“With Our Strengths and Our Minds and Spirit, We Gather, We Form and We Fashion: Makers and Shapers and Put-it-togetherers.”

Local 3D Printer Suppliers

Is there anyone in Maine that supplies 3D Printer filament or parts?

The closest I have found is Folger Technology in New Hampshire. They sell very affordable acrylic framed 3D printer kits, 3D printer parts, and Arduino electronics. I placed a small order for a handful of parts that I needed to finish up a second 3D printer. Communication was quick and helpful. I also found out from Dan that they offer educator and military discounts. I know several people have asked me where to find a printer, so I wanted to share this info. If you school or library is interested in an inexpensive printer, this would be a good starter printer and an unbeatable price.

Not only will shipping be quick, you could always drive down and have the parts or printer kit immediately.

Who wants to meet? 2.0

Here we are again. A little over a year ago, just as we secured a temporary meeting place, my father was in a horrible motorcycle accident and I was unable to give the proper attention to the Maine Makerspace. Now, I still need to manage my father’s care and finances, but I have a little more time. Sadly, that means we need to start all over again. One thing I realized is that the Maine Makerspace needs to start with a group of leaders and not one person or it will never work. We need to get a core group of people together, people who are interested in dedicating time (and blood, sweat and tears.. as needed) to get this off the ground.

I am once again compiling an email list of anyone interested in attending the Maine Makerspace meetings in Waterville. A year ago, the physical group was just 4 people, meeting randomly at my place to play with some basic electronics, go over some Arduino tutorials, etc. However, in the last year we have not even been doing that. We now have over 100 members on our Facebook page so we should be able to get this ball rolling.

The first order of business will be to find a date/time for the first public meeting that works best for a majority of the people interested. I expect the first meeting to be up to a dozen people, but I will have a better idea of the exact number once I start getting an email list compiled.

The goal of the first meeting or two will just be to meet up, get to know each other and our various interests. Maybe discuss what goals we all have for the Maine Makerspace. To discuss who is interested in becoming MMS Officers (Pres, Vice-Pres, Secretary, Treasurer, Board of Directors, etc) and who want to just become members and participate in events, classes, etc.

Just to be up front, Maine Makerspace will have a formal layout. There will be officers (Pres, VP, Board of Directors, Secretary, etc) setup so that we can incorporate as a non-profit down the road, but my goal of the public meetings are to be down to earth and informal. Basically just a bunch of friends meeting up to Make stuff and promote Making. Please note that we are all going to have various interests, from knitting/sewing to art/design, from electronics/robotics to welding/woodworking. You might not even know where your interest lies, but as we grow you will be able to dabble in many projects and see what you are good at, what you enjoy! The first rule, if there are to be any rules.. should be “Have Fun”.

So, if you are interested, please get back to me at contact@mainemakerspace.com with your name, phone number & location.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to shoot those over to me as well.

Rick Sisco
Maine Makerspace

Heading to Midcoast Mini Maker Faire

A handful of us are heading up to the Midcoast Mini Maker Faire tomorrow.

If you find yourself at the Midcoast Mini Maker Faire, give me a call or text and we can all meet up to check things out. Perhaps we can all catch some lunch and introduce ourselves in person.

Rick Sisco

Location for a Meeting Place…

I have looked into a few places to hold meetings and classes. It looks like I have found a space in Waterville thanks to a tip by one of our current group members on Facebook.

I will need to go out to Waterville to check it out, but I think it will work great as a temporary meeting place to discuss our future. We can also use it to get together and work on small projects, but unfortunately there is no storage space there, so we will need to bring our stuff and take it back with us.

We should be able to use it for some community classed to help grow our numbers in the area, such as Arduino Basics, Beginners Soldering Classes, etc.

I’ll post more details after I get out there to scout the location.

Time to Start Planning

We have been building a group of Makers interested in forming a Makerspace here in Maine. With over 50 members on our Facebook group, it’s time to start discussing how to move this project forward.

Hopefully by summer of 2014 we can locate a small physical space to call our home. We can then work on building tools, getting a bank account, soliciting some donations, working towards group and individual projects, holding public ‘maker days’ to teach the public what the Maker scene is all about.

It’s time to move from the Building Interest Stage to the Planning Stage. If you are interested in being involved, join our Facebook Group.

Website Updates: 08-07-2013

I disabled ‘member signup’ on our website. It was getting filled with spam-bots and it is not really needed right now. Join our Facebook group to get updates and to keep in the loop.

I also cleaned up a bunch of project posts that we have been doing. We will keep put up only projects that are created by or are collaborated on by our members. To post, read or discuss other projects, as well as member projects, we will use MakerStage.com.

If you have suggestions for the website, let me know.

What’s a Makerspace?

So what’s a makerspace? (Also called a hackerspace, a backspace, or a hacklab) It’s any sort of creative space where people gather to make stuff and share ideas about making stuff. These labs, often equipped with tools and materials, allow users to practice a 21st-century sort of DIY.

Photo by Scott Beale

Wikipedia.org defines them as “A location where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialise and/or collaborate. Makerspaces/Hackerspaces can be viewed as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and/or studios where hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.”

Hackerspaces.org, a wiki connecting makerspaces around the world, defines them as “community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.”

Mythbuster’s Adam Savage “Why We Make”

Adam Savage is part of the team at Mythbusters.  But, what most people might not realize is that he is a true “maker.”  That TV show is not just a job, he loves to create. The video below is of a talk he gave at a Maker Faire a few months ago.  As he says “It doesn’t matter what you make and it doesn’t matter why, the importance is that you are making something.”

The Tradesman – A movie all “makers” should watch…

If you are a maker, a craftsman(or woman) or someone who knows the satisfaction of working with your hands, you will enjoy this movie. It shows very smart and hard working people doing difficult work. The kind of work many of us avoid doing.  But, this documentary is a striking example of why we NEED skilled trades people and why they are a crucial part of the success of America. These are the people that MADE this country, they are the innovators, the creators of companies and they are disappearing! At the very least, you will understand how these hard working people make all of our lives better. Everyday, we want things cheaper and easier. But there is only one way to get quality, and that’s when a skilled person creates quality.   These people are talented artists. It’s not just skill, but creativity, common sense, and thousands of hours of “doing it.” The saying goes that “if you do what you love, it’s no longer work.” The movie shows some eclectic art done by tradespeople. But consider that the Curiosity Mars Rover was also built buy passionate and very skilled people.

Yes, parts of this movie are a bit depressing, but that’s the reality of hard times. But keep in mind, that the trades are not just plumbers, carpenters and electricians. There are machinist, fabricators, and entrepreneurs. Even if you have no desire to be a tradesman, many of these “hands-on” skills are vital for all of us to know.  Being able to fix your possessions and take care of your home is a great way to save money. In the case of engineers, having hands-on skills is critical. Because when you “engineer” something, not only does someone else have to build it, it has to be “engineered” right. The only way to know if it’s done right, is if you have experience doing it yourself!

This first video features an introduction to the film by Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame).

The movie does have commercials, but well worth watching to the end. These folks truly are artists.