Sector67 at the Wisconsin Science Festival

We had a lot of fun over the last 3 days at the Wisconsin Science Festival talking with kids from across the state (and from adjacent states!) about science and technology through a variety of projects that our members have worked on.  Big thanks to Bob, Eric, Jesse, Mike and Shira for volunteering a significant portion of their days to help out, either running the booth or keeping the giant bicycle rolling and thanks to the festival sponsors for creating the opportunity.

We brought over the InMoov robot that was created on our 3D printers:


that garnered a lot of attention from the kids:


As well as a few unusual bicycles including a penny farthing, an electric chopper, and our giant bicycle (that kids could take a ride on around the building):



We also had Bob, Shira, and Eric hosting a table in the robotics zoo behind Union South:
Eric brought along his thermin-based-keyboard that’s always a hit with the kids:
And Shira shared a lot of information about 3D printing, programming, and building robots for 2 days straight:

We 3D printed a cool skull and tried to get a refill on brains but they only had half a brain on sale:

Thanks to our members for adding tremendous value to our community and inspiring a new generation of youth to pursue a technical field of their interest

Posted in Field Trip, News, Thank You!

Go Visit Lang Family House of Terror – Last MadisonSOUP Winner!

We’re excited to see how the Lang Family was able to use $488 they earned from the last MadisonSOUP for their 6th annual House of Terror coming up at the end of the month:

If you’re interested in supporting more local projects, please consider attending the upcoming MadisonSOUP on Sunday, October 26th – get your ticket here today.

Posted in MadisonSOUP Tagged with:

Learn How To Fix Your Bicycle – Class Series

S67_Demystified_General Maintenance and Tune up-sq

Sector67 member Matt Poster is offering an awesome set of upcoming classes so you can learn how to service every aspect of your bicycle, from basic maintenance to truing a rim and everything in between.  Classes start this week Tuesday (10/14) and run for 8 weeks, you can choose to attend a single session (sessions repeat on Tuesday and Thursday each week for 8 weeks to cover 8 different topics total) or come to all sessions to become a bike repair wizard.

Visit the class page to read more about specific offerings and sign up for an upcoming session.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sector67’s NSA Away Project

A team of Sector67 members (Bob, Chris, Kate, Liam, Nate, Peter and Scott) recently passed a milestone in submitting their NSA Away project to the semifinals of The Hackaday Prize, which offers a chance to win $200,000 (all proceeds donated to Sector67) or send Chris to space!  (Hahaha, if only it were that easy to get rid of me).  The project consists of a hardware key generator and one-time-pad-based encryption/decryption device designed to allow you to send short messages securely and was selected from a field of around 800 entries as one of 50 semifinalists.

You might recognize the garage doors and some of the scenery in the video below, which explains the project:

NSA Away was conceived and developed collaboratively at Sector, with (roughly) weekly code jams and video filming sessions.  Let’s hope it has the right stuff to make it to the finals!  You can help by voting us up on the project page.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Gift for Steve – Wisconsin Trivet

In case you haven’t heard, Steve Case is in town (Former CEO of AOL though more recently a startup evangelist and adviser to the president) and we were tasked with making him a parting gift to thank him for his commitment to bringing attention to entrepreneurship in Madison through his Rise of the Rest tour.

We partnered (as we often do) with local entrepreneur Alisa Toninato, founder of FeLion Studios to make a great gift. She provided one of her celebrated Wisconsin state shaped skillets, and we hand-made a fancy trivet with each company’s logo engraved on it who is pitching today for a $100,000 investment from Steve.

We first started with a wood blank, composed of padauk (vivid red), maple (light), and walnut (dark) wood, fixtured it in the router, and having scanned (on a regular flatbed scanner) and vector traced the bottom of the pan we can cut out a shallow pocket:

Next up we pulled the vector image of Wisconsin and routed out the perimeter, leaving some tabs so it wouldn’t rattle around as it completed the cut:

Then we cut the tabs free on the bandsaw, and used a spindle sander and hand sanding to clean up the external tooling marks, the inside pocket was sanded with a mouse detail sander (not shown here):

And after a quick test fit (which was already done on the router to before it was cut free) and we’re off to some finishing steps:
image (2)

We used a walnut oil finish, which really makes the colors in the wood come out, gives it a food safe coating, and if properly cared for (no using the dishwasher! 😛 ) will last a very long time:
image_1 (2)

After finishing, the laser bed is covered to protect the wood from sucking up debris from prior cuts, and the piece is engraved:
image_2 (2)

Partway through:


After engraving, there’s a lot of pitch/resin/smoke deposited on the surface that can be wiped away to give very crisp edges (not done yet in this image):
image (3)

We went for a quick scavenger hunt to find some cat toys ribbon we could use to tie things together, Alisa was nice enough to run over a boxed up skillet late Sunday evening:
image_1 (3)

Then we realized Youtube is great for learning how to tie a ribbon:
image_2 (3)

But fortunately we had a grizzled veteran ribbon-tier at hand who just finished up her wedding projects here to save the day: (Thanks Kate!)
image_3 (2)

Posted in Hardware, Projects Tagged with: , , , ,

Milwaukee Maker Faire This Weekend – 27-28th


From the website:


Maker Faire is a fun, family-friendly show-and-tell festival celebrating innovation, invention and creativity. Maker Faire Milwaukee will feature makers showing off technology, art and craft making, electronics, pyrotechnics, engineering, gardening, and other projects created by the makers themselves. In addition to displays and exhibits, Maker Faire will feature a Power Racing Series event, FIRST ROBOTICS teams and special performances, speakers, demonstrations and workshops featuring 3D printing, laser cutting, microcontrollers, learn to solder, science experiments… and much more.


We’ve attended Maker Faires in New York, Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit and will be hosting a lock picking table as well as a number of member-built projects.

Saturday, Sept 27th from 9-6PM
Sunday, Sept 28th from 9-5PM
FREE ADMISSION – $5 for parking
Hosted at Wisconsin State Fair Park


Hope to see you there!




Posted in Uncategorized

Better Late Than Never – Celebrating Vera Court’s Arcade Console Repurpose!

This never quite made the blog, and has been languishing in the bottom of my e-mail inbox (among a few hundred other e-mails to get to! – sorry).

Sector67 partnered with our near north neighbor Vera Court Neighborhood Center to re-purpose an *old* Make Trax video game console that was no longer working, but was too cool to throw out.  We wanted to take things in an educational game direction, but with something that the kids would still enjoy playing as a reward for getting their homework done!  Crayon Physics was decided on, and the next step was to get to tearing out the old video game console electronics (which still booted right up after 33 years in existance).  We had the kids at Vera Court start by taking out the old screen, electronics, power supply and the video game badging adorning the outside.


After the old contents were pulled out and properly recycled, the next step was to clean up a few decades of dust:


Once the dust was out, we spent some time sorting out a LCD monitor mount that would fill out the original glass:


We were able to repurpose a computer donated to the center by Epic Systems, and had it up and running in no time with Crayon Physics (after a few registry changes to support a vertical orientation and full screen) – check out the nice top banner graphics:



The old console had a lot of outside graphics that were going to be very difficult to remove, so rather than peel the old off, the kids painted over it with chalkboard paint and made it their own:


Posted in News, Projects Tagged with: ,

PDMA Fall Social – Crowd-Sourced Financing



PDMA Banner

To connect with the Madison chapter of the PDMA group, head over to their Facebook page – otherwise to register for this event, click here.
PDMA Wisconsin
Fall Social
Members & Non-Members WELCOME!
Why I Failed at Kickstarter and My Friends Didn’t
Speaker: Bob Baddeley
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014
Location: Sector67 (Madison)

In 2012 two separate companies founded by friends launched their Kickstarter projects at the same time. One month later one failed and one succeeded.

Hear the story of these two companies to understand the process leading up to a launch, the campaign, and the aftermath.
Learn what it takes to run a successful campaign and all the juicy statistics and facts about the crowdfunding successes and failures. Learn when crowdfunding is appropriate, what it can do for you, and some of the problems it causes.

Bob Baddeley earned an Honors Bachelor Degree in Computer Engineering from Oregon State University in 2004. He then started working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state for the next seven years, doing cutting edge research for the government. He left the lab in 2011 to follow his passion with Portable Scores and have an impact on people’s lives. Tired of forgetting the score, turn, and time, he built something that helps with all his sports. In 2012 he spent 3 months in China working on his prototypes and making manufacturing and sourcing connections before launching his company on Kickstarter.

In 2013 he started BlueTipz, and was able to bootstrap and develop a product from an idea to retail shelves in under 6 months. Bob lives in Madison, WI and is developing his products and companies, as well as contracting his services in hardware and software development.


5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Cocktails, appetizers and networking
6:00 – 7:15 p.m. Speaker: Bob Baddeley, Q/A at end
7:15 – 8:00 p.m. Networking, and cocktails

Event Prices:
$30 for non-members
$20 for PDMA members
$15 First-time PDMA event attendees, students or unemployed

Posted in Uncategorized

Jesse’s Electric Bike (And more!)

Just took a ride on Jesse’s electric bike—it was kick-ass. Built out of a Walmart bike-frame, 18 Ah lead-acid batteries, and a hub motor, the bike can go up to 30 mph with a range of 20 miles. AND, “Because the bike has pedals, it’s completely road legal,” says Jesse.

Lowrider Electric Bike

Lowrider Electric Bike

The bike has regen braking to charge the battery as you brake, similar to a hybrid car. Jesse also plans to add a solar panel to extend the battery’s range even more.

Antique Bike

Antique Pedal Car, another of Jesse’s projects

Jesse is a long-term Sector67 member and has countless projects visible at Sector67 (too many to show pictures of, but that’s why you have to go on a tour), including a 3D printed humanoid, and lots of projects with wheels, pedals, and motors.

Jesse's 3D printed Humanoid

Jesse’s 3D printed Humanoid

Jesse also maintains a Youtube channel:

Posted in Uncategorized

Sector67 Interns Build Filament Extruder

Sector67 interns, Mitch and Kyle, already have their main summer project in working condition.  Their new filament extruder is able to take plastic pellets, and convert them into plastic that can be fed into Sector67’s 3D printers.  The main motivation for the extruder (other than awesomeness!) is that extruding plastic pellets costs about a third of what filament does.  “Cheap ABS pellets can be put in, and a more valuable product comes out,” says Mitch.

Kyle (left) and Mitch (right) in front of their filament extruder

Kyle (left) and Mitch (right) in front of their filament extruder

Not only the does the extruder work, but the interns have already successfully used their filament to print plastic parts on Sector67’s 3D printers.  And as long as Sector67 doesn’t try to fund the next addition by selling filament, Mitch and Kyle’s extruder should have plenty of throughput.  “This extruder will be able to extrude 5-7 pounds of plastic per day—far more than we use in the printers”, says Jim, a long-time Sector67 member and 3D printing entrepreneur.  Jim is also responsible for building the hopper using his patent-pending interlocking container design.


How it works

1)   ABS pellets are fed into the hopper.  The hopper was made by Jim using his patent-pending interlocking container design.

2)   Pellets flow into a heated column where they melt.

3)   An auger applies a constant pressure to the liquid plastic to extruder it at a constant rate.

4)    A height sensor keeps the filament at a constant height above the ground.

5)   The variable speed winder responds to the height sensor to maintain the filament at a constant tension as it cools.

6)   A guide arm moves back and forth more and more slowly as more and more filament is wound onto the spool.

Posted in Projects, Uncategorized

Sector67 Summer Youth Programming: ME@Sector

The first batch of ME@Sector participants recreating Galileo’s inclined plane experiment

The first batch of ME@Sector participants recreating Galileo’s inclined plane experiment

In a new summer educational program being piloted at Sector67, incoming 3rd to 9th grade students can work on improving their math and engineering skills (the ME in ME@Sector stands for “Math and Engineering”) in a social, hands-on environment. This summer’s program is held on Monday afternoons from 2-4 pm and will last 8 weeks. Scott Hasse, a long term Sector67 member and volunteer, and his wife, Laura McNeill, a math and engineering enthusiast, are developing an initial curriculum, organizing the program and delivering this summer’s sessions. “Although math and engineering can be taught in a traditional classroom, Sector67’s space is ideal for designing and conducting investigations. The students can get their hands dirty in an environment where practical engineering happens,” says Scott.

The first session focused on ∏.  ME@Sector participants measured various circles and counted their paces around and across a huge chalk circle to estimate values for ∏.  This “feet-on” approach helped participants internalize what ∏ actually is, rather than just memorizing digits and plugging values in formulas.  Participants also enjoyed eating some delicious pie.  In the second class, ME@Sector participants recreated Galileo’s inclined plane experiment, in which they measured the distance travelled by a ball rolling down a constant slope every second to calculate its acceleration.  Some of the youth estimated that the distance travelled would be consistent between 1 second intervals, and were surprised to find out it was not.  In both sessions, the young engineers had to construct the apparatus, consider possible sources of error in their measurements and other practical engineering problems.

Program participants measuring the circumference of a circle to estimate π

Program participants measuring the circumference of a circle to estimate π

To compliment these group activities, part of the each session is dedicated to individual math skills development.  Scott and Laura use two online tools to facilitate math activities that best suit each student’s level.  Reflex Math ( provides math-based games for kids to improve their fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  For students who already have basic fluency, Scott and Laura use Khan Academy (, a free, online learning platform that uses videos, along with interactive assessments, to teach a variety of subjects including math.  Both programs allow teachers, coaches, and parents to track student performance and see exactly where a student might be struggling.

Although Scott and Laura are leading the charge this summer, the goal is to create a program and curriculum that, if successful, can be extended.  Scott says he would like to pursue sources of program funding to add sessions and facilitators.  “One of our goals is to have a diverse group of engineers leading the program.  This diversity would help all kids see themselves as future engineers.”

This summer’s pilot program is already full with 10 students.  After program evaluation, plans will begin for next summer.  The cost is currently only $10 for the entire 8-week session, and a healthy snack is served at each session.  “Our goal is to keep the program as affordable as possible, so that it is accessible to all kids who would like to participate,” says Scott.  For more information on the program, see the flier attached to this article.  If you are interested in learning more about the ME@Sector program, participating as a facilitator, or know of a potential participant for next summer, send an email to

ME@Sector participants constructing an inclined plane to measure the acceleration of gravity

ME@Sector participants constructing an inclined plane to measure the acceleration of gravity

Brochure image

ME@Sector67 Flier

Posted in Uncategorized

Event Cancelled! – Attend the Product Development and Management Association Meeting on July 17th

Sorry, this even has been cancelled by the organizers, look for another event in the future!


Sector67 is hosting the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) summer social meeting on July 17th starting at 5PM. Cost to attend is $30 for non-PDMA members to defray the costs of refreshments. Hear from Sector67 member Bob Baddeley in his talk “Why I Failed at Kickstarter and My Friends Didn’t” and meet with other product development and management professionals. More information on the PDMA website.

Posted in Uncategorized


Upcoming Events