Category Archives: Community

Shop Cleanup Day


Shop Cleanup

It’s been a long time since we had a shop cleanup day, and we needed it pretty badly. We had around eight people show up today to help clean, organize, and otherwise improve EMS. While there is still more that can be done, we made a lot of great progress and made some pretty big changes to the shop layout. Ultimately we are hoping that these changes will lead to better use of our limited space, and also make it easier to access and use the tools we have. Here are some of the highlights from today.

One of the biggest changes you will notice at EMS is that the big workbench with the peg board has been moved to the west wall next to the other work bench. This freed up space to move the vacuum forming machine next to the 220V outlet. This is much more efficient since it was always necessary to awkwardly wheel the vacuum former over to the corner every time someone wanted to use it. Now it’s right where it needs to be and will therefore be so much easier to use as needed. This also freed up a bit of extra space on the south wall for us to put the large format printer and vinyl cutter. This gave us more room to move around and work over near the bay door.

Laser Cutter

Also, we finally did something with that giant AV cart. We’ve had that thing forever but really it took up too much space and was an awkward shape to be useful in our space. We removed the wheels and removed the top portion of the cart and turned it into a small table. This table was the perfect size for our laser cutter. We were able to kill two birds with one stone by saving space from the old AV cart and building a laser cutter table all at once!

Pick-a-part Area

We also spent a lot of time combing through the pick-a-part area and organizing it. I don’t know how many cardboard boxes were recycled, but it sure was a lot. I’ve been told there’s even some level of organization going on up there now, so be sure that you don’t just haphazardly toss things up there in the future. Try to find the spot that makes the most sense.

We plan to hold these clean up days every other month to help keep the shop tidy and efficient. If you didn’t make it down this time, you should come down next time! It’s not all sweeping and running to the dump. If you come down to the clean up days you also get to have a say in how the shop is organized in order to be more efficient for our members. We make these decisions together so as to make the space more usable for everyone. We also inevitably start working on “shop improvement projects” such as the laser cutter table, or building a custom mount for the IP camera. We easily come up with a big list of things to do, so you need not worry about having no idea what you can do to help.


New Tools Update #1

EMS received a generous donation at the end of 2014. The board decided we should spend that money on some new tools for our members. After a discussion in the EMS Discuss mailing list, we opted to spend some money on two things.

  1. CNC milling machine
  2. Laser cutter

Those things seemed pretty high up on the list for many members, and as it happens some members were already working on these things. This decision will allow us to fund the projects and hopefully expedite them.

CNC Milling Machine

Several members have been working hard to repair a recently-donated CNC milling machine. You may have seen it on the large desk inside EMS. The most recent problem has been with the motor driver circuit boards. The driver chips keep burning out. They’ve already been replaced once, but the problem has repeated itself. The team has decided to purchase new controller boards instead of trying to continue debugging the old ones. We are going to use EMS funds to help the team purchase the parts they need to get the machine up and running. We’ll also spend a few hundred dollars on proper tooling for the machine when it’s ready to go. This way we’ll have everything we need to make use of the machine.

Laser Cutter

Bob has been building his 40 Watt laser cutter for over two years now. The current status is that it’s almost ready for use by other members. He’s still working on some of the software but he’s got a plan formulated for that. Also, you may have noticed a hole cut in the rear wall of the EMS shop over the last week or so. This hole was approved by the landlord and installed to provide adequate ventilation for the laser cutter once it’s up and running. An exhaust fan was already installed as well. Bob also needs to build a custom table to hold the laser cutter up at an appropriate height, while also leaving storage space for cutting materials. He’s going to be a bit busy working on his Eugene Maker Faire project in the coming months though, so if anyone would like to lend a hand with this project please reach out on the Discuss list.

Eugene Maker Social: Toy Night

The first Eugene Maker Social was a big success, so we’re making it a regular event.  The second one is scheduled for April 9th at North Bank.  Come join us, hang out, eat, drink.  This time, let’s all bring something we made and show it off.

Eugene Maker Social
Thursday, April 9th, 6:00 PM
McMenamin’s North Bank
25 Club Rd.

See you there!

Eugene Maker Faire: Call for Makers

It’s time to get ready for Eugene Maker Faire. We have just four short months to get our projects ready for show ‘n’ tell.

Eugene Maker Space will be a big contributor to the Faire this year, as always. There will be plenty of opportunities to volunteer.

Eugene Maker Faire
June 13th, 2015
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Science Factory
2300 Leo Harris Pkwy.
Eugene, OR

EMS Kickstarter Panel at the Downtown Library

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, the world’s most popular platform for crowdfunding projects. EMS member, Mark Danburg-Wyld, first heard of it a couple of years ago, but didn’t back a campaign until a few months back. Here’s what Mark had to say about his experience:

“It was so easy – when I opened the site, on the landing page, there was a campaign from a local artist I enjoy. By chance, the campaign was exactly one $35 pledge short of reaching it’s goal. Well, no-brainer – I backed it. They logged me in via Facebook – no new forms to fill out there. Then took me to Amazon for payment information – again, an entity that already had my information. I went from novice to a backer in about 2 minutes. And, a few weeks later, I got my reward exactly on schedule – which turns out isn’t necessarily common.”

Mark further discovered that Eugene, being a relatively small town, punches above its weight when it comes to successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns. From the town’s first successful campaign (Wanted: Crohn’s End, funded 12/8/2010) through the end of 2013, there have been 90 fully funded campaigns based out of Eugene, which between them have raised over 1.3 million dollars! One blockbuster (Two Guys SpaceVenture) accounted for over half a million pledges alone. Eugene seems to have a better than average funding rate, too – 46% of the Eugene campaigns through the end of 2013 were funded, versus an average for Kickstarter overall of 42%.

Eugene Maker Space decided to invite some of this local talent to share their Kickstarter experiences. On Sunday, March 2, 2014 EMS is hosting a Kickstarter panel discussion at the downtown library, from 10:00 to 11:30. We have five guest speakers who have volunteered to tell their stories. In alphabetical order, they are:

Craig Godwin. Craig is a EMS member, launching his Kickstarter in March of 2014, for Light Dance, a device which synchronizes lights with music for both consumers and professionals.
Garrett Loveall. Garrett’s Kickstarter funded in August of 2013, July Nine provides a cloth bag for grocery shopping (or whatever else) that rolls up into a very tight package for easy transport.
Noelle Dass. Noelle is a local artist, often found at Saturday Market, and online at Her Kickstarter funded in September of 2012, and produced a line of t-shirts with her whimsical artwork.
Stephanie Widner. Stephanie ran 3 (!) successful Kickstarter campaigns in 2013, each producing a different one of her resin fantasy toys. Her website is Spark Costumes, where she showcases a variety of costumes.
Tim O’Donnell. Tim’s Kickstarter funded in July 2013, and allowed Camerosity Improv to launch a new show, celebrating the technology of the past.

If you are curious about crowdfunding, and want to learn more about particular tips and tricks to running a successful campaign on Kickstarter in particular, this is an event you will want to attend. It promises to be a lively and enlightening discussion. We hope to see you there!

Many special thanks to EMS member, Mark Danburg-Wyld, for organizing this event!!

Eugene Maker Space went to After School Conference today.

OregonASK  Invited Eugene Maker Space  (EMS) to have a booth at todays After School conference.  Bob Miller and myself (James Hukill) volunteered to represent EMS onsite at Chemeketa Community College (Salem, Oregon).  OregonASK mission statement is “To support, expand and advocate for quality out-of-school time programs and activities for children, youth, and families throughout Oregon.”   I think I have to blame my advancing age and that I now have kids that my desire to participate more in what ‘we’ teach our kids at all hours of the day not just school.  All and all a great time not only meeting new people but had  blast hanging with Bob the whole day.

Equipment wise we brought the usually “popular” equipment.  EMS vinyl banner, paper rocket launcher, 3D printer, various bots and of course Bob’s famous easy button chasing lights Arduino project.  Years into 3D printers being on the market the questions and fascination people have has not waned, if anything there seems to be more excitement and enthusiasm with what can be done with them.  I know I need to print a few more examples of the range of productive things a 3D printer can be used for, well, other than Hello Kitty pink pumpkins.  On a more serious note it’s awesome to see events like this (Adafruit, is helping organize … improve the functionality and production of 3D printed prosthetics)  being held in support of making useful things with 3D printers.

Besides the 3D bot talk it gave us ample opportunity to  explaining to of folks what EMS is and who we are made up of to an audience that have never heard of EMS let alone Maker Spacers at all.  The clamor for more tech related after school activities made our booth quite popular and I am sure Kiki over at ThinkerSmith (also there) a very busy woman.  Oh and for the record my EMS elevator pitch got nearly polished by the end of the day.  😉

Will from PIGS and PixelArts was a familiar face as I had chatted him up at 2012’s Portland Retro Gaming Expo in his booth but it was cool to have him swing by and give EMS a look.   I look forward to EMS working out some collaborative projects and hosting some PixelArts events.  In the course of chatting and dreaming up some cool stuff an idea did come to mind.  What if EMS had a coin op game (or two) that all the quarters aka profits could goto a local charity or shelter.  I think it’s kinda of fitting that a gaming habit can help someone locally in need and some decent PR for us.  I wonder what the legality of making a retro-pi taking quarters is?

Oh boy, too  many projects and not enough time…