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; 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. Work by yourself or in a small group to make the best golf-ball*-throwing device you can imagine. 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 “Trebuchet Contest,” your device does not need to look like something out of the middle ages. You can use any design, any materials, any construction techniques, and in fact any launch techniques you’d like. 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. No explosives, precompressed springs, compressed gasses, batteries, or any other sources of energy. Gravity only. However, you can use all those things as intermediate steps if you’d like – if you use gravity to compress a spring, or use electronic timing to coordinate the firing, that’s just good Maker spirit. Just be prepared to prove that you’re not contributing any extra energy to the projectile.
Your siege engine requires a remote triggering mechanism. Mechanical, electronic, whatever. 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). We want to keep things safe.
You cannot aerodynamically assist the projectile in any way. If you need wadding to seal the projectile in the barrel of your gravity-charged pneumatic cannon, that’s fine. If you want to use a sling which stays attached to the projectile instead of the trebuchet, well, you’re the one who thinks it’ll be competitive to throw more weight than anyone else. But whatever you do, the projectile has to take a ballistic trajectory once it leaves your machine.
We’re trying to keep things interesting and attract the widest range of designs by keeping the rules loose. Please don’t abuse this privilege - nobody wants to read a ten-page rule book covering every possible situation. Tech inspection is going to have a “spirit of the rules” philosophy, and you should keep that in mind while working on your design. If you have a creative idea or think you’ve found a loophole in the rules, please bring it up with Ben as soon as possible. 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. 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 make ideal trebuchet projectiles. Unfortunately, they’re a bit dangerous and bouncy. To dramatically increase the chances of scoring each shot by ensuring we can actually find each projectile, we won’t be using golf balls. Competition projectiles will be approximately equal in size and exactly equal in mass to a golf ball. 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 to efficiently throw the projectile as far as you can. The mass of your power weight will be taken into account, so if you decide to increase performance with extra weight, make sure you’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 their 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. And just to make it more enjoyable, they kick in some cash for pizza, too! All we have to do in return (in addition to hosting the event) is produce 3-4 new Instructables to their website. Our Instructables don’t even have to be about the topic, though that certainly helps. And as long as we tag/link Omaha Maker Group in our Instructables (more details on how to do that later), we get credit. If we hit the 3-4 mark, we qualify to participate in future Build Nights. 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. You may have seen the new paint pens at Radio Shack from Bare Conductive. These pens allow you to “draw” an electronic circuit. 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 on May 28th. Doors will open by 6:00pm, and the event will kick off at 7:00. We will have pizza from Varisty/Roman Coin, but please BYOB (and any snacks you might want). Hope to see you there!
Tonight’s meeting was a great success, thanks in large part to Tom’s Balloon Animals presentation/workshop. Members and visitors were shown, and then guided through making a variety of plants, animals, and inanimate objects.
Additionally, we had a number of visitors, and worked on projects including a Peltier-cooler proof of concept and a grinder stand. We also dusted off an old Teletype, in preparation for it’s impending Twitterification.
If I hadn’t seen this myself, I don’t know that I’d believe it. Last night, we set out to test this Popsci article, and it seems to hold up.
We had 2 locks donated, a generic U-Lock, and a pretty beefy looking keyed padlock. The U-Lock’s steel turned out to be a bit too soft, and just bent a bunch, but the shackle on the padlock failed relatively quickly.
All said, we used 2 cans of air, but quite a bit of that was spent on the first lock. Both the body of the lock and the shackle sustained quite a bit of damage, though the damage to the body was mostly cosmetic and probably not “breaching”.
If I were to try it again, 2 things: 1. Strike the shackle directly, with a chisel or something, instead of the hammer face. 2. More lighting. The high-speed video was too dark to really show anything interesting. I keep forgetting how much light that thing takes..
A while back, we decided that we needed a 24v power source for various “testing” applications. This source needed to be durable enough for daily use by a wide variety of people without becoming damaged. It also needed to protect the device being powered, and be easy to maintain.
Given that tall list, Ben suggested a HobbyKing LiPo pack, 6S, 5Ah. With that start, we decided that it should have volt and amp meters for monitoring, as well as a circuit breaker to provide positive power disconnect, and protect the battery (easily capable of 150A into a dead short).Meters were ordered from Ebay and the breaker was something out of an old UPS.
The blue enclosure is a waterproof storage box from Walmart, modified to pass through various connectors. It’s not waterproof at this point, but we’re more after the durability of the polycarbonate than the waterproof aspect anyhow.
Internally, there’s quite a bit going on. The battery is packed into a foamed-off area, while the other side contains the electronics, including the circuit breaker,ammeter shunt and all the connectors.
Charging is accomplished via a modified ATX connector (which re-presents the balance plug and main power leads), with a fuse to protect against abuse. The idea is that it’s virtually impossible to charge the battery improperly, or to break a relatively fragile balance connector.
Overall, it was a pretty straight-forward build, and cost around $90, including the battery and all the connectors.
Just a reminder, the Omaha Maker Group’s regular meeting on Tuesday, September 4th is an Omaha Creative Week Spark Event. We have several presentations on the docket, including a summary of the Omaha Maker Group (and Making as a whole), as well as a hands-on presentation on manipulating your car’s onboard computer for diagnostics and customization.
Hope to see everyone there! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email email@example.com.