How to put a laser cutter on the third floor of the Library

1. Move BIG truck to tiny dock.

2. Move BIG crate off BIG truck onto tiny dock.

3. Uncrate and tilt BIG laser cutter onto it’s side.

4. Remove base and hoses.

5. Slide on blankets into tiny elevator.

6. Ponder life on the slow ride to third floor.

7. Slide out of elevator and rotate onto casters.

8. Easy push down hall and into place.

9. Replace base and hoses.

10. Tip upright and place where you are sure to move it again.

11. Read manual.

12. Thank all those that helped get us into this awesome mess: Cornerstone Foundation, WPS Foundation, Rotary Club of Green Bay, Commercial Horizons, Nicolet Bank, Richard and Diane Rockhill, Wayne and Sue Hornberger and the awesome librarian that is Molly!



Laser Cutter is on the way!

Here she is – ain’t she a beauty?

Boss Laser LS-2436 GenV

Laser power: 150w

Size: 24″ x 36″ bed with pass-through capabilities

Expected arrival: before June

To stretch our bang for the buck, we were able to negotiate a discount from Boss on the overall cost. And we opted to vent the exhaust out of the building rather than purchasing a filter system (we met with the DNR on emissions considerations to make sure this would not add any further costs or complications). These decisions enabled us to purchase a larger unit and a more powerful laser while keeping us below our budget! We are eager to receive the machine and will post an update when installation is complete.
At Proto, our mission is to build creativity, confidence and grit in our youth through hands-on, STEAM-focused projects, workshops and teams. The addition of the laser cutter will go a long way toward this mission!
We certainly didn’t do this on our own! We are grateful to the following folks for their generous support in helping meet our funding goals to make this purchase: The Green Bay Rotary Foundation, The Cornerstone Foundation, WPS Foundation, Commercial Horizons, Nicolet Bank, Diane and Richard Rockhill, Wayne and Sue Hornberger and Mr. Richard Resch.


Camp Contraption: Coming Summer of 2017!

Camp Contraption: Coming Summer of 2017!

Proto is excited to release it’s biggest workshop yet: Camp Contraption! This will keep us busy from mid June to late August, and has programs for kids of all ages. From 3D printing and laser cutting to tinkering with scrap materials, this camp has something for everyone.

There are two aspects of this camp: Camp Contraption, which is for grades 5-9, and Lil ‘Traptions, for grades 2-5. Here’s a glimpse into some of what we have to offer for Camp Contraption:

  • Learn the power of a CNC Router
    • CNC Routers are the workhorse of digital fabrication. Learn to create 2D and 3D objects from flat materials using free and easy-to-learn software. Get an introduction to free 2D software to build on.
  • Kinetic Contraptions
    • In Kinetic Contraptions, you will build up to 5 contraptions that move with the help of water, cable, paddles or sun light. Dive into basic electronics, hydraulics, mechanics and more in this hands-on intro to awesome!
  • And much more! Check out our full list of workshop descriptions for both Camp Contraption and Lil ‘Traptions here.

You can find our schedules for Camp Contraption and Lil ‘Traptions, as well as our electronic and paper sign-up sheets, on the Camp Contraption page.

We hope to see you there! Sign up by May 8, 2017 to get in on the fun!


The Big Event for Little Kids

Proto was excited to be part of Encompass’ “The Big Event for Little Kids” on April 8. Participants had the opportunity to make a scrap contraption, and check out our summer offerings for “Camp Contraption.” All of the activities at the event fit in with Encompass’ theme of Explore, Play, and Discover.

Kids could create art projects, sing and dance with interactive performers, play with live farm animals, and play basketball. There were even some guest appearance by Packer’s players to sign autographs! (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the kids who were excited about that aspect…)

This educational and fun event has been a major fundraiser for Encompass Early Education and Care, raising over $1.45m over the last 28 years. The proceeds are used to ensure quality early education and care to children, regardless of their economic circumstances.

We’ve greatly enjoyed the last two times we’ve participated with this event, and look forward to being involved in the future.

SeaPerch Team Wins!

Proto was happy to send another team to compete at the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance Sea Perch Robotics Competition. This year’s team named themselves “It Might Work.” (They said this turtle is from a show that I should recognize, but it is still a mystery to me)

It certainly did work, because the team won! We are now advancing to the National SeaPerch competition in Atlanta, GA. Before the national competition on May 19-20, the team will be dedicating their time to improving and testing designs and documenting their innovations. In order to pay for pool rental, mentorship, equipment, and transportation costs, the team needs your help! Check out our GoFundMe page, and help us reach our $2500 goal. We are over halfway there!

Back to the team themselves, they are a group of six kids from different backgrounds who have worked diligently on creating a removed operated underwater vehicle (ROV). The ROV was made of PVC with water-proofed motors and a tethered control box. The team was tasked with navigating the ROV through a series of obstacles and hoops, so they needed something light and mobile, but powerful. The team is currently working on refining the buoyancy of the ROV, because one of the main parts of the challenge is to lift block and rings from the pool floor and place them on raised hooks. This has proven to be one of the more difficult parts of designing the ROV, but is something the team is working at before nationals.

The SeaPerch competition was created as a way to help students learn about science, engineering, robots, and math while having the hands-on experience of building a ROV. This not only helps with STEM experience, but with building problem solving and teamwork skills. Its focus is on ship and submarine design, and encouraging students to explore naval architecture and engineering. The name derives from a highly decorated World War II submarine, the USS Perch.

We are so proud of this hardworking team, and very excited to travel to Georgia in a few months.