Burning Man Art in Hales Corners (Temporarily!)

Members of Milwaukee Makerspace, led by artist Kathy Cannistra, were bummed that they could not take their installation to Burning Man this year due to the event being canceled (like all other large-scale events this year) but they thought they could still put it on display while also helping draw some attention to Hales Corners’ restaurant Clifford’s Supper Club, which is owned by Kathy’s father.

A team of ten makers, friends, and family members helped build “Atomic Forest”. Between painting, sanding, soldering wires and custom-fabricating the metal components, the team estimates they spent 2,600 hours on the project. The sculptures debuted at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin in fall of 2019. After the exhibit closed, the giant flowers went into storage, and with Burning Man canceled, had nowhere to go, so Kathy thought that sharing the art with the community by putting them up at Clifford’s Supper Club would be a great way to provide an outdoor seating area allowing patrons to eat outside or simply enjoy the artwork.

The “stalk” of each flower rises from the center of a large table that also covers the underlying support structure. The “petals” are LED lights encased by white tubing looped back on itself. Each flower can run different colors and patterns, and grow dimmer as the evening winds down. Barriers separate the “garden” from the parking lot.

Within days of the flowers going up, the Hales Corners Village Trustees held an emergency vote by phone to have the installation removed. With so many restaurants struggling to survive, Kathy hoped that her art could offer a solution and some solace to the neighborhood and those looking to eat outdoors, but it looks like the city is not on-board with a temporary art exhibit meant to help a local restaurant that has served the community for over 60 years.

If you’re as upset about the Village Trustees decision as we are, please express your support for keeping the temporary installation up for the summer. Visit Support LED Artwork at Cliffords on Facebook and leave a comment.

More Face Shields for Milwaukee

Last week we reported delivering 2,199 face shields to Milwaukee area hospitals and clinics. That number was high due to a backlog the week before, so we were doing a lot of catching up last week, and we started this week all caught up (and a little ahead) so this week’s delivery number of 1,612 doesn’t seem as impressive, but in total since we started producing face shields, we’ve delivered 4,396.

For the clear front part of the face shield we’re still working with a few companies to cut those for us, but Markus has been working on a clicker press so we can also make them on our own. He has the die mostly ready to go thanks to Apple Die. With the giant roll of PET plastic we got this week we should be able to put quite a dent in the 30,300 injection molded frames we have. Yes, that’s 30,300 injection molded frames. We… have… a… lot.

Because we have a lot, and can (fairly easily) produce more, we’ve had some requests from outside Wisconsin for some. We’re deciding how to deal with those, but know that our primary mission has been to keep medical professional in the Milwaukee area safe when they are at work caring for our family, friends, and co-workers.

Once again if you are in need of
face shields, please request them!

Also, major thanks are due to Netzer Plastics in Medford. We could not have reached these numbers without them. Their injection molding capabilities (and awesome robot) have helped us help keep people safe. (Their web site is still “under construction” because they’ve been busy making frames for us, but if you need some injection molding done, talk to them.)

We’ll keep going with production… Our GoFundMe campaign just crossed $19,000 so we’re doing okay for covering expenses, and at least a one or two requests were not fulfilled due to some organizations being supplied PPE from other sources. We don’t know if we’re out of the woods yet, or if things will get worse, but we will help while we are able to. Keep checking back for more updates!

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Another Week, Another 2,199 PPE

It’s been quite a week! It was just seven days ago when we said We are almost ready to make a lot of face shields! because Compumold was able to get our injection mold done in less than a week and do it at a reduced cost for our efforts. Thanks again to the crew at Compumold!

Once the mold was done it went to Netzer Plastics in Medford where they were able to start injection molding immediately. Within a day we had 1,700 injection molded face shield frames.

But that was just a start! Netzer Plastics injection molded all week, we kept sending people to pick up gaylords full of frames, and we’ve now got 17,000 injection molded 3DVerkstan face shield frames at Milwaukee Makerspace. (Erik who designed it even took notice.)

17,000 is a large number. That’s a lot of frames! But wait… we’ve got more numbers…

Our GoFundMe campaign PPE for Milwaukee is at $18,797 as of this post. Which is good, because we spent a lot of money on the injection mold, and a lot of money on plastic. Milwaukee Makerspace is an all-volunteer non-profit organization, so no funds to go pay anyone, everything is going towards materials, and any needed tooling. I don’t have a number for volunteer hours, but it’s easily into the hundreds…

There’s one more number… 2,199. That’s the number of face shields we’ve delivered this week. We’ve worked through about half of the requests that have come in through the request form, and looking at the requests we still need to fulfill, a lot of them are for 100 and 200. Hopefully we’ll surpass our 2,199 delivery number by next week’s total.

Finally, beyond all these numbers, and talk about plastic, and other things… the reason we are doing all this is for the people. Medical workers in need of protection. Here are a few of the recipients of our efforts.

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Shields and Masks – Week One(ish)

We’ve got a progress report on our MMS Face Shield project. We started cutting frames for face shield about a week ago in an effort to fill the gap in the supply of PPE going to hospitals and health care clinics in the Milwaukee area. Our total as of Friday was about 2,000 frames for face shields cut on the CNC routers we have access to at ABC Woodworking.

We’re cutting more each day, and plan to add an additional two spindles to the gantry of the primary CNC router so it can cut three at one time. Meanwhile our friends at KAPCO Metal Stamping are able to stamp out 20,000 of the clear front shield parts to go with the frames.

Our GoFundMe campaign has raised over $12,000 so far, and we should be doing injection molding of the frames in less than two weeks. That will do two things: dramatically speed up the process of creating face shields, and reduce the cost of material per shield. (We are estimating close to 1/10 the cost of plastic used in the injection molded version.) With the ability to increase volume, we hope to expand beyond front line medical workers if their needs are met, and examine providing face shields to essential workers as well and investigate reaching outside the Milwaukee area. (We’ve already gotten requests from friends in other states as well.)

Now, if the face shield market gets completely saturated and we don’t need as many (which is a good thing!) we’ll be looking at what else we can do. Speaking of diversifying, we’ve also got a group of members who are sewing masks. Dan and Hapto put together 130 mask kits to distribute to members (in a non-contact fashion) and over 80 masks have been produced so far. There’s a lot of great sewn mask making efforts in our area, but it’s great to see our members jumping in as well.

One last update: Much of what we are doing started in the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies group, and while we haven’t been as active as we’ve wanted to (due to making face shields) there is now a local effort, the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies – Milwaukee group which a few of our members are involved in. Hopefully they’ll be able to steer us towards the best practices and efforts of the larger group. (And if you can help, please join in!)

We’ll do our best to keep you up to date with progress on this project as we move forward. As we’ve said among the group, we can’t wait to put ourselves out of the face shield making business, but as long as there’s a need to keep people safe that isn’t being fulfilled, we’ll keep doing it.

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First Shields are Out!

We’ve delivered face shields! Medical professionals are now using these in the field, and we’re happy to see this photo they sent us.

We’re working on ways to speed up production, still exploring new partners to help out, and doing our best to keep our spirits high… and this helps a lot.

Want to help?