The Sector67 membership enjoyed the first monthly meeting of 2017 with some of their fellow craftsmen/women presenting current projects, completed ideas, and tidbits about upcoming events and gadjets. John showed us his subchaser model, Bob gave us an informative presentation on the C.H.I.P, Tim and Sara showed appreciation of our Director Chris Meyer for repairing a laser cutter for their school, Luke showed us how to make metal flowers, Adrian shared some of his designs for work he did for a client, and Scott and Quincy capped the night off with some information on classes for younger makers, hackers, designers, et cetera.

Members attentively listened as the presenters showed & told us what they are currently working on, have recently finished, or  as the shared a tidbit.

Here is John immersing us all in his presentation of a 110ft WW2 subchaser boat. The table size model captured many marvelers as he told us how he designed the deck with wood, used a 3D printer for the people, and created brass deck rails. You can see more of John’s work here.

John pointing out the measurements of a tugboat he is working on. The original boat itself was built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.







This is a close up on the subchaser. The detail on the pants of the commanders are very artistic. Notice the bolts in the weapons and the trunk off to the left. 

Here in the aerial view, you can see more ammo in the trunk, the full range of the weapon, a third sailor holding another clip of ammunition, as well as, the search light at the right side of the model.

Bob was our second presenter of the night who mangled my brain informing us on the C.H.I.P (a small computer with 4GB capacity, and its ability to be substituted for the Raspberry Pi Zero if you don’t need HDMI and a bunch of other stuff. Thanks, Bob, for showing me that hardware is more than my cellphone.


Bob shared his pleasure of exploring the small computer and told us that the C.H.I.P actually has 512mb of ram, a 1ghz processor, and 4 gigs of storage space. According to Bob, the C.H.I.P is cheaper than a Raspberry Pi depending on your use case. Bob also mentioned that you could get one of these for about $9.



Next in line was Tim and Sarah who gave thanks to Chris Meyer for repairing their laser cutter. Their affection for Chris and Sector67  genuinely infected the crowd as they demonstrated how the cutter lacked precision due to some initial calibration issues. Tim, Sarah, and I spoke afterwards and I learned that Tim works at the Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Sarah has been a student at Sector67 where she learned to solder and use the 3D printer.

Tim and Sarah takes time to pose for me following the monthly meeting

Tim showing us one of his students WSBVI holding her cross that was cut using the Full Spectrum laser cutter that Chris fixed.

Sarah describing the path of the laser and alignment challenges.













Here you see Tim showing us the hero who usually works behind the scenes.

Luke’s fascinating metal roses are a wonder. The rugged artistic expression of such a delicate lifeform is great. Take a look at the detail in the petals and the near perfect accuracy of the cuts and bends that Luke actually did by hand. I am looking forward to Luke’s next project!

Take a look at the detail in the petals. Amazing!


Luke shown here telling us how he started his project.

 I captured some images of some rough cuts while Luke was speaking.


 Sideview of a completed metal rose. Slightly bent copper tubing makes up the stem. Copper cuts makes up the leaves and petals on this one.


Here is Adrian unveiling some new signs for Alt Brewery, a gluten free brewery, on the near north side. Adrian told me that he likes working many tools at Sector67 for his projects.
Adrian is an industrial designer that recently completed some “bottle caps signs” for a client of his. He brought us some pictures and discussed some of the challenges he met while designing them. While speaking to me, Adrian told me that he likes Sector67 for all of the tools and the great networking. In fact, Adrian found out about Sector67 from a friend.

Adrian explaining how the the lighting in this model illuminates the whitespace inside and around the logo.

Lastly, Scott and Quincy shared some of their success in running a youth class around metalworking with hand tools the in the past month.  They’re hosting another class coming up soon if you’re between 6th grade and high school and interested – learn more and sign up here.

Posted in Businesses at Sector67, Meetings Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sector67 Permanent Home

Sector67 is working hard to move to a permanent location on the near east side.  Please visit our donation page for more details and how you can help to move the project forward.

Posted in Uncategorized

2017 Iron Pour – FeLion Studios

FeLion Studios and Sector67 are proud to announce our 7th annual partnership on a community iron pour, taking place on February 11th at Sector67 – you can RSVP on Facebook here

You can purchase heart moulds online now and pick them up; or pay cash or check when you pick them up – we have two hearts for $30 which can be customized to your liking and forever cast into iron:

Pile of Hearts

Creating your own heart is easy, you can modify any aspect of the mould:
Scratch Demo 2
Scratch Demo
Just remember a few rules:

  • Mould modification is messy, so lay the mould on a cardboard box or plastic bag to dispose of the excess sand.
  • Remember to draw everything backwards, it’s a mould, not a finished product, so everything will be reversed when it’s poured!
  • Sharpie your design first and carve following your lines
  • Use any pointy implement you’d like but we’d advise against using any power tools as they can create dust that you don’t want to inhale (AKA: wear a mask with power tool work)
  • Return your moulds a few days before the pour up until EARLY the morning of the pour (late turn ins will be turned away this year – SORRY!)


Even if you aren’t interested in making your own cast iron artwork, please join us for music, great company, and a fun spectacle while the iron is poured:




Here’s some cool videos/pictures from prior years as well:

2012 video and image summary

2013 video and image summary

Posted in Projects

7th Annual Build Madison – 2016

Build Madison had a great turnout and a wide variety of ideas pitched at the start this year:

  • Brian – Kegerator dispensing system


  • Greg – Prosthetic 3d scanning (handheld scanner for ear/other body parts)
  • Kate – Combination lock laser cut puzzle

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  • Joe – Using recycled skateboards to make artwork, looking to make a block of skateboard deck

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  • Xavier – Building a virtual reality system to simulate being taller (camera on top of your head)


  • Alex – Making some advent star decorations for their church

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  • Antonio and Lola – Learn 3d printing, build a homeless shelter – portable shelter/rolling cart for homeless

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  • Elizabeth – Building cribbage boards out of reclaimed wood

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  • Jamie – Responsive email templates using Foundation and Sass for Nerd Nite


  • Jeff – Lego Rubik’s cube solver, light up bat signal, embroidered patches

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  • Olivia – Create an augmented reality treasure hunt app/game

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  • Rob – Make a Halloween skull respond to noise/microphone and move the jaw automatically

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  • Jim – Create a peristaltic pump with no output oscillations/spurts of liquid


  • Andrew – Software developer with no projects but happy to help others
  • Jesse – Terrarium project, some kind of bicycle project


  • Joe – YAG laser project to make it run and burn holes in metal

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  • Don – Telegraph operator looking for a telegraph playback machine/digital version to run like a player piano


  • Brad – Cat door with lock to keep the cats from eating each others food

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  • Mark – Hopper for a wood stove to keep it feeding pellets overnight

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  • Elizabeth and Family – Building Lego robots with retrofitted motors

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At the end of the event we had a lot of great presentations (2 hours worth!), here’s a summary of “completed” ideas.  We had a great turnout for the finale:


Olivia and team were up first to demonstrate their augmented reality game that you can find here:




They spent their 24 hours building a working app using GPS gates/targets to only allow players to advance when they were in the right area.  They had some trouble with the GPS accuracy but were working through it.  They were able to demonstrate a working website with a storyline and rewards at the end of the game!

Next up was Joe and Ethan to demonstrate their progress with the YAG laser:



They were able to get a 100W Unitek Miyachi LW100 YAG laser and a Newport LaserWeld Series 4000 cabinet up and running in 24 hours.  The next step is to mount the laser head to an old CNC machine we have so we have a metal cutting CNC laser.

After the laser team, Bob, Brian and Casey talked about setting up a kegerator dispensing system using a Raspberry Pi and a simple LED indicator:



They were able to 3D print a custom top of the existing tower, program the RPI, and create the electronics needed to interrupt flow to the tap on demand.

Next up was Jeff, never one to be too ambitious:

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Jeff worked through a custom made bat signal (LED flashlight projector), a LEGO Rubiks Cube solver, and a custom patch.  He didn’t quite get started on his caged robot prop, maybe next year!

Joe took the floor next to show off his glued up skateboard deck artwork:

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He used the CNC wood router to “plane” down the edge-glued panel of deck sections and the hydraulic press to make an easier-to-work-with larger block of skateboard decks.

Jesse and his friend showed up with an ambitious goal of building a bluetooth phone-app controlled greenhouse system:



They delivered with a nice looking application (visible on the projector in the background) and a humidity/temperature/air/light controlled environment – next step is to install some plants and see how it works!

Rob and his son delivered a jaw dropping performance:


with their Arduino controlled, sound reactive, skull.  They used a Sparkfun sound module wired to an Arduino to gather in ambient sound level.  They then mapped the sound input to a servo that was connected to the jaw, so every time the controller heard a loud sound the jaw would react.  Their next step is to tune the jaw response and experiement with a variety of microphone set ups.

Xavier decided that vertically challenged folks should be able to see if the top of your refrigerator is clean or not:


While a relatively simple build – total build time was tightening 3 zip ties to an Oculus, a stereo webcam, and a stick, the software took a little longer to iron out.  He used the Oculus as an external monitor and just full-screened a Chrome browser window to update the images on the browser, but it turned out a browser wasn’t designed for the abuse to piping the images in was a bit of a challenge.  Having personally tested it, I think it may double as a nausea tester 😉

Xavier and his friends also doubled down on a second project – Don came in with an early 1900’s telegraph key and sounder – these would have been state of the art communications devices about 100 years ago.  Don came into service as his town’s telegraph operator at the onset of WW2 and spent the next 17 years as a full time operator.  Needless to say, he’s more than a little attached to his hobby!  He wanted to create a telegraph sounder that could play back a recording or a pre-determined message:

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They succeeded in building a model with a case to contain a 6V battery, an Arduino, and a relay to allow the sounder to play messages or use the telegraph key to key-in input for playback.  Don’s enthusiam is contageous and everybody had a lot of fun helping out with the project.

Elizabeth and her family spent most of the weekend alternating between the LEGOs and the hot glue guns.  With some help from Shira, their vision of an Arduino controlled RC car built from LEGOs came together over course of the event:

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Ultimately they were able to build out a chassis, mount some gearmotors to it and set up an Arduino and a battery pack to make it stand-alone.  Now that it’s running they’re looking to add steering, remote control, and sensors to it as a great project to learn Arduino development from.

Antonio and his daughter set out to create something on the 3D printer this weekend:


They looked around on Thingiverse and found a cool branching tree with snap-lock segments and printed off about 10 sections.  They realized they didn’t have a base to hold it up, so they recruited Jeff to mashup a few things and made a trumpet-like base with the correct joint to hold it to the branch sections.

Continuing on our LEGO theme, Brett and his son spent some time putting together a lot of bricks:


Lovingly coined “The Poking Machine” it featured a reciprocating bar powered by a small DC motor and plug in power supply.  Planned improvements hopefully feature a Saw-Z-All blade and a pitch to LEGO’s sales department.

Nate and Antonio partnered late on Saturday night to prove out a portable shelter concept:



Working from a cardboard prototype and starting at 3AM they managed a conduit prototype as a proof of principle.  They’re going to continue to work on it and see if they can get it out to help someone through the winter.

Shira wanted to build an interactive game based on “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”:

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She spent a few hours digging through the junk bin to find the parts and several hours with the hot glue gun to build out a functional game.  The cardboard box certainly adds to the “this isn’t a bomb, maybe. . .” factor.

Serial Build Madison alumni Brad (of cat exercise wheel fame) needed to construct a door to his porch to prevent one cat from eating the other cats food.  Originally headed in the direction of a facial recognition system and a lot of electronics, it turned out a more elegant solution was in order:

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He ended up using the sewing machine (for the first time) and some balsa wood to make a simple cat door.  One balsa wood rod can control flow (to allow or lock out access from the porch) and ultimately keep the cat off the porch during feeding time.

Aaron was in need of a mannekin to hold his latest Halloween costume:

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So he was wrapped up in saran wrap and then duct tape was applied liberally.  Once the form was cut off, he stuffed it with paper and inserted PVC pipes to hold the form.  Now he’s got a stand in to support his Halloween creations in the off season.

Elizabeth’s goal was to repurpose some wood significant to her friends’ weddings into cribbage boards.  Starting from having little experience in woodworking and vector graphics she was able to make some quick progress this weekend:

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Ultimately she used Adobe Illustrator and VCarve to create the patterns for the laser cutter and CNC wood router to follow.  She varied from the CNC wood router and table router to laser marked and hand drilled depending on the appearance of the wood and surface quality.

Laser extraordinare Kate whipped up a laser cut cryptex puzzle with the help of an Instructables project:

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As is typical, the “looks easy” project turned out to be lacking details in all of the assembly steps, and the instructions were way out of date compared to the design interations resulting in a substantially harder build than expected.  It didn’t help that each ring had every character individually glued on.  Some say they can still hear the glue bottle wheezing and the quiet swearing as the glue lands in the wrong place. . .

Our second to last presenter was Jamie, he spent the weekend in the exact same pose:



He had to be prodded occasionally but he was indeed alive, he’s just that focused!  He spent a lot of type pulling together a responsive e-mail template for Nerd Nite and ultimately was successful.  E-mails resize automatically depending on screen size and the message drops features based on compatibility so phone readability is just as good as a desktop environment.

Lastly, Mark moved from concept to reality on a pellet stove hopper:


He used Solidworks to create a template for a folded version of the box, but ultimately decided that plywood would be a lot simpler and worth prototyping with first.  He used a sheet of 3/4″ plywood on the CNC router to cut out a pattern and then mitered it on the table saw.  The box went together afterwards and is ready to be stacked on top of the existing feeder to add another bag of capacity.  This means going away on the weekend won’t result frozen pipes.

Thanks to Capital Entrepreneurs for the event sponsorship and great pizza that was throughly enjoyed!

Overall everyone had a great time!  Build Madison is intentionally a low structure event, meaning participants are free to explore their projects and help one-another through out the 24 hours.  We hope to see you next year and hope you enjoyed the projects people were able to make in a short period of time.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Build Madison – November 19th-20th

Build Madison

Build Madison is back!

The 24-hour community “create-a-thon” returns to Sector67 on November 19 starting at 11am. Project presentations begin at 11am on Sunday, November 20.

We’re excited to announce the 7th annual Build Madison event coordinated by Capital Entrepreneurs and hosted at Sector67.  Build Madison is a 24 hour hackathon that gives you the opportunity to set aside some time over the weekend to finally get to that project you’ve been thinking about for a long time!

The weekend starts out on Saturday, November 19th, at 11am, when we’ll host 30 second idea pitches.  After that you can join a team or build a team if you need one to work on your project.  Then when 11AM on Sunday swings around we’ll have a short project presentations and/or sharing of lessons learned (aka: why my project didn’t quite get done in time!) from everyone who participated.

That’s as simple as it is – take the 24 hour period as seriously or as inquisitively as you’d like. In the past, projects have varied from very sophisticated to very basic, software to hardware, art to engineering – so don’t feel like your concept isn’t going to fit in – it will.  There’s no requirement to stay up all night, many people work late into the evening and stop back in the morning for presentations.
For more information, please register at the Build Madison website:

Who: Anyone interested
What: 24 hr hackathon
Where: Sector67 – 2100 Winnebago St, Madison, WI – short ride on your bicycle, hop on the bus, or take advantage of parking in front of the building for your car
When: November 19th at 11AM through the 20th, with project presentations starting at 11AM on the 20th that are open to anyone (not just participants)
Why: A great excuse to focus on a project for a weekend and meet with other interesting folks too
This is a FREE event. Check out the prior project summaries at:
We hope to see you on the 19th!
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

Madison SOUP – Sunday 4-6PM – Purchase Tickets Today!

The September Madison SOUP event is THIS Sunday! This is the LAST SOUP event for this year!

We are reaching out to our networks today to ask you to PLEASE purchase a ticket to our Sunday event. We know that our community is interested in supporting local projects which make Madison such a wonderful city to live in. Take this chance to vote with your feet and be part co creating our vibrant community!  Walk-ins ARE NOT POSSIBLE – you must purchase a ticket AHEAD of time.

We have 3 fantastic nonprofit projects lined up for you all to hear this upcoming Sunday:

Meadowood Neighborhood Center Recording Studio. Joe Schlesing, the director of the Meadowood Neighborhood Center, will present a proposal for converting the center’s current game room into a recording studio. The center serves low-income kids of color in the Meadowood community and many of the participants have a keen interest in producing their own recordings. The Center is making progress in teaching participants the fundamentals of recording and music production. Now, a dedicated space, more serious equipment, and a skilled instructor to help the kids fully realize their potential in terms of performing and recording music.

Quiet Santa. Julie Sheldon will present a proposal for funds to expand their offering of Santa visits for children with various special needs. Quiet Santa has hosted events since 2012. The events were first aimed at giving kids with autism the experience of a visit with Santa. The project’s outreach efforts now welcomes children with various forms of special needs looking to have a magical experience with Santa that may not otherwise get. The project began with no budget, but a group of dedicated planners, and now seeks funds to expand their program.

Call For Peace. Dawn & Art Shegonee will present a proposal for seed funding for “A Traveling Cultural Exhibition An Educational, Interactive, Multi-Media Experience! Call For Peace Drum & Dance Company….A Timeless Journey,… Celebrating the Diversity of Humanity!” Now, more than ever in history, time is of the essence for the re-emergence of the Call For Peace, providing people with a Vision of Hope which embraces diversity, unity, peace, and justice in the Madison Community. The Exhibition is an effort, to encourage collaboration in the community to embrace, the concept of the International Network of Peace Museums to create “Cities as Living Museums for Peace.”

Soup and bread will be provided by Underground Butcher & Batch Bakehouse!

Thanks to our sponsors Sector 67, Underground Butcher & Batch Bakehouse!

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Jenina & Heather

Posted in Uncategorized

2016 Afterschool Activities – Thanks Alliant Energy and Zendesk!

Sector67 provides many avenues for students to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  This year we were fortunate enough to be supported by a grant from the Zendesk Neighbor Foundation and the Alliant Energy Foundation to provide instructor time, materials, and equipment.   We support an Afterschool Science Club at O’Keeffe Middle School and a Sector67 Club at Sherman Middle School, these clubs are open to any students at the school and had over 100 participants this year for various activities:

The O’Keeffe club worked on:



Dry Ice




Super Science Saturday




Arts and Words Night (demonstrated 3D printers and taught soldering to build a flashlight)



Cloud Chambers



3D Printing


Liquid Nitrogen (thanks Airgas!)


Model Rockets








Field Trip to Sector67

Thanks to Alex, Shira, and Nate for your help too!

The Sherman club covered:


3D Printing





Marble Machines

Field Trip to Sector67

3D Printing for Family Engagement Night:



Funds were also used in support of our general outreach and high school classes-

At MG21 we helped the students with the selection and construction of a new CNC wood router through an MG21 course and used grant funds to cover some incidentals:



and we had a blast at Tormach’s open house:




Saturday Science at The Institutes for Discovery:



and countless other events in the prior year.

We’d like to acknowledge and thank Zendesk and Alliant Energy for their support of these programs, without their contributions we would be unable to offer these programs for free to the schools and broader community.


Posted in Projects

Moments from the 6th Annual “Build Madison” Event

Sector67 was proud to host the 6th Annual Build Madison event the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.  This event offers community members the opportunity to take action on a project they’ve been thinking about, working on (or procrastinating) and allows participants access to all of the equipment and collaborative expertise Sector67 has to offer.

The Teams and their Projects

There were twelve teams and over 50 individuals participating in this year’s event. Participants, young and old, started Day 1 with a short presentation on their project idea and what they hoped to accomplish in the 24-hour timeframe. Others, without a team or project, attend the event to support these teams.  These individuals share their knowledge, skills, and expertise in programming, voice recognition, welding, electrical engineering, or tinkering in general.

Introducing the Projects and their Teams:

Project/Concept Team Members
Repair an RC car

1-RC Car

RJ, Scott
Build a Christmas Tree with voice-command LED lighting Erica, Di


Jack, Davi

Replace existing delorean taillights with LED ones


Build a table base from copper pipe Kate
Make updates to the Sector67 website Bob
Build a self-homing telescope stand/gantry system Brian
Stained-glass project Laima
Create a campaign to convince their friends that Jamie and Rob should be ushers in their friend’s wedding Jamie, Rob
Create a DIY game controller


Xavier, Thiru, Robert, Tyler
Build a motorized skateboard


Assemble a high-altitude balloon tracking device Chris
Build an electric car

1-Car Intro

Mike, Danny, Nate, Alex
Modifying a cat exercise wheel to make it more FUN-ctional


Brad, Andrew

The Results

Project/Concept Results
RC car repair

complete in 3 hrs


Using a part from the car as a pattern, Scott and RJ fabricated a replacement part from a small aluminum rod and a paperclip. They used the lathe to create the replacement “dog bone” component.

Here’s a video of RJ test-driving the repaired RC car on the newly modified cat exerciser

Christmas Tree with    Voice-command LED lighting

complete in 16 hours


 The “Dancing Lights Team” (Erica, Di, La’Shawna)  laser cut 2 pieces of plywood which were then put together, painted, decorated, then laced with LED tape lights.

1-IMG_8996    1-23800838550_a3002790e3_o

The Tree tech-team, Jack and Davi, programmed, tested, programmed and tested voice recognition and control.

Here’s a video of the final creation!

Delorean LED taillights

in progress

Dennis wanted to replace the existing taillights in his Delorean with LED lights. A follow-up presentation was  given at Sector67 December meeting.



Build a table base from copper pipe.

complete in 10 hours

 Kate designed, cut, soldered and polished the copper table base

1-Table Polish

Make updates to the Sector67 website.


Bob successfully completed his mission to clean up behind-the-scenes functionality of the website.


Build a telescope stand/gantry system.

in progress

Brian gave a follow-up presentation of his project at the December meeting


Stained-glass project.


Laima completed one of the three panels and the results were stunning!

1-SG 5

Save the Ushers campaign


We checked in on Rob and Jamie’s quest in mid-January. Here’s what we found:

DIY game controller



The team completed their mission and showed off their final product.  Only they know which button does what…Or do they?


Build a motorized skateboard

in progress

Jessie had a nice protoype at his presentation and continues to work on the skate board. So far, so good!

1-Board Final 3

Build a tracking device for use when locating high-altitude balloons after they’ve landed


Here’s a cool video of a balloon launch, imagine how helpful the tracking device is in finding the balloon when it travels up to 90,000ft high and lands where it wants to!


Build an electric car.



Watch a couple of test-drive videos here:

At the event VIDEO

Two Weeks after the event in Madison’s Central Park

Thanks to Jim for Tab-synthing the battery box

Cat exercise wheel



1-Cat End 6

 Brad and Andrew made the following modifications to the wheel:

  • narrowed the base so that there was less friction, allowing the cat to exert less energy to make the wheel move. Thanks to Jim for support on this!
  • added a motion detector which would count the number of revolutions of the wheel using an integrated Arduino.
  • Added an incentive for the cat to use the wheel – an Arduino-run cat-treat-dispenser which would dispense treats after a certain number of wheel revolutions.

Please come join this fun, community event in 2016! Bring your ideas and let’s build, Madison! And if you’ve made it to the end of this post, here’s a little reward for you!


Posted in Meetings, Projects Tagged with:

March Monthly Meeting

Listen to the Sound of Science1-IMG_1386

Liam kicked off the presentations with his Arduino audio synthesizer project.  In essence, Liam used an Arduino Uno running many clock dividers to emulate tones.  He programmed the Arduino to accept MIDI serial commands so it’s effectively operating as a MIDI tone generator with really limited resources. Liam’s presentation engaged many interested audience members – great job, Liam!

Lon’s Dragon

Sound’s like a great movie, doesn’t it?

Lon has been a metal artist for many years.  He always wanted to create a cool metal-sculpted gargoyle for his former home in Minnesota but never got around to it.  After moving to Madison, Lon started tinkering with the idea of a metal-art dragon.Lan's Dragon
Close up and Personal

The metal “Dragon Bell” is still a work-in-progress; created with a recycled argon gas tank, various types of metal, glass beads, guitar strings, and of course stained glass wings. Modification are still being considered… flame thrower nostrils maybe?

Lon also shared a book of some of his other creative metalworks.  Thanks, Lon!


Photo LightboxJoe's Lightbox Hack

Joe needed a light solution for use in photographing some very shimmery (and difficult to photograph) nail polish products.  Rather than having to move the product multiple times to get just the right lighting, Joe used  Neopixel LED lights and an Arduino to control the lights.  Joe can encircle the subject and control individual lights rather than having to move the product.  In addition, Joe can control the brightness, hue, and color of the lights necessary for capturing the perfect image.

Bright idea, huh?


Plug In Hybrid Conversion Packs

Eric gave a talk on surplus plug in conversion Prius packs that were originally sold by Hymotion (cells from A123) to take a standard Toyota Prius and turn it into an all electric (most of the time) electric car that plugs into the wall to charge.  The advantage of these packs is that you can get about 20 miles of almost all electric power, the problem is that Hymotion was sold to A123 (who subsequently went bankrupt) so there’s no longer any service available unless you talk to Eric as he owns and operates EVPowers hybrid vehicle repair and is a battery/EV wizard!  He walked us through what’s inside the battery and how to go about diagnosing them.


Look Who Made the Finals!

Three teams from Sector67 recently entered a makers competition sponsored by Infymakers. All three teams were selected as finalists for a $10,000 award. The teams were:

  • Mike and Alex with an electric town car
  • Jesse Ransom with a fireproof/superinsulated space blanket (for the homeless and firefighters)
  • Eric and Jim with a vibrating therapy device

They’re still awaiting news of who takes home the top prizes, but either way we’re proud of their creativity and accomplishments! Great job!

Hackaday Hints

Congratulations to Bob, who has recently been selected as an article writer for Hackaday!  Bob shared some information about the project selection process and some tips for getting articles published and making it easy for the writing team!ob's Hackaday presentation

Bob’s suggestions:

  • A descriptive subject line helps grab the Hackaday writer’s attention
  • Links to information about the project (photos and videos welcome!)
  • Nice description of project, including why your project is cool!

Once you’ve got things put together, submit the information via email to or use the contact form found on the Hackaday website.

Battle Bots Update

While they didn’t make the cut for Season 3 of Battlebots, the  Sector67 Battlebot creation team shared a fascinating video of their bot, Bad Penny and got to the final cut.  Unfortunately the video is still underwraps but we’ll post it at some point!

Call for Makers – Mini Maker Faire – May 14 – 10am – 5pm

MMF 5.14

Heather from Madison Mini Maker Faire stopped by to share information regarding the upcoming Mini Maker Faire at Monona Terrace.  The Faire is still accepting exhibitors and would love to have interested Sector67 community members join in the event.  There’s still room for participants in the following areas as well as others found on the Faire’s website. Registration for Makers will be accepted through April 15th, 2016.

  • Robotics
  • Homegrown Drones
  • Arduino Projects
  • Unusual Tools or Machines
  • 3D Printers


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Startup Weekend Returns to Madison – April 22 – 24

Ready to accelerate your startup business idea?  Here’s your chance!

Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.

Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and pitches.  Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs.

The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.  Whether you are looking for feedback on an idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

A limited number a participants are allowed, registration prices vary by level of participation.

For more information, visit the Startup Weekend website.

To register, visit the event Registration page.

If you have addition questions, contact the organizers at or chat with Chris.

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February Monthly Meeting

If you missed the live Twitter feed of the meeting this month, here’s the long version of the meeting notes.  Thanks to all who came out in the snowy weather to see what our community of creators have been up to.

Homemade CNC Router

Nate showed us a 12-foot CNC router he’s built from scratch from hardware store parts.

IMG_1272 IMG_1273

Shira’s Robo-Arm

Shira shared her experience working with a high school student to construct and program a robot arm.

IMG_9254 IMG_1275

O. M. G. (Oh My Gourd) –  Building Speakers from Gourds

James shared his experience of making speakers out of gourds and the difficulties in working with a very organic material/shape!


Brian’s Makerbot Thingomatic

Brian has spent the past month building his own “supersized” 3D printer. Brian plans to utilize the new printer to print very large objects – you can check it out on Thingiverse.

IMG_9285 IMG_1276

Follow Up – Importing a CNC Machine from China

David gave a follow-up presentation on his experience(and lessons learned) importing a CNC router from China. See December meeting notes for information on David’s original presentation – his machine has arrived and he learned the hard way about “death by a thousand papercuts” on import and duty charges, port fees. . .


Home Automation for the Rest of Us

Larry gave a presentation on the history of home animation, some current IoT (Internet of Things) technology he’s been using, and some items that are being incorporated into today’s homes.

Phillips lights

IMG_9268  IMG_1274

Building a Better Bench

Chris shared a presentation on a matching oak bench that he made for a table at home.


See you in March!

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 1 at 7:00 PM.  If you have something you’d like to share, please do! Use the “contact us” button at the top right to get on the March agenda.

See you soon!



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January Monthly Meeting

Finally, Winter in Wisconsin! The snow and 28-degree weather didn’t keep inquiring minds from attending this month’s meeting. January topics ranged from robot controllers to laser cut pinecones to tire pressure monitor hacks to building your own CNC router.  More info below!

EZ-B WiFi Robot Controller Demo

EJ, one of Sector’s business incubator residents, is a software engineer by trade.   EJ has been watching the progress being made on Jeff’s WALL-E and offered to share his expertise in controlling WALL-E’s robotic arms.

IMG_9166  IMG_9165

In staying within his 7-minute presentation time, EJ demonstrated how quickly and easily the EZ-B WiFi Robot Controller (~$79)”black box” (actually white!) could be programmed using EZ builder software. Unlike an Arduino, the WiFi controller doesn’t need a physical connection to the computer running the software.  In addition, the programmed commands can be saved to the cloud and transferred to another device (i.e. iPad) for use. IMG_9169

There were tons of “ooooos and ahhhhs” from the audience as EJ brought the robotic arm to life during the presentation.  Here’s a great video about the capabilities of the EZ-Builder software, which include voice recognition, servo control, vision recognition and tracking and so much more.


Hi-Tech Pine Cones

Inspired by nature and on a quest to create some unique holiday gifts, Kate set out to build a laser-cut pinecone.  Because she had some unique features in mind, Kate created her own design.  The final pattern consisted of twenty uniquely-shaped slices of wood, which when stacked would simulate the shape of a pinecone while also having the interior space to hold a battery-operated votive candle.

IMG_9172 IMG_9174

After “many hours” of laser time, it took Kate “a long movie” to carefully stack and glue all of the slices in the correct order into the desired shape.  The result is quite beautiful, don’t you think?

IMG_9179    IMG_9177

Here’s a link to Kate’s full presentation which includes some additional pictures and video of her project.

Using SDR technology for DIY Tire Pressure Monitoring

Doug’s presentation walked the audience through his quest to explore the use of SDR (Software-Defined Radio) to build a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) for the new wheels he put on his truck that didn’t have enough rim spacing to fit the sensors on them.  Doug captured the signal on a TV tuner, and then used a SDR transmitter to create a radio dialogue with the TPMS to fool it into thinking the tires were all inflated properly.  Doug was able to successfully complete his mission, shared the results, and generated lots of interest from inquiring minds at the meeting.  The audience had lots of questions and Doug had all the answers!  All just to eliminate a chime when his truck was started and a light on the dash.

For more information about SDR, try these resources:

IMG_9181 IMG_9182

Build Your Own CNC Router Kit

Chris has been working with Monona Grove Alternative High School (MG21) students  to build a X-Carve CNC Router from a kit purchased from Inventables (~900).  While the students built the physical portion, Brian took on the task of finishing up tuning the controller.  Chris and Brian demonstrated the router and answered questions from the group about capabilities of the device compared to the more robust CNC we have onsite at Sector67.  There was also discussion of purchasing US vs China models (see related article from December meeting) from a cost, time, and customer service perspective.

Software discussed during the presentation was:

Easel (available through the Inventables website)


“Pour Yer Heart Out”  Iron Pour Collaboration Reminder

Alisa Toninato from FeLion Studios joined the meeting to tell us more about the 6th Annual “Pour Yer Heart Out” Iron Pour Collaboration event which will be held in the Sector67 parking lot on February 6.  Chris and Alisa shared tips and tricks for success in designing moulds for the event. Even if you don’t choose to participate by creating a heart mould, stop by Sector67 on Saturday, February 6th to watch the event!

IMG_9191 IMG_9189

For information on the event, click here and here.


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