Workbenches from Scrap Wood (mostly)

After last week’s scrap bin project we turned our attention back to outfitting the space. We needed workbenches – and our friend Mike Drescher, who works for a company of professional steel building erectors, had kindly brought in a whole bunch of 2x6s he had saved from a deconstructed deck. We decided to start building at our regular Thursday meeting on June 16.

Brian I, Brian T and Adam R building Bench #1

Brian T, Brian I, Adam Rosen and I got there well before dark and started selecting the wood. Most of the pieces were 8-12ft and had either nails or various decay. We found most of it was pretty usable, especially for legs and bracing. Brian T took the lead on the build using plans in his head, and a selection of nice battery powered DeWalt tools he brought. Working with a team vs alone was a bit of a change for all of us, but it worked out well. We got four slabs selected and cut for the top, and four legs and cross pieces selected and cut for the legs.

Makers at Meeting June 16 2011

Just before dark, about 6:30 or 7, several more people showed up – Tommy R, with daughter Betty and Cousin-in-Law Eric M; Ben W with wife Hiro and sons Shion and Hugh. With all the people hanging round, we switched from Building Stuff to Sharing (i.e. talking), even though the generator made talking a bit hard. Eric M. had brought a neat arduino controller setup he built for taking panoramic photos. It looked like a decent setup, packaged in a tupperware type container, except the exposed wire connections seemed to have shorted out the battery. Bummer. Heat shrink is your friend… and can be cheap (note: add a good selection of various sizes to our list of supplies!)

The crowd left to get kids home, and then Brian T remembered he had a date, so we pretty much shut down around 8pm. Adam, Brian I and I (JerryI) hung out for a bit but the lighting was pretty bad and we kept making mistakes. We packed the parts up into the container and headed for home, planning to return in the morning.

It was a bit later than we expected when we got back Friday. BrianI and I went to Home Depot and picked up some extra supplies, including a couple 2×4′ sheets of MDF to use as bench tops. We also brought down some 2x6s and 2×4 scrap left over from our barn and fence building. We managed to get Bench #1 complete and a start on Bench #2 before 1pm. Then our build got cut short by a call from the alarm company about our Haiku House. We had to rush back and check things out – cats had knocked stuff over in garage, setting off motion detectors.

Returning Saturday morning, we finished off Bench #2 with MDF top and shelf. The shelf is set at a height to allow plastic tubs below and on shelf. It needs a front support to avoid sagging. Getting on a good roll, we quickly built Bench #3 – another MDF topped bench, but with out a shelf. We were able to get both benches complete and all parts put away by 2pm – in time to get home, shower and head back to the Maui Film Festival at MACC.

So we now have a total of four good workbenches at the space – one metal framed MDF top with drawers from Cole S, and the three we built this weekend. Cole brought in and hung another florescent fixture on Sunday, which gives us pretty decent lighting throughout the container. Cole also brought another shelf unit and a cabinet. Now we gotta organize a bit, and then get power hookup/distribution setup. We also need some good bench stools.

Here’s the Flickr set for the weekend build out:
[slickr-flickr tag=”makerbenches” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]

April 28 Chill Box Build and Meeting

Our regular Thursday meeting this week was pretty much exclusively a Chill Box Build.  Cole and I arrived a bit before 5pm. We spent about 20 minutes walking the grounds and looking for places on which to put Our Container.  There are not many places with enough space and access for the trucks to drop off.  Rai would like it to be not all that visible from “street”. However, there are not a lot of places where we could set up a 40×40′ container building. I think the best site is straight back in the open space. There is a fair bit of Habitat for Humanity material in this area. It looks like the parts to make a steel building, and a whole lotta roofing tiles.  The CWD people know the container shows up Tuesday AM and will be planning a spot, at least for temporary siting.

After our walkabout, we got down to business – building the Chill Box.  We brought the parts and tools inside and started assembling. The chiller parts (plastic tubing, the Corsair cpu cooler, peltier, valves, etc) are a tight fit. Tubes dont bend as easily. We tried adding a bit of larger tubing on one end, and it fit better.  Cole made a quick run to Home Depot for some clamps and silicone sealant.

3-pin CPU Fan Connector

I worked on building some power cables for the Corsair. It uses small 3pin CPU Fan connectors. Two leads are power and the third is for speed sensing (see pic at left). Cole had previously cut three header pins from our stock and was using them in a breadboard with alligator clips to power the device. Two cables are needed. One connects to the Corsair’s pump, the other connects to the double fans with a vendor provided Y-cable. I used some 4-wire cable, stripping off the green wire. I soldered these to the pins, covering each with small shrink wrap, and then shrink wrapping the entire connector.  The other ends were connected to an 8-pin connector strip. We wired up the Peltier and water pump to this 8-pin connector too.

Wiring up 3pin connector for Corsair Chiller

Wiring up 3pin connector for Corsair Chiller

Power Connector for Chiller Subsystem

8-point connector block for chiller power connections

When Cole returned, we clamped the tubes, calked around the edge of Peltier (to avoid condensation shorting it), and filled the tubes with water.  Filling the tubing is tricky. The basic fill is easy, but there remains a bubble that takes a fair bit of manipulation to remove.  Perhaps there is another arrangement that would make it easier. Perhaps a bleed valve as well as the fill valve? (spoiler – on April 30 build we did major improvement to plumbing and fill).

Tommy and Brian chat with Cole about Chill Box

Brian T, Tommy and Jen R came by about 8pm to see the space, project and  and chat.

Then came moment of truth – powering it back up and seeing if it still pumps and cools. We got it hooked up, but went through a couple false starts with power not being connected properly. We’re using a hacked PC 300w power supply – kinda wimpy and it sometimes shuts down. We get it pumping and … well the block seems to be getting cool, but not icy like last week. There is a lot of hot air blowing around in the container. Perhaps the vents are not working well enough? The wave side of vents already has some broken pieces where the laser cuts got too close together, so we break out some larger chunks. This seems to help, although arrangement of components in this area is problematic. The corsair now seems to be pulling cool air in and pushing out only slightly warmer air.

The little IR temp tool Cole got shows it cools down a bit, and the pipes cool, but then it starts warming up. Drat… Maybe its the wimpy former PC power supply? Several times these have kicked off (shorted?) and then reset themselves after sitting for a bit. We pulled out the 12v battery, which had done a better job last week, and hooked it up to the 12v supply. It works good for all the 12v stuff (Corsair and peltier) but the water pump is 5-9v. Since the pc supply was down, we decided to test the pump using 12v. It worked – pumped fast and heated up quick. Wait, it heated up? Oh drat – its heating the water! Shutdown, try the pc supply again – it works and runs the pump ok. The pump still heats up. This little beastie is fully enclosed in plastic, so the heat has really no where to go but into the water. They really sell this thing as good for cooling systems? We let it run for a while but it appears the water pump is countering whatever the peltier can do to cool. Drat! It worked last week right? Ok. dont panic yet. Cole has a little micro-pump he ordered early on. Its got really small hoses but is supposed to be really good (rather expensive too). Unfortunately, he left it home. Since its getting on 10pm and we are fading, we decide to call it a night. Cole takes the container and pump system home to work on it a bit. We plan to get together one more time over weekend to try and get it running.

Here’s the Flicker Set for the April 28 build night:
[slickr-flickr tag=”ChillBoxApril28″ descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” ]

April 21 meeting and Chill Box build night

We had another build night on April 21st at CWD Puunene.  We are progressing slowly. Cole and I arrived before 5pm to take over from CWD people.  They are putting in a security system in a week or three, and we should have our own access after that.  Meanwhile they are continuing to upgrade the building. There were a couple good guys in hazmat suits setting up to strip the lead based paint from the building as we arrived.

Early on, we had several people come by to chat. Amit stopped in after work to see the space and chat about the nice solar panel he is loaning us for the Chill Box project. Jim came with three nice big deep cycle batteries and a charger. Power system is shaping up! Matt and Patricia from CWD came in for a while to give support and chat. Later in the evening, Ben W came and spent a bit of time cleaning up the spam in our wiki.

As usual, here’s the flicker set:

[slickr-flickr tag=”April-21-2011ChillBox” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” ]

Chiller System

Cole has been working on the chiller and container box. He got the hot side fan/pump and copper block attached to the peltier, and plumbing on the soil side.

There are several different sized fittings with the copper block, pump and pipes. The flexible tube we started with last week has been reduced to a few short pieces that help with the connections. The main soil section is now aluminum pipe. The metal helps conduct cold well, so we get good condensation and soil chilling. Copper pipe would be more conventional, but we were concerned about the copper affecting plants. Aluminum is a good heat conductor and less of an effect on plants. A T-fitting and valve lets us add water and bleed out air bubbles.

Cole picked up a small planter box and has been hacking away at making the parts fit. We need to work this fair bit to avoid kinks, and get the electronics into the package as well. We decided, at the end of the night, that a custom acrylic box would be much preferable. It will allow us to show off the setup and learn how to laser cut and fabricate with acrylic! Looks like more educational aspects of this project keep popping up!!

We did get the chiller fully setup and working on the hacked power supply. It chilled very nicely with condensation coving the aluminum quickly, and none on the plastic pipe. Then we decided to try out the 12v battery. We chose the big marine battery and it worked great!!


Jerry’s been working the electronics with parts arriving and code being written.

Cole ordered a RobotPower MegaMoto Shield to provide us with power control. The MegaMoto can be configured several ways and stacked for multiple motor controls. Each board provides up to 13A continuous power control with 30A surge. This should be adequate for advanced Peltier control, and also perhaps the pump systems. The MegaMoto looks like it will also be fun to try out on other projects later. 13A motor control on an arduino? Woot!

Power System

Amit has loaned us one of his Sanyo 205 Watt Solar Panels for the project. We should only need one of these but need to get a solar power charger/controller and some MC-4 connectors.

Sony HIP-205NKHA5 solar panel

came by after work to see progress and talk a bit about the solar panel he is loaning us. Jim came with a few deep cycle 12v batteries and a charger.

First meeting in Pu’unene space

We had our first meeting last night (4/14/11) in our new temp space in Pu’unene. Although there was a small turn out (5 total), I consider it a success. We did not so much talk about Makers, finding space, etc as we worked on projects!

Attending were myself, my son Brian, Cole Santos, Gabe Mott, and Matt Lane. Matt works with/for CWD (community work day) on their Community Garden project. He was basically stopping in after a full day in the field, but was happy to hang with us for a while. We chatted about the space, and potentials for container based buildings. We need to look carefully around the area in daylight sometime soon to see where we can site some – and get discussions going with CWD (and Maui Electric, etc) about this.

Here’s the full flicker setof images:

[slickr-flickr tag=”MakerMeet-April142011″ descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” ]

Cole and Chill Box

Cole had all the elements for his part of the Chill Box project. He was working on getting the cooling unit hooked up with new Peltier heat sink (water cooled hot side – awesome!). Unfortunately, the peltier we used last week didnt seem to operate. Perhaps we fried it without having proper hot side cooling? Fortunately, Cole just happened to have another peltier fridge in his car. Even though we lacked proper tools (gotta work on the traveling kits!) he hacked the peltier out and got it hooked up. It quickly made a very cold surface, so we put our water block on it and fired up the pump with hose…. oh yeah, filling the hose was not easy. Adding a T with a fill valve helped, but perhaps next time we do this step outside so as to avoid spilling water. We didnt have any heat conducting paste but the setup didnt do a whole lot to chill the water. Paste and a clamp will help but perhaps we have too much water/tube length. Perhaps a peltier just wont cut it… as people have cautioned us. Cole is going to look into a larger peltier and perhaps some DC compressor fridge/dehumidifiers.

JerryI and Chill Box

I, Jerry Isdale, got a bit of time to work on the SHT-11/15 Sensirion temp/humidity sensors we are using for Chill Box.  I found several sets of example code for running it on the Arduino. I found one from ?? that includes all the code with no C++ library.  The PracticalArduino site has a library based one (not mentioned in their good book). The Target23 example with library has some comm reset functions but needed some mods to the example to avoid name conflicts.

I had all sorts of problems not getting responses (error 1) from all the various PDE sketches.  After some close examination of the code I realized I had major operator failure – the data pins can be any of the 0-13 on my Mega board.  different examples had different values.  Once I synced up code with hardware, it works good.

I like the practical Arduino lib gives both F and C readings. I like softReset etc from Target23 lib.  I think we will create a mashup with assorted extra fixes when we put together all the code for Chill Box.

I brought the Vegitronix soil moisture and temperature sensors but didnt have time to try em out on the Arduino. I did find a project on web that shows how to use the moisture sensor.

I’ve also got some DS18S20 temperature sensor samples incoming (arrived as I wrote) from Matrix Orbital. There are some examples using this with Arduino. It uses a 1-wire protocol which lets you gang several sensors on one ‘network’.

A similar sensor LM-35, was used in an Instructable for underwater rov use. Technique looks like it could be used for the DS18S20.

BrianI and Arduino

BrianI (my son) worked on his arduino, and organizing his electronics box. He has the Arduino Experimenters kit and is learning (mostly self taught) how to program and wire up circuits. The kit is a decent basic intro to Arduino. It is available from several sources such as AdaFruit and Solarbotics for about $85. Documentation (experiments, etc) is available for download from the ARDx site (see links on adaFruit page).

Gabe Mott, ColorBox and Ideo Labs Kinect Physics

Gabe Mott, who is building the ColorBox, brought in his Kinect. There is a Kickstarter project to help fund some upgrades to the Color Box. Please help out! Earlier in the day we had found Ideo Labs Kinect Physics Demo. Its an OpenFrameworks based application with source available and supposedly could run on a Mac. I pulled down the FAT distribution of openFrameworks (of_preRelease_v0062_osxSL_FAT), which includes various addOns referenced in that article. Then we started trying to make it work in XCode…

My first test was to go into the ofxKinect/example (of_preRelease_v0062_osxSL_FAT/addons/ofxKinect/example) and build the application. After a minor bit of relearning to navigate Xcode UI, I managed to get the application running. We connected up Gabe’s kinect and Wow – it worked.

Next was trying to get the IdeoPhysics demo built. The blog page said it needed the ofxBox2d physics add-on as well as ofxKinect. I found that but had to renavigate XCode to figure how to create a new project with both app features.

Easiest way seemed to be to copy the example folder from ofxKinect to apps/myApps/IdeoPhysics. Then I opened the ofxKinect.xcodeproj file with XCode 3.2.5 and used Project->rename to rename it. (You cant simply rename xcode projects in finder as there are a bunch of internal vars/proprties that have to be changed.) The path depth (apps/myApps/IdeoPhysics) was needed to match addons/ofxKinect/example so relative path names inside the project still worked. The project rebuilt and ran identical to original – file moving worked.

Next I copied the 3 source files from Ideo’s googleCode release to the src folder in the project (overwriting the 3 files there) and rebuilt. First glance at the code indicated there were 4 image files used in the tumbling boxes, but these were not included in the Ideo repository. The code did not check for failure to load. I left this for now.

The compile first indicated the ofxBox2d addon code was not found. The ofxKinect example didnt use it so it was not linked into the project. I dragged the folder from Finder to the xcode project’s add-on group and trimmed out the examples folder.

Next compile indicated we were missing ofxTriangle and contourSimplify. I did a web search and found ofxTriangle as an addon. countourSimplify was a bit harder to find. After some digging I found the code over in Joel Lewis’s google code svn. There is probably a better link than that, but for now it worked.

Next up I got a whole bunch of errors about:

class ofxBox2dRect has no member named width
class ofxBox2dRect has no member named height

testApp.h defines

vector rects;

It seems that ofxBox2dRect does not have width and height members, at least as provided in v0062_osxSL_FAT. So I edited the ofxBox2d source In file ofxBox2dRect.h, after line 12, I added public variables:

float width;
float height;

then in setup() after line 31 I added:

width = w;
height = h;

and Eureka! it works!!

We bounced around some blank squares for a bit rejoicing.  Then Gabe made 4 colorful images and we dropped them into the project.  They needed to be located in bin/data so the app could find them when run.  And LO! we had bouncing colored boxes!

The four of us (Gabe, Cole, BrianI and myself) had fun playing with the app for a while. We noticed that when you go to full screen window, the boxes still (for most part) stop at the original bottom of the screen as if it was still there.

I transferred the code to Gabe’s Mac, and we rebuilt and ran it there – yippee it worked.

We cleaned up and packed ourselves out by about 10:15pm.

Some notes for future meetings:

  • bring full set of basic hand tools (screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, etc)
  • wear insect repellant
  • food will be attacked by ants
  • bring some foldup tables for added workspace, maybe some chairs
EL Wire Class Dec 15 2010

EL Wire Soldering Class was good fun

Last night (Wed Dec 15 2010), Maui Makers held its first class – Soldering EL Wire.  I purchased 10 Learn To Solder Kits from Cool Neon.  The each kit come with a half dozen sample lengths of Electroluminescent (EL) wire in various colors and widths (pre-stripped and ready for solder!!), four battery powered Drivers, copper tape, solder, heat shrink, solder iron, and instructions. Of course the online instructions are better.  Cool Neon has a nice intro video featuring Benjamin James (leader of fun house productions, aka Cool Neon), along with a written guide. My friend Matt Pinner at CrashSpace have also posted a great How-To on soldering EL wire.

A word about the instructions – Most of the instructions do not mention the copper tape.  The tape is used to secure the tiny angel wires prior to soldering.  This method seems to work a lot better than the simple “wrap angel wires around connector wire” method in the instructions. In particular, it avoids shorts between the angel wire and main interior wire.  The online written guide from Cool Neon does mention and nicely illustrate both techniques.  I’d like to see Benjamin’s next video mention this alternative.  Ben does give some good extra pointers and tips in the video – like linking your thumbs for stability.

Back to the class – I got 10 kits at a nice discount (thanks Ben!) ’cause we’re a hackerspace teaching classes.  I had at least 10 people say they were interested and I sent out several reminders, etc.   I got a couple people RSVPd positive and one had a late nite gig so he had to cancel.  I spent the day cleaning up the house – dogs and Haiku mud make for a mess on any floor. At least hardwood cleans fairly easy.

I also wired up some of the LED Flexi-Strip I got from AdaFruit with a new Arduino Mega 2560 and set those outside as a beacon. My tub-o-wall-warts came in handy here.  I needed a high amp 12v power supply to insure the 5m of wire lit up. My tub yielded up a nice Microsoft 12v, 1.5A brick, which of course had a different connector than the Mega.  I snipped off the end and soldered on some breadboard wires, stuck the whole thing in a cardboard box and set it out by the end of driveway.  It did help people find the place, although when Brian T first saw them, he thought the blue and red lights were the police raiding our wild party.

Cole S showed up about 7pm just as I was finishing hanging the LED lights.  As usual we immediately started talking up big ideas.  Shortly afterwards Jessica arrived, followed by Tommy R and Brian T.  Chris T and Rachel showed up not too long after.  That was six people, two of whom had come after the 10 kits were spoken for.  Given that Ben H wasnt coming and it was already about 8pm, I figured the rest were also no-shows and I let Tommy and Jessica have kits.

After socializing for a good while, we started in on picking out kit parts.  Cool Neon had not separated the parts into 10 sets so we all went round and picked out our parts.  Tommy had brought his own brand new Hakko 936 iron and Chris brought a couple small ones. Everyone else dug in with the irons provided with kits.  Most of these seemed to work, however Cole went through three of em before we gave up and I let him use my Aoyue 2900.  Not sure why the irons failed to heat, or in one case sparked.  I’ll give them and the rest of the unused ones a good test and talk with Benjamin about this.

We watched the video and then everyone started in.  Six people working was pretty chaotic.  I was quite busy jumping from one to next to help out with questions, etc.  It would have been nearly unworkable if we’d had a full 10 person class.   Of course, my teaching style this time around was also fairly chaotic (“ok go for it”).  Much learned for next class.  We had quite a variety of skill levels too.  Some had lots of experience and dug right in. Others had never used a soldering iron before.

Cole was the first to get a working product and others followed shortly after.  Cole went on to make a number of other wires, and found out how difficult those tiny wires can be.  If you are not careful, you can easily break them. Then you have to strip a new end, which can be very tricky – it is very easy to cut the angel wires when stripping.  Ben makes it look so easy in the video. My wire stripper, which looks just like his, either didnt cut thru or broke the wires every time. grrr.

EL Wire Class Dec 15 2010

L2R: Chris T, Rachel, Tommy, Jessica, Brian T, Cole S. showing off their EL Wire creations

Anyway all were quite successful in soldering up EL Wire and we had a great time socializing and kibitzing.  It was Jessica and Rachel’s first time at a Maui Maker meeting. I’m sure they will be back!  Rachel (a body painter and teacher) had to leave a bit early but plans to return for more discussions and practice.  She has lots of budding ideas for using EL Wire at the Source Festival in February. Jessica is a great new find.  She is a terrific geek with lots of ideas.  She plans to insert one of the EL Wire pieces into a mongoose skeleton – I cant wait to see pics of that!

The crowd thinned out until it was just Tommy, Cole and I. We wound up talking until after midnight. I’m sure we could have gone a LOT longer but both of em were talking about having to go to work in morning so I finally chased em out the door.

All in all, it was a great workshop and learning experience.  I’m looking forward to the next one!  I will get more kits for those who missed out or want to join up.  Now I need to get working on some EL Wire to make something to wear to the TRON opening tomorrow.

Meeting and EL Wire Soldering Class Wed Dec 15 2010

CoolNeon's EL Wire Kit - image from their site, actual parts may vary a bit.

My order for EL Wire Learn to Solder kits came in from Cool Neon. They were very helpful folks and gave me a bulk discount and break on shipping. The kits include a soldering iron, solder, several samples of EL Wire and several inverter drivers (along with batteries).

We will be holding a class using these kits on Wed Dec 15th. The kits cost me approx $30 each (w/shipping, etc) and the earlier email announcements got about 10 responses. If all those people show up and pay, I’ll still have a bit extra as I bought a few meters of wire too.

Maker Shed "Learn To Solder Kit" includes soldering iron + this kit.

And if you want to learn basic electronics soldering, I also have five Learn To Solder Kits from MakerShed.  These also include a soldering iron and some other basic materials.

So Come to the class/meeting on Dec 15th at my home in Haiku.  Starting about 7pm so we have time to talk and build.  Bring drinks and snacks if you want.

Neither of the kits do include a ‘third hand’ or iron holder, which is definitely useful when working with EL Wire or electronics in general.   There are some other tools and parts that might come in handy – cutting board,  sponge/copper scrubber for cleaning iron, etc.  If you have them, please bring them.

One rather nice soldering holder was created by my friends back at CrashSpace. I was looking around but cant find the required basic materials.  If you have them, please bring to the meeting!

Nov 2010 Maker update – meetup, space, mobile, biz

Aloha makers

This blog post is to update on progress and a few other things.

First, NPR Morning Edition had a segment today on Hackerspaces. It talks about how people are repurposing (hacking) stuff to give it new function. Reuse vs Recycle vs discard. The emphasis was on fun projects this week. Next week’s segment will talk about small businesses that have been spawned by maker spaces.

Back to local news: we had a great meetup at my home in Haiku. There were about 20 people attending – a terrific mix of techies, builders and artists. We even had a visitor from Oahu – Jim Bartz is a Makerbot owner and came over to check out our community. I showed off the laser etcher, Makerbot and some (alas failed) prints from the Silhouette vinyl cutter. The level of interest and the terrific mix of people gives me lots of encouragement.

Next – Hunting for a home

Hali'imaile Base Yard Unit 11, set back from road behind security fence. It is not directly visible from road, being behind two other buildings.

Unit 11A is small - 10x28ft - and quite dirty. It might work as starter space.

We went back to Hali’imaile again to take a long serious look at the spaces available. Unit 11 has two we have been considering. Unit 11A is about 300sqft and Unit 11B is about 2000. One too small, one too big. Both would require significant cleanup and infrastructure improvement (fixing leaks in roof, open grate doors, etc).

Unit 11B center area. This is a long room, with a bit less dirt but more stuff.

We would need the landlord to do a fair bit of improvement on the building (fixing leaks) and they plan to tear it all down in 2-3yrs. It is a good location – fairly central, upcountry (out of heat) and has some awesome views.

Pauwela Cannery has been suggested several times. The rates are lower than ML&P’s and it is more secure/cleaner. There are a fair number of maker businesses already located in the building (eg. Maui CNC). However Haiku is not very convenient for those not already living on this side of the island.

Mobile Lab

Maui has a very distributed (and fairly small) population. One of our issues in finding a permanent home is getting a location that is equally inconvenient to all. Even places in the central valley are not all that convenient.  It takes me 1/2 hour to drive to Kahului from Haiku, about the same for people in Kihei, twice that for some west maui residents.  This is especially problematic for our outreach efforts to schools, etc.  A popular solution to this for other spaces is to build a mobile lab or hack bus.  MIT Fab Lab built 30ft trailer back in 2007 and outfitted it with a ShopBot, Laser Cutter, and a whole lotta other tools.  It was most recently used in D.C. in support of the National Fab Lab bill.

MIT Mobile Fab Lab trailer

MIT Mobile Fab Lab trailer

The Dutch Fab Lab has built one in a fairly large van. Check their Flickerstream for pictures. There is a community page, Hack Bus, that lists another half dozen.

I think a small (16′) enclosed trailer would be a good size for a Maui Mobile Maker Lab. This would let us take some of our equipment to schools and community centers around the island. It would also give us a more secure, cleaner, controlled environment for expensive toys like the Epilog.

EL Wire and Soldering Classes
Recently I met the folks who put on the Source Interactive Arts Festival. This is a great eclectic bunch of artists of all sorts, our own flavor of Burning Man. I gave a short intro to Maui Makers at a recent ‘art storm’ event they held and got a tremendous response. One area in particular sparked lots of interest – EL Wire and other light up clothing. There was actually a good bit of discussion about how to do this before my presentation. Afterwards, I decided it was time for a class. So I’m going to put together a small class or two on soldering and EL Wire. I might need to have two classes – one on basic technique and one on use of EL wire. I have found a couple starter kits that look good. MakerShed has their Learn To Solder Kit for $15. It includes soldering iron, etc and a small noise making electronc board. Cool Neon also has a Learn To Solder Kit specifically for EL wire. If you are interested in either class, drop me an email!

Lasers and Bots : Thurs Nov 18 2010

I’m going to host a Maui Makers meeting at my home on Thursday November 18, 2010 from 5:30-11pm. I’ll show the Epilog Laser cutter, Makerbot 3d Printer, and some of the other tools and toys I have here. Festivities will start in late PM (5:30) and continue until everyone (but me) leaves. I’ve got a grill if you want to cook something, or bring something pre-cooked. BYO drinks, art, projects, questions, answers, friends, etc.
Email me for directions. Jerry Isdale

Ten people at First Maui Maker Meeting

We had a meetup at Ben’s house yesterday (Sept 16, 2010) – our first real Maui Maker specific meetup!  There were 10 people there (not counting Ben’s two boys and visitor).  Ben and Hiro provided pizza and fish tacos, and drinks.  The meeting started about 7:30pm and the last of us left at about 11:45pm – sorry it was so late Ben/Hiro!

First Maui Makers Meeting: L2R Jerry I (me), JerryB, BrianT, ColeS, Dave, Wayne,BenW, Garret, Crystal, and Hiro

We had a lot of good round table discussion as well as introductions.  It was very encouraging to see all the people with enthusiasm for the space.  We are working on getting the biz aspects established and looking at physical spaces.  There are a few different spaces available at Hali’imaile in the Maui Land and Pineapple Co buildings.  Some are huge quonset huts, some open sheds and perhaps a few smaller closed office type space.  The range offers options for expansion if/when we grow and/or need larger project spaces.  We dont yet know what the ML&P folks think but we’re pursuing it from several angles.   Stay Toon’d!