Do you love feeling the glow of wintertime? Make an LED tree! This year we offered several classes on this fun easy project for older kids and adults. Here’s how you can make your own light up tree at home.
You will need:
1) Solder 12″ of wire to each LED. We used the solid strand for the power side of the LED (longer lead) and the striped side for the ground side (shorter lead next to the flat end of the LED enclosure). It doesn’t really matter which one you use for which side, as long as you use the same scheme for each LED.
2) At the other end of each power wire, solder a 1K resistor. Resistors don’t have polarity, meaning you can solder it either way onto the wire, there’s no “backwards” when it comes to resistors.
3) Solder the resistors together at a junction for the power wire.
5) Solder the USB power wire onto the resistors and the ground wire onto the ends of the striped wires. The power (Vcc) USB provides 5V to the LED bank.
6) Here is a diagram of connections for reference, with dots at each solder point.
To make strong solder connections:
After it’s cool use hot glue to insulate between the wires and strengthen your tree.
This email was sent to members only November 5, 2017
What is your favorite area of the makerspace? Are you passionate about its tools, potential, safety, and getting new people in to use it? If so I strongly encourage you to sign up as an area lead or assistant area lead. The signup deadline is November 27th, leads will be appointed by the board. We depend on area leads and their teams to keep our makerspace running smoothly. Sign up is here: bit.ly/makeict129
Our demographics survey is running to help us collect member information for grants. It takes two minutes and it’s extremely important for our makerspace so please fill it out: bit.ly/makeict14
Have you ever wanted to teach a class at the makerspace? We have tips to get you started! There will be a meeting Thursday November 9th at 7pm for members and non-members. This is a great opportunity to recruit some friends to the space who are ready to share. So many people join our space to use our tools, I really wanted to reach out to a different audience with this event, so share with lots of people: facebook.com/events/1732740153412275/
As many of you know, last month the control board for our laser cutter up and died. Christian and James L did an amazing job jumping in to get it back up and running, with a new lost-cost, open source solution that would work on a lower-cost control board. It means we have to use new software but it’s not difficult. There is a 3-ring binder next to the laser cutter computer with screenshots to help you out. Learn more about getting up to speed…
As always, check out our calendar for everything going on at the makerspace because it is too much to list. James S has an exciting Saturday of electronics workshops planned for November 18th, get your welding classes in before the holiday rush, drop in with the Wichita Drone Club and as always, come tell us what you’re making at Maker Monday.
See you soon,
If you’re an authorized laser cutter user you do not need to re-take the authorization class. The fundamentals of laser cutting haven’t changed – you need to know about graphic design, material usage, and fire safety. You can re-take the class if you want. I tell everyone who takes laser cutting basics that they can sit in the back of future classes for free, forever. But you can also just review the Wiki Page. The “Workflow” section has a brief outline of each step, and also contains a link to a presentation with step-by-step screenshots. The screenshots have been printed off and are stored in a 3-ring binder next to the laser cutter computer.
A few key changes to note:
One other new thing this month: we’ve added a reservation calendar to help schedule times to use the laser cutter. You don’t have to have a reservation to use it, but this makes it much easier to set aside time, meet friends to collaborate, or just know that you can make a deadline on a project. Be sure to check the calendar before you start using the laser cutter to make sure you’re not running into anybody’s reservation. If you’re in the MakeICT google group, you can add reservations yourself.
If you’re a new user, or if you just want a refresher, head to http://makeict.org/calendar for the latest class schedule.
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.