Author Archive

Makers in action!

by on Apr.23, 2011, under Uncategorized

Fire GOOD!

Image by Kevin Dunn

Have YOU been following us for a while wondering just what we do? Are we just another gathering space for thinkers, doers and crafts people?

Well, here is something for you to sink your teeth into! Our very own Walter Stokes has created us a foundry for melting, smelting, metal work and cooking hot dogs! Ok. So maybe we don’t want to cook hot dogs in a foundry. We have Dru’s hot dog electrocution device for that… But, that’s another story!

If you have been following our Flikr page then you have seen the forge/foundry through it’s many evolutions from a forced air fed pile of fireplace bricks housing super heated coals, all the way to a full blown foundry!.

Walter cut down an old water heater for the outside shell of the foundry, filling the void between it and the cardboard concrete form with refractory cement. He also fabricated the combination oil drip feed, propane injector and blower unit from plumbing parts and a small shop vac. While the oil drip doesn’t yet have enough flow to be self sustaining, it definitely adds to the heat this baby creates! The flow problem will be addressed soon rendering the foundry able to keep heat enough to melt metals without having the propane running.

Friday the 22nd we fired it up for a test run. It was awesome to watch the swirling vortex of flames lick up the side of the container. The heat output was nothing short of awe inspiring as we struggled to stay close enough to get pictures. Soon enough though, we ran out of propane and the test run was called on the count of no gas.

If you want to see it in action, we are planning on firing it up again at the next space gathering on the 29th. If you haven’t had a chance to come visit us to see what we are all about, this would be a great opportunity to get to know us better!

Now that you have read this; Go out and MAKE something today!

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Helping to bake a new future!

by on Oct.04, 2010, under Crafts, Fundraising

Waka waka waka!

Image by Brandi Dunn

Happy October!

Can you believe it’s October, already? Time to start getting into the Halloween spirit. And what better way to do that than with lots of spooky treats? That’s right, the Midsouth Makers are gonna have a Halloween themed bake sale! We’re gonna have lots of sweets – cookies, brownies, homemade marshmallows, a few whole cakes; there’s even a couple of sugar free goodies. But, wait! That’s not all! We’ll also have a few non-food items, such as hand sewn pumpkins and decorated paper bats.

Sounds like it’s gonna be loads of fun, doesn’t it? Well, the more people we have helping and coming to the bake sale, the more fun it will be. So, we will need all types of help – people passing out flyers, donations of many types (food, non-food, monetary), volunteers for the bake sale, someone taking pictures, people showing off projects to potential victims… I mean, potential customers. Costumes, especially homemade, are GREATLY encouraged.

Here’s the specifics – The bake sale will be held on Saturday, October 30. Set-up time will start at 9 am. The bake sale will go from 10 am to 1 pm. The location is Kevin and Brandi’s front yard, at 850 Avon in Memphis. Here is a file containing the sign up sheet, a set of guidelines for food donations/ingredients list and the flyer. If you have any questions or want to virtually ‘sign’ the sign up sheet, send it to board@midsouthmakers.org and it will be forwarded to Brandi.

Let’s make this an AWESOME bake sale! Be there or beware!

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The MidsouthMakers Forge Ahead

by on Sep.12, 2010, under Events, Trips

Fire GOOD!

Image by Kevin Dunn

Following our normally scheduled meeting on August 27th, the Makers group was offered the chance by Greg, one of the members of the local 2600 group, to visit his home made aluminum forge.

After the initial awe of seeing an actual Delorean parked in his garage, we were treated to Greg setting up and demoing his forge. We were asked to bring small objects that could be pressed into sand molds to make reliefs to pour molten aluminum into to duplicate.

The forge was made using a metal 5 gallon paint/chemical bucket with a special mixture of concrete on the inside for insulation and heat retention. The top was made out of the bottom of another metal bucket with the same concrete mixture, with an ingenious use of rebar as a pivot point to turn the top out of the way to access the crucible.

Soon after inserting his Harbor Freight propane burner into a hole in the side of the bucket, the fire was ignited and things really began to heat up. Greg’s main source of aluminum is, you guessed it, aluminum drink cans. While the crucible was turning red-hot, Greg would add cans in two at a time. The paint on the outside of the cans would flash fire and be burnt off as slag, while the rest of the aluminum would melt in to a puddle of silver liquid reminiscent of mercury in colour and fluidity.

Once the aluminum was fully melted and the scum was pulled from the top, the crucible was carefully extracted and poured into some of the waiting sand molds. While still incredibly hot, the aluminum almost immediately solidified into the desired form. After a few minutes of cooling it was carefully extracted using tongs and left to air cool for several hours.

While the whole process is actually incredibly simple, it is still exciting to watch and even more exciting to think of the endless possibilities of having such a forge at your disposal!

The Makers would like to extend thanks to Greg for allowing us to invade his garage to see this amazing forge in action!

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Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. — William Ralph Inge