We’re going to be celebrating the Omaha Maker Group’s 7th anniversary on Tuesday, August 29th. As has become our custom, the evening will include dinner, dessert and the awarding of the annual Founders’ Prize. In addition, I’ve dug up some photos from long ago, showing not only the old space, but also our current K Street space as it was when we first moved in.
Dinner starts around 6, meeting and awards at 7, and dessert thereafter. Additionally, we’ve come up with a few interesting things for a raffle, so we’ll be drawing for that after dessert. Still TBD, but there might be a special “show and tell” after dark… I still need to check with Garrick for details though 🙂
This is an “open house”-type event, and members are encouraged to bring guests. It’s a great opportunity to invite your Maker-inclined friends, family and co-workers to see our new and improved space and find out what the Omaha Maker Group is all about.
Please RSVP below, indicating whether you’ll attend for dinner, dessert, both or neither. Since food needs to be ordered in advance, please be RSVP’d by August 25th so we have an accurate-ish headcount.
For years, our makerspace has used a hodgepodge of solutions for storing members’ projects in progress and other personal belongings. Most recently, we’ve used a dozen or so plastic totes. The totes worked great, but were limited in quantity (they were industrial waste, and no more matching totes were available) so that not everyone could have one. Additionally, these totes were slightly trapezoidal, which wasted quite a bit of space between them.
To that end, Ben and Kevin undertook a project to convert personal storage to standard Letter/Legal Banker’s Boxes, which are readily available and pack more densely. They are a bit smaller than the totes we were using, but most members totes weren’t full, and we can store twice as many boxes in the same space.
Read on for full plans and assembly instructions.
With Omaha’s Mini Makerfaire nearly upon us, our own President Eric Kaplan is in the news yet again. Personally, I feel like that old Macgyver guy could learn a thing or two from Eric.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make today’s booth at the Robotics Expo a huge success again this year. Â Booth volunteers included Ben, Don, Mike, Michael, Brandon, Nick and Jared, with material support from Patrick, Sarah, Eric, Dave and Katlynn. Â [Apologies in advance if I missed anyone].
If you weren’t able to make it out today, but would like to volunteer at some point in the future, just keep your eyes on the mailing list, as we’ll have several more opportunities throughout the year.
OMG’s innaugeral FirLumber Rally was a great success, with 17 cars competing. Â Official results will be posted shortly, but in summary, Dave’s electric cheater was the fastest, Eric’s elephant was the most creative, and Nate’s car was the least effort to build. Â Additionally, Dan’s kids’ cars were the fastest among the Squares.
Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural 2013 Founders’ Prize:
- For Opening New Frontiers – Jay Hannah and Dave Knaack
- For Operational Excellence – Eric Kaplan
As stated at the meeting, the categories for these awards are entirely arbitrary and subject to change in future years; Â Also, we estimate that this prize is roughly 1 million times easier to win than a Nobel Prize, and the cash award has been scaled accordingly.
Here’s a bit from Travis about the Opening New Frontiers winners
As for the award for Operational Excellence, this prize is awarded to Eric Kaplan for consistent attention to “things that need done”; He’s involved in everything from staffing booths to designing marketing material and furniture for the space. Furthermore, he successfully facilitated the Makery’s relocation to our new home.
Again, congratulations to all our 2013 winners.
This is your chance to build the best miniature siege engine in Omaha. Â Work by yourself or in a small group to make the best golf-ball*-throwing device you can imagine. Â We will then compete for range and accuracy to crown a champion. The contest will take place at the Makery on September 21st.
Although the competition is called â€œTrebuchet Contest,â€ your device does not need to look like something out of the middle ages. Â You can use any design, any materials, any construction techniques, and in fact anyÂ launchÂ techniques youâ€™d like. Â We want to keep things interesting, so the rules for this contest are very lenient:
The energy used to launch the projectile may come only from the gravitational potential energy of a mass falling no greater than 16 vertical inches.Â Â No explosives, precompressed springs, compressed gasses, batteries, or any otherÂ sourcesÂ of energy. Â Gravity only. Â However, you can use all those things as intermediate steps if youâ€™d like – if you use gravity to compress a spring, or use electronic timing to coordinate the firing, thatâ€™s just good Maker spirit. Â Just be prepared to prove that youâ€™re not contributing any extra energy to the projectile.
Your siege engine requires a remote triggering mechanism.Â Â Mechanical, electronic, whatever. Â You need to be ten feet from the firing position during your shots, and away from the most likely misfire direction (for example, on a standard trebuchet you need to be off to the side, out of the plane of the arm). Â We want to keep things safe.
You cannot aerodynamically assist the projectile in any way.Â Â If you need wadding to seal the projectile in the barrel of your gravity-charged pneumatic cannon, thatâ€™s fine. Â If you want to use a sling which stays attached to the projectile instead of the trebuchet, well, youâ€™re the one who thinks itâ€™ll be competitive to throw more weight than anyone else. Â But whatever you do, the projectile has to take a ballistic trajectory once it leaves your machine.
Weâ€™re trying to keep things interesting and attract the widest range of designs by keeping the rules loose. Â Please donâ€™t abuse this privilegeÂ – nobody wants to read a ten-page rule book covering every possible situation. Â Tech inspection is going to have a â€œspirit of the rulesâ€ philosophy, and you should keep that in mind while working on your design. Â If you have a creative idea or think youâ€™ve found a loophole in the rules,Â please bring it up with Ben as soon as possible. Â Most likely it will be allowed, but if you show up on competition day with something ridiculous, having never discussed it with the organizers, you might find yourself disqualified. Â We promise flexibility and absolute discretion – if we allow your cunning plan, its secret will be safe, and we promise not to steal it for our own designs.
*Golf balls makeÂ idealÂ trebuchet projectiles. Â Unfortunately, theyâ€™re a bit dangerous and bouncy. Â To dramatically increase the chances of scoring each shot by ensuring we can actuallyÂ findÂ each projectile, we wonâ€™t be using golf balls. Â Competition projectiles will be approximately equal in size and exactly equal in mass to a golf ball. Â Projectiles will be supplied for scored shots, although you may test with anything you like.
Competitions and Scoring:
The exact equations used for scoring will be revealed the day of competition, to prevent any rules-lawyering and to allow us more time to perfect them.
You will be scored on your ability toÂ efficientlyÂ throw the projectile as far as you can. Â The mass of your power weight will be taken into account, so if you decide to increase performance with extra weight, make sure youâ€™re getting a proportional gain in range.
Mark your calendars, the Omaha Maker Group’s 3rd anniversary (birthday?) get-together is Tuesday, August 20th. As usual, doors open by 6pm. There’ll be food and beverages and even some awards.
Members of OMG recently attended Maker Faire Kansas City. While hopeful that we’d be able to race our latest project “Barbie”–a souped-up power wheel–in the Power Racing Series, several set-backs caused us to withdraw from the event. Team OMGFTW (Omaha Maker Group for the win) may have been knocked out this time around, but we’ve already begun working out Barbie’s kinks, which means one thing–we’re already ahead of the game! Though we didn’t get to race, the Omaha World Herald wrote an article about the trials and tribulations of taking Barbie from a mere girly power wheel toy to a lean mean winning machine. We’re just a group of Racer tech wizards who drive a Barbie, but rely on a cowboy.
I am honored to announce that the website, Instructables.com, has contact Omaha Maker Group and asked us to participate in theirÂ inaugural “Instructables Build Nights”!
The idea for Build Nights is that Instructables picks a topic and sends supplies/materials to select Makerspaces for their use in creating an event around that topic. Â And just to make it more enjoyable, they kick in some cash for pizza, too! Â All we have to do in return (in addition to hosting the event) is produce 3-4 new Instructables to their website. Â Our Instructables don’t even have to be about the topic, though that certainly helps. Â And as long as we tag/link Omaha Maker Group in our Instructables (more details on how to do that later), we get credit. Â If we hit the 3-4 mark, we qualify to participate in future Build Nights. Â If we manage 10 Instructables, we could be looking at a new laser cutter, new 3D printer, electronics kit, or more!
The topic for May is conductive paint. Â You may have seen the new paint pens at Radio Shack from Bare Conductive. Â These pens allow you to “draw” an electronic circuit. Â The paint cleans with soapy water, so if you don’t like your circuit, just wash it away and start a new one.
Since this is our first Build Night, and the first time we have really talked about Instructables, I will be sure to send out information over the next couple of weeks to give you an introduction to making an Instructable, what constitutes a “quality” Instructable, and how to link your Instructable to OMG. At any time, please email me if you have questions.
The Bare Conductive Build Night will take place at The Makery onÂ May 28th. Â Doors will open byÂ 6:00pm, and the event will kick off atÂ 7:00. Â We will have pizza from Varisty/Roman Coin, but please BYOB (and any snacks you might want). Â Hope to see you there!