posts tagged with the keyword ‘makerfaire’


NoiseMaker XI

This is (almost) the last noisemaker. There’s been a whole series, and they were all at Maker Faire Milwaukee. But don’t worry, if you missed them in person you can read all about them…

This one started out (somewhat) as a joke. While at Milwaukee Makerspace trying to convince other members to join me on this noisemaking quest I found this old radio on the Hack Rack and said “Look! Here’s a noisemaker! All we have to do is connect up a button for power. It’s that easy!” And while I did convince Maks and Dustin to make some noise(makers) others were not as easily swayed.

NoiseMaker XI

Not being one to not follow up on my own stupid idea, I took the radio, confirmed it worked, and then took it home to connect up a button and a power supply. I ended up just using alligator clips and didn’t even bother soldering anything in place. I did however use a generous amount of tape. (This was definitely the shortest/fastest build of all of the devices.)

NoiseMaker XI

As for the button, I already had that handy and mounted, because it was the old button for our garage door. (I replaced it with this one.) Since the old garage door button was something I hacked together very quickly one morning when the original garage door button broke, I thought it an appropriate use.

NoiseMaker XI

This one definitely has an aesthetic different than the other noisemakers, and that’s a good thing. If anything, I wish I had varied things a bit more throughout the process.

Looking back on the whole thing, creating nearly a dozen different noisemaking devices was a lot of fun. None of them were too involved so I could be sure I’d get each one done and move on to the next, and when things got a little more complex or time consuming that it should have, I offset it by working on multiple devices at a time. Some makers I know suggest this is the secret—having multiple projects at once so you can switch between them when you get stuck/bored with the one you are currently working on. Of course the issue with that is to not abandon projects completely, and come back to them in a reasonable amount of time. (Yes, I may be guilty of 4+ years of planning and/or working on a project that has seen very little progress. I ain’t proud!) If you’re interested in making your own noisemakers, let me know, and I’ll do what I can. The world needs more noise!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:


NoiseMaster IX

Once again we’ve got a noisemaker to tell you about. As you may know, there’s a whole series of these things, and they were all at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017, and each one is getting a blog post. (More links are at the bottom of this post.)

NoiseMaster IX

This one features a really nice (looking) speaker that was donated to the cause when I posted about needing unused speakers. This one was in a cabinet that was probably 25 years old, and had what I assume was fiberglass insulation inside of it. I ripped the cabinet apart at Milwaukee Makerspace one day and trashed everything but the sweet speakers which have “Muscle Magnet” power!

NoiseMaster IX

We’ve got a Teensy LC in this one, along with a Teensy Prop Shield (Low Cost version). I made the mistake of soldering a Teensy LC onto it instead of a Teensy 3.x and then realized it wouldn’t play the sounds I wanted to play, but it can do some speech synthesis stuff, so I embraced that. (You’ll hear what it sounds like spouting random phrases in the video below.)

NoiseMaster IX

One of the weird things I did with this one was make the wood look like plastic, and the plastic look like wood. Sort of. I mean, the wood is really MDF, but I gave it a glossy coat of paint, to move away from the stained wood I used in other noisemakers, and I sort of thought it looked more like a plastic surface. (Except for the sides, because MDF is stupid.)

NoiseMaster IX

For the “spools” I 3D printed them with wood filament, so they sort of are wood, but still plastic. Sort of. It’s confusing. Everything about this one is confusing I guess.


Here’s the spools I modeled to serve as standoff between the top and bottom pieces. The spools came about after I modeled the feet. What feet?


These feet! While the wood (uh, MDF) and plastic were on the controller part, I made bright green plastic feet, which are actually modeled as tiny speakers, to attach to the large blue speaker so it could “stand” face down on the table.

NoiseMaster IX

Because the Prop Shield has a built-in amp, it was much louder than most of the other noisemakers, so this was a good way to dampen the sound a bit. Hear this noisemaker in all its glory!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:


NoiseMaster VIII

We’re back after a short break with another noisemaker! Oh yeah, there’s a whole series of these things, all of which were shown at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017. (More links are at the bottom of this post.)

NoiseMaster VIII

I built this one very quickly while Maks was using my shop. I tried to stay out of his way and built it off to the side while he was using the workbench. I grabbed an Arduino Leonardo I had on hand and I just stuck some wires in the header pins and stuck them down with gaff tape. I also hot glued a small speaker into place and added a small terminal block to wire things up. There’s a MicroUSB cable to provide power.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one was built with a bunch of scrap wood and MDF. The one tricky thing with this one was something I wanted to try with the button. I used a breadboard compatible button and mounted it on some perf board and drilled a hole through a 6mm piece of Baltic Birch and used a Forstner bit to pocket out a space for the square body of the button so it would sit flush. (This was meant as a test for a future project, so I was glad it worked out.)

NoiseMaster VIII

Super-boring looking! Fast build, no decoration, plain wood and MDF, with a few screws and a tiny button. Plain. Simple. Blah.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one did have what I considered a fun sound though. It’s pretty much a siren. Woo-Woo-Woo-Woo goes the noisemaker! I can’t remember where I got the code from but it uses freqout, so that’s exciting. Enjoy!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:



As mentioned in my previous post, I got to help out at Maker Faire Orlando and while I spent most of the Faire working, I did get a chance to check out some of the makers and exhibits that were there. Here’s my report!


The folks from Moonlighter helped organize the Miami Makers Pavilion and showed a lot of fun projects. (I got to visit Moonlighter back in January, so it was nice to see them again.)


I really liked these CNC’d words offset with some nuts and bolts to make a simple 3D piece. I can see making some of these on the large CNC we have in our shop.


This cute lil BMO from Adventure Time housed a video game system. I didn’t get a look inside, but I’m guessing it might have been a Raspberry Pi-based RetroPie.

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

My favorite piece from the Miami Makers was this super-simple demo that served as a visualization of sound waves. It was a pan of water on top of a cabinet with a speaker below that played sounds. Here’s a short video showing how it worked.


Jeremy S. Cook was there with his ClearWalker. I’ve been a fan of Jeremy’s posts for quite a while, and if you haven’t see his YouTube channel, check it out! One of the things I love about Maker Faires is being able to meet makers I’ve known online for years.


Marbelous Bells was a lot of fun. It was inspired by Wintergatan, and built by a father/daughter team called Just for Fun. I remember reading about this online and I didn’t quite get how it worked, but as soon as I saw it, it all made sense. I then spent about five minutes closely examining it. :)


I came across this Cardboard Arcade while I was putting up all the signage for the Faire, and I wanted to come back and meet the maker who made it. For some reason I assumed some young maker(s) were behind it, but it turned out to be a maker called “DanBot 5k1″. He told me he loves building things with cardboard, and that as kids were checking it out they’d get excited because they realized they too could build things with cardboard. It’s pretty much free, and all you need is some tape, glue, some markers, and a few other things. Cardboard!!!


The Fire Breathing Daisy was a really nice sculpture that also gently shot fire into the air. I believe this was the first fire exhibit that Orlando ever had, and oddly enough, it wasn’t the only one this year…


Kathy brought her new exhibit Game of Fire all the way down to Orlando! (It debuted at Maker Faire Milwaukee just last month.) It was quite the spectacle and since it wasn’t hot and humid enough in Orlando (kidding!) having five fire poofers going off made us even warmer. ;)


Kathy doesn’t like to do just one thing, so she also brought the Wienermobile down to Orlando for the final race of the season for the Power Racing Series. (And yes, the Wienermobile brought home the Tesla Cup, as the overall winner of the 2017 season!) Kyle and Kathy make a great (and hilarious) team.


We also had a lot of other great teams & cars for the PPPRS race. ACME and Donatello from Michigan/Texas/parts unknown came to have some fun and lay down some laps. They were joined by Orlando’s (2016 winner) Driftie Monster for podium of the Endurance Race on Sunday.


Finally, one of my favorite exhibits was a drawing machine named Botsy. If you know me well, you may know that I’ve got a thing for drawing machines, and I used to design and build them. Botsy is a well designed machine. It’s similar to a concept I had three years ago, but never actually built. That might have been part of my fascination with it, that it’s the realization of something I dreamed about.

Liza Kholodkova is the maker behind Botsy, and it was great to talk to her about the development. One of the things I really liked about Botsy was that it looked like a finished product, not just a loose collection of wires and wood and an Arduino (which, oddly enough, describes many of my own projects!) Botsy is meant as an aid for mural artists to assist in creating the outline of the artwork fast. It’s definitely faster than any of the string & gondola polarbots I’ve seen in past years. You can check out a few articles about Botsy if you want to find out more.

So that’s my recap of Maker Faire Orlando… I hope I can make it back next year and lend a hand in making it happen again.

Update: Lots of great photos!



Maker Faire Orlando happened the weekend of October 21st & 22nd, 2017, and I was there! The team that produces the event asked if I could be part of their team as a “Producer in Residence”, so I jumped at the chance and after a few weeks of recovering from Maker Faire Milwaukee, I was headed to Florida for my first Maker Faire down south. (I managed to miss Nashville and Pittsburgh because I had some other commitments and wasn’t sure doing four Maker Faires in four weeks was the best idea.)


When I produce the Milwaukee Faire I’m part of a small team that coordinates everything. I’m usually in charge of Maker Relations as well, so that means I deal with 250 makers in some way or another. It was strange (and exciting) going into Orlando not really knowing any of their makers. (Well, even that isn’t really true, as I started browsing the list and looking up some of the makers I definitely wanted to meet.)


I arrived Wednesday afternoon and headed right to MakerFX Makerspace, which is home to the Maker Effect Foundation, which organizes Maker Faire Orlando. We took care of things there with a plan to hit the fairgrounds Thursday morning. Compared to Milwaukee, it felt like we were a little behind schedule. In Milwaukee our core crew goes on-site Tuesday morning and starts moving things in and getting set up so that we can bring in large exhibits and complex setups on Wednesday. In Orlando we were running just a bit behind, so we spent a good amount of time Thursday chalking the floor grid, dealing with signage, electrical, water, barricades, and other set-up things. More people joined the crew as time went on, and everyone was busy getting things ready.


Friday was the day for maker load-in, and I think that’s always a bit hectic no matter what city you’re in. It’s all about getting dozens (or hundreds) of people and exhibits in place as quickly and efficiently as possible. All at once. Does anyone have this process perfected yet? We also had a Maker Mixer Friday night and then some of us managed to get a bit of sleep before the Saturday morning madness began.


Again, Orlando is different than Milwaukee. We’re both at a fairgrounds, but Milwaukee is a free event, and Orlando is a paid event. Both of those create a unique set of challenges, but both share many of the same issues. That said, while we had to scramble a number of times, the critical things got resolved quickly. (One of the biggest problems was air conditioning not working properly, or working too well. People were too hot, people were too cold. You can’t please everyone, right?) Orlando had a much larger crew than Milwaukee, and everyone had a radio with an earpiece, which made a huge difference! The best thing about helping out in Orlando was seeing how they do things, and being able to analyze the process in Milwaukee to look for improvements.


While I was busy making a list of all the things Orlando does really well (often by just quickly snapping a phone photo of something) I also offered advice about how Milwaukee does things, and some of the problems we’ve been able to solve in the past four years. Through all of this, Chad from HackPGH was an MVP (that’s Most Valuable Producer) because he’s been a producer in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Orlando, so he’s seen a lot. He’s also served on the crew for Bay Area Maker Faire, and the National Maker Faire. I see Chad as a conduit between Maker Faires, and able to share best practices between them.


Saturday was a long day, with a lot of running around dealing with various issues, but we got a short break to hang out at FamiLab in the evening. (This was my second visit, as I was there back in 2016.) Sunday in Orlando was typical of many Maker Faires I’ve been involved with. A bit more relaxed than Saturday. Most of the critical issues are dealt with by then, and you can ease back on the throttle and let things run a bit. I was really pleased to be able to take a break on Sunday and see a good amount of the exhibits. (I also handed out some Maker of Merit ribbons, which was super fun!) After the Faire ended we had to deal with load-out, which again, is not a lot of fun, and pretty hectic and stressful. (Once again, does anyone have this process perfected yet!?)


So yeah, I’ve now helped produce a Maker Faire that wasn’t in Milwaukee, or even in Wisconsin, or even in the Midwest. It was in Florida, where it’s hot and humid and they have “fire ants” and no cold water from the tap. It was awesome and amazing and different… and I loved it.

Oh, I diverted from where I thought this post was going, so I’ll be following up with a look at some of the exhibits and projects I saw.

Stay Tuned!

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