia, especially Mary Jane Lamond.

I bought a Highland bagpipe practice chanter years ago, only to discover that the angle I had to hold it to keep my fingers in the right position was torture on my wrists. I figure it would be more comfortable to play when attached to an actual bag. But acquiring a full set of Highland bagpipes wasn’t terribly practical, and that would probably lead to my neighbors breaking down my door and coming after me with torches and pitchforks should I try to practice indoors. Or at least they’d complain to the condo association. So I forgot about that for a while.

Then in spring of 2014 I saw the Dreaming Pipes Kickstarter posted by Donald Lindsay of Glasgow. He was creating a 3D printed chanter with a customized extended range for the Scottish smallpipes, which are, as their name suggests, smaller, and designed to be played indoors. But he was also creating plans for a full set of smallpipes modeled off a 17th century design that could be 3D printed, with a laser cut bellows. And he was also designing 3D printed Highland bagpipe drones. I’ve got access to four 3D printers and a laser cutter at Pumping Station: One. It looked like fun to build. So I backed it.

Smallpipes Test Rings CloseupThe project did run behind schedule, but at last I started receiving STLs and instruction videos for building the smallpipes. I posted on the PS:One list to see if anyone was interested in doing a group build, and one other member joined in.

The first decision: ABS or PLA. Both will work. ABS is more easily “machined” after printing, e.g. you can ream out holes to exact dimension more easily. But PLA allows for printing finer details and may be less brittle for the thinner walled sections of the pipes. So I’m opting for PLA and using the LulzBot TAZ3 printer.

Before printing any actual parts, I need to determine whether the printer will extrude the right inner and outer diameter. Donald sent along test files. After getting PLA (unfortunately, all we had on hand were weird colors, so I opted for orange) loaded and the printer heating, I checked online for the recommended settings. This printer has a 0.35mm nozzle, and the recommended Slic3r settings are 180C extruder, 50C bed, 0.14mm layers, no support, 100% infill. Unfortunately, Slic3r crashed on the test print. Apparently the rings were spaced too close together. Elizabeth helped me break the STL file into separate objects and move them farther apart on the build plate. This worked.

The next step was to measure them with a micrometer and send the results to Donald. I used a micrometer to attempt to measure the inner and outer diameters of the four rings. This was more difficult than it sounds. They seemed to spread out a bit and make a lip where they touched the glass build plate, so I tried to ignore the lip on the OD measurement. I’m also concerned the thinner ones might be flexing a little bit when I measure them with the micrometer. I tried to take 3 different measurements of each:

ID: 3.89, 3.90, 3.91 OD: 12.50, 12.52. 12.62
ID: 6.91, 6.92, 6.96 OD: 12.70, 12.76, 12.80
ID: 10.96, 10.97, 11.04 OD: 14.24, 14.27, 14.34
ID: 10.92, 10.96, 10.97 OD: 17.20, 17.24, 17.31

Smallpipes Measuring Test RingAccording to Donald, the first piece is the bore itself. No problem there. The second is the reed socket and should be 6.75 mm. But the reed has rubber wrapped around it, so it should still fit. The third and forth correspond to the tuning chamber, and they should all be uniform. This might be a possible problem if the slide doesn’t fit nicely, but I won’t know that until the drone is built. I can also try sanding it if I run into trouble, or using an insert of thin walled brass hobby tubing. So it looks like we’re ready to start printing smallpipes drones.

These also require reeds. Donald recommends purchasing from Pipe Dreams Reeds in Glasgow. They also sell the necessary beeswax coated hemp used to make a seal between parts of the pipes. So I contacted them regarding what reeds I should buy. I heard back, and it seems there may be some confusion between the original prototype smallpipes and the current version, so they’re getting in touch with Donald. Once they get back to me, I plan on placing an order for two sets of reeds for the three drones.

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