Sector67 June Monthly Meeting Recap

In case you missed the June monthly meeting here’s a quick recap – you’ll have to stop by the next meeting to catch more fun presentations like these, they’re always the first Tuesday of the month at 7PM.

Liam started out the evening on a talk about a programming language he created called Zed that allows for more efficient coding and reduced syntax errors:


And also shared a little of the backend:IMG_8329

Robin and Marty talked about their trip to Maker Faire in San Francisco to sell jewelry through their startup Lumen Jewelry:


And some other cool stuff that’s at the largest Maker Faire in the world, like really neat stainless steel 3D prints from an SLS printer:IMG_8333

While the economics didn’t quite hit the black, they noted it was well worth it for the brand recognition, experience, and personal connections formed.IMG_8334

Demonstrating the generally small world in which we live in, Robin and Marty’s father turned out to be a founder of a company called Laser Machining Incorporated, which is still operating in Wisconsin as a manufacturer of high power flowing gas CO2 laser tubes for the fabrication industry.  We happened to receive a donation of two systems and he was kind enough to tell us a lot more about the tubes and the general function of a flowing gas laser versus the cheap Chinese sealed tube systems:


The laser operates in a vacuum with a bleed of “laser mix” gas that allows the high voltage supply to excite photons into resonance in the center of the green (coolant) glass tube pictured here:IMG_8339

Scott talked about our departing social media intern (thanks Nick!) and our seeking someone for the summer to help with posts like this:


Adrian gave a talk about the design, construction, and installation of a store display for the lululemon store in Hilldale mall.  This is what the store display looked like when he started:


He ended up creating a pattern of many triangles held on a matrix of canvas (cat for scale at left)

Using the automotive lift to hold the preliminary array of triangles together to sort out shadowing and lighting to give it the best appearance when hung:IMG_2318IMG_8345

Final product awaits installation (human for scale, at left).  Lettering was dyed with beet juice and cut out on the panel router:IMG_8346IMG_2329

Final product installed, you can view it in person at the lululemon store in Hilldale mall:IMG_8347

Finally, Eric shared his experiences in cutting glass bottles to make an olive decanter and glasses.  He overviewed all of the methods he heard of and some that he tested (string and lighter fluid, tile saw, heat, heat and a cutter, just a scribe, etc. . .) and finally the approach he settled on with a scribing jig and cold water and a very small butane torch.

Here’s the sophisticated cutting rig, essentially a glass cutter mounted to a hinge with some blocks to retain the bottle that’s spun by hand:


Scribing the bottle is important to get correct in one pass, without any overlap (and the ends of the scribe mark need to line up precisely)


After scribing the line, and 30 seconds worth of heating with the butane torch – a quick dunk in room temperature water separates the two halves:IMG_8348

A quick video of the process:
Thanks to everyone who presented and showed up to watch!  Hope to see you at the next meeting!


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Support Sector67 – Attend Science Night with the Madison Mallards Baseball Team!

Join us at the Madison Mallards where we’re hosting a science night on July 9th.


We’ve got a group buy with a few ticket options for the July 9th game and we hope to see you there – see attached flyer if you’d like to post ticket instructions elsewhere – otherwise head over to:
type in their captcha
then put “Sector67” as the group ticket information and you can pick from:
$15 – ticket and a hat
$23 – ticket and Pepsi tailgate (unlimited soda and food before the game)
$28 – ticket and beer tailgate (unlimited beer and food before the game)

All tickets have a $5 donation to Sector67 and include an evening of fun 😉

In other news, we’ve built a large LED pitch speed display that’s now installed in the outfield that shows the pitch speed on every pitch that replaced a very old system they had (which required someone to keep the battery on the radar gun charged and manually type the speeds into the display on every pitch!).  So you can see it in action on the 9th as well.

Mallards Sign

Picture from Bob, more info on the fabrication on his website.

Hope to see you there and thank you for your support!


Posted in Field Trip, Food, News

Fractal Camp


Fractal is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) enrichment program that uses Participant-led, Inquiry-based Learning techniques for school-aged participants (6-13). Through fun, creative and engaging workshops, Fractal builds self-esteem, teamwork, knowledge base, and confidence in participants’ for their future educational experiences, as well as helping to close the gap between what kids learn at school and how it’s connected to their everyday lives.

Founded by Heather Wentler as a way to help kids and teens build self-confidence and life skills through hands on and challenged based learning projects. Participants are encouraged to manipulate materials to figure out how they work independently and with each other.

Fractal provides a wide array of activities and classes for participants that are not the typical after school programs you may remember. Minecraft workshops are provided for individuals to come and play together and learn new techniques from each other. Certain Saturdays Fractal offers programs in which participants learn how to solder and make Joule Thief kits, other Saturdays involve learning about 3D printing wherein participants will actually print a trinket to take home.

Participants learn about 3d Printing

Participants learn about 3d Printing

During Winter, Spring, and Summer break Half Day camps are offered (Look at the Classes Page for upcoming dates). The camps take place from Monday-Friday in the mornings and offer four different projects for the participants to work on including; 3D modeling/printing, Sewing 101 to learn how to create a sewing pattern and sew it together on a machine and/or by hand.

As well as learning basic computer programming using Scratch software to design interactive stories, videos, games, and animations.

And a Soldering class in which participants make a Drawdio

Fractal has partnerships with Sennett Middle School, Wingra Schools and Madison Country Day School to offer Tech Club after school programming. During the 6 week sessions the kids learn about Scratch and Google Sketchup to use their creativity to create their own 3D models/printing and video games. UW-Madison’s Camp Badger brings students and teachers out for programming during their summer camps where the students do an engineering activity and teachers learn about how to bring these alternative learning techniques and new technologies into their classrooms.

While there is an overall theme or concept for each workshop those themes sometimes evolve into something completely different based on the interest or engagement of the participants. The focus is more on what the participants want to get out of the workshop rather than making sure they’re hitting the learning objectives. Such was the case recently when a class was soldering components together to create a project and the kids were wondering why we used certain components instead of other ones. Instead of just telling them that it’s because it helps the correct amount electrical current run through the board they changed course and brought out testers to see the electrical movement across the boards and how it changed based on the different components we used.

So what can one hope to take away from such an experience? There is so much more than just the expected learning objectives coming out of the programming. A lot of the time the participants are learning a new skill or concept along with many social-emotional skills that are just as important to their learning and development as the concepts. Many participants come away with new friends who they would never meet in an everyday context because they’re different ages or go to different schools. There is also the self esteem boost that you see among the participants. During the camps the kids come on Monday with no experience in many of the projects and a little hesitant to try something they have no experience with. As the week progresses you see them go from fear and stress to accomplishment and pride when they present to their families on Friday’s. They have the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned and created and be able to show their families how to use the programs and technologies.

Sign up for Summer classes here

For more information about Madison Fractal head to their website

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Burrill Business Plan Competition This Friday!

(Written by Chris Meyer) – I get asked often where Sector67 came from and I have to give sole credit to my experiences through the University of Wisconsin’s various student competitions. I started competing in 2006 as a partner to Justin Beck (one of PerBlue‘s founders) pitching the idea for a dual screen laptop:

Schoof Dual Monitor Laptop

Dual screen laptop prototype, ignore the fingers holding up the second screen and the impossibly clean laptop (with the wireless pcmcia adapter – remember those?). We did eventually build a functional prototype before the competition and had it working – fake it until you make it.

Unsurprisingly, we got creamed and didn’t win a thing for our efforts – but definitely enjoyed the prototyping funds that let us test out a crazy concept (LCD screens were about $300 then and we immediately tore it apart to make it a smaller size). After 4 more years of competing in the Schoof and Tong Innovation Competition, the New Arts Venture Challenge, the Climate Leadership Challenge, the Hundred Hour Challenge, the WI Governor’s Business Plan Competition, and the Burrill Business Plan Competition I finally sorted out a reasonable approach and consistently placed in the top 10 from 2006 through 2010 during my undergraduate and graduate work with different partners each year.  This ultimately led me to present a bad idea in 2010 – Sector67.  I didn’t have any good concepts (read: something that was going to make a lot of money and be produce-able), and 2010 was my last year of graduate school so I was compelled to leave school pitching something as I had done for the last 4 years – the trouble was I didn’t have any good ideas and neither did anyone else who could potentially partner with me.  At the time I believed the business plan contest would only reward profitable enterprises, not ventures with social value or non-financial returns (which wasn’t true):

Chris Meyer, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, describes Sector67, his company proposal for a nonprofit, membership-based center to nurture electronics and mechanical prototyping and advanced manufacturing in Madison, to judges Dick Wilkey, center, founder of the Fisher-Barton Group, and John Neis, right, partner with Ventures Investors LLC, during the 2010 G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition held at Grainger Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 23, 2010. Meyer's plan was awarded second place and $7,000. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

A UW photographer captures a nice moment with Dick Wilkey and John Neis not looking very impressed during the Burrill Competition 🙂

I wrote up a 19 page business proposal and ultimately won 2nd place in the Burrill Business Plan Competition, 3rd place in the Governor’s Business Plan Competition in the business services category, and received a grant from the Kauffman Foundation through the UW Office of Corporate Relation’s student venture seed grant opportunity and a grant from the MG&E foundation to help with initial equipment acquisition.  Sector67 wouldn’t exist today without support from these programs and opportunities available to UW students – with this in mind, I’d like to ask you to consider attending the 2015 Burrill Business Plan Competition this Friday (5/1/2015) to see over 44 teams present ideas – this is the largest competition in the 18 years of the contest.

Presentations start at 7:30AM until 10:30AM, with 8 finalists from the morning tracks announced and re-presenting from 12:45PM until 2:30PM.  With presentations only lasting 15 minutes with questions I can guarantee some interesting variety and maybe you’ll be the first person to see in person the next big Madison business in the pipeline!  The entrepreneurial community in Madison has been seeded through the business plan competition, with alumni including Parallel Kingdom (PerBlue’s first offering – Justin Beck), Entrustet and Exchange Hut (both from Nate Lustig who you can read about his thoughts on the Burrill Competition here), Badger Bites (now EatStreet with Matt Howard), Student Spill (Heidi Allstop – now MeToo), TurboTap (through the Innovation Days competition with Matt Younkle), SnowShoe Stamp (Climate Leadership Challenge with Claus and Jami) and many many others.

You can read more about the event and the participating companies on the 2015 program here.

I have to thank John Surdyk for taking the time annually to run and manage this program – it’s a ton of extra work and yet he is willing to host year after year to encourage student entrepreneurship on campus and in Wisconsin.  Please consider dropping by to catch a presentation or two, or talking with students at their tradeshow-style booths for a quick pitch on their concept from 10:30-11:30AM.

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April Monthly Meeting

The monthly meeting was held April 7th 2015

1. Xavier and Robert presented an update on their virtual board game.


The demonstration included a game of Tic-Tac-Toe and Table Hockey



2. Shira presented silicone molds she made for the purpose of molding chocolate.


Shira also discussed the creation of clear versions of safety deposit box locks for the purpose of learning how they work.



3. High school student Hans presented an anvil he made from leftover railroad track. He used a plasma cutter to cut the ends off, then using an angle grinder he began shaping it. Milling out the top he flattened it then with the help of Tim using a Dynisher to finish it.


4. Heather is gearing up to compete in the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship April 18th and brought in samples for feedback.


5. Chris closed things out with information about Startup Weekend Madison, happening April 10-12



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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

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.


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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!

alex1 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

Tickets available here

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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

To keep up with all of Shiras amazing projects follow her blog:

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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.



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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


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