Why Collaboration between Organizations is Important

What do an amateur radio group, a woodworkers guild, 4H, Michigan Jaycees, a Linux users group, and a Cub Scout pack have in common? They are examples of outside organizations who have utilized the Kzoo Makers space for their own activity in one of several different ways.

Meeting Space

Sometimes an organization is looking for a meeting space and has a connection to a Kzoo Maker member for a sponsor. Michigan Jaycees used this connection for a JCI training event. More recently, a 4H Drone Club utilized the meeting and workshop areas a couple of times as they learned about building quadcopters (drones). The first photo is the results from their last visit on February 10th. In both of these cases, the groups paid a fee to Kzoo Makers and ran their own activities, plus the sponsoring members offered tours. A win for everyone involved.

Field Trip

Organizations who meet regularly sometimes will take a “field trip” to a new location. They still hold their regular meeting and then add in a tour and presentation from the particular facility. Kalamazoo Amateur Radio Club (KARC) visited Kzoo Makers last summer. This past Tuesday (2/13), the Woodworkers Guild of Southwest Michigan listened to Daniel Wilkins present about makerspaces. Then once their meeting ended, the Guild members, directed by hosting member Don Batts, checked out the entire facility. Both of these groups had at least one Kzoo Maker member as host.

Tools and Mentors

For the last two years, Cub Scout Pack 169 learned wood shop safety from volunteer mentors at Kzoo Makers. The Cub Scout pack brought their materials on a Saturday morning in January to create an entry for the Pinewood Derby race.  Kzoo Makers collected a small fee per person from the hosting Kzoo Maker member. The activity required a charge because of the use of machinery and mentors. The Cub Scouts also thanked everyone involved with a framed card.


If you have ever visited Kzoo Makers on a Tuesday evening, then you have probably seen the Kalamazoo Linux Users Group (KLUG). KLUG has been meeting regularly at Kzoo Makers since December 2016. KLUG pays a monthly membership to Kzoo Makers and also has several members who take turns sponsoring the weekly meetup. Part of KLUG’s growth has also contributed to the growth of the Kzoo Maker membership. KLUG also coordinates the snack area and they use the revenue to pay for the organization’s membership.

Whether used for private activities, informational meetings, weekly meetings, or access to tools and mentors, all of the organizations have benefited with the collaboration. Each organization has learned about the other and made new connections. Sometimes those connections come in handy when questions come up and the answer is a referral to a specific person or organization. The list keeps on growing, too. Whether you are a part of an organization or interested as an individual, you are invited to tour during open hours (listed on the website).

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Sunday Sweep: What is coming up at Kzoo Makers from 2/12-2/19/2018

The Sunday Sweep is a weekly post of what is coming up on the Kzoo Makers calendar. For a complete listing of all events, please visit kzoomakers.org/events-calendar/

Tuesday, 2/13, 5:30pm (at Arcadia Brewing Company), Pitch Zoo – Kalamazoo

Tuesday, 2/13, 6pm, (weekly) Kalamazoo Linux Users Group (KLUG)

Tuesday, 2/13, 7pm, (February meeting)  Woodworkers Guild of Southwest Michigan

Thursday, 2/15, 6pm, Making 4 hardwood coasters

Thursday, 2/15, 6:30pm, Crafters Gathering (let Cathy know at least 24 hours in advance if you want to do the DIY Sugar Scrub from 2/8 and she will repeat it)

Saturday, 2/17, 10am, Build a Bluebird House 

Saturday, 2/17, 2pm, Kzoo Makers Advisory Meeting (members only)

Saturday, 2/17, 4pm, General Social

Monday, 2/19, 6pm, Introduction to Electronic Circuits





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Table Saw (Saw Stop) Tidbit from Kzoo Makers

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A closer look at jointing a rough cut piece of wood

The first time you see a jointer, especially one that is 16 inches long, it may seem like a big and scary machine to use. The following video was taken during a workshop at Kzoo Makers and features Daniel Wilkins teaching Amy how to joint the face of a rough cut piece of wood (and ease any fears) . For more information on this and other workshops at Kzoo Makers, please visit here.

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Why Thursdays are Ideal

If you have visited the Kzoo Makers space or have been following the blog posts, then you probably have seen the stacks of Ideal Wood rough cut lumber. You may even remember reading about the Ideal Wood Field Trip from the summer.  Now Daniel Wilkins and Mark Bush have started Ideal Wood Thursdays at the Kzoo Makers. The Kzoo Makers February 2018 calendar kicked off with a repeat of Making a shelf from rough cut lumber workshop. Each Thursday, Dan or Mark will be leading a woodshop activity at Kzoo Makers while the other assists. And if you miss one that sounds interesting, don’t worry! They will repeat. Stay tuned to the Kzoo Makers event calendar here and watch for these on Thursdays: Making 4 Hardwood coasters, tea light holder, cheese board, etc. See more gallery photos of related Kzoo Makers/Ideal Wood events here.




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Over in the Wood Shop at Kzoo Makers

It’s been slightly longer than a year since the start of the Wood Shop Zone at Kzoo Makers. As you might expect, the area is busy with various people working on projects. Recently, group builds involving members are now on the calendar. Don Batts, the Wood Shop Zone Leader, noted that Dan Wilkins led the latest build on Thursday, January 25th. Jim English, Rick Briscoe, Ed Halcomb and Tom Abraham assisted Dan in the creation of the infeed/outfeed tables for the sliding miter saw, complete with Kreg flip down stops and built in tape measures. The last step is to hook it up to dust collection.

Find out more about all Kzoo Maker activities at the website calendar here, or come visit for a tour during open hours and see what else is happening.


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Are we there yet? Part 2

Almost every time I do a tour, I start in the back with the electronics area and work my way around to the meeting and workshop areas. This is the point that anyone on the tour thinks we are about done until I say something similar to “But wait! There is more!” Then we exit and cross through the breezeway area to the next door. This post will highlight the areas and activities in the “blue” building.

Kyle building a tableThe most popular along with the most complete area would be the wood shop. When you walk into the wood shop, you are most likely going to find Don, also the zone leader. Don is usually making items to sell or to prepare for one of the workshops. Sometimes several wood workers, including Don, will be working as a group on a project for Kzoo Makers or for a particular person in the group. Workshops have includedMaking a Shelf out of rough cut lumber,” “ V carving CNC with Don Batts” to understand the flow of the CNC machine for V-carving, and “Build a Bluebird house and lecture.” Tables, like what Kyle is working on in the photo, are an item with a high amount of interest. Look for more workshops coming soon including a CNC 2-day training in November (here) for those who have some experience.

Intro to WeldingTo the right of the wood shop is the beginning of  a machine shop, and a welding area. To prepare participants for future welding area activities, Mark M. (zone leader) presented a basic overview PowerPoint. Mark stated that the overview is required before participating in any of the welding activities. Judging by the audience size at the first presentation, welding will probably be a popular area.

The area behind the future machine shop is currently being subleased by an artist known as “Thor.”  The activities in Josh’s (Thor’s) studio are separate from the Kzoo Makers, unless invited. Josh does use Facebook as a way to “check-in” at Kzoo Makers and show a photo of his or his students’ current projects.

The other thing you may notice as you walk through the breezeway is that there are stacks of wood. The wood is coming from Dan W and Mark B’s lumber mill. Yes, that would be the same mill we toured a few months ago that you can read about here.

Stay tuned for the final part coming soon. Thanks!

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Are we there yet? Part 1

It’s been almost 14 months since the original post “Let’s Start the Makerspace.” At that point, Kzoo Makers had two buildings connected by a breezeway, some furniture and some equipment. Just like any other new business, things changed all the time. In fact, we joked as we walked in the door and wondered out loud what had changed since the day before. Although not as often as the last few months of 2016, Kzoo Makers is still a relatively new business and not in the least bit static. What has stayed constant is the use of zones and most of the zone areas. For this post, the zone areas and current activities will be highlighted.

Bass Ball #3One topic that most expect or know about in relation to a makerspace would be 3D printing. Blog posts from last year recount the activities of the people who put together a 3D printer over several weeks, starting with this one here. Another post here highlights Jason’s adventure in California at THE maker faire. Jason is also the zone leader of the 3D printing area, and he is usually around on Thursday evenings between 6 and 8pm. If you read Georg’s “Bass Balls” post, then you will recognize he is making a third version, as shown to the right.

Handling the worldNext to the 3D printer area is the laser cutter. The laser cutter has become one of the most popular areas, especially since some 3D printer designs can be modified to a laser cutter file. Also, since more types of materials may be used, the laser cutter can be a better choice. Lately, the nearby display includes a lot of maps. It is also popular to cut poster board paper and make Pepakura designs – which might be for masks or helmets, for example. Chris (member) recently held a workshop for participants to learn more about the laser cutter and Pepakura. Chris has also experimented with mirror etching and maps that look similar to dice. Another member, Kevin, expanded his side business since joining Kzoo Makers. Kevin’s production costs and time went down because of access to the laser cutter. The side project has a potential of becoming a full-time business faster thanks to the collaborative resources of people and machines. 

Fused flowerAround the corner and down the hall on the left is the Arts and Crafts area. As noted in the “What’s up” post, Cathy looks for projects that overlap zones. The Arts and Crafts area has also been the most consistent. Since February, every third Thursday of the month has a focused activity. Also, Cathy is available on the second Thursday of every month to work with or encourage anyone who wants to finish a project. Sometimes that includes completing what did not get finished during the prior month. It’s something I am taking advantage of and have asked at the end of the third Thursday “Can we finish the next time?” meaning the next scheduled time Cathy is there, even though it is two or 3 weeks away. Project highlights can be seen on the walls in the room.

Intro to ElectronicsThe electronics area is across the hall from the arts and crafts room. As noted in the “What’s up” post, Ron and Joe each host monthly activities on the first and third Mondays. Although the electronics room can be used for small activities or one on one sessions, the workshops have been in the meeting area. The actual electronics room is too small and crowded for more than a few people. The meeting area works well, especially since there is a screen projector for any slides or videos and plenty of table space.

Together and independentSpeaking of the meeting area, if you haven’t been to the space since the summer, then it may look different. The meeting and workshop areas have been flip-flopped. Instead of walking through the door into the meeting space (and possibly a meeting), now it is the workshop or assembly area. In the back of that area is a showcase of items from a variety of the zones, along with a bookshelf. Sometimes the best activity (to me) is working on an independent project in the meeting area while others are doing the same. Here’s a peek on the right.

Ras Pi TuesdaysLast, at least for the 1102 side of the building, is the Raspberry Pi room. The Kalamazoo Python users group occasionally meets in there. Also, the Kalamazoo Linux Users Group (KLUG) conducts study sessions in the Raspberry Pi room on Tuesday nights. The shelf is stacked with magazines full of Pi projects and the lab is available to members during the building’s open hours. Look for future activities similar to “Tuesday in the Raspberry Pi Zone.”

The Kzoo Makers includes space in two buildings. The zones in the “blue” building will be included in part 2.

Want to know when events are happening? For a complete listing, check out the events calendar here. You can also find out contact information here,  and membership information here. Look in the header for the current hours.

P.S. The 6 month membership special ends on October 31, 2017


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What’s Up at Kzoo Makers

Have you noticed an increase in the number of activities on our event calendar lately? Did you even know that Kzoo Makers has an event calendar on the website which you can check out here? This past week is a good example of one of our busier weeks.

Here are some highlights by the day:

On Monday, October 16th, Joe (member/mentor), with support from Ron (member/zone leader) instructed a group during the second part of an introduction to electronic circuits. Joe will be leading similar workshops on the third Mondays of the month and Ron hosts an Electronics Forum on the first Monday of the month.

Intro to electronic circuits p2 Intro to electronic circuits p2 Intro to electronic circuits p2





On Tuesday, October 17th, Dan from Alumilite demonstrated different projects with examples. It seemed to be a popular topic based on the size of the group sitting in the woodshop. Isn’t the ice cream scoop cool? Look for more collaborative efforts with Alumilite in future workshops.





On Thursday, October 19th, Cathy (member/zone leader) instructed the third of a three part series for the Arts and Crafts area. One Of the points she wants to emphasize is that fiber arts or electronics are not solely used for fiber arts or electronics projects. The Series 3: Soft Circuits workshop combined the use of sewing a variety of stitches, following a pattern, and adding lights. Adding the lights meant that Cathy had to be able to understand and then teach how to create parallel and serial circuits. The Kzoo Makers is an example of a completed soft circuit project. Here are some other pictures from the last couple of third Thursday night arts and crafts workshops:

Arts and Crafts Series 3 soft circuits








Final notes: If you have been thinking about membership, the 6 month contract special is available through October 31, 2017. Just want to know what activities are coming up? Check out the events calendar here. Look for more highlights coming in a future post. Thanks!

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Making a Shelf from Rough Cut Lumber at Kzoo Makers

How to take a rough cut piece of lumber and turn it into a finished piece of lumber by dimensionalizing one piece of hardwood. The finished piece can be used for a sign blank or shelving. This activity involves the use of the 16″ jointer and 20″ planer.

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Bending Steamed Wood at Kzoo Makers

Have you ever wondered how the pieces of wood for the backs of chairs are bent? Don Batts demonstrates how he bends steamed wood with the help of other Kzoo Makers. kzoomakers.org

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Ideal Wood Field Trip

Mark and DanWhen it comes to resources for the Kzoo Makers, having local connections creates the best benefits. If you have visited the Kzoo Makers space, then you already know how much the wood shop has grown. What you might not know is how to find the wood for your projects.Yes, you can go to a store such as Menards or Lowe’s, and those stores definitely get business from members. Did you know that there are local mills where everything is acquired and cut by local sawyers? On June 21, 2017, a group of Kzoo Makers and community members accepted an invitation to take a tour with Dan Wilkins and Mark Bush at Ideal Lumber and Woodworking in Lawton, MI.

If the hosts of the tour seem familiar, you would be correct. Dan is the person most often seen at Kzoo Makers since he runs the daily operations. Mark is also a member and likely would be talking with Dan in the Kzoo Makers office or working on a project in the woodshop.

Solar Kiln - closedWednesday’s tour began at the solar kiln, which Mark and Dan built. On the outside, it looks like a big garage. Inside, the temperature stays at 125 degrees (F). We walked in and closed the side door to feel the heat. It felt warm like a sauna. I took a picture of the thermostat after Dan opened the big door and it showed a decrease to 107 Solar Kiln - inside topdegrees (F). A few of us climbed up a ladder to see the top level. Did you notice the fans? They help the air circulate and they help to maintain the temperature so it does not exceed the 125 degrees. Can you imagine being up there on a sunny day before the fan installation? In a word – hot.

Hydrometer testThe wood sitting inside the kiln is drying out enough to make it usable for projects. Later, near the mill area, one of the member tested the percentage of water in the wood with a hydrometer. This percentage is important to know because it could be the determining factor of a project.

For the demonstrations, Mark and Dan cut a cedar log and then a cherry log. Both are hard woods. Some of that wood may be part of future Kzoo Makers projects. Going through a mill such as Mark and Dan’s means supporting a local business, keeping costs down and quality up. If you want to see the demonstrations, check out the videos below. Want more information about Kzoo Makers, the woodshop, or the Ideal Lumber and Woodworking business? See the contact information here.

Cedar demonstration

Cherry demonstration

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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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