At first I was thinking of doing a blog post about the multimeter, but instead I choose this guy the QS2015-T4. Fairly unassuming and in a box that might be marked “transistor tester”. Amongst the arduino and sensors, this clever guy a ATMEGA328P with some neat firmware. On the front is a screen, and a socket and a button that does stuff. Pictured here it’s interrogating the transistor we use in basic electronics. So how do you know which way to put it in the socket? You don’t, and you don’t care.
There is a 1, 2, 3 on the board next to the socket . Make sure you have a different pin in a different socket number. See the 1s at the end? All connected together. Check out the screen though. There is a 1 by the G, a 2 by the D, and a 3 by the S. It told us which pins are what. Pop in the part, push the button It figures out the rest technomagically.
Check out where it says C=1.37nF. That’s a capacitance isn’t it? It reads capacitance too. You suspect a cap being bad you can pop it in this bad boy and it will tell you what the capacitance is. I’m not saying it’s NIST traceable, but if you want to make your 555 timer wiggle and need to check that cap? This do that. Resistors, Diodes, Transistors, inductors. Put it in the socket, push the button, and there ya go. It does have some limitations. UV LEDs for instance have a high enough forward voltage that it thinks it’s a resistor sometimes. Linear regulators don’t play nice. But if you pull a resistor out and the red looks a LEEETLE orange… or if you just don’t feel like googling what the bands are. It’s way easier to use the transistor tester than to try to balance the Multimeter probes on the resistor leads.
We have another transistor tester, a red one with fewer capabilities, it works a lot the same way. But when Jens Torrel donated this guy I liked it so much, I bought one for myself. If you are just starting out in electronics, there is a different model I recommend. That’s just because it has a bunch of other stuff it can do as you go further into analogue electronics. The QS2515-T4 is perfect for the space because it’s easy to use, tells you what you want to know at the touch of a button, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and frankly, there isn’t really another piece of equipment that does what it does in there. It really is a thing that does the thing.
Make Crazy, Make Safely
If you’re a creative person visiting MakeICT you might immediately want to know how to get in and start making. We share your enthusiasm! We have fantastic tools and an amazing community of teachers and experts to help teach you. Showing up is the first step, but getting trained and familiar with our resources can’t happen in an hour. Sometimes new visitors get overwhelmed. We have the shortest explanation on our how to join page, but here is the long form: all of our recommendations for getting on board and making use of MakeICT.
Members can apply for keys that grant them 24×7 access to the space. There is no “half time” key or “you can’t be here by yourself” key – there’s only the 100% key, so we don’t issue it first time you walk in the door. You can get a key within your first month or even first week if you visit a few times. You need to fill out an application and have six other members sign it. We’re a co-op, so it’s important for us to all be able to talk to each other: your key application proves it. It’s a great opportunity for you to meet some people in the space! Printing out a key form and bringing it around with you when you visit the space is a smart first step if you’ve just become interested in MakeICT, even if you haven’t officially joined yet. For more information about our key policy, visit http://makeict.org/wiki/Standing_rules#Key_Policy
Attending Maker Monday orientation is a requirement for a key as well. You’ll get a tour of the space and meet our leaders to ask questions. Orientation is exciting; in our 7,000 square feet there’s a woodshop, metal shop, fabrication lab with 3D printers, a laser cutter, artist studios, textiles area, ceramics room, print shop… a lot to see! Hopefully you’ll leave with a good feeling and a starting point for what to jump into first.
Safety classes are required for use of the metal shop, wood shop and laser cutter. If you know you’re interested in these items, watch the calendar for classes. You can take a safety class even if you haven’t joined or attended orientation, getting one of these under your belt is a great way to know that you can use the space. There is a discount on safety classes if you are a member.
MakeICT has other public events besides orientation that are great to jump into. Maybe it’s area-related, like our monthly textiles tribe or Tuesday ceramic nights. We have casual social meetups like game night and parties. And of course there are always chances to volunteer for our kids or community events. Pay attention to the calendar and forums to see where to join in.
At any time in this process, you can pay dues! You have to pay dues for us to accept your key application, but you can do everything else – gather application signatures, take safety classes, attend orientation and public events – before you officially join. Dues are $25 a month and can be paid monthly, every six months, or every 12 months. Paying members receive class discounts and the money paid in helps with our mission to unite Wichita’s technology and art communities.
When you’ve gotten to know us, attended safety classes, paid your dues and have your key, you’re as “in” as anybody. The road to being a MakeICT expert is a pretty short one, but there’s always more to learn with new tools coming in and classes on the calendar. You’ll know some of your fellow members by this time so you’ve got the go-to names down for just about any question.
But the real thing to know is this: your onboarding process is whatever you make it. You can change the order up – take some classes before you even go to orientation. Gather key signatures before you pay dues. Get to know us before you take classes. The order is up to you. We’d be happy to help you figure out the right process if you’re stumped, just let us know more about your schedule and we’ll be happy to help.
Have you been painting rocks? Wichita has embraced this trend in full force and MakeICT has held several events this summer to encourage this accessible, popular, artistic past time. The idea is simple: paint a rock with colorful pictures or words of encouragement, then hide it out in the world so it can bring joy to someone random who happens to find it.
In June we invited members of the ICT Area Rocks group to our space for a public art night, and they came out in force. We had rock painters in every room of the space! It was a little hectic, but we were happy to show so many people through our open doors.
After the success of this event we decided to scale back for future workshops with a return to our normal registration required/class size limited format.
Rock painting has literally been around for centuries, with rocks and caves service as canvas for early humans 40,000 years ago. For some reason in 2017, a few popular movements started catching on. One of these is the kindness rocks project, a blog that started in 2015. Google trends shows the keywords hitting big this summer:
If you want to paint rocks, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1) Our favorite places to get a lot of rocks are landscaping companies. The Sod Shop at 3601 N Hillside has been very nice to rock painters, donating rocks for our events and kindly letting all kinds of shoppers fill buckets of rocks for less than $10. Bring your own 5 gallon bucket. South side Wichitans report that Andrla’s at 1501 W 55th St S is another great source. And of course, if you’re just a casual painter getting started you can find rocks on your own property or a friend’s to try out. Just don’t steal rocks from landscaping of local businesses without asking permission.
2) Our favorite places to get paint are hardware or big box stores. Craft stores have a great selection too but are more expensive, even with those tempting 40% off coupons. Acrylic spray paint is an easy way to start a basecoat but it takes a while to dry. You can also use craft paints for your background. Some people smooth out cavities in the surface with wood filler or clear spray before painting.
3) Don’t worry if you’re not an artist – anyone can paint rocks! Faces, animals, symbols of our city, foods, cartoons, or inspirational messages make for fantastic rock art. Sharpies or paint pens are nice for finishing touches. If you use pens be sure to coat over your design with modge podge so any sealing sprays you use don’t run your colors. A clear acrylic sealer spray to finish it off makes your design permanent.
4) Labeling your rock is a fun way to let others know what’s going on. Use just a hashtag like #ICTAreaRocks, or a whole message… “A kindness rock has found you! Keep it for today then hide it again, find us on facebook at ICT Area Rocks.” Some families use their own hashtags so they can easily search facebook, twitter or pinterest to see who has found their rocks. There’s a printable PDF with lots of label sizes in the rock painting group.
4) Finally, go hide your rock. Our favorite places to hide rocks in Wichita are:
– Keeper of the plains
– Douglas Street
– Riverside park
– Sedgwick County Park
But you can hide your rock anywhere where rocks are found. If you hide your rock in a more out of the way park, it’s more likely to be found by a random person than someone out on a rock hunting mission – so it’s totally up to you. Just don’t hide rocks in grass that gets mowed. Mowers and rocks do not get along and we’d hate for either to get damaged.
You might see your rock re-posted on social media, or you might not. To be a rock painter is to learn the art of letting go. It’s totally altruistic – something you’re doing, knowing that you might not get anything back in return. Along the way you might get better at drawing your favorite objects, and you might come up with some quotes that inspire you. Maybe your rock gets to live in someone’s house and bring them inspiration, maybe it travels around the world, since it has no expiration date there’s no way to know what its next journey will be.
We hope this trend continues, since we support anything that gets new people into creating art. Check on our calendar or events page for more painting opportunities at MakeICT.
This year Wichitans were within traveling distance of a total solar eclipse. A coordinated road trip of MakeICT members went up to the Crane Trust Nature Center near Grand Island, Nebraska. The weather was beautiful and traffic was light. Special thanks to James Lancaster for organizing the road trip and putting together an informative class on safe solar eclipse viewing and photography. James is involved in the Lake Afton Public Observatory in addition to MakeICT and we’re looking forward to growing our partnership with them.
Here are some photos by our vice president James Lancaster.
The next total solar eclipse within easy traveling distance of us will be April 8, 2024.
We also learned some lessons worth passing along about solar eclipse glasses. In late July we noticed solar viewing glasses were hard to find in Wichita, so we ordered 500 pairs from NASA-recommended manufacturers. We mentioned on facebook that we had the glasses on August 1, and about 50 were picked up at that first maker Monday. By August 10 or so we still had hundreds of glasses, so when a local business asked us for 200 pairs for their employees we jumped at the opportunity and our fundraiser was complete. That’s the week that everybody in Wichita seemed to realize they needed eclipse glasses and we were inundated with phone calls! So less for everybody next time: get your eclipse glasses a couple months in advance. They last a long time – more than the three years that the older ISO standard recommended. We are currently collecting glasses for Astronomers Without Borders. If you don’t want to save your glasses, drop them in the box on the front glass cabinet.
Welcome to September! This email has more volunteer sign up forms than any email ever, so if you’re a new member wondering how you can get to know people at MakeICT, pick a thing! Maybe you joined MakeICT to make your own stuff – I know I did. But I quickly learned that I am smarter and a better maker if I’m friends with makers. You know what I mean – those people who just SENSE when you’re confused about a tool in the woodshop or your Inkscape design isn’t matching your vision at all? I got to know those people through attending events and volunteering. Well now that I’ve started off about my personal abstract about journeys, let me get to our highlights. – Kim
Remember the annual meeting was so fun, we voted something along the lines of “we should do this more often!” Well that quarterly time has occurred. Join us for our first member meeting. We’re making it a potluck chili cookoff! Bring a crock pot of chili, a topping or side that goes along with chili, or a prize for the winners. Apparently some people have asked to be total anarchists and bring soup. Fine with us!
One very important thing we’ll be doing at this meeting is talking about Spaces. What if you could create your dream makerspace? Would it be in a different building, or can we keep making this building into our dream? It’s a topic that comes up and we’re forming a building committee to focus our 5 and 10 year plans. Your input will put them off to a great start.
Sign up to bring a food here: http://bit.ly/makeict128
Join the building & facility committee here: http://bit.ly/makeict11
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/160439797841335/
We’re planning something big for October’s Final Friday: A MakeICT art auction. Join the artists, craftsmen and builders of MakeICT at the Gallery for a night to remember on Final Friday, October 27, 2017 from 6-10 p.m. On display will be a collection of art that combines the skill and creativity of the vibrant local maker community. The pieces in this collection are an intersection of art, technology, science, and culture that the members of MakeICT have donated to a silent action. Funds raised will be used to purchase equipment to enhance & modernize our local community makerspace.
Event info: https://www.facebook.com/events/148841592371360/
Sign up to help: https://goo.gl/forms/fthbeaORM23nbu2K2
Sign up to donate your art: https://goo.gl/forms/9rpLrMXrbvxDVlor1
There’s a lot going on in Wichita and MakeICT wants to be present for all of it! Can you help by representing us at a table? Events coming up are:
Open Streets – Spend time at the makerspace giving tours while the entire city walks down Douglas. Sunday September 24th 12-4PM.
Event info: https://www.facebook.com/events/159392824626093/
North End Urban Arts Festival – Help kids make rockets at our table on Saturday September 30th 3-10PM.
Delano Fall Fair – Demonstrate woodwoorking or 3D printing at our booth on October 6-8
Event info: https://www.facebook.com/events/123200994992896/
Bartlet Ecofest – Help out at our booth or with our bike generators that power this concert. Sunday October 29 12pm-5pm
Alternative Gifts Market – We’re showing off our holiday ornament-making skills and raising money for Egyptian recyclers on Saturday November 11 10AM-4PM. Help make ornaments to get ready.
Information about our cause, and sign up: https://goo.gl/forms/44t0khke4h78lEbs2
There are lots of events going on at MakeICT. Are you certified on our plasma cutter yet? Read about it on our blog: http://makeict.org/2017/08/24/new-cnc-plasma-cutter/
Our summer eclipse road trip was a huge success! Check out James’ photos and lessons we learned.
We decided not to have scheduled open hours on every Monday and Thursday anymore. The biggest reason for this was that there is so much going on, members without keys have plenty of opportunities to get involved. Classes, workshops, game night, Toastmakers, committee meetings, ceramics night, textile tribe, and as always Maker Monday – my number one piece of advice for new members is to stalk the calendar and dive in.
October will be huge – we love Halloween! As always our annual Halloween maker challenge will be judged on the last Monday in October. If you make something spooky, take photos along the way so you have a log of your process to submit. You have plenty of time so get your ideas going now.
Do you have questions, comments, or feedback? As always send us an email (info at makeict dot org) or fill out our ongoing survey (bit.ly/makeict55) – we’re all in this together, so you hold the key to improving MakeICT. Thank you!
Our newest tool at MakeICT is a CNC plasma cutter, built from scratch by Curt Gridley our CNC lead and Jeremiah Burian our metal shop lead. We’re using it to cut precision designs through thick sheets of metal (3-20mm) that our laser cutter could not get through.
We’d been talking about a plasma CNC and its capabilities it was soon decided that we would ask members if it was something they would rally behind. We held a meeting for anyone interested and put a call out for ideas, concerns, and requirements. We knew we wanted to seek donations to purchase the actual plasma cutter. Multiple members stepped forward and raised $3,050 for the purchase. The components for the CNC Table were donated by Curt. We had multiple members step up to help run new electrical, work on individual parts of the table, and help move things around to get ready. Thomas Bloom worked on the LinuxCNC programming and interface.
None of us had ever built a plasma cnc before and we had little to no experience running one, so we ran into some hurdles, but now it is set up and working out wonderfully. Our advice for other maker spaces is just to do your homework if you decide to take on a project like this. Decide size, drive line, what programs you plan to use and plasma cutter specifications before anything. Our build process was over a 3 month period. If you need to get something up and running as soon as possible there are manufactured tables and kits on the market.
For members of MakeICT – Don’t be intimidated, you can learn to use this machine over time. First you’ll need designs made up in svg or dxf format. Inkscape is our favorite free open source tool to create designs, but there are lots of programs that can make DXF files. This machine only cuts in 2D, like the laser cutter. The ShopBot CNC router in the woodshop is known as “2 and a half D” because the router bit moves up and down at different depths in the material.
Using the plasma cutter requires metalshop safety authorization and then a special tool-specific authorization. Look for the CNC Plasma Class on our calendar.
If you’re ready to relax on a Friday with your fellow makers check out our monthly game night. Game night can break out any time of course, but we’ve got it on the public calendar on the third Friday of every month. Bring a game, a snack, some friends, you can even bring a kid if they can cope with both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Some of the recent games we’ve enjoyed:
The game “Risk” is not allowed.
Thank you to our gallery team for curating this year’s gallery shows so far. Here are some of the items we’ve featured. The MakeICT gallery is open for Wichita Final Fridays and also during our standard open hours from 7-9PM Mondays and Thursdays.
Greetings members! It is time to be paying lots of attention to MakerFaire.
MakerFaire Call For Makers
Friday July 7 is the deadline for groups or individuals interested in presenting their project, activity, or performance in this event. Fill out this application:
MakerFaire Call For Volunteers
Volunteers are needed for Wichita’s annual Maker Faire on July 22nd & 23rd at Exploration Place – 300 N McLean Blvd. This two day family-friendly event is a gathering of people who enjoy learning and sharing what they do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects.
Tickets to MakerFaire are $9.50, free for members of MakeICT or Exploration Place, and of course free for volunteers! If you or someone you know has never seen Exploration Place this is a great opportunity – they don’t have to buy a ticket on the day they volunteer. Spend a couple hours giving back as part of the team and in return get to experience MakerFaire and Exploration Place for free the rest of the day.
Polls and Surveys
The new board wants your opinion on everything these days! If you haven’t filled out the surveys we’ve been sending out lately, take some time to tell us about yourself. Polls we are running right now include:
Summer Member Feedback – a very open-ended suggestion box
Where do you live? – when we consider marketing efforts or future spaces we’d love to understand where our members are coming from! You can put in just your zip code, no address required
Storage Policy Straw Poll – should we let members leave projects in the space? Weigh in on a possible policy change.
It’s hard to pick a few interesting events in these newsletters because there are a LOT of upcoming events. Be sure to visit our calendar to stay up to date. It’s only the first week of July and already we’ve filled the calendar up enough that there are five total days that do NOT have something going on. Come join in!
We even have a new form: the Request A Class form. Was the class you wanted full? Did you miss it? Do you have a suggestion for a new class? There is now a form for you. We’ll forward your request to the most likely instructor so they can understand demand and plan accordingly.
Summer Eclipse Road Trip Should we go to Kansas City or Nebraska? Who wants to go? Join with us to find the best view on August 21.
Textile Tribe This Saturday July 8! Are you a textile aficionado? Do you dabble in the textile arts? Are you looking for a tribe to encourage and inspire your fiber artistic creativity? Or do you have questions about textiles you need answered? Once a month we will get together to encourage each other to explore fiber in it’s many forms and work through our UFOs(unfinished fiber objects). So come play with your yarns, thread, cloths, felts, or fibers in whichever state they exist. Hand, machine, and print work encouraged.
Toastmakers – Every Sunday at 7pm. Toastmakers is a weekly meeting where creative and technical people work on their presentation and communication skills. We are in our early days of starting up and would love some more guests. Every week we feature new speakers with fresh and brilliant new topics, so join us. You do not have to be a member of Toastmasters or MakeICT but this is a great way to check out both. No preparation required, just meet us at 7 and join in!
Fusion 360:Sketching for Makers Thursday July 20th, 6:30 PM. This is class on sketching with Fusion 360 by a professional instructor with 27 years experience in CAD training. By the end of the class you’ll have a final project that is a 2D shape that you would like to make. Learn the basic interface, shapes, constraints and simple extrusions.
This month, our Makerspace Program Director, Tom McGuire, is MakeICT ‘s Featured Maker. We asked him about MakeICT and his favorite personal project.
“I don’t get a chance to really work on it too much, but the foam cutting machine is my primary project right now. It can take a drawing that you make on a computer and cut it out of 1/4 inch thick Styrofoam sheets,” McGuire said.
He has six machines now and is working on two more.
McGuire started the foam cutter back in 2008 when he was asked for help working with foam. The project continued to evolve into other projects during the years since.
He has used the resources at MakeICT to help him further refine the design and function of the foam cutter.
“I’m still working on it and MakeICT is a big part of the progress, both with software development and seeing how other people like to use the thing.” McGuire added, “Dominic is working with me to make the software better. It’s looking good.”
McGuire says that giving other makers advice about starting their own foam cutting projects has been problematic.
“It’s always been too complicated to expect other people to try to do. Someday I hope to tell them to go to Instructables.com and learn everything they want to know to make one. That’s still in the works, but the advances we are making on it will make that possible.”
McGuire has been tinkering with things since he was very young.
“I never did mess with cars too much, but I did get hooked into electronics and made a career out of it. Now I work at WSU showing students how to learn and make things.”
McGuire is also thinking about future projects.
“When I retire I want to build a machine that makes some of the strangest and most beautiful music.”
When asked about MakeICT, McGuire says, “It’s always fun to be a part of something that is growing. I make friends there that I never knew existed before. It’s like a big flower pot full of really good dirt.”