CRASHspace at Maker Faire

If you’re heading to the Bay Area Maker Faire this weekend, make sure to come by the CRASHspace booth and see all of the amazing things our members have made. There’s Theron’s 8-bit ukulele, Daniel’s retro modules, Steve’s “Jacob’s Splatter” (a combination Jacob’s ladder and levitating fountain… high voltage and water ftw), Nate’s zoetrope, and I’ll have both of my Hexachords there as well.

 

We’re located at the southwest edge of the Expo Hall, right across from the south wall’s doors. More pictures soon!

 

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Prepping for Maker Faire 2015

Maker Faire Bay Area is just a week away! I am so excited, and sooo busy.

 

Last year for Maker Faire, I showed my first Hexachord, a 3-foot-tall six-chambered rotary instrument. This year, I’ll be showing both the original and a new version. It’s a single-chambered design with six necks radiating from the center, and played by six servos hooked up to an Arduino Uno. Have a look at all of the in-progress pictures here and stop by the CRASHspace booth in the Expo Hall to see the completed instrument!

 

Hexachord interior assembled

Hexachord top  New Hexachord Necks

 

I will also be running workshops at the FlipBooKit booth in the Maker Shed, so come on by. There will be a sneak peek of my new ‘How to Make a Custom Animation’ video playing in the shed along with the original assembly one. Here’s the finished animation from my demo!

 

 

See you there!

Spring Break Tinkering School, Part 2


rDC Spring Tinkering Camp

Spring Break Tinkering School at reDiscover Center finished about a month ago now, and was great fun, and finally I have the chance to show you more pictures and video from the week! Check out my Flickr album here. The kids got a basic understanding of many of the things that go into creating a movie while building and playing with their creations. Thursday morning, we finished up our sets, props, and costumes, and in the afternoon we had some rehearsals, followed by quick filming. As it turned out, our main character was one of the script writers, and he had his lines memorized pretty much from the get go.

 

There were a few places where the counselors needed to supervise more closely than we might have ordinarily, given more time, so that we could get a video that effectively captured their creations. Several campers took turns operating the camera dolly with a counselor always on hand to keep an eye on the camera angle and record button, and one in particular took a keen interest in the audio recording, spending a lot of Thursday roaming camp with a recorder mounted on a camera tripod acting as a boom and headphones so she could hear what the microphone heard.

 

Thursday night, I edited our footage, a panoply of experimentation, improvisation, and sometimes intentional bloopers. (If I’d had more time, I would have created a blooper reel as well)

 

First thing Friday, after our welcome activity, the campers had the opportunity to see their movie, Attack of the Marshmallow Maniac, which clocked in at a whopping six minutes. Click below to watch it!

 

 

One of the things that most impressed me was that, once we hit our stride on Friday, creating elements of our theater/arcade for the parents’ screening, the campers had reached a point where they were comfortable enough with the tools that they could focus almost entirely on their creations. It is such a satisfying experience to see your campers truly absorb the medium.

 

There are many exciting plans in the works for Summer Tinkering School (one-week sessions starting June 15th – some spots are still available), but I won’t list them here in case any future campers are reading. It’s a surprise! You’ll love it!

Central Coder Time Bobble Bots

Thanks, everyone who came by the LA Makerspace booths at Central Coder Time today! It was great to see the inventive bot creations you came up with.

 

Bobble-Head Bot Papertoys

 

As promised, here is a link to the pattern and photo instructions for those who didn’t have a chance to finish up their bobble-head paper toys.

Spring Break Tinkering School at reDiscover Center

We are making a movie this week at reDiscover’s Tinkering School, where I am lead instructor. And when I say “we are making,” I mean the kids. They will be designing and building absolutely everything – the script, the sets and props, the camera dolly, and all of the characters/creatures. Today, the campers (aged 7-12) were presented with the week’s big build theme: Monster Attack Movie, and – after much debate and voting – they decided on a Lightning Marshmallow Man for their monster. 

 

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(The creativity behind this kind of brainstorm list just makes my day.)

 

It’s interesting to contemplate the things that the kids considered monster-worthy, especially as each society’s monsters are a reflection of the threats and concerns of the time period. There is obviously a heavy element of whimsy (a mutant transforming kitten, for example), and a lot of animals or everyday things turned upside down (a zombie vulnerable only to enchiladas), but the story that developed from their chosen monster says a lot. The marshmallow man comes about when a barrel of toxic waste spills on a bag of marshmallows. An environmental hazard makes the fluffiest of sweets deadly, and brings on natural disasters in the form of targeted lightning strikes. It does say a lot about what children see as some of the biggest threats right now.

 

Yesterday, they had training in all of the main tools of our shop: clamps (regular and corner), power drills and drivers, squares and T-squares, tape measures, hand saws, saw horses, jig saws, and the chop saw (the last two always are used with direct adult supervision).

 

The Tinkering Challenges from yesterday were to build a structure from dowels and corks with a trick that can easily knock it over, and – in the afternoon – to build something to move a cup of water around the room without  spilling it or holding it with their hands. We wrote down what we discovered from those challenges, and today we got to use those observations in planning the set destruction and the camera dolly.

 

They absolutely dove into building once we got going. The groups (which I always like to assign after the brainstorm, and based on what sparks their interest) had a few prompt questions to help them think of what aspects they would need to plan for. Fortunately, I had my laptop with me, because our writers have some killer keyboard skills and had enough ideas to need that speed. The monster building group decided on their materials, started building the frame, and learned how to use spade drill bits when they wanted larger holes. The set/props group began construction on a toxic waste refinery, the empire state building, and marshmallow bombs that break apart when they hit the ground (a really effective design, where foam balls are cut in half and held together loosely with a cork in the middle). The camera group assessed the challenge results from before and created their own design for a dolly based on them, which includes spaces for prop storage and snacks. Gotta love crafty. :)

 

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, and will post again with pictures!

Instructables Makerspace Competition

 

Instrgroup

 

Recently, instructables held a Makerspace Competition, and we at Crashspace won with my writeup for my Hexachord! We’re very excited. There were a lot of great entries.

 

Also, Crashspace has a group on instructables. Go see what we’re all up to lately.

CRASHspace Signs

If you haven’t gathered, Crashspace is my hackerspace home, and the signs on the room doors were in dire need of update. (“Dante cleaned Shop One! Yay, Dante! Wait, which one is that?”) There were signs, but they were subtle printings on paper, which no one ever looked at.

 

So I made some new signs that are tool-specific to each room. Lasercut acrylic for Shop One, CNC router for Shop Two, and 3d printed for the Library. As I am wont to do, I made some tweaks in Illustrator of Peralta (one of my favorite fonts), and then translated it for the three different tools. Note: I did a little cleanup on the Shop Two sign, this picture shows it fresh off the router.

 

Now if you don’t know which room is which, you’ll be directed to the big, obvious, lovely signs on the doors.

 

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CRASHspace Shop Two sign
CRASHspace Library sign


New FlipBooKit Instructional Video and Instructable

Heya, folks!

 

I am writing/filming instructional videos for FlipBooKit, with a bent toward education, and the first one – on basic assembly – is out, with an associated Instructable!

 

 

State of the Makin

I’ve done a lot of instructables lately. Last week was the end of their Makerspace competition, which had a lot of fabulous entries, and our very own CRASHspace won with my Hexachord instructable. Woohoo! My Light-up Hobbit Papercut Bookmark also won second prize in the papercraft contest.

 

Which is not to say that I haven’t been creating physical things as well. The CNC router is just too much fun to leave alone, and I’ve made a couple wood signs, including this in-progress one of one of my favorite quotes from Steal Like an Artist. More pictures when it’s done.

 

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We’ve also been using a lot of T-Glase filament in the Bukito 3D printer, which is transparent(ish) and awesome for things like hanging air plant terrariums. Here’s the STL of the terrarium I designed in the picture above (where the clear filament looks more like silver). Oh, how I’d love to play with a resin printer.

 

This spring break and summer, I’ll be running the reDiscover Center’s Tinkering Camps, for which we have all kinds of fun plans, and starting this coming Saturday, February 7th, I’ll be doing Tinkering Studio afternoons as well. I am super excited about these upcoming events!

3D Modeling

Crashspace has been hosting a number of Instructables Build Nights lately, in which we’re sent a package of new tools or technologies to play with and use for making tutorials for the Instructables site. They get advertising and a greater project presence online, we get to host free events with the latest stuff. It’s fun.

 

3D Printed Spark.io DiffuserFor November, we did a Build Night using the new(ish) Spark.io technology, including Spark Cores and their not-currently-available Internet Buttons. The basic gist is that they’re wifi-enabled microcontrollers that hook up to their cloud and let you do “Internet of Things” projects. Think toaster that prints the weather forecast on your breakfast. As it’s a fairly new product, there are still glitches, so it was a bit of a slog to get them working. But that means that we’ve put together more detailed instructions for starting out.

 

I am systematically attacking all of the tools and media available at Crashspace, in my perennial quest for world domination generalist maker skills. For the last few months I’ve been buried largely in the 3d printers and 3d modeling software. For many reasons, I’ve focused largely on Autodesk’s 123D Design (and a bit of Blender), and most of the things I print are my own designs. I like the mix of virtual and physical, and I like spending time with my beloved calipers. 

 

In any case, I posted an instructable for a couple 3d printed diffusers I designed and printed for the Spark.io Build Night. They were a hit. The instructable shows how to make the model that I did, but the real aim is to show how to design a case/diffuser for a different device.

 

Another recent project is creation of a hybrid car badge for the limited release Rav4 Toyota/Tesla collaboration. The modeling stage is done, it’s been printed, acetone vapor bathed, and made smooth with a sandable primer, and I’m currently in the middle of an education on molding and chrome plating. 

 

Soon, I’ll be posting a new tutorial for a Chibitronics Papercut Bookmark that I made for my dad for Christmas.