Neon Milwaukee Flag

Another Beginning Neon project has been completed by member Peter Merrick.  This project was a bit complex as there is only 1 continuous tube that weaves in and out of the wood “pallet-like” substructure.  In addition to the complexity, beginners have challenges learning to use phosphor-coated glass and projects with symmetry.  Peter was able to overcome these obstacles and create something awesome at the Norwich neon space :)

Beginning Neon – Paper Clip project

As we continue to build out the Norwich glass area, our pilot neon class is starting to reveal merit from the pomp and toils of setting up a new area space.  A special thanks to Rosie and Jake for their continued  contribution in building the neon area.

Pictured are 2 paperclips created by member Robert S.  These were constructed from 10mm tubing.  The red is filled with Neon gas, and the blue is a mixture of Argon and Mercury.  The next step in the process is to build a support structure/enclosure to mount the paperclips.  Robert intends to utilize his skills in the woodshop area to create a wood base support structure for the paperclip sculpture.

A great example of members utilizing multiple areas and disciplines to accomplish their project goals :)

The “Neon Crew” congregates on Wednesdays from ~4:30-7:00pm, stop by and learn more.

Scissors Mechanism

Last month in Model Monday we designed Scissors Mechanisms.  After that first class I went down the rabbit hole a bit and had some fun designing a few different styles.  The first project was a tool to pick up a Tennis Ball with out bending over to pick it up.  You can watch the 2 part series and follow along on YouTube.


Next week’s advance class we will be making spring loaded coffee bike mounts.   Join us in person on Monday at 7pm if your a member or watch on your own time on my YouTube channel.  

Barge Simpson: Recycling & Relaxation

After several years of canoeing the Wisconsin River, my brother Jason and I had the idea to build a barrel raft capable of navigating the river while everyone aboard relaxed and enjoyed the trip.


Originally we wanted to make the raft how most people do, wood and barrels. However, after settling on a size, we quickly realized that wood and metal barrels are quite heavy.


Eventually, after tossing around ideas ranging from aluminum square channels and dock pieces, we settled on 6 premade plastic pallets and 8 plastic food-grade barrels. The combination left us with a very sturdy initial platform to build our raft on.


Prior to settling on a pontoon orientation, we experimented 4 sets of 2 side by side barrels but determined that the water resistance and transportation would be a challenge.


The first task was to secure each pallet together over the length of the raft and then the width. To accomplish this we took 12 foot pressure treated 2x4s and hammered them into the fork spaces of the pallets.