Maker Faire Season

It’s Maker Faire season, but what, exactly, does that mean? Are you scratching your head and asking, “What is a maker faire?”

A maker faire is marketed as “The greatest show and tell on Earth.” I like to think of it as being similar to a county fair. At a maker faire, individuals and groups display, demonstrate and may offer activities of the projects they have completed or are in process. If you read Adventures in 3D Printing, then you know that Jason’s projects revolve around 3D printing, and he participated in the flagship Bay Area Maker Faire near San Francisco, California.

The flagship maker faires are the bigger venues, such as New York, Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit. Mini-maker faires, though, highlight smaller cities or regions. These events are family friendly, encouraging everyone’s participation. Plan to spend some time there to explore. Makers tend to be excited to share their experiences. Ask questions!

The Kzoo Makers participated in the Southwest Michigan Mini Maker Faire this past weekend, on Saturday, June 4th. We had two tables of items, with the grandfather clock standing tall between them. Behind the tables several members took turns chatting with attendees. I sat in one of Don Batt’s hand carved chairs and observed from the front side of the table, sometimes connecting with people. Don made sure to point out the 3D printed clock. He also pointed out the tools for carving the handmade chairs, including the chair I sat in for most of the day. The fascination with Dan’s robot sometimes came down to its teddy bear pilot. Most people thought Chris’ laser cut helmet would weigh more. The material? Paper. The polymer clay hearts equaled love at first site. It’s a good thing the hearts are attached to the backing!

Part of the maker faire event is being able to do things. In particular, I have wanted to learn to solder, and there is a kit specifically at maker faires. Volunteers are there to walk people through it. I sat next to kids with a mom helping the younger one. In the end, the volunteer looks for the big smile on your face that indicates the light is blinking. Plus, you get to keep the (rocketship!) pin.

While the Southwest Michigan Mini-Maker Faire is based outside in tents, this can vary. The Lansing Mini-Maker Faire took place inside of a mall. The Grand Rapids Mini-Maker Faire is at the public museum.

If any of this sounds interesting, know that maker faire season is just starting. The Maker Faire in Detroit is in July and includes access to the Henry Ford Museum. Kzoo Makers will be participating in the Grand Rapids Mini-Maker Faire in August. You do not have to wait to attend a maker faire to learn about projects. In fact, you are invited to check out the Kzoo Makers during open hours. More information is here.

What project do you want to make?

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Adventures in 3D Printing

Be patient, you will make a ton of mistakes and that is how you learn,” according to Jason Preuss, who is referring to 3D printing. Preuss is a part of the membership at Kzoo Makers, and also a 3D area zone leader. You can usually find Preuss in the 3D print area on Thursday evenings or check out his website here.

November 2012 became an important turning point for Preuss. This is when he acquired his first printer. Preuss has been busy creating during the last 4.5 years, and sometimes he has a chance to show the results to the public. Most recently, Preuss traveled to the San Francisco area to be a part of THE Bay Area Maker Faire, one of the flagship maker faires world wide, from May 19-21st. How did he end up in California?

“At the Midwest Reprap festival (MRRF) I met Mara from Matterhackers and shortly after we started working on a plan to get the clock to Makerfaire,” Preuss said.

The clock mentioned is Preuss’ grandfather clock print, specifically revealed at MRRF. The clock is six foot two, and took 1400 hours to print with PLA. Preuss noted that he used ESUN brand for the dark brown areas and Colorfabb for the light brown.

Preuss said “It was the second large scale clock I printed. The main lesson I learned was to add pegs so everything fit together well and not to skip any false plates in the wood pattern.”

The wood pattern is where Preuss starts. He purchases, then scans, a scroll saw woodworking pattern. Preuss tends to use GIMP to clean up the scans, and Inkscape to create the file where the wood is supposed to be. OpenSCAD is his choice to create the stl files, the type of file that the 3D printer requires.

How does one get a six foot two clock from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to San Francisco, California? Preuss shipped it UPS ground. Preuss also displayed an example of the new Velocity Painting technique along with some examples of his photo to print technique. Before exhibiting at the Maker Faire, Mara at MatterHackers took the time to chat with Preuss. You can watch the interview here.

In a May 22nd Facebook post, Preuss (pictured third from the left) wrote “Sitting in the San Francisco airport wrapping up a really cool 3d print adventure. Started on Wednesday in Orange County where I was given VIP treatment at the 3d print company Matterhackers along with a bunch of 3d print Youtubers (yes there is such a thing) for a huge meetup. From there I flew up to San Fran where I was an exhibitor at the World Maker Faire (the big one). I met a ton of interesting people, had Grant from Mythbusters walk past my booth (those camera men are totally security detail) and my clock won an Editors Choice award. Good thing I go back to work tomorrow so that inflated ego can be swiftly dealt with 😀. Looking forward to being home as I had to do the trip solo.”

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Hearts and Crafts Show ‘n Tell

Holidays can be a fun theme to use for projects. Back in February 2017, Kzoo Makers found several ways to put that idea into action with 3D printing, laser cutting, and polymer clay.

For starters, Jason in the 3D printing area made a heart just for Kzoo Makers! You can see the design on the screen and the finished sample below.

3D heart pendant design

Kzoo Makers 3D heart pendant

3D heart pendant

Dan focused on laser cutting a glass tile. These have to be etched in reverse on the bottom to show through the top. Do you love it more?

Laser cut glass tile

Laser cut glass tile

Finally, Cathy hosted a Valentine’s polymer clay pendant workshop in the arts and crafts area. For $5 a person, we learned about different tools to use to design our hearts, and how to play with the clay. We baked our items in a toaster oven at the end. Some of the hearts ended up as gifts. We also had a choice of colors. What I remember most is how my hands looked. Can you tell the color of my hearts?

polymer clay workshop

Hands after using polymer clay

KM Valentine's polymer clay workshop

KM Valentine’s polymer clay workshop

Baking the clay

Baking the clay

polymer clay project display

Will’s (blue) project, made with help from dad.

The extra items from the Valentine’s Day theme are part of a display table by the lounge area at Kzoo Makers, at least as of today. They are a few of many Kzoo Makers projects on display. Another way to see examples of projects is at a maker faire. In fact, when you visit a maker faire (mini to large) you will see examples of a variety of projects from all types of makers. The makers may be a part of a space similar to Kzoo Makers or they may be completely different. Think of it like a science fair or a county fair where you can check out (and sometimes, try) different projects. Maker Faire “season” (if there is such a thing) has officially begun. The Kzoo Makers participated at the first Lansing mini-maker faire at the end of April. The next one we will be a part of is on June 3rd at the Southwest Michigan Mini-Maker Faire in St. Joseph. For more information on the faire, click here. If you go, please come and say “hello” and let us know if you love us more.

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A Community Snippet

If you have seen the Kzoo Makers Arts and Crafts area then you may know that more room is available for wall decorations. What better way to add one than as a group project? With the book “Snippet Sensations: Fast, Fusible Fabric Art for Quilted or Framed Projects” by Cindy Walter as a guide, we learned the technique to create a wall hanging. Cathy lead four of us (a mix of members and non-members) first through background from the book, and then through practice with the materials. The point of fusible is that there is no sewing. We ironed the fabric being used as the backdrop or the pieces,  cut the pieces then peeled the sticky backing, and went to work on the layout. We chose a basic style for the vase and then created many leaves, flowers or grass stems and collaboratively discussed the layout. Once we agreed to a final design, Cathy ironed the fabric so the pieces would stick. The final wall display has a border and a mat which Cathy added later. Check out the photos below for the process.

The Arts and Crafts area hosts regular events on the second and third Thursdays of the month. More information about Kzoo Makers available here.

Cathy ironing the fabric.

Snippet Wall Hanging

The fabric with the sticky backing, ready to peel.

Snippet Wall Hanging

Katherine planning a design

Snippet Wall Hanging

Julie cutting out stems

Snippet Wall Hanging

Helen working on the layout at some point during the two hours.

Snippet Wall Hanging

Helen, Stacy, Katherine and Cathy with the final design.

 

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What to do at a Makerspace

Have you wondered what projects people work on at a makerspace? Whether they are independent or a part of a group? If the makerspace is anything like Kzoo Makers, you will probably find a variety of activities.

Kzoo Makers has space in two different buildings next to each other, and areas within the buildings are zoned for types of activities. For example, the arts and crafts area has a monthly open project night on the second Thursday of the month. We also try to coordinate a specific project on the third Thursday of the month. For example, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we made hearts and other decorations with polymer clay in February. (You could see the red from the clay on my hands until after I washed them.) We also created a Snippet Wall Hanging as a group and learned how to create mandalas. Look for other blog posts here with fuller descriptions.

It’s not all arts and crafts, though. In fact, after listening to an expert from the Audubon Society in February, many attendees stayed to build a bluebird house in the wood shop. (I recently heard that a bluebird has moved into at least one of those houses). If you come on a Tuesday night, there might be others who utilize the Raspberry Pi lab from 5-6pm or ask a question of someone with more expertise. Similarly, on Thursday evenings, you might find a busy 3D printing area or that projects are being run on the laser cutter. Both areas have someone dedicated to answering questions on Thursday night. These areas are accessible to members during all open hours.

One reason that I like being a part of the Kzoo Makers is that there is a lot of creative energy flowing. It is interesting to see what others like to work on and how they put it together. For example, look at what Georg did in the Bass Balls: Taking the Low Road post. I learned a lot just by asking him questions. Or, how about Chris’ metal roses?

So, yes, I do go to work on my own projects, which are usually photo related. It wouldn’t be worth the monthly fee if that was all I was going to do. The best part is learning from others, either because of their projects or from their knowledge of something new to me. The other great part is that I do not have room or money to purchase most of the equipment, and a Kzoo Makers membership allows me to access what they have (with proper training) for a fraction of the cost. I had not heard of a surger before, for example. Now that we have one, I have seen it in action as one of the other members has been figuring it out. Look at her go in this video!

And finally, sometimes it is fun to go and socialize, which is scheduled weekly for Saturdays from 5-6pm and may happen informally during any of the open hours. We even have popcorn nights sometimes to watch projected movies in the meeting area. Sound like fun to you? If you haven’t already, you are invited to come and tour during open hours and learn more about becoming a member.

What do you want to make?

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Bass Balls: Taking the low road


By Georg Rumpf

Playing bass for a good number of years I developed a taste for having a nice sound system in my car. So a while back, I got into making sub-woofer speakers for my cars. It all started with a custom job for my car. I got married and made one for my wife. Being my second attempt, hers turned out better than mine, so naturally, I was on a mission to one up the one I made for her.

It happened that one day I ran across Daniel Wilkins. He invited me down to a maker space in Kalamazoo called Kzoo Makers that he was helping to get off the ground. The Kzoo Makers is a shop loaded with machinery and devices for people to come in and make whatever they want.. With the access I had to cool tech and manufacturing equipment, it became clear I could improve my previous designs.

Let’s start with some background and fun theory. The technical reason for having a speaker box is to eliminate the sound waves coming off the back of the speaker. The sound waves coming out of the rear of the speaker is out of phase 180 degrees ( inverted ) to the waves coming out of the front. As the speaker cone travels in and out, it pushes air in front but also draws air from the rear and vice versa, creating sound on both sides. When these sound waves meet, they cancel each other out or distort each other resulting in sound loss or change. So the enclosure separating the rear from the front seeks to eliminate this.

I started with the shape. As shown in the next picture, a sphere is a great shape for a speaker enclosure.

Access to 3D printers at Kzoo Makers made manufacturing the spherical enclosure an easy possibility for me.. The spherical enclosure I designed included bracing to fit it inside a square enclosure. This allowed me to add another layer of sound absorption to this sub-woofer, which I will detail further.

Being a sub-woofer, this speaker will generally be low frequencies. Low frequencies pass through materials fairly easy and make it more difficult to isolate the sound waves coming from the rear. We have all probably walked by that house pumping music and probably noticed what you heard was mostly bass. Oddly, human flesh makes a very good sound absorber for low frequencies. Since I couldn’t use actual flesh, I decided to simulate this with gel. The space in-between the inner sphere and outer box gave me a good place to put it.

Finally, ready to mount the front face, run the wire for the speaker, install the speaker, and mount the amplifier!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me just give my highly subjective opinion and state that this little sub has some serious kick. Now If I get some calls from Bose for patent infringement, I’ll know I did something right.

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Tuesday in the Raspberry Pi Zone

Tuesday the Raspberry Pi enthusiast participated in a demonstration of a small robot project from Adafruit.  The robot came in a DIY kit form and was assembled by Paul Moreno.Ron Schubot, the Electronic Zone Mentor, did the fine soldering that required a very steady hand.  The group had previously worked with the Python “Turtle Module” and had found that experience translated well in using the “Robot Module” we imported into Python.

After demonstrating the Python script that came with the kit Mike and Shawn wrote their own Python script to control the Robot.

 

All in all it was a good learning experience and provided the building block to expand the Robot’s capabilities by adding sensors and even a camera in the future.

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Rostock Max 3D Printer Complete

Rostock Max v3 desktop 3D printer project completed today with Mark Peters and Ron Schubot completing the final calibration and test print.

The DIY kit was donated to the KZOO Makers by www.SeeMeCNC.com

KZOO Makers Space will be holding weekly 3D printing workshops every Thursday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 P.M.  Come on out and learn all about this great technology.

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Raspberry Pi Tuesdays

We had a full room for our first Raspberry Pi Tuesday.  We gave a brief history of the purpose and development of the first Raspberry Pi in 2012 and the subsequent iterations. 

We did a hands on demonstration of the Python programming language by playing a game of tic_tac_toe and then examining the code behind the game.  And then importing the Turtle module into Python we examined and ran code to draw lines, circles and other geometric shapes in black and white, as well as colors.

We also did a brief introduction to Scratch, a program specifically designed to teach children programming logic.

And we ended the session with everyone starting up a game of Minecraft and experiencing the game that is popular with our younger generation .

We are planning on making Raspberry Pi Hour every Tuesday for the month of January and beyond depending on interest.  Next week we plan on looking under the hood at the terminal and command line, as well as, configuration and possibly some more coding.

 

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Charter Membership Opportunity

Time is running out to become a Charter Member of the Kzoo Makers! A Charter Membership provides some unique benefits and the sign-up deadline is December 31, 2016. To receive more information about the Charter Membership opportunities please use our CONTACT FORM.

The Kzoo Makers are currently enrolling new members. The basic monthly membership has been set at $50.00 per month. Further detail on other types of membership will be provide as they are developed.

So, if you are a Do-It-Yourself individual or tinkerer, the Kzoo Makers Space will provide the tools, work area, and mentoring to assist you in your projects.

Featuring a Raspberry Pi Room, 3D Printing Area, Electronics Room, Laser Cutting, Woodworking Shop and Meet-up Area. A future Metal shop, Crafting Area, and Machine Shop are in the works.

Come visit us during our normal business hours and tour the facility

Monday 4-8pm

Tuesday 4-8pm

Thursday 4-8pm

Saturday 4-8pm

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3D Printer Build Phase II

03step2-completeWorked resumed on the Rostock Max v3 desktop 3D printer this week.  The DIY kit was donated to the KZOO Makers by www.SeeMeCNC.com and has a six step assembly plan to follow.  This week we worked on finishing Step 2, the bearings and base assembly.                                              ——->

01step3-start-assembly

Scott and Shane began work on Step 3, the top assembly.

<———-

New method for pressing bearings work well.  And Step 3, Top Assembly finished successfully.

02step3_pressing-bearings 04step3-assembly-complete

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3D Printer Build

Members of the KZOO Makers gathered on Sunday morning to assemble a Rostock Max v3 desktop 3D printer.  The DIY kit was donated to the KZOO Makers by www.SeeMeCNC.com and has a six step assembly plan to follow.

3d-printer-buil-team

Mark Peters and Ron Schubot lead the project with help from Rich Mather, Scott Mischke, and Paul Moreno.

3d-printer-step1-teamRon and Mark work on the wire assembly, Right while Rich and Scott work on the bearings and base assembly, below.

3d-printer-step2-team

3d-printer-build-step3-ready

Paul prepared the top assembly for build, right. The team nearly completed the first two stages of the build and will continue the build at a TBA date and time.  Any one interested in being a helper or spectator please comment  and someone will contact you.

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KZOO Makers Meetup and Social

map-kzoomakerskzoomakers-space

The Kzoo Makers invite you to come down to the new space on November 12, 4:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.; take a tour, socialize, and participate in the general meeting. These will be scheduled the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Thanks!

Please note that open hours are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 4-8pm.

RSVP – if you wish

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A project from Don Batts

Don Batts made the makerspace a sign.

White oak, V carved with 90° carbide bit, software for design was Aspire (Vectric Corp). The CNC machine is run by Mach 3 software using g code generated by Aspire.

The CNC machine is from Legacy (Explorer model) and has a workspace of 25″x25″x5″, and machines to a tolerance of a few thousands of an inch.

DonBatts001

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Makerspace BBQ

DanWilkins001Makers001

Monday 9/5/2106 at 2:00 pm. We will be grilling some hot dogs, bratwurst, hamburgers, and chicken. Bring a dish to pass. See the makerspace and enjoy some food.

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Lets Start Making the Makerspace

In the next few weeks, the Kzoo Makers will be cleaning and setting up the 1102 E Michigan locale for members. Come down on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday, and/or Saturday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

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