October 20, 2014
We went to a launch party: Chicago’s hardware store for designers, Inventables, presented their cool new 3D tabletop carving machine, aptly named “Carvey.” The next day, they launched their Kickstarter campaign with a funding goal of $50,000, which they reached in about 1 hour. How ’bout them apples, eh?
It was shockingly quiet, waaaay faster than 3D printing, and on Kickstarter for another 30 hours if you want first dibs.
We hope some of our makers are putting 3D carving to good use by the time the fourth annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire comes around in May!
Road trip! Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire made their way to Milwaukee Maker Faire this past weekend. And we had tons of fun. The event was located at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in Milwaukee. At the same time, there was Harvest Festival, which made for a very festive environment!
Outside of the Exhibition Hall, there was a wonderful collaboration between Maker Faire and Harvest Festival. It was none other than a pumpkin throwing trebuchet. It had all the glory of a trebuchet with added joy of pumpkins smashing against a target. It was delightful to watch. There were Life Size Mousetrap, and an ironworks demonstrating how to make shields and other metal armor. So cool!
Inside was the joyful buzz of people learning and making. Over at the Build-A-Blinkie table, soldering tables were filled with happy busy people. We made our own Blinkies! We soldered together an atomic pin with blue flashing lights. It was the bees knees. Next time, we’re going to have to build their lighted cube! (Well, if we have a spare 2 + hours.)
We also met a group of makers who were prototyping a video game gym. It was a rather fantastic concept. The screen was hooked up to an exercise chair with pedals and arm poles. On the screen, there was an Asteroid game. To make your little space ship accelerate, you had to move the pedals. If you want to turn around, you had to pull or push the arm poles. Very neat. I can’t wait to see the final product.
We also got to see robots from First Robotics face off! These magnificent machines whirled and twirled across the court attempting to throw balls into one another’s goals. It was really inspiring to see what kids were able to do. I can’t wait to see what they make next!
We also schmoozed with hacker spaces from Wisconsin. We met people from Madison based Sector 67. They were demoing a theremin piano. It was a horizontal theremin with piano keys for reference. Normally, you have to have perfect pitch to play a theremin but this piano key setup allowed regular folks to have a sense of what pitch is being played.
We also got to check out some friends of Northside Maker Faire: Chicago Electronic Distributors. We talked to them about some new and exciting future projects. And they had some neat kits to build!
One really nifty thing was that GE sponsored a contest. Contestants had three hours to assemble a vehicle to navigate an obstacle course without spilling an open container of water. You couldn’t use normal vehicle parts like a wheels, etc. It looked like a great deal of fun. Some folks had projects that would travel by rope; other groups made wheels out of plastic and rubber pieces. Next time, we are totally signing up and competing!
Thanks for a wonderful day, Milwaukee! Can’t wait for next year!
The Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire team visited the incredible Henry Ford Museum this weekend, site of the 5th annual Maker Faire Detroit. We played with, among other things, old school tractor engines, Power Wheels, hacked bikes, soldering, lockpicking, 3D printing, oh my! Over 400 makers turned out for this featured Faire. Here’s a little taste of what we saw:
If you missed Maker Faire Detroit, have no fear! It will return in July 2015.
Saturday, August 2nd
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Ford City Mall
7601 South Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60652
Register HERE for free tickets!
The White House is hosting its own Maker Faire today! Follow the action at http://www.whitehouse.gov/maker-faire. Or join in the fun from home by posting a picture of your own creation today, using #NationOfMakers.
We signed the “Building Maker Communities” Pledge on Makezine.com to show our support for the maker movement, and you can, too! When you sign the pledge, you’ll also receive a free e-copy of the book, “Zero to Maker,” by David Lang.
The CNS Maker Team is headed to South Side Hackerspace this evening to start building the dice kit provided to us by Chicago Electronic Distributors. There will likely be making of other things, too–chainmaille from Blue Buddha Boutique, lockpicking from TOOOL, and possibly some of the gadgets we picked up from Maker Faire Bay area! Follow us on Twitter @CNSmakerfaire for updates on our projects. Or come join us tonight, starting at 7:30!
And just a reminder of the fun we had last month, here are some more pictures of the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. Thanks to ChiBots, the Schurz photography class, and Glowing Mood Flower for sharing!
May 3rd, 2014 marked the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, and the largest Chicago Maker Faire yet! 80 exhibiting makers, many of them young makers, and 2,000 attendees made this an amazing event. Thanks to everyone who made this happen!
For those of you who joined the fun, here’s a recap of some of our favorites. And for those of you couldn’t make it this year, here’s a taste of what you missed. Our veteran makers returned with some of the exhibits you’ve come to expect from Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire – lockpicking with TOOOL, soldering with Build-A-Blinkie, tinkering with hackerspaces, DIY projects from Chicago Children’s Museum, Build Your Own Chicago, FIRST Robotics presented by local high schools (Schurz, Lane Tech, Whitney Young), Blast the Nerds from the Schurz National Honors Society, and many more!
When you first entered Maker Faire, did you notice the aerial drones from Mad Lab Industries flying overhead?
Did you hitch a ride in a muffin baked by Oak Park Muffineering?
We grew so much this year that we needed to expand. For the first time, the stunning domed library was open for Maker Faire, housing a planetarium brought by the Adler Planetarium, all three major Chicagoland hackerspaces (Pumping Station: One, Southside Hackerspace, and Workshop 88), the Chicago Public Library, ChiBots, and Schurz’s own Anime Club.
The hallways were packed with student art, 3D printed designs, a Rube Goldberg device in action, a DIY photobooth, and a taste of the neat offerings of Chicago Electronic Distributors.
Of course, the cafeteria was a center of activity. We hope you also checked out the Electric Garden and Colossal Squid just across the hall, all the robots from the FIRST Robotics teams who presented in the Gym, and Schurz Digital Media making images and beats in the surrounding hall.
Did you check out the Shapeoko 2 from Inventables?
Did you make a giant mold, learn to solder, use a cyclic harmonograph, make pictures with fire, craft your own spa products, build your own Chicago, inflate a moon ball, fold some origami, etch an eraser stamp, needle felt a design, construct a hexbug, or build a kit from Brown Dog Gadgets? Whew! We were overwhelmed, too!
Don’t worry, we’re coming back in May, 2015 – more makers, more attendees, more stuff to DIY. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to always be in the know. That’s all folks! Keep on making, and come back for more!
Rainclouds part in honor of Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire! Expect partly cloudy skies, and a high in the mid-60s. It’s still chilly, so bring a jacket. You know Chicago weather!
There is major construction all along Milwaukee Avenue. As a result, parking will be more difficult this year. Remember that you can bike, or take public transportation. Check out the details on our ATTEND page.
Hello world! Want to make some awesome electronics? Then you definitely have to check out Chicago Electronic Distributors, a sponsor of Mini Maker Faire Northside Chicago. The company distributes electronic kits, preconfigured Raspberry Pis, and many other wonderful electronics. Craig LeMoyne started this internet based company in February 2013 when he started selling preconfigured Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized low cost computer that you can plug into a monitor or TV screen. In time, the company grew and now it sells a variety of products including electronic kits from Adafruit, Arduino, Spikenzie Labs, RaspBMC, Cyntech, and more.
In an interview, Craig LeMoyne said, “My goal is for people to know that building something electronic is a lot easier than you think. Soldering shouldn’t be scary, anyone can do it.” There is lots of information online and that you can learn from online tutorials. Plus, at Maker Faire this Saturday, you can try soldering for yourself with Build-A-Blinkie! If you’re a novice, Craig suggests making a TV B-Gone by Adafruit, which turns off all TVs!
Craig was drawn to the maker world because he feels that people should really try to make more of their own things. Chicago Electronic Distributor is a huge supporter of the maker community and the study of STEM subjects. The company also has a neat blog detailing various projects that people can do. For instance, in honor of the Polar Vortex, he wrote about making a digital thermometer. Sweet. Chicago Electronic Distributors is also looking for people to write blog entries about their projects so if you are interested, you should definitely talk to Craig LeMoyne via email or at Maker Faire.
At Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, Chicago Electronic Distributors is bringing various products like the TV B-Gone, a basic clock, a thermometer, and much more! You’ll get a chance to learn more about these electronic kits and the company. Chicago Electronic Distributors is looking forward to meeting its customers and supporters and learning more about the needs of makers in Chicago. Check out their website to learn more about the products and their projects: http://chicagodist.com/
You have to check out the wondrous machine called the Cyclic Harmonograph. Built by Peter Dalton, this hand-powered wooden machine uses a pulley system to create incredible circular interloping designs on paper. The Cyclic Harmonograph is a bit like a spirograph but it’s much larger and it uses pulleys instead of gears. The designs can be changed by five principle variables, such as changing the ratios between drawing arm and the paper, the rate of the movement of the drawing arm, and more. You can also change the paper and the pens to get different effects. But it’s not all about the pretty pictures. The machine is a wonder of mechanics. You can learn a lot about how rotary motion converts into lateral motion and much more.
The first Cyclic Harmonograph came about several years ago when Peter decided to try to put it together as a proof of concept. And it worked! Last year, his neighbor Katherine Edwards remembered the device as a kid and asked him to make one for a Tedx conference at University of Michigan. They collaborated and he built a larger Cyclic Harmonograph. It was a hit! Peter also showcases the machine on special days at the school where he works as a substitute teacher.
When I asked Peter what he wanted people to get out of his Cyclic Harmonograph, he told me that he wants you to know that you can take an idea, put it down on paper as a rough sketch, and figure a way to actually make it. It’s important to continue that process of discovery. Peter also advises that kids watch their family and friends to learn new things, like woodworking and sewing. So come on by to see the marriage of art and mechanics in the Cyclic Harmonograph and get your own design made before your very eyes!
This week, Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside took a field trip to South Side Hackerspace (SSH) at their headquarter in Bridgeport. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a hackerspace is a collective space where people interested in computers, electronics, and more can experiment and learn with other like-minded individuals. The hackerspace may also have equipment like saws, 3D printers, drills, and soldering guns, available for people to use on their projects. Classes are also held at SSH to teach various skills, like soldering.
South Side Hackerspace is a pretty happening place. Members join at various levels and have access to the space and its tools (with appropriate training and approval of board members). There is not one but two 3D printers in addition to lots of other machine tools for your projects. It’s an open learning environment. Right now, there is a weekly Machine learning meet up. But it’s not all about work; it’s a social space too. They just had their 2 year anniversary party!
One of the big focuses of SSH is education, especially for the youth. They want to provide a safe place for younger people to learn about science and technology. They’ve done several workshops partnering with Chicago Public Library (CPL). Right now, you have to be 18+ to become a member of the space (with possible options for 16-18) but they want to continue outreach as a resource for younger people in Chicago. They are currently in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to make their space even cooler.
South Side Hackerspace is very excited to be coming out to Mini-Maker Faire for the third year! They can’t wait to meet people and share with them about SSH. They are going to show off one of their 3D printers. They’ll explain how it works and print out prototypes. So be sure to check them out and learn more!
Be open to mess! Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside sat down with Kim Moldofsky, The Maker Mom, to talk about her work and philosophy. She started blogging in 2006 in part to encourage herself to learn how to make an Arduino and other electronics. That blog soon turned into The Maker Mom blog that is “dedicated to helping parents raise STEM-loving, Maker-friendly kids.” She also runs STEM Kids Chicago blog and Bedtime Math, which encourages parents to celebrate math with their children, and hosts #STEMchat on Twitter each month. Her Maker Mom blog is a wonderful combination of videos, experiments, news, and other resources for parents who are committed to STEM education and making. She sees a natural fit between STEM and the maker movement.
Kim Moldofsky stressed that parents can encourage STEM with their kids without breaking the bank. It’s not about buying lots of expensive stuff (though you definitely can do that). There is a lot that parents can do at home with ordinary household things. It’s really just observing, asking questions, and thinking about solutions. Kids can learn a lot by exploring everyday things like filling up containers of water and seeing what happens when you change elements. It’s important to help kids have the mentality of exploration and observation. And yeah, sometimes you just have to be open to messes. Parents don’t have to have all the answers. Just create a space for kids to explore. She sums it up best, “Parents do not need to feel that they have to gift wrap everything. Kids gain from being able to explore on their own.”
At Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside, The Maker Mom is going to show people how to make Moon balls and other objects. Moon balls are made from interlocking panty hose and a balloon. It makes the balloon into a heftier object and more suitable for playing outside. But that’s just the start of all the awesome stuff you can do with panty hose! So come on out and make some Moon balls and learn more about Maker Mom’s work!