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).

Don’t Forget! Another Awesome FABFRIDAY Opportunity Friday, Sept. 26th

Hello Fellow FAB-LABers!

Just a reminder that we have another FABFRIDAY opportunity tomorrow, Sept. 26 from 12:30-3:30pm.  We will take the first 10 minutes to allow folks to briefly update, (including a new participant who will be assisting with coordination of a Spring 2015 Maker Faire).  Various equipment training opportunities will be offered by Mike Cropp. All are welcome!

Maker Faire Flyer from a West Coast Event....We're coordinating now to do this at UW-Stout spring 2015.

Maker Faire Flyer from a West Coast Event….We’re coordinating now to do this at UW-Stout spring 2015.


Our summer work has progressed!  We have started the FAB-FRIDAY Campus Cohort, open to all UW-Stout faculty, staff and students interested in learning more about the FABLAB.  Our cohort currently consists of people working in the FABLAB, want to work in the FABLAB or want their students to have the opportunity to work in the FABLAB.

Join the FABLAB Cohort in the UW-Stout FABLAB Fridays 12:30pm until you’re tired!!

Our First FABLAB Friday Cohort Meeting.

Our First FABLAB Friday Cohort Meeting.

The goals of our FAB-FRIDAY Cohort

1) Communicate upcoming and ongoing FABLAB opportunities.

2) Share knowledge, ideas and resources among the cohort and broader community to build capacity and create infrastructure that supports the FABLAB.

3) Build, create, experiment, explore, solve problems and create opportunities for a truly transdisciplinary work environment.

Herding Cats: FabLab Summer

This blog documents the efforts of a team of faculty spending a summer learning to use the equipment in the UW-Stout Fabrication Lab.  The long term goal is to establish a FabLab Community of Practice and broaden the impact of the FabLab Potential outcomes of the community of practice will be new funding streams and more immediately, tools (such as environmental probes, microscopes, etc) that can be used in K-16 education, citizen science, and much more!

UW-Stout Discovery Center FabLab

UW-Stout Discovery Center FabLab

Let there be light (waves): Creating a Spectroscope in the UW-Stout FabLab

Dr. Sylvia Tiala trained us on the safe use of the Vinyl Cutter and Laser Cutter today.  You can learn more about the basic machines of a FabLab here:

To keep us engaged (and satisfy our narcissistic side), she planned to have us create spectroscopes with the laser cutter and write our names with the vinyl cutter to label our individual spectroscopes.

L-R, Dr. Ann Kerber and Dr. Sylvia Tiala making Spectrascopes.

L-R, Dr. Ann Kerber and Dr. Sylvia Tiala folding Spectroscopes after using the laser cutter to create the templates.

In addition to learning how to safely use the equipment, we learned how to troubleshoot software and hardware issues!  We also learned that the laser cutter would always beat scissors in a race.

You can see below that the final products were a huge success, though my skill at transferring vinyl lettering needs a lot of work.

Next up: 3D printers and Chocolate Faces!

Spectroscope with iPad Mini

Spectroscope with iPad Mini