BIG IDEA Event Happening tomorrow: Wednesday, October 22, 2014


UW-Stout is calling all students who have a good business idea or who are interested in entrepreneurship.

The Discovery Center Fab Lab, room 132 of the Applied Arts Building, will host a kickoff event from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, for the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament.

The tournament, coordinated by UW-Extension, is open to undergraduates from any UW System two- or four-year campus except UW-Madison.

Students from the state will compete against each other to determine the best student business idea. The state finals are April 11 in Madison.

The state winner advances to the International Business Model competition.

At the Oct. 22 event in the Fab Lab, students will learn about the contest, network and discuss their ideas. Refreshments will be provided.

Eventually, two teams will be chosen to develop their ideas and represent UW-Stout in the state competition.

During the tournament, students will have access to resources from the UW System. Some funding may be available.

The tournament teaches students cutting-edge Lean startup tools, provides business mentorship and gives students a chance to compete for paid internships along with the top prize, according to the contest website.

For more information, contact Discovery Center Director Randy Hulke, 715-232-5024, or the Discovery Center, 715-232-2395.


More power!? Or FABLAB Fridays are really fun.


Today Todd spent FABLAB Friday working on his Arduino and getting the LED display working for the water quality sensor. We cheered his success and pondered whether the Arduino or the computer in the old CNC mill was a more powerful processor. Our money is on the Arduino.



Sylvia and Todd discussed next steps with their environmental sensors and Anne Kerber and I mastered some new methods of online communication and IT. Anne, Sylvia and I spent the last few hours of this week’s FABFRIDAY making excellent progress on our grant proposal to create more opportunities for faculty, schools and community members to learn and play in the FABLAB.


FABLABBED Standing Desk Update

I’m slowly making progress on my standing desk.  I’ve researched many different standing desk designs and surprisingly found many good ideas from about a dozen different Kickstarters, so it was neat to see I was certainly not the only person thinking that this would be a popular DIY project.

Sylvia introduced my to Sketchup and Inkscape and I’ve been learning how to draw basic shapes.  A few weeks ago Sylvia and I worked out some basic pieces and got the files to transfer to the laser printer.  I’m now working on a cardboard mock up of my design and will be translating that to the CNC Mill.

All in all this has become a great activity for me, I’ve gone from a few months ago thinking I could never do any real “building” to now looking up CNC furniture plans and realizing I could not only make someone else’s design on the mill but could design my own.  It has also helped me to understand the real value of a fablab isn’t just in the equipment and tools that are available to us, but the shared ideas and knowledge.

Stay tuned! We hope we can roll-out a standing desk for very low cost using recycled materials by sometime this spring (noting I’m sure someone who was actually skilled in this area would’ve been able to do this much, much more quickly, but for me it was the experience in journey, not the product that mattered most).