Marble Run Wall at reDiscover Center

Now that summer Tinkering Camp has wound down, I can share some of what we’ve been up to! I will post about the camp experience in itself soon, but first I’d like to show you one of the newest additions to reDiscover Center. Take a gander at the marble run wall!




I worked with Molly Allis to build an 8-foot-tall pegboard wall for one corner of the studio. The top 40% contains elements designed by myself and some other facilitators and kids, which are meant to stay in place for the most part. There is a spiraling cylinder pulled from a donated gum ball machine, and a pachinko machine that uses screws as pegs. Pulley systems are set up on both sides of the pegboard to allow kids to crank marbles to the top of the marble run and let them loose.


The rest of the pegboard is entirely for tinkering. Kids can make elements such as ramps and funnels to add and move around, using wood, power tools, and recycled materials. Every day includes playing with the marble run wall!


Take a look at the videos below showing the process of making this installation and some of the first elements.


Twisted Prism Lamps and CRASH THE PLANET

April 2, 2016 was CRASH Space’s first art show, and it went really well. We had tons of exhibits and a lot of people who came out to see it. Needless to say, it will happen again.


For the show, I made a set of twisted prism lamps, which are 3d printed, assembled with dremel friction welding, and contain rgb LEDs and motion sensors hooked up to an Arduino. I dedicated two whole Barb Makes Things videos to the creation of those, because they were rather involved. You can see the videos below or on my YouTube channel, and I also put together a video of a bunch of exhibits at the event (including some footage of my completed lamps), which is also below.


Barb Makes Things – How To: 3D Filament Rivets

You might have noticed that I use 3d printing filament frequently for attaching items together (particularly 3d printed ones that need a hinge, like the scissor mechanism on my Poking Device). I’ve made a quick How To video for my channel about the technique. Check it out below!


Let me know what other How Tos you’d be interested in seeing.


Barb Makes Things: Scribble Bots

Scribble bots are something I’ve been doing for quite a while, they’re awesome as a project for kids, and you can actually see some of the bots made by my Art Machines tinkering class at reDiscover Center last Friday. So enjoy this week’s Barb Makes Things with scribble bots!


Musical Gears

Gears were part of the early designs of my first Hexachord, but they fell by the wayside in lieu of the videocassette rewinder motor. This is actually the reason that there’s a decorative gear at the center, and my event business card has a gear shape as well. 


In any case, I decided to revisit them and make a musical gear device. It’s my first multiple-part Barb Makes Things project. In the first part, I laser cut and assemble the gears, and in the second I add all of the musical elements, including assembling a gear that has its own strings and resonating chamber.


Take a look at the videos below!


Barb Makes Things: 3D Printed Poking Device

DSC01745 copyIt’s Tuesday again, which means a new video. In this one, I recreate a 3d printed device I made for a previous Halloween costume, about 2/3 size and printed with stainless steel filament. It is a poking device mounted on a scissor mechanism. I mean, really, why not?


I also posted a full instructable for my Layered Wood Pendant Necklace video.




Barb Makes Things: Arduino Hair Wrap

Finally, an Arduino video and a wearables video, in one! I do both frequently enough. This project is a combination of the hair wraps I did all through my teenage years and the electronics I didn’t dive into until my 30s. I did make an effort in this direction a few years ago with conductive thread, but it just wasn’t reliable. Then I was introduced by a friend at Two Bit Circus to silicone-covered wire. *choir sings* Perfect.


The Arduino board is a nifty new little thing by Qtechknow called the Qduino mini. It has a built-in lipo battery charger, meter, and switch, which makes it ideal for this project as I wanted to mount everything to the hair clip and leave it be. I’d like to expand this project to have more strands, potentially rgb LEDs, and some sensors (light and accelerometer, perhaps), but for now, it works and I like it. See video below.


If you haven’t already, go on over to my YouTube channel, Barb Makes Things, and check out my other videos. This is number eleven!


Barb Makes Things: Marble Run

In this post about tinkering and prototyping materials, I mention bamboo skewers and show a video of a marble run I built. I thought it was time I show the actual process of building one. This may expand to a larger thing, possibly to live on the walls at CRASH Space. The frame is made from dowels, and the rails and stops from bamboo skewers, and the whole thing is held together with hot glue. This makes for a quick, easy assembly and fast fun.



Keep an eye out for next week’s video, in which I use a Qduino mini.

Barb Makes Things: December and January

A roundup of my videos on Barb Makes Things from the last month or so:


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Layered Wood Pendant Necklace

I’ve been making a fair amount of jewelry lately, and Rockler has tons of great, super thin veneer sheets. There are a few tutorials on instructables about making bent wood rings, I decided to go another direction… literally. I’ve now made several rings with many glued layers, and which I finish with tung oil and cyanoacrylate (super glue), and in this video, I make a necklace in a similar style.


3D Cookies

When I say 3D, I mean that in multiple ways: I 3D modeled and printed custom cookie cutters, and the resulting pieces slot together to make a shape that stands up. I only show the process of modeling the tree cookie cutters, but I also created ones for a moose, which you do see toward the end of the video. They were tasty, and an awful lot of fun to make.


Tiled Desk

This is actually footage from back when I was first setting up my desk, so it’s technically my first video. I used floor tiles and hot glued them to a piece of plywood that rests on two small bookshelves. I could have used a more permanent adhesive, or done a finishing coat over the whole thing, but I wanted the flexibility to peel up and replace individual tiles, should they get damaged. And a hot glue gun is an often underestimated tool; the tiles are all staying perfectly.


Wooden Camera Arm

I’ve done a number of tutorial videos in the past, and the tripod is simultaneously helpful, and a huge pain. Getting the camera in the right place for the right shot is one thing, but when you need to reach around it to try to make something, all the while paying extra attention to staying in the shot, well… I knew there had to be a better solution. My first attempt was a custom frame for my camera that would hang from four hooks in the ceiling. It worked for a while, but wasn’t entirely reliable, and wasn’t remotely adjustable. Hence, the custom camera arm. I love mechanisms, especially ones made from wood, and this extending arm does the trick.


Wooden Toy Car

My work at the reDiscover Center focuses mainly on reusing materials, so this video shows a project that someone might make there (actually, cars are a popular thing with the kids who come in). I also spend most of this video working at the kids’ makerspace, so you get to see some of the tools that we (and the kids!) use there.

Barb Makes Things: Dashboard Phone Holder

Some gals carry huge purses. I am not one of those gals. I prefer to travel light, so my phone is also my wallet. This is great in many ways, but it also means that my phone doesn’t fit any commercially-available phone holders. Fortunately, I make things. 


Most of the 3d modeling I’ve done in the past has been in 123D Design, or TinkerCAD (which I teach Saturdays at Burbank Makerspace). Recently, Kyle did a class on Onshape, and I decided to model this project in that. 



The video ends with me driving all over Venice with a camera strapped around my neck. Yeehaw!