Another Successful Presentation – Balloon Animals!

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.

Padlock exhibits vulnerability to extreme cold (and a large hammer)

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..

LiPo Battery Ruggedized Power Module

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.

Omaha Creative Week Spark Event – Tuesday September 4th, 7pm.

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 info@omahamakergroup.org.

Straw Tower Contest – Results

As part of the recent OMGWTFBBQ festivities9, a contest was held, pitting the forces of gravity against the weight of cold hard cash (pennies, to be specific).  The goal of the contest was to use soda straws to support as much currency as possible in as high of a position as possible, thus racking up the most “inch-cents” of score.

As it turns out, we ended up going to “foot-dollars” and using weights that weren’t exactly copper, given the engineering of some of the entries. Check out the results below.

Team Inches Cents Inch-Cents Foot-Dollars
Brandon 8.25 2898 23908.5 19.92
Stephanie & Cait 8.25 2898 23908.5 19.92
John & Don 11.25 271.5 3054.38 2.55
Claire & Dad 7.5 271.5 2036.25 1.70
Jess & Company 14.25 45 641.25 0.53
Patrick & Travis 19.375 14 271.25 0.23
Ben & Dave 11.5 0 0 0

Learn about Lockpicking from a Toool.. member

Would you like to learn about lock picking? Come to our meeting Tuesday July 10th @ 7pm.

The meeting will feature a talk from a member of Toool.us (The Open Organization of Lockpickers), Steve Beck.

Steve will cover three topics, two of which are a little more hands on-ish, the first will be a basic lockpicking talk, the second will be a re-keying talk with a demo and the third will be about making your own picks with a demo.

Stick around after the talk for socializing and Makery Shenanigans.

Directions to the Makery