DamCamp ReCap


DamCamp (aka BarCamp Beaver Dam) happened on Saturday, March 24th, 2012 and this is my review…

First off, I will shout out a big thanks to Jason Gullickson, his wife, Wayland Academy, the Beaver Dam Makerspace Project, and anyone else who helped organize the event and made it happen.


The Venue
DamCamp was held at Wayland Academy, which is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school in Beaver Dam. The main room was an auditorium, which was full of seats, a stage, large screen, and projector. There were two other rooms we were going to use, but we really ended up just using one other room, the lab, where the 3D printers were set up. The venue was easy to get to, and there was plenty of free parking! :)

The People
This was the smallest BarCamp I had ever been to… and that isn’t a bad thing. I remember times in BarCampMilwaukee history when some people were very focused on the numbers, and personally, I prefer quality over quantity. If the right people are there, that’s better than more people being there.

I saw people I knew who I haven’t seen in a while, met some new people, and met people IRL that I’d only met online before. What more could you ask for?

Time Lapse Bot 3

My Junk
If you’ve been to a BarCamp with me, you know I tend to bring a lot of stuff. I’ve been known to bring a photo booth, cameras, tripods, audio recording gear, tables, 200 feet of extension cords, power strips, and on and on. This time I brought Time Lapse Bot, the Egg-Bot, Friday Night Drawbot, my still camera, and not much else. It only took me about 3 trips to load in! (And I found it quite refreshing.)

Friday Night Drawbot

The Sessions
After the opening and introductions we launched into the first session… which happened to be my session. I gave a quick talk about some art robots that I like, and my take on what an art robot is (and isn’t) and then did a demo of the Friday Night Drawbot and the Egg-Bot. (Slides are here.)

I did not keep track of all the sessions, but we did one on 3D printing (there were 3 RepRaps there) and one on creating hackerspaces/makerspaces, and one on making noise with electronics. I ended up getting a lot of good info from the 3D printing session, and I’m a bit more motivated to find the time to finish my RepRap build. (Less sleep is the obvious answer!)

In conclusion, I had a good time, and I learned things. It was a small event, but I don’t think that detracted from it at all. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing more smaller events. BarCampMilwaukee is big, and it’s awesome, but it’s also a lot of work, involving a lot of people. Perhaps both ends of the spectrum can co-exist.

If you haven’t been to a BarCamp event yet… why not!? Maybe you’re more into food than technology. Well, you should consider attending Madison Food Camp which is coming up April 7th, 2012! (Yes, I said “Food” not “FOO”, just to be clear.)


Art Robots at DamCamp

Make Zine Egg

DamCamp is coming up on Saturday, March 24th, 2012 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin… and I’ll be there talking about Art Robots, machines that draw, and other various nerdy things.

So besides the Egg-Bot, I’ll also have the Friday Night Drawbot there, and talk about a number of other art robots I’ve seen, and would like to someday build.

There’s been so much intersection between art and technology lately (at least in the groups I’m involved with) that I’m really hoping for a lively discussion. Of course we’ll also have a fun demo too.

Since the event is being put on by Beaver Dam’s fledgling makerspace project, I thought printing a Make Magazine egg would be a good introduction to the magazine and blog for those who might not be familiar with it yet… :)


BarCampMilwaukee6 Happened…

Cupcake CNC>
Photo by ethercycle

I survived BarCampMilwaukee6… just barely. (Maybe that’s what the t-shirt should say.)

Somehow I did what I never did before, and that was: stay awake from the beginning to the end. And yes, as the old saying goes, I’m getting too old for this shit. Next year, someone point me to this post and tell me I should sleep a few hours.

OK, on to the recap… How did things go? They went great. In fact, I still can’t figure out if all that time I spent freaking out about things not getting done was necessary or not. I mean, there were a few hiccups, but much of BarCamp really is self-organizing, but only after the event starts. There is still a lot of prep work to be done in the weeks (months?) before BarCamp. Wrangling sponsors is one of the big ones, and I’d really, really, really like someone else to jump in next year. I have some ideas, and I would love to advise on it, but I need some help. That said, I’m really proud of the fact that we tend to have mostly smaller, community-owned organizations as sponsors. We don’t have large, faceless corporations throwing tons of money at us (should we?) but we’ve got people who come every year, and see the value, and have their company (often one-person shops) toss some money our way. It’s pretty damn grassroots if you ask me. And if you feel like sending more money our way, please, please just send it to Bucketworks. They’ve hosted us for 6 years, and really don’t get much out of it from a monetary standpoint. Help support what AccordionGuy called “the best venue ever for a BarCamp.”

@accordionguy style=
Photo by ethercycle

As for the “self-organizing” part, once people are at BarCamp, and see what it is, and see what is needed, they step up and do what needs to be done. It’s that whole “doing things ahead of time” thing that is tough. How do we get more people involved in the planning? I don’t know… was Atrium really what prevented people from voicing their opinion? Do we need to return to a Google Group to get people to volunteer for things? (Of course, some folks hate that tool too… you can’t please everyone, right?)

Well this post has turned into a jumble. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to post about, but for me the highlights were the “3D Printing Village” in the Workshop. That’s where we stayed up all night printing crazy stuff. (Yes, there will be video.) Besides that, the Lightning Talks were fun, and I learned a lot about silicone mold making, met some new folks, got to see old friends, and generally had a good time.

BarCamp Cookies
Photo by ethercycle

Another great thing was all the makers who showed up, not just from Milwaukee Makerspace, but also from Pumping Station: One, and Twin Cities Maker. It was awesome to hear someone say it was well worth a 6 hour drive to attend, and that they’ll be back next year.

We also had a ton of new people. First time Campers! I thought this was great to see… not just because I want more people to come to BarCamp and get excited about it, but because I remember what it was like before I found a tech community in Milwaukee, and how great it is to find a place/group/event where you fit in, and feel like you’ve found your tribe. Welcome new people! We hope to see you next year. :)


BarCampMadison4: Time Lapse Video

Time Lapse Bot was at BarCampMadison4 (aka MadCamp) on August 27, 2011, and I forgot to put this together until this week. You may notice I used the same music as last time. Well, so goes it. Enjoy the video!

This video is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The music titled “Freedom (Techno Plano Mix) ” is from Gurdonark via ccMixter and has a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License. You can also find this video at Vimeo… Enjoy!


BarCampMilwaukee6 (Almost!)


Whew, check it out… it’s nearly time for BarCampMilwaukee6!

I’m sure a lot will happen before then, but there’s already a lot that’s happened in the last few months.

So I’d like to take this chance, before BarCamp even happens, to thank the people who got us this far.

All of these sponsors!

And all of these people!

There’s probably more people and organizations I could list… but I actually wanted to finish this post before BarCamp. :)

If you show up and take part next week, I will personally thank you. Well, maybe not personally, but if you hear me says “thanks” to anyone, just assume it’s meant for you and we’ll be all good.)