This year at work there was a contest to make the best ornament for the Christmas tree. We, the IT Department, almost never participate in these activities. Well, this year we did. At work I was shown a star cut from a computer motherboard by Robert. Amanda asked, “Hey, can you put lights on this?” I said “Yes, I can use an Arduino”. I took the star home to made a prototype.
The prototype took a couple hours to cobble together and program. The program makes the lights dim, get brighter and blink using an Arduino UNO some LEDs and resisters. I brought this back to work and everyone liked it. A few more holes were drilled and given back to me with a CPU glued into the socket.
Below it he back of the ornament I ended up with…
The finished ornament! There was no hole for the LED on the leg with the power plug, so I brought the LED around to the front of the star.
My workstation on the kitchen table with a $5 soldering iron.
The ornament did not win the contest at work.
Here’s a slideshow of the photos caught by our photographer Greg Gebhardt.
One of the many hands-on projects that will be featured at OC Mini Maker Faire 2013, are the self-watering recycled bottle seed starting planters! Here are the details on the project, if you want to try it out at home:
Self-Watering Recycled Bottle Planters
Remove the label from the bottle.
Carefully poke or cut holes into the bottle, near the neck, to help water seep into the soil. A soldering iron, awl, knife or scissors can be used. (Note to parents: This step should be completed by adults or older children.)
Carefully cut the bottle in half. If using scissors, it helps to pinch the bottle slightly to allow the scissors to grip the plastic. Trim the base down until the mouth of the bottle nearly touches the bottom, when inverted inside the base of the bottle. (Note to parents: This step should be completed by adults or older children.)
Place a piece of paper towel to cover the hole in the bottle, or use a coffee filter to line the bottle opening – both methods help keep the soil from escaping.
Add water to the base, add soil to the top, plant desired seeds, and place the top into the base. You’re ready to grow!
There are many variations of this project on the interwebs! Many thanks to desperategardener.com for the photos you see here!
We will have tickets for sale at the door:
Learn to Solder Badges:
We will have a limited quanity of Learn to Solder Badges for sale at the Mesa ticket booth
next to the Beall. Learn to Solder badges are $3 each.
Edit: Learn to Solder Badges will be at the Mesa gate, which is in viewing distance from the Learn to Solder booth.
The closure of the 405 should not affect your trip into or out of Orange County for people traveling down from the north.
We have received a few messages from folks concerned by the 405 closure on how it will affect their trip to the OC Mini Maker Faire. The 405’s 20 hour closure does not start until 9:00 PM an Saturday and should reopen on or before 5:00 PM on Sunday. The faire closes at 5:00 PM Saturday leaving plenty of time to get past the 405, 22 intersection where the closure is going to happen.
Arduino Laboratory Workshop is coming to
OC Mini Maker Fair!
What is an Arduino? It’s not the latest shoe from Italy. But it is a cool very inexpensive Single board computer designed in Italy. This is digital technology that everyone can afford and use for both practical and far out projects.
Come learn how everyday people are taking control of the digital revolution. Arduno’s are used in all kinds of projects: robotics, flying things, musical instruments, movie props, Halloween decorations and anything you can dream of.
There is a large ecosystem of suppliers that can sell add-ons to make them do or react to all manner of interesting things.
The development Environment is free and simple to use. At this workshop you will actually build an Arduino project. Learn how to make techno cool gadgets Italian Style!
In the workshop you will be able to purchase a kit with everything you need: parts, software and plans to construct your own Arduino projects. Technical expert with infinite patience will be on hand to assist! We will do our best to help. You will be able to select projects of varying complexity. There is a craft element to these kits. The physical part of the project will mostly be foam board. Some assembly required. For extra credit apply your own graphics. We will have a PC with the necessary Arduino software. But if you bring your own laptop you will have more time to play. This can be a team sport. Having a lab partner can be fun. Things to bring to the workshop if you can:
A #2 pencil*. Or similar with a large eraser.
A sense of adventure and creativity.
Coloring outside the lines is encouraged.
* Laptop not required to participate.
Check out my page for more info:
Would you like to build your own robot army to take over the world? Everybody’s gotta start somewhere and you can get started on your first robot with Edtric at the OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI on August 17th, 2013!
Edtric’s Crash Course Electronics with Soldering Skills workshop will teach you some of the basics of electronics and soldering and at the end you’ll have your very own working robot.
To get an idea of what the workshop entails and to get a preliminary lesson in electronics, watch this video from Edtric:
At edtrication our purpose is to bring you affordable engineering hardware that allows the exploration of vast engineering and science applications. We like to think of our hardware as dynamic supplements going beyond the static pages of textbooks, theoretical problem solving, and the cubicle.
You explore new concepts. You experience new things.
Plus, you develop hands-on understanding. Our solutions are intended to remind you that even the largest and most complex systems start with simple concepts.
We hope you will find our hardware and accompanying lesson plans thought-provoking and motivating … able to ignite your ideas, excite your creativity, and inspire your imagination.
Let us nurture your inner engineer.
Imagine, for a moment, that you could build a robot that can be remotely controlled using your phone then you send that robot off to explore the Mojave Desert of Southern California or the Redwoods in Northern California or the Amazon Rain Forest or… the moon??
Meet ROSCO, RObot SCOut, and Pathfinder, Playground Bots!
Arxterra is a telerobotics company developing open source, low cost robots, which can be controlled from anywhere in the world with cell phone coverage. Specifically designed for Makers, ROSCO rovers can be made for less than $168.00, sans Android phone.
Arxterra’s Pathfinder Rover, a sturdy adventurer, will be exploring the high deserts of California and visiting an ancient volcanic crater.
Arxterra is the brain-child of Gary Hill and his son who were prone to spending evenings around the campfire discussing how the real-world has gone on-line via social media and wouldn’t it be cool to bring it back around to real-world applications… with robots!
They talked about, Robot Vacations and eventually came up with the idea to create Robot Parks where people could send their bots to explore remotely. The parks will be manned with personnel in case of any needed robot repairs or rescues. Eventually, these community-based telerobotic explorers will lead to the creation of a network of parks where Makers can send their robots to play, create and explore.
This can also open up possibilities like Time Share Bots, Travel Bots and even Community Art Projects!
You can meet the Arxterra team and they’ll be more than happy to chat with you about this great project at the OC Mini Maker Faire on August 17th.
More information on Arxterra’s mission statement and links to their instructables can be found at http://www.arxterra.com
Maker and Hacker spaces are incredibly important for every community to provide a place for kids and adults to learn, explore, create and build with their own free will. It is so good to be seeing these places popping up in towns all across America, the world even! Vocademy is one such place coming to Southern California and we here at OC Mini Maker Faire have been thrilled to watch it’s growth and progress over the past year. Here’s Gene Sherman telling about this journey in his own words:
A journey begins with an idea and can take you to unimagined and unexplored places. My journey began with an observation that I started to see over and over. Every student over the last 15 years or so has been told that their only option was to attend college in order to be a success.
Schools have been slowly getting rid of their hands-on skills’ classes. Metal shop, wood shop, ceramics, sewing, auto shop…look at your local schools and you will see that they rarely exist anymore. Having gone through high school in the 80s, I did have those resources available to me, and I took advantage of every one I could. It is probably what kept me going to school during my junior and senior years. Even those who do choose higher education are missing out on the joys and creativity necessary in making things with their hands.
I look around today and think to myself, where can the average person go if he/she wants to create something, invent, tinker, explore and/or learn to use tools or machinery? Maybe to a friend’s shop or garage, but how many people have access to that?
It got me thinking about how I could be part of a solution to this dilemma that faces young and old, male or female, student or not. Where could someone go to get the hands-on skills to create or learn to make what they wanted? You see, I have always been a maker and have been curious about how things worked. I built models and played with RC cars and helicopters. If something broke, I figured out how to fix it. These are priceless experiences that put you in control of your possesions. I had parents who encouraged and taught me how to explore, how to use hands-on tools, and my father was a master machinist who taught me the nuances of the profession.
As I mentioned earlier, I was becoming disheartened by the lack of skills being taught and how people did not have a place to use these skills. I knew I was not alone in this thought. And so years ago I discovered that there was a movement growing, a maker movement. People started getting together in tiny garages and homes. They would share their limited resources and expertise and just make things. But these groups were very small and not well known. I wanted a place where anyone can go, any time of day. And that is how the idea for Vocademy came to fully develop.
Another integral part of the Vocademy process was when I worked at a local university as the lab and shop manager for a mechanical engineering department. I worked there for five years, and I saw a distressing trend. These future engineers didn’t know basic tools, or how to read blueprints, or what kinds of metals to use, or even how to competently use machinery. In a school of over 21,000 students, only 50 had access to the shop. I knew there were many others interested in learning this stuff! So, I started teaching my own version of Machine Shop 101 class to the students in order to help fill in their learning gap and quickly found out that many in community also wanted in. Word spread and people started asking for more! They wanted woodshop, sewing, 3D printing and every other kind of “industrial art” possible. I also wanted to make these classes available on a larger scale. To also let people use the entire facility to practice what they learned and make whatever they desire!
Now, here we are in 2013, and we just completed an incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign. Last week, I signed a lease to our new 15,000 sq. ft. building in Riverside. We hope to be moving in in September! Meanwhile, I am working on finding/meeting with equity investors, gathering more equipment and hiring staff. There is a lot to do and I am expecting our grand opening to be October 6th.
The journey will continue, and there will be unexpected turns and hills and valleys. Today Vocademy is now coming to reality and once again, people will be able to express themselves with their hands.
To learn more about Vocademy just click on the name to visit their website or come see them in person at the OC Mini Maker Faire on August 17th at UCI!