Wall-E Silicone Molds

Jeff Whitehouse is a project person. His current project is building what will end up being a full sized, fully autonomous or remote controlled Wall-E. When faced with the next logical question “WTF” he responds “I build things. It’s my hobby. The Wall-E project is just the next step in projecting.”

Jeff was kind enough to explain making the silicone molds in his own words below:

The first step in finishing your project with an awesome product is to have a good idea of what your end product is going to look like. I started with CAD files generated in Sketchup (sorry Chris :)). Next, it’s time to produce this thing that you want many of. That is why you’re reading this right? You made the decision that you wanted to make a silicone mold of something and make many of them. I used the Stinger router to make a panel of my wheels for Wall-E.


After 22 hours of watching the router go back and forth, some sanding, some gluing, some wood fill drying; you’ll end up with a set of positives. These parts will be the masters that your copies will look like in very fine detail. Make sure these parts are 100% what you want. The silicone you will be pouring will pick up all of the very fine detail and replicate that.


Are you happy with your positive? Are you sure? It’s still easy to make changes. Ready?

OK, Next step is to find a home for these parts. I used spare cardboard boxes from Amazon, because that’s what I have lying around. I could open my own Amazon distribution center with all of the boxes. If you don’t want to fill in all of the empty space with silicone (because it’s EXPENSIVE) then tape off a section. Make sure the tape adheres with a watertight seal. The silicone will find an out if you leave one. I used blue tape because the wax backing will make releasing the silicone easy. Then pour. I used Oomoo 30 from Smooth-On. It was $30 for a set (part A, part B) from Amazon. Make sure you read the information on Smooth-On’s website for estimating how much you’ll need. If you don’t order enough, no problem. The cured silicone will adhere to freshly poured silicone, provided it’s the same stuff and the cured stuff is kept clean. Let me put it another way for people keyword searching: Oomoo 30 will stick to cured Oomoo 30.


If you can arrange everything in a box and take up all of the space, that would be OK also. Make sure you leave some spacing between parts to add some structure to the mold. This picture shows a half filled molding area so that you can see the spacing and what the mold looks like partially poured.


Finish by pouring enough to cover everything to a depth of at least ¼ inch. You don’t want the silicone to rip as you are releasing parts. Also make sure everything is level. The silicone will find level by itself. Make sure you’re OK with that.

Once the silicone has setup, overnight in my case because it was late enough when I was doing this, be gentle in removing your parts. You don’t want to rip your cured mold.

Now it’s time to make our parts. First decide on what you’ll be making your part out of. Actually you should of done that before you got to this point. I used Urethane with a durometer of 80 shore D.

I also used gray spray primer as a release agent. While the urethane is wet, it’ll stick to just about everything. Once it’s cured, paint may not adhere to your liking. However, if the paint and urethane are introduced while the urethane is wet, then the two will stick and give you a paintable surface after the urethane has cured. DO NOT USE WATER BASED PAINTS. Urethane and water based paints do not like each other. Kinda like those two friends you have that will never come to a party if the other one will be there. You can use a release agent like Mann200 and be OK, you just may not have a paintable surface.


Now mix and pour. Overfill your mold. It is easy to machine or sand the part down. It’s a pain in the arse to add more material. I placed the molds on a piece of plywood wrapped in a trash bag. Put that inside of a rubbermaid tub wrapped in a trash bag on a level surface where no one will kick it and disrupt the surface tension of the urethane, in my case.

Then wait,and wait some more. You don’t want to move things until the urethane, in my case, has fully cured. If you’re going to move your part early, send the money you’ll waste to me 🙂

Once things have cured, you’ll be able to remove the part like popping ice out of a tray.


In the picture above you can see the paint on top mostly adhered to the urethane. Some paint shifted because of surface tension. Not a big deal, it’s on the back.

finished2 finishedmolds1

Now clean up the rims, make more, and show off your handy work; that you totally did on your own without the help from a blog on the internet.

See more build pictures here

Posted in Projects, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

Startup Weekend April 10th-12th



The fourth annual Startup Weekend Madison event returns April 10th-12th 2015 at the MGE Innovation Center. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups in a true risk-free environment.

For more information and to register head to madison.startupweekend.org

Register by March 27th to receive the early bird pricing.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Startup Weekends can be found in hundreds of cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Madison.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

Organizing partners for the event include Capital Entrepreneurs, Sector67, The Doyenne Group, UW-Madison, MATC, Edgewood College, and Madworks Coworking.

With sponsorship from Google, Neider & Boucher, gener8tor, Earthling Interactive, Epic, Flatt Energy Cola, Sony, Per Blue, and Supranet Communications. And hosted by University Research Park.


Posted in News Tagged with: , , , , ,

March monthly meeting

The Sector67 monthly meeting was held March 3rd 2015.




1.Mike presented a vacuum table insert for the CNC Router



This allows flimsy or lighter weight pieces of material to be secured with out the use of clamps which may compromise the consistency of a cut.



2. Larry presented a base-camp power box consisting of multiple USB ports connected to a battery.


Tentatively called “The Big Juice Box” it is ideal for camping or road trips or situations where USB power supplies are limited or non existent. Providing power for several devices to be used simultaneously such as lighting or music sources, cooking devices, or cellphones that need charging.



3. Alex took us all back to our days of math class, where survival depended on the games your calculator had. Taking it one step further and programming his own!


ticalc.org has some great resources for these programs.


4. Eric presented his latest version of the theremin inspired Ondes Martenot


This latest version features moveable tube lighting that indicates where the major and correlating minor notes of a scale are located along the “keyboard” surface. This new feature is a a great learning tool, providing visual reference for scales and is capable of being repositioned for different scales.


5. Shira gave an update on her MOARbots


Read more about her MOARbots here


6. Heather gave a presentation on the upcoming Madison Soup event being held Sunday March 8th 2015 4 pm-6 pm at Sector67.   Only a few tickets are left so get them while you can!

For more information head over to www.madisonsoup.com

Tickets available here


Posted in News Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Meet Shira, and her MOARbots



Shira is focused on three large themes presently: robotics, re-thinking traditional education, and a project to create a graphic novel in a 2D style but using 3D CGI techniques. “For the first one, I’ve created MOARbots. For the second one, I teach for two months over the summer at intensive academic camp programs for middle and high school students. For the third one, I’ve been learning Blender(a free and open source 3D animation suite.).” says Shira. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California in 2012 she attended graduate school for a year before deciding it wasn’t for her at the time. “I came to Sector67 and decided that now is the time for me to work on all the projects I put on the back burner while I was in school.” One of those projects being MOARbots (Modular Open-Source Affordable Robots ). “MOARbots is about providing resources to people who want to build a bunch of robots on a budget. Typically costing under $50 with some designs costing much less.”






MOARbots are designed to be made with 3d printed plastic, along with easy to source parts, such as nails, rubber bands, marbles, hot glue, and heat shrink. MOARbots feature a wireless radio, so that robots can be used in a variety of ways such as: overhead camera based autonomous navigation, distributed multi agent systems, or remote control. “The main application this framework is designed to work for is a situation where you want to run experiments with multiple robots that get data wirelessly about their position from an overhead camera using vision tracking algorithms. This means instead of focusing on the robots doing processing on raw data, which requires computational resources, additional sensors, and time, you can get started right away doing higher level stuff, like making the robots play tag.”

“What makes MOARbots possible is rapid prototyping, and that is what makes Sector67 so integral to this project. Most of the parts for the robots are 3D printed and others are laser cut, all using the tools at Sector67. I also got a lot of suggestions and answers to my questions from Chris Meyer and Sector67 members. There are also lots of tools and parts I didn’t realize I needed until the middle of the project, and Sector67 provides me with immediate access to these things”





Shira has been a Sector67 member since January 2014

For more information about MOARbots or info on building your own visit https://sites.google.com/site/moarbots/

To keep up with all of Shiras amazing projects follow her blog:  http://buildingfriends.blogspot.com

Posted in Uncategorized

Thank You Tekton



In the last year Tekton went on a mission to talk to and visit with several makerspaces. After all these conversations something became clear : They like makers. They like the inner drive inside every maker to continually design, prototype, make, tinker,refine, and make some more.

This led to Tekton wanting to play a role in the expansion of the maker movement. Through this desire they developed the Makekit, by taking their tools (which themselves have gone through a maker-like process of designing, prototyping,tinkering, and refining) and creating bundles suited to the needs of the makerspace. These bundles allow makerspaces to procure a vast arsenal of essential tools without breaking the bank.

To take their involvement in the Maker Movement to the next level Tekton they held a contest open to makerspaces nationwide, selecting 15 winners: 5 receiving the Makekit collection, and 10 others receiving the General Makekit.

Sector67 is proud to announce that we were selected to be one of the 5 recipients of the Makekit collection.


The Makekit collection from Tekton

Sector67 plans to utilize this generous prize at events that take us away from our shop. Events such as the Wisconsin Science Festival, the maker fairs we participate in, as well as the after school clubs we work with that we provide tools for. These tools will allow us to ensure that everybody can fully participate at these events, and enhance the learning experience that the makers of tomorrow can experience!


At the Wisconsin Science Festival


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Made by Maggie Modena

Designer, Maggie Modena attended both the UW Madison for Textile and Apparel design and New York City’s FIT for Accessory Design. Since Graduating she has gone on to design handbags for brands such as Nicole Miller, Lucky Brand, Jessica Simpson and Franco Sarto. After living in New York City Maggie moved back to her hometown of Madison, WI knowing that the cities support of local and sustainable art and entrepreneurship would fit perfectly with her focus on launching her own line.


Sector67 was a natural fit for Maggie’s ambitious new endeavor. But first she felt there was a real need for a sewing studio in which you could access as you needed it. After establishing the space at Sector67, she got back to working on her true love: handbags.


Maggie debated working with a formal factory to produce her handbags but ultimately felt that with her knowledge of leatherwork and construction, as well as having access to Sector67, that maintaining having a heavy hand in production was the best option. “I do all of the pattern making, laser cutting, gluing, embossing and other prep work and have it sewn in Milwaukee by a lovely couple who works out of a basement studio” says Welsh.

backpack1 bigbag1


Sourcing her material was a bit of a quest, her leather is made in Milwaukee, the hardware from Ohio, but other harder to find materials she had to get crafty to find. When she could not locate a source for the “Stay Paper” she used as an internal reinforcer in the bags, she found a YouTube video that featured the material she needed and commented on it, and through that conversation secured a supplier for the evasive material.

laser cut maggiesew

Maggie has already accomplished her first goal, which was to “make the product with quality materials and with kind people which feels great.” Adding, “I hope to someday make a living off this” This may not be far off as she as just reached another milestone in her career. February 14th will see the launch of her line of handbags at local boutique Iona. A Valentines Day Trunk Show will be going on from Noon until 3 o’clock at Iona (807 East Johnson Street). Maggie is currently working on expanding her product to other cities.




Posted in Uncategorized

February Monthly Meeting

The Sector67 monthly meeting was held February 3rd




1. Bob presented an edge lit display that lights up when he receives a notification from Reddit.

Bob presenting

Bob presenting

Built on the Spark Core, it connects over WiFi every minute and checks the Reddit API for new messages, then the LEDs “breathe” when he receives a notification


Final product lit up

Final product lit up

2. Next Xavier gave a presentation on a prototype for a digital table top gaming system


Xavier giving his presentation

Using a mounted camera, projector and OpenCV, a checkerboard pattern is projected and then calibrated through the camera to create a playing surface where blank shapes are placed and once recognized an image is projected to the shape


3. Jim created a prototype for a cord reel designed to unravel as you pull and uses no slip rings which degrades signals and cause wear issues


Jim demonstrating the reel

The handle is selective laser sintered “SLS” stainless steel


Jim’s Prototype


4. Doug, an Army veteran, embroidered a replacement of a patch he had lost while serving in Afghanistan


Doug showing the machine embroidering a patch


Test run of the design


5.Marty and Robin, a brother and sister team called Lumen Electronic Jewelry, showed off some electronics-inspired blinking jewelry.

Robin and Marty presenting their electronic jewelry

Robin and Marty presenting their electronic jewelry

6. Brian explained his plan for using RaspberryPi and Screenly displays at the Iron pour to provide visual information for attendees. Chris described the process for casting iron, as well as providing information about the Iron Pour


Posted in Uncategorized

Save the Date! Pour Yer Heart Out – 2015 Iron Pour

COME AND PICK UP HEARTS IF YOU’RE INTERESTED – we’ll have limited availability the day of the event. Carved heart tiles must be returned by 11AM on Saturday February 7th to be poured. Hours for pickup are posted on the calendar/hours above.

FeLion Studios and Sector67 are proud to announce our 4th annual partnership on a community iron pour, taking place on February 7th at Sector67:

2015 PYHO Flyer


You can purchase heart molds 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 mold:
Scratch Demo 2
Scratch Demo
Just remember a few rules:

  • Mold modification is messy, so lay the mold on a cardboard box or plastic bag to dispose of the excess sand.
  • Remember to draw everything backwards, it’s a mold, 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 molds a few days before the pour up until EARLY the morning of the pour

Special new opportunity for this year – Alisa will be hosting an advanced mold making class at her studio, more information is available here and they’ll be partnered with the Madison Children’s Museum for two days (including an adult swim evening).  Make sure you sign up for these opportunities if you’re interested as space will be limited.

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 Uncategorized

StartingBlock Madison announces plans for an entrepreneurial hub


WISC-TV News 3 aired a segment on StartingBlock Madison.  You can view the segment at channel3000.com

On September 2, Mayor Paul Soglin released the City of Madison’s 2015 Executive Capital Budget. The City’s proposed budget includes a commitment of $1.5 million for a new initiative planned by StartingBlock Madison, Inc. to create an entrepreneurial hub and ecosystem to help Madison’s entrepreneurs succeed.With additional support from American Family Insurance, who have pledged a major investment,  StartingBlock Madison Inc. plans to build a 50,000 square foot entrepreneurial hub in the heart of Madison’s Capitol East District where entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, and community members can connect, share innovative ideas, and create next-generation businesses.

Pending additional funding from the private sector, construction of the  building would begin in the fall  of  2015.


About  StartingBlock  Madison: Starting Block Madison (SBM) is dedicated to supporting  entrepreneurism, education and economic growth in the Madison region. SBM’s origins date back to 2012 when a group of entrepreneurs and technology and civic leaders began to pursue the idea of a single location that offered the critical components needed by entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses, create jobs and stimulate the regional economy. In late 2013, the  group officially formed StartingBlock  Madison,  Inc. as  a Wisconsin non-­stock corporation.

The entrepreneurial hub will provide the space and resources needed to get started, literally finding the “starting  blocks”  needed  for success:

  • Affordable, flexible office and co-working space
  • Peer networking and mentoring
  • Access to peers, mentors, investment and professional  advisers  (sponsors)
  • Accelerator programs (i.e.  gener8tor)
  • Collaboration, meeting and conference space
  • Educational programming, workshops and community building  events
  • Sector67  community  maker/hackerspace
  • Home for Capitol Entrepreneurs, a 300 member organization of founders/leaders of Madison area start-ups.
By growing a vibrant, interconnected ecosystem from our existing entrepreneurial community, StartingBlock will be a place where entrepreneurs can:
• Turn innovative ideas into profitable businesses and accelerate job creation
• Grow our innovation culture into a start-up hub
• Propel our technology,  healthcare and creative digital sectors
• Spark our next generation of dreamers and inventors

We need your support to raise the remaining funds to begin construction by the end of 2015. Please contact us using the “contact us” link at the top right if you’re interested in supporting this project and we’ll get you in touch with ways to help.

Posted in News

Bruce’s Futon Plans Come to Life

Bruce signed up a few months ago with the grand intentions of building his own futon from some plans in an old woodworking magazine – his rationale was that futons are built like crap and he could do it better and end up with something that would look a lot nicer and last a lot longer than what was available from a big box store.


Completed build

Working from the plans, he purchased rough lumber and obtained free wood flooring cutoffs and worked on joining and planing them to the necessary dimensions.  Because most of the pieces were futon length, they couldn’t fit on the smaller 36″ x 25″ router, so he needed to use the 4’x8′ wood router.  Using OpenSCAD, he laid out a lot of pockets and stacked the boards together to save time, the mortise joints would otherwise have been a huge amount of work even with a jig:

Photo on 7-28-14 at 6.28 PM

A man and his machine.

He used CamBam to take the DXF from OpenSCAD and turn it into code for the CNC router (which runs a Linux CNC controller), this tells the router how to cut the patterns and which order to cut them in:

Photo on 7-28-14 at 6.04 PM #2

One of the hardest parts is transferring the alignment around the legs of the futon, because it’s made from 4 sections of frame and numerous slats that all have to be lined up, it’s amazing how nice it looks assembled:


At the end of the day, building a futon takes a lot of time and focus:


The best part about his work, is he made it into our spot on the Big Ten Network.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fixing a Greenhouse and Learning How to Use a CNC Router

Guest post from Mattias about a recent project:
Sometimes, things break. As my grandparents recently discovered, injection molded nylon has a special affinity for this behavior after many years of use.

The “T” shape at the top of the part slides up and down an aluminium channel, part of a greenhouse door assembly. The rest of it bolts into the door itself. When these parts broke, my grandparents asked me if I knew of any way to make more. My first thought was 3D printing, but I didn’t think that the layers would hold together well enough from repeated sliding.

I contacted Chris, and we decided that the best option would probably be cutting them on the wood router out of a solid block. Chris had some HPDE left from another project, so we used that. We cut them in three batches of four.  We had multiple identical pieces of this scrap, so that made it a much more simple task. A picture of our setup on the table is below:

Here they are being cut:

And of one of the three batches of parts after they were cut.
Chis would then cut the tabs apart on a bandsaw and give them to me so I could remove the tabs using the belt sander. Here’s a picture of me trying not to lose my fingernails.
A picture of the finished part is at the top. I did a bit more sanding on it before sending them off to my grandparents. All in all, it was a great experience, and the people at Sector67 were very nice and happy to help.
Posted in Uncategorized

WiscoWood and its first Kickstarter Campaign

Over a year in the making with a lot of blood, sweat, and laughs with my Sector67 peers and this is what you get:

WiscoWood Minimalist Cycling Wallets


We can’t even begin to thank the list of people at Sector67 who have helped make this project possible. Thank you Sector67 and all of you who have helped us along the way. 

We’re delivering by December 15th! These make a perfect present.

Posted in Businesses at Sector67, Laser Cutter, Projects, Thank You! Tagged with: , , , , ,


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