posts tagged with the keyword ‘makerfairemke’

2017.08.17

Hello Friends, I’m here to tell you about Maker Faire Milwaukee, and to ask for your help. If you’re not familiar with Maker Faires, they are events that happen around the world, and are part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new. We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth.

Most of the Maker Faire are smaller in scale, typically a one-day or even half-day event with a dozen or so people sharing their passion for making things. Here in Milwaukee we decided to go big. We did a two-day event which grew into a three-day event by the third year (the third day being a Field Trip Friday for disadvantaged youth in our community) and we also hold the distinction of being the largest FREE Maker Faire in the North America. In 2015 we had over 50,000 attendees see amazing things, and experience hands-on making. Many attendees were kids, but Maker Faire is not just for the young, or the young at heart, we’re for anyone who likes to learn and loves to see new things.

henry

This is Henry. When he was 6 years old he came to Maker Faire Milwaukee, and when he left he told his dad that he wanted to make a robot for Maker Faire, and in 2016 he brought his creation to show it off and share it with others. We love this kid! We want everyone to be inspired by Maker Faire and leave wanting to create new things.

bill

Here’s Bill teaching a young girl how to use a nail gun to build a shed. Bill works in the Be A Maker space at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and spends his days teaching kids how to build the world they’ll inherit. He probably showed a few hundred kids how to properly use a nail gun over the course of the weekend.

r2d2

Oh yeah, not just for kids! We’ve got plenty of adults who live normal lives and have jobs and families and spend their free time building things, like props or robots or costumes from their favorite films, books, and TV shows. Droids, Daleks, 3D Printers, machines that etch wood with electricity, you name it!

jenie

There are also professional artists and art instructors who take the time to teach people about their art, and how to make it, and how to clean the ink off of your hands after you’ve make your first block print. You might discover that something you’ve never done before is fascinating, and you can talk to someone who can tell you all about it.

jake

Or maybe you’ll see a college kid playing with 20,000 watts of power flowing from a home-built Tesla coil while wearing a suit of armor he made himself at Milwaukee Makerspace. Who knows?

Now, I did say that Maker Faire Milwaukee Needs You, and we do. To make this incredible event happen for our community, including field trips for disadvantaged youth, and a professional development conference for teachers that happens during Maker Faire, we need you. We need help from sponsors, we need help from volunteers, we need help spreading the word, and we need you and your family and friends to come to Maker Faire Milwaukee and see what we are trying to do for the Greater Milwaukee Area.

Find out more at milwaukee.makerfaire.com

2017.05.14

Les Yeux

One of the pieces I displayed at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2016 consisted of two monitors showing a pair of eyes. I was (slightly) inspired by Ben’s Video Wall of Terror.

Les Yeux

I started by filming Dr. Prodoehl to capture the movement of her eyes. The crop lines show where I planned to crop the single video into two separate videos. I also used filters on the videos to get the old TV scan line effect and add a bit of distortion. (The cropping is for a 4:3 aspect ratio display to be compatible with the old computer monitors I had on hand.)

Les Yeux

The two videos were then exported and one was trimmed to be about a half second shorter than the other one. Since the installation would be running for two full days this meant that we’d see some interesting time drifts between the two videos.

The videos were played using a pair of Raspberry Pi Zero single board computers. Like nearly every installation, there were problems involving technology, this time I think it was a bad SD card, but I quickly swapped it out and got up and running again.

Here’s a short video showing Les Yeux Times at Maker Faire in 2016, along with the two videos that were used.

2017.04.09

Apple Wait...

At Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2015 I presented a piece titled Apple Watch, and at least one person enjoyed it enough to make me think about creating another piece utilizing the same concept, so for Maker Faire Milwaukee 2016 I presented Apple Wait….

Apple Wait...

Apple Wait… (like Apple Watch) consisted of a Raspberry Pi Model B connected to an Apple Monochrome Monitor from 1988. Instead of just attaching the Raspberry Pi to the monitor with some gaff tape, I added in one more reference to technology, an iPhone box.

Apple Wait...

It seems the box for an iPhone is just the right size to house a Raspberry Pi Model B. Interesting enough, the iPhone 4S and the Raspberry Pi Model B were released about the same time frame. They are very different devices, with different goals, aimed at different audiences. Why not merge the two together? Technology is interesting!

Apple Wait...

For Apple Wait… I took a busy indicator cursor from the olden days of computing on Apple devices and brought it into the modern day, but made it 8-bit and low-rez, because retro is in. If you’re interested in learning more about old things, check out Where did the loading spinner originate?, The Design of Spinning Indicators, Spinning pinwheel, History of the Mac Spinning Wait Cursor, and just for a laugh, The Marble of Doom.

Apple Wait...

2016.12.14

T35TP4TT3RN

T35TP4TT3RN (aka TEST PATTERN) is a piece I created for Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2016. It consists of a Raspberry Pi single board computer connected to an old Sony broadcast monitor. (I got the monitor from another member of Milwaukee Makerspace who was getting rid of old equipment.)

T35TP4TT3RN

As I often do, I wanted to contrast old hardware with modern hardware. I ended up using a Raspberry Pi Model B which has composite video out via an RCA jack. I used an RCA to BNC adapter to connect to the monitor. The display is a whopping 640×480 pixels.

T35TP4TT3RN

I used the Raspberry Pi Slideshow technique and with most installations, I tried to do a good amount of testing beforehand, letting it run for days at a time. I came across an issue where the system would freeze, and it would get stuck on an image. I contemplated switching to display of a video, but really wanted to avoid that, so I set a cron job to reboot the Pi every 30 minutes. I figured that if someone saw the screen during reboot it would be an extra BTS sort of treat. (The Pi boots very fast.)

T35TP4TT3RN

I did end up altering the monitor a bit. I removed the case and broke out a bit of the battery compartment so I could slide the Pi and extra cable into the battery slots. Since I’ll probably never own the batteries for this unit, hacking it seemed like a no-loss situation.

Here’s a collection of a few of the test patterns that were displayed.

T35TP4TT3RN

T35TP4TT3RN

T35TP4TT3RN

T35TP4TT3RN

T35TP4TT3RN

2016.10.01

Star-Blinken

If you’ve not read the posts Star-Blinken, Star-Blinken LED Testing, and Star-Blinken Stand, they provide some good background on this project.

Inspiration

The inspiration came from something Kathy and I saw at Maker Faire Detroit. After seeing the “M” at the Henry Ford I remembered I had left over batteries, LEDs, and binder clips from the Learn to Solder kits I made for the Zoom Symposium at UWM.

I thought that since I had the leftover parts because of a UWM connection, I should find a way to get UWM involved again, so I persuaded my Physical Computing class to help. (And by “persuaded”, I mean I bribed my students into helping me with assembly of the piece.)

Paper

I didn’t have a piece of posterboard large enough to make the star I wanted, so I make five segments that could be assembled into a star.

Paper

Since I don’t have a printer capable of tabloid printing, I split the pieces into halves and printed on letter paper. Some assembly was required.

Paper

I cut the pieces and taped them together, and then had the “star legs” I needed. I then used it to cut the black posterboard using an X-ACTO knife and cork-backed steel edge ruler on a cutting mat. (Sorry, no laser!)

Posterboard

And yes… things didn’t fit right. Again, no laser. I trimmed edges a bit until things fit together right and it was deemed “good enough”.

Star-Blinken

I took the star pieces to Kenilworth and attached them to the piece of sheet metal with some magnets. At this point, I had to wait until the Thursday night right before Maker Faire, which luckily enough, is when I have class! I brought in some bags of candy, and while I taught students in groups of two or three how to solder, the rest of them assembled everything…

Star-Blinken

200+ pieces of black construction paper were cut for insulation, 200+ batteries were opened and had 200+ LEDs stuck onto them, 200+ binder clips had the clippy parts removed, and 200+ magnets were attached and then placed on the sheet metal. Things go fast with so many people helping!

Here’s the first test with the lights out, which we did during the DECODE meeting. It was impressive!

I then had to get Star-Blinken from the fifth floor of Kenilworth to my car, which was fun, because the Milwaukee Film event was setting up and Kenilworth was a bit crowded. The stand is heavy to prevent tipping, so I needed a cart. Also, since there’s no on/off switch, it blinks all the time. No control!

Star-Blinken

Star-Blinken

I loaded Star-Blinken into my car and yeah, it just kept on blinking! It was a fun ride home. It kept blinking strong all night long in the garage and then I unloaded it the next morning at Maker Faire. I ended up placing in at the entrance of the Dark Room, mainly because there weren’t other things there, but I think being in a darker area may have been even better. (I was a bit busy producing the event to worry about a better placement.)

Dana helped disassemble Star-Blinken at the Expo Center, and I asked her to just drop all the pieces into a box. After I loaded everything out and took it home, I forgot which box it was in and opening the box gave me a pleasant surprise. I then spent over an hour putting all the binder clips back together, and taking apart all the pieces.

The cost of this piece was approximately $100, and about $36 of that was for the batteries, which are the only parts that cannot be reused. (Well, actually, some of them have life left in them! Some did die though. None are at full power anymore.)

So I can reuse all the parts, except for the batteries, either in a similar piece in the future, or in the Learn to Solder kit. I may return the sheet metal to Tom from Milwaukee Makerspace, and the wood was disposed of. (The wood cost $0.00 as it was all scrap, and I reclaimed all the screws.)

This is just one post in a series, check out the other posts as well:

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