About achmorrison

Physics professor by day - maker by night

Member projects: Building a night sky observatory!!

One of our members, Steven Sagerian, has a passion for astronomy and astronomy education and outreach. He has been working on building an observing site outside of the Chicago suburbs in a dark location – and now he has a GoFundMe set up to make this a reality!

Steve also has designed a solar panel system for charging batteries to run the observatory. You can see the solar cells in the photo on the GoFundMe site, and he also has a page dedicated to the design and construction of it.

Solar panels for charging power supply at observatory.


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Mustard etching?

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Knife with mustard packet before the etching.

We’ve been playing with the etching of metals with our laser cutter at Workshop 88. One of our members discovered a mustard-etching method and tested it out last night during the weekly open house.

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Reapplying mustard between passes.

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Finished etched knife after cleaning.

The results are pretty great for a first attempt! Expect more detail to come in future posts – but if you want to know more, please come to our open house meetings every Thursday night!

Last minute gift ideas for makers!

Here’s some ideas for the maker, tinkerer, builder on your Christmas list. (Following these links and buying from Amazon will support Workshop 88.) Most of these items are still available to be shipped before Christmas!

Hard to go wrong with an arduino uno – even if your maker already has one, it’s always nice to have a spare.
This kit comes with all the parts needed to get started making with arduino.
10 NRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Wireless RF Transceiver Modules compatible with arduinos. Very cool way to quickly experiment with wireless communication between arduino projects.
This book is a great introduction to learning how to make with the arduino microcontrollers.
This kit includes everything needed to get going with the Raspberry Pi.
Have a Raspberry Pi already? Here’s a handy case to help protect it.
Add a camera to your Raspberry Pi!
Every maker doing electronics needs a multimeter. Here’s a fully featured one at a decent price.
If your maker is new to 3D printing, you may want to consider this accessory kit.
A fun filament to print with is glow-in-the dark plastic. This might be a filament that someone may not choose to buy on their own, making it a nice gift. 

Animatronic owls

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Workshop 88 member Anna Gillespie created a series of animatronic owls for an event at the public library where she works. The owls were controlled with arduinos using servo motors and a wav shield for the sound of the owl hoot.  Some of the owls turned their heads and some of them flapped their wings in addition to hooting. This was a great project to watch from start to finish; thanks, Anna, for sharing with us!

Recently at Workshop 88!

Last Thursday evening we had the pleasure of having a group from the Society Of Women Engineers tour our makerspace and ask questions on the many aspects of being a maker and what we were working on. They were a mix of female Engineers from different fields of engineering; chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers,and civil engineers. Really great night having them here with us. Are you, or do you have a group of people interested in makerspaces or hackerspaces? Come visit us on any Thursday evenings from 7-10 pm @ workshop88.

from Workshop 88’s Facebook page