Monday, November 12, 2018

Graham Cracker House Making at HeatSync Labs

We are having Graham Cracker House Hacking at HeatSync Labs, Saturday December 1st from 2pm to 4pm. Sign up here to participate $8 - $14 depending on the ticket. Options include LED's for your house, but feel free to get creative and bring whatever extra features you want.

Make the house of your dreams in graham crackers including lights and candies to decorate it for the holidays. We will use graham crackers, royal frosting, LED’s, gum drops and other candies for decorations. Everything needed will be provided and it is fun to work together. The non-electronic version of this was a family tradition and I love that I get to share this updated version with others.

Sign up on or before Friday 11/29 and save $2 per ticket. This also helps me plan which supplies to bring.

That sign up link one more time;

Friday, October 12, 2018

Inkscape tutorial recently shared this great tutorial on Inkscape. I regularly use Inkscape to design projects for the laser cutter and vinyl cutter. It's Open Source and free for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

There are plenty of tutorials online for this tool however often the information isn't as relevant to designs for the laser cutter or vinyl cutter. You can make a great looking image that suffers from a lot of problems when you try and cut it out. Read the article to learn about those particulars

With all design software there is a learning curve. When adding CNC to the mix you get additional design challenges and this article will help you understand and reduce the added learning curve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Prototyping a smaller versions of the light box

Finally I have some better photos of the light boxes. I'm making plans for the upcoming SciTech Kickoff for a Southwest Maker Fest booth. We will be making a 5 x 5 inch version that is 1 inch thick. Just big enough to capture how magical they look.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Are you interested in workshops at HeatSync Labs

I just posted this to the HeatSync Labs discussion group asking to see which workshop people are interested in attending.

Chime in if you are are interested in any of the following. I'll host these for $10 per ticket and the lab gets their 30% cut of that.

Light Box Workshop (more info)
Paper Electronics (more info)
Touch Sensitive Robot Soldering (Bartholomew Workshop)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Light Box Workshop

On Tuesday at Queen Creek Maker Night we made awesome light boxes. Everyone had a lot of fun making them. The cool part is you don't even need colored lights to make it fun, just hold it up to anything with light and it looks great.

Check the videos at these links to see them in action; Exploritorium first made these in 2010. innovated on this idea by using Red, Green, and Blue LED's to make a version that makes colorful shadows. Also a big thanks to Make Magazine for doing the write up on the build which is where I found out about it.

To make these you mainly need mylar. In theory you could use old mylar balloons but you'd need a lot of them. I estimate 3.75 square feet (3 inch wide pieces totaling 15 feet).

We used vellum as the diffuser since I had some and it looked great, but regular printer paper also looks good. Either way you can get both mylar and vellum online.

The box frame was made with foam board, we used cling wrap to hold the parts inside. Just a bit of hot glue and clear tape to hold things together. The final touch was adding scrapbook paper on the outside to cover up the tape and give a nicer look.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tilt Activated Rocket

For the latest paper electronic design I'm using small tilt sensors that include a tiny ball bearing in a cylinder. When the rocket is vertical it is off. Tilt it slightly and the "engine" lights up. I'm a fan of building circuits that don't waste battery life when not in use.

It would be cool to build a 3d version of this rocket that is desktop worthy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The 5 Maker Skills

I like to tell people about the 5 maker skills. What I'm talking about is making physical things. Things like music, and writing are also creative making. The 5 maker skills are; design, fabrication, electronics, programming, and collaboration.

These terms are being used as oversimplifications and meant as a means of categorization. If you have ideas on things you'd like to make you may require some or all of the these skills.

This can be done only in your mind, on paper, on the computer, or with any kind of tool, for any kind of work. Their are CAD tools for 3d models, electronics, fashion and more.

This is probably the most loosely named category. If you are physically working to make something real then that's fabrication. It may help to sub classify parts of this, but for now just realize that machining parts, filing, sanding, putting on nuts, bolts, screws, mixing chemicals for biology research, sewing, or painting. If you are painting a canvas nobody would call that fabrication, but yes that's what I mean by this broad category.

For this you don't have to be designing your own circuit boards to be working with electronics. Adding a couple already built components and testing out how long the batteries will work is an electronics process. Designing your own circuit boards, reverse engineering, or dealing with radio frequency rely on electronics knowledge.

Here we are talking about anything you do to give instructions to a computer or microprocessor what to do. Of course if we are talking about making it would include a physical component somewhere. Many times people write code with no intentions beyond connecting digital stored information and showing them on screens. The great thing is any experience with computer programing will make a transition to programming physical things so much easier.

This brings us to what should probably be put first. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to put fancy language around the importance of collaboration. It does certainly help when you can work with people who have knowledge, skills, and experience you don't have. Hackerspaces and Makerspaces work to provide spaces for collaboration. There are also many places on the internet that act as a way for people to connect for collaboration.