Category Archives: fun

Making Spirit-Infused Beverages!

A bunch of members & friends of the Milwaukee Makerspace recently gathered to try our hand at something that does not mix well with all the heavy machinery at the shop: alcoholic beverages!  We attended a consumer cocktail academy hosted by Hendricks Gin at the Iron Horse Hotel, and we had a blast!

Check out our pictures:

Making Spirit-Infused Beverages! Making Spirit-Infused Beverages! Making Spirit-Infused Beverages! Making Spirit-Infused Beverages!

Cheers!

Hands-On Radio Hacking

CRASH member Samy recently gave a talk at Defcon about car/radio hacking and would like to do a more hands-on version at CRASH Space.

WHEN: Friday, Sept 18 8:00 – 10:00pm
WHERE: CRASH Space
HOW MUCH: FREE!

Some topics we’ll go over and live demo as much as possible (legally, of course):

  • low-cost hardware and open source software for radio exploration (RTL-SDR, HackRF, CC1111EMK, IM-ME, etc)
  • sniffing and deciphering unknown radio signals
  • reverse engineering hardware (using logic analyzers, determining unmarked chips, etc)
  • wirelessly reverse engineering radio hardware (like cars and garages)
  • methods to attack and exploit radio communication (like unlocking cars and garages)
  • exploiting mobile device trust + exploiting mobile apps by performing SSL man-in-the-middle attacks, DNS spoofing, automated HTTPS injection/traffic manipulation
  • security measures to consider for more secure designs in the future

Samy will demonstrate all attacks from start to finish, and encourages you to bring any of the following low-cost hardware and go through the entire process with him:

  • $22 – RTL-SDR (hardware dongle for software defined radio, allows sniffing radio frequencies up to ~1.7GHz). This is a great buy and very powerful
  • If you’re comfortable with Arduino and coding, this $9 CC1101 radio (sub-GHz RF transceiver) goes well with an Arduino or Teensy and is very potent /li>
  • I would NOT suggest you buy this $75 CC1111EMK (basically the $9 chip above without a processor) because better/cheaper hardware is coming out soon, but we may use it for those who don’t want to build their own device (sub-GHz radio transceiver and MCU)/li>
  • Bring a logic analyzer if easy to and you have one — while I prefer Saleae, there are much more inexpensive ones out there, and you can even turn your Arduino or Teensy into a low-speed logic analyzer/li>

Also, you’re welcome to bring:

  • your own devices that sniff or emit radio (such as garage door openers, car keys, etc) and inspect them live! (It’s okay if you don’t want to, as Samy will bring a bunch of his own that you can hack.)
  • snacks and drinks
  • smiles
  • laptop
  • anything else you want, really

Hope to see you there!

Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12

CRASH Member Craig and his FTC robotics team are looking for new recruits for the Rock N Roll Robots Weekend Summer Workshop!

Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12

The Rock N’ Robots Summer Workshop is an overnight program created and run by current members of the Rock N’ Roll Robots Girl Scouts robotics team, with help from team parents and mentors from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The camp is designed to prepare girls to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics tournament. (Although participants are not required to join a robotics team.)

Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12 Robotics Weekend Workshop for Girls Grades 8 – 12

Overview:

  • Upon arrival, campers will be organized into teams. Over the course of their weekend, each team will build and program a robot to compete in a mini-tournament on Sunday afternoon.
  • As part of this process, campers will receive instruction in the technical skills necessary to build a robot; like design, construction, and programming. In addition, campers will be introduced to other important skills like team building, fundraising, public outreach, and competition strategy.
  • But it’s not all hard work. This camp is planned by Girl Scouts who love to hang out and have a good time! Workshops will be mixed with team building activities, a movie night, and of course, s’mores around the campfire.
  • Family and friends are invited to join us at 3pm on Sunday to watch the tournament and cheer for their favorite robot.

For more information, check out the flyer!

Zero to Hero Class: Pirate Box Edition.

I'll be teaching a class on how to setup a Pirate Box at the Generator on March 22nd. Check out more info and sign up here.

Want to carry around a world of important data, like Wikipedia, and health guides?
Need a way to share a bunch of files with some folks?
Come learn how to make a PirateBox a tool for sharing information in a secure offline manner!

PirateBox is a DIY anonymous offline file-sharing and communications system built with free software and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware. Perfect for public spaces as a means of sharing interesting data and having offline discussions.

Zero to Hero Class: Pirate Box Edition.During this quick 4 hour  class students will learn how to build a Pirate Box. This class will guide students through the process of converting a plain TP-Link MR3020 and USB thumb drive into a Pirate Box.

$50 lab fee covers purchase of Pirate Box and all necessary materials (MR3020 & USB Drive).

Further Adventures in 3D Printer Upgrades (upgrades?)

As previously promised, MegaMax’s Y-axis has been converted to screw drive along with the addition of a larger motor, DSP based driver, and 32V power supply.  The SmoothieBoard arrived and was quickly swapped in to replace the ATMega2560/RAMPS combo.  After studying and configuring the Smoothieboard I attempted a few test prints.  That’s when the problems started.

32V Power supply for Y axis motor. No regulation necessary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoothieboard is supposed to read the config.txt file from its uSD card (conveniently accessible via USB) every time it boots.  That makes changing configuration very easy and fast – all you do is edit the config.txt file, save it , and reboot the board.  Firmware is updated the same way.  With the ATMega2560 you have to find the configuration variables by searching through multiple configuration files, make the necessary changes, recompile the firmware, then flash the controller.  I said the SmoothieBoard is supposed to read the file every time it boots, but it wasn’t doing it.  I’d make changes and they would not appear in the behavior of the printer.  Hmmmm.

Further Adventures in 3D Printer Upgrades (upgrades?)

Layers kept shifting in the X-axis- I expected Y-axis problems, but not X!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I attempted some prints and managed to get two decent ones in about a week of screwing around with it.  I tried dozens of combinations of speed, acceleration, junction deviation (smoothie-speak for jerk) and even tried different slicers.  The machine went completely nuts on two occasions and ignored the Z-axis limit switch and slammed the extruder into the print bed, gouging through the Kapton tape and into the aluminum!  I decided I needed some professional help so I got on the #smoothieware IRC channel and discovered that the developers of the board/firmware hang out there quite a lot.  After a lot of back and forth Q and A and testing someone suggested it might be the uSD card causing the problem.  I picked up a new card at Walmart, put the firmware and config files on it , booted the machine, and attempted a print.  PERFECT!

Further Adventures in 3D Printer Upgrades (upgrades?)

The new uSD card worked! The small round post is 4mm diameter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have made several prints since last night and they have all come out fine.  I still have a little tweaking to do and to test the limits of the machine’s performance, but I think the problems are behind me.

Next up:  X-axis redesign/build.  I’m replacing the two guide rails with a single linear guide.  I have also ordered and received a BullDog XL extruder to replace the hacked up QUBD unit I’ve been using.  I’ll be adding a DSP driver and 32V power supply for the X-axis motor, too.

After that, I have some ideas for a filament respooling machine and ways to fix the retraction problem in the SnakeBite extruder.

It never ends!

 

What is a trolley? (link)

I recently found a great set of posts about what a trolley is and how they work at Nathan Vass' website.  The short version is that a trolley is an electric bus that gets its power from overhead lines.  There are many advantages to using a bus with rubber tires over a train (can change lanes, can avoid obstacles, climb hills without wheel-spin) and many advantages to using an electric bus over a diesel bus, the main reason being torque to climb the hills of San Francisco.

Part i is here
Part ii is here

I originally became interested in the topic last year when I visited San Francisco.  There were many things I liked about the city that appealed to different interests of mine (city planning, green spaces, diverse cultures), but one of the things that stuck out to me was the infrastructure for the trolley system.  This was not something I had expected.

When you look up while downtown, just below the common sight of power lines at the top of the utility poles, you see what looks at first like a rats nest of electric wires.  This is especially so around intersections in the road.  But upon further examination, patterns emerge.  I noticed that the wires were running in pairs of parallel tracks, and where one track crossed another, one of the pairs would have some extra hardware.

What is a trolley? (link)

I only spent a moment trying to figure out what they could be used for when one of the Muni buses (a trolley) passed me on the street.  These are quiet, exhaust-smell free giants of public transportation that I was instantly in love with.  And this post isn't about public transportation overall, but if you need an explanation as to why it is good and how a bus can greatly reduce congestion, this GIF explains it beautifully.

What is a trolley? (link)

A phone with a frickin’ laser!

My recent acquisition of a Meade ETX-90 telescope with computer go-to system for locating objects in the sky got me thinking that it would be nice to have a system to locate objects in the sky when you’re looking through binoculars or a telescope that doesn’t have a computer and motors to drive it.  To that end I came up with the idea of mounting a green laser pointer, commonly used by astronomy nutz to point out objects in the sky to noobs, on a cell phone or tablet running a program such as Google SkyMap or Skeye.

CAD rendering of the parts

After much thought and a few prototypes I came up with a system that allows a laser to mount on a phone and that assembly to mount on a tripod, a handle, or a telescope.  The tube that holds the laser has adjustment screws to allow the laser to be aligned with the SkyMap on the phone.  It also has to slots that fit over standard gun sight rails.  On one side I have a phone/tablet bracket that has a gunsight rail and slides into the laser tube, and the other side can be used for a rail that mounts on a tripod or a handle.  Extra rails can be mounted on telescope tubes.  I haven’t yet designed a binocular mount, but will soon.

 

A phone with a frickin’ laser!

Parts printing on MegaMax

I printed the parts on MegaMax with Octave fluorescent red filament (that’s why the colors vary in the photos- the flash apparently excites the fluorescence in the picture with the handle).   All the parts fit VERY tightly together but I included screw holes for extra security.  The phone/tablet mounts on the bracket using velcro tape.  I think it may be better to print or buy a cheap case to fit the phone than screw it to the phone/tablet bracket.  I’ll be posting the design files to Thingiverse shortly.

A phone with a frickin’ laser!

Phone and laser mounted on handle

A phone with a frickin’ laser!

Phone and laser on a tripod

 

 

The Milwaukee Makerspace Theater

BIG_HMMMMMM2

Around 25 members have hopped in the new Milwaukee Makerspace Theater after the last two Tuesday meetings.  Its up and running in a “no hearing protection required” way!  The bass still goes way down to subsonic tones, but its being powered by a small & sensible surround sound amp.   Its a very immersive audio experience, and likely sounds much better than any 5.1 system you’ve heard because there’s only one seat!  The sound has been optimized for the single theater-goer: You!  The theater is hooked up to a DVD player, and is available 24/7  for any member to watch a movie in: no check-out required.   Note that any video source you have can be hooked up via the HDMI cable.  Alternately, you can follow the lead of JasonH, who used the theater with a portable audio player to rock out while he worked on his own project near by. See the photos below for the simple instructions on how you can start up the theater, and feel free to take a break from making by using the theater!

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