June 2016 Newsletter

Makers Making a Difference

Dan Hendricks

Here's the latest news from the lab! In this issue:

  • The 2016 North County Mini Maker Faire

  • Something New for Educators

  • New for Our Members - Workshop Wednesdays

  • Successful Rocket Launch

  • Maker to Manufacturer Initiative

The 2016 North County Mini Maker Faire

The San Diego Makers Guild will be staging the North County Mini Maker Faire at the American Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista on June 18 and 19. We feel very strongly that one Maker Faire per year isn’t enough. North County is an area that’s rich with makers and full of making activity. Along with AGSEM, we want to hold a celebration of all the good things that are happening in North County.

The Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum focuses on the 1840’s through 1960’s with exhibits of tools and equipment from an era where everyone was a maker. What better place to celebrate making?

North County Maker Faire will be within AGSEM’s Antique Engine & Tractor Show.  They’ll have a tractor parade, demonstrations of milling and weaving and blacksmithing and more, wagon rides, food and fun galore. For the price of admission, you get Maker Faire for free! Come see OSML at the North County Maker Faire!

Something New for Educators!

Do you have an idea for a project but don’t know how to execute it? Do you want to design a project for your class but aren’t sure where to start?

Starting this summer, OSML is introducing Teacher Tuesdays, to assist local educators with these challenges! Teacher Tuesday is a special mentor-led session every Tuesday evening for our educator members. Teachers that need to develop projects or experiments for their classes will bring their needs to the session. Mentors will lead the group through a design thinking process to develop a solution for that teacher, then the group will work together to implement the design. Each week a different teacher’s problem will be worked through, allowing all group members to experience collaboration and creative problem solving!

Teacher members also have full access to the lab and all equipment to continue the development of their projects, and to collaborate in a safe environment among their peers. This enables educators to adopt the “fail early and often” model, allowing them to be more prepared and confident when leading their students. Teacher Tuesdays ensures that you’ll meet required standards while creating projects that are fun and interesting for your students.

Sign up for our discounted Educator Membership today!

 New for Our Members - Workshop Wednesdays!

Join us on Wednesday evenings as we work on a different project each week to build out our skills and explore new science. These sessions are open to all members, especially those who are interested in new science and technologies, but aren’t sure where to start. Get involved, and join us for design and build sessions each week! Examples of some of our Wednesday projects include:

Solar Generator - Help us improve the design of our solar generator that we used for a live broadcast from the Mojave Desert. There are plenty of skills to learn here - design, electrical engineering, fabrication, and alternative energy. Learn the skills to make your own solar generator for emergency power or self-sustainment in remote areas.

Amateur Radio High Altitude Balloon - Join us as we explore using amateur radio with high altitude balloons to sense environmental data and imagery in near space. We'll learn earth sciences, design, electronics, software - there's something for everyone!

Robot Operating System (ROS) - Get hands on experience with the Robot Operating System (ROS) on a variety of platforms. This versatile software platform can be used in a variety of robotics applications - land based, aerial drones, and underwater autonomous vehicles.

Radioastronomy - Jump in to amateur radioastronomy by designing and building a software-defined radio (SDR) and dish-antenna radiotelescope. There are plenty of skills to learn here - design, electrical engineering, fabrication, and astronomy. Learn how to make your own amateur radiotelescope and get started in radioastronomy.

Virtual Machines and Cloud Computing - Learn how to build and use virtual machines and cloud computing. We'll do plenty of hands-on exploring by setting up several types of virtual machines (e.g., KVM and Virtualbox), and move up to implement a private cloud computing infrastructure with OpenStack.

 Successful Rocket Launch!

UC San Diego’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS UCSD) successfully launched their Vulcan-1 rocket on Saturday, May 21, at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) site in Mojave, CA! They are the first university group to design, create, and launch a rocket powered by a completely 3-D printed engine.

The Vulcan-1 project began in 2014 and quickly blossomed into a full-scale effort with over 60 student engineers. The team fabricated and tested the rocket at OSML, which provided equipment and support for the project. The team also received mentor support from engineers at Open Source Maker Labs, NASA, XCOR, and many other groups in the space industry.

“This sort of technology has really come to fruition in the last few years. This is proof of concept that if students at the undergraduate level could drive down the costs of building these engines, we could actually fly rockets and send up payload that is cheaper and more efficient,” said Darren Charrier, SEDS UCSD’s incoming president. “One day, we’d like to see this technology being implemented on large-scale rockets, which means that we could send satellites to provide internet for developing countries, we could mine asteroids, perhaps even go colonize Mars.”

OSML transported the rocket from our facility where it was built and tested to the launch site, and set up a portable satellite link for a live YouTube broadcast of the event, which can be seen here! The team has plans to continue with other projects at OSML, including a lunar lander platform and a static test fire platform for new engine prototypes.

Extensive behind the scenes support by OSML for the SEDS UCSD launch of the Vulcan-1 rocket. Viasat provided a portable Ka-band satellite terminal that we used to send our YouTube live broadcast. OSML designed and built a portable solar generator to power the broadcast from the desert. The rocket test rig we built doubled as a transport carrier and was designed to exactly fit into a specific trailer. The team's gear was pre-loaded into pallet containers, which were loaded into OSML trucks for transport to the launch site. OSML is ready to go anywhere!

 Maker to Manufacturer Initiative

As part of the National Week of Making, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has invited OSML to attend the Maker-to-Manufacturer Stakeholder Event on Monday, June 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.

In recent years, individuals and small teams have been able to gain access to hardware and software tools for designing and prototyping that were previously only available to large manufacturers.  We expect this trend to continue, given the investments that are making these tools less expensive, easier to use, and more powerful. Despite these technical advances, there are still barriers that limit the progress from maker to manufacturer.

OSTP is interested in exploring the steps that will help allow hobbyists and startups go from Maker to Manufacturer, which could fuel innovation and entrepreneurship in manufacturing and hardware in the same way that cloud computing has lowered the cost associated with launching an Internet startup. The group is hosting this stakeholder event to hear individual views from attendees on the following topics:

  • What technologies will support low-volume manufacturing, which is critical for entrepreneurs in the initial stages of validating “product-market fit”?

  • What innovations in hardware and software will increase the variety and value of what an entrepreneur can design, prototype, and manufacture?

  • How can the United States strengthen the manufacturing know-how of its workers, given that this tacit knowledge is hard to capture and is not always included in formal university coursework in engineering programs?

  • What public and private actions by governments, regions, firms, and research universities can maximize the economic and societal impact of the democratization of manufacturing?

To prepare for this event, OSML has been gathering inputs from our local maker community and from industry partners in the region to take back as inputs to this national initiative. We hope to provide the representatives of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with the opinions and experiences of our local community. If you have specific suggestions, please send them to us at info@opensourcemakerlabs.com.