Author Archives: sannmer

2014 Call for Makers Kickoff + Town Hall @The Crucible

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West Oakland’s fabulous industrial arts nexus, The Crucible, is generously hosting our meet up and Call for Makers kickoff for the 5th Annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire this coming Tues, 7/29. Come out and schmooze and brainstorm and network and raise a glass, chow, etc—all in prep/anticipation of Sunday, October 19th!

Tour of The Crucible starts at 6:30; Town Hall at 7:15.

RSVP and more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/699106323496631/

If for some reason you can’t make it but want to get a jump on things, go ahead and fill our Call for Makers application out now!

That was one HECK of a show.

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We are overwhelmed with appreciation for the spectacular day on Sunday.  This year, our fourth, we showcased just under 200 makers and hosted 7,000 people on the combined venue of Park Day School and Studio One Art Center.  The weather was spectacular, the depth and variety of content superlative, the community feeling strong.  And we had the first-ever, full-scale crate stacking show very likely in the history of the planet!

Thanks go first to our makers, those creative, generous people.  There is no Maker Faire without you.  You are problem-solvers and you are by and large easy.  You collaborate.  You are curious and happy.  Thank you for sharing your talent and your process and your prowess.

Then there’s our partnersStudio One Art Center, a fantastic arts facility owned and operated by the City of Oakland—and MAKE magazine, the entity behind Maker Faire.  And our sponsors (just look to the right rail), those companies and institutions that understand the value of maker culture and how important it is to foster and encourage.

Finally there’s the community of Park Day School How many of you reading this realize that the East Bay Mini Maker Faire is produced and organized entirely by the parents and staff of this progressive Oakland K-8 school?  It’s a staggering accomplishment, even for a group of professionals, let alone volunteers.  Thank you parents and staff!

Some nice news / posts came out about the fair:

We’ve been collecting images and loading them into a Flickr feed Please please share your images and videos—there were so many unique experiences at the fair that we’re just plain curious to see what you saw! Let us know via comments here, on Facebook or Twitter or G+, or email us at info@ebmakerfaire.com.

So *phew* we’re done for this year.  But before you forget all of this, we’ve got a survey for makers and a survey for attendees that we would so appreciate if you would take a moment to complete.  Your brilliant ideas, constructive critiques, and words of adoration are all very much desired and appreciated, and will help us be bigger, better, stronger, and more fun in 2014.  See you then.

Photos by Stephen Jacobson, Ben Smith, John Orbon, Sabrina Merlo, Karen Marcelo and Jeffrey Braverman/MAKE.  See the full Flickr gallery and attribution info here.

Program! Get yer program!

2013 East Bay Mini Maker Faire Program CoverDownload the mighty East Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013 program and try—just try—to plan your day! It’s tough, we’re hoping you get a little distracted and diverted and that you explore every nook and cranny of this incredible joint venue of Park Day School and Studio One Art Center.

Be sure to go upstairs in Studio One for Tapigami & the Dark Room & Fixit Clinic; the side of Studio One to Robot’s Grotto & the front lawn for crate stacking; to the back corner of Nerd’s Nest for makerspaces and smart aquaponics; inside the Magnolia lobby to see the unbelievable work of Non-Terrestrial Arms;  Food Truck alley for all kind of amazing food, beer and Sugar Alley for sweets; the end Doer’s Desert for Nerdy Derby and the amazing upright looms from Children’s Museum of East Bay.  Keep going, keep exploring—we’ve planned for something amazing in just about every corner!

The Public Debut of a New Sport: Crate Stacking!

sabrinacrate3Crate stacking is a game.  The objective is to stack as many upside-down plastic milk crates as possible and stand on the top. Stackers rest their feet in the handle holes of the milk crates, and the challenge is to place the next crate and transfer footings without losing balance and blowing the stack.

The set up is like indoor rock climbing or top rope climbing in that players are in a harness and are belayed for safety. Crates are tossed to the stacker when the stack is low, and then ferried by a rope on a pulley when the stack is high. When the stack inevitably blows, the stacker is held aloft as the milk crates scatter asunder. It’s fun. Really fun.

Want to try it? Crate Stacking will be going down on the front lawn of Studio One all day at East Bay Mini Maker Faire.  Under 18 will need parents present to try.  The highest stackers will be invited to a stack-off at 4 PM.

Here’s Crate Stacking game maker Liam McNamara, landing a record 26 stack:

Interview: CamDAX, Electrical Boy Wonder

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Thanks to Goli Mohammodi and Makezine.com for the permission to repost their interview with 16-year-old Cameron Mira (CamDAX), maker, artist, club organizer. Cameron is coming to East Bay Mini Maker Faire for the second time, bringing his Tesla coil as well as a his new pinball machine. Find him upstairs in the dark room in the Studio One building.

1. Tell us about the audio-modulated full-bridge Tesla coil you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
When I was around five, during lightning storms, me and my mom would sit in the kitchen and watch the lightning strikes in the distance — it was really neat. Where I lived at the time was very flat so you could see it easily. A few years ago I saw ArcAttack at Maker Faire and it showed me how much I really like lightning. This last year I built a spark gap Tesla coil, and I’ve been experimenting almost twice a week with [the effects on] different things. First I tried the usual stuff: fluorescent lights, wood, or a screwdriver. Then I tried more elaborate things like Hershey’s Kisses, scanner laser tubes, wire sculptures, and then fused glass pieces.

When the Young Makers program came around, I joined and decided to make an audio-modulated full-bridge solid state Tesla coil. We haven’t finished it yet, but we plan on having it done in time for Maker Faire. It’s going to have a cool light-up control panel with an RGB LCD screen, a big red button, metal pushbuttons with LED rings, and some other light-up components. The buttons have to light up so you can see them in the dark. We hope to play songs no one else has tried, like the Quantum Leap theme song, Scooby Doo theme song, and maybe a Beatles song. Our demonstrations will include music playing through the coil and lightning sculptures made out of metal and glass.

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Big Big Thanks

ThankYouMistakeTheBeautifulEBMMF Sponsors, YOU ROCK!!

Please take a look at the right hand column on the web site. The logos of our sponsors are listed there–and these supporters deserve a big shout out from everyone involved in the East Bay Mini Maker Faire.

We so appreciate these event Sponsors, as they help us to cover the costs of putting on the Faire, getting the word out and ensuring that the 4th Annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire is the best yet!!!  When you’re at the Faire, please look for their booths and thank them for their support.  Many are makers going pro, or established companies that have a heart for makers, our our local community.

Thanks to all of you for supporting the East Bay Mini Maker Faire!

The sponsors for the 2013 event to date are:

Can’t wait for the Faire! See you all Sunday!

RObots RoBots RoboTs

IMG_8882What would a Maker Faire be without robots?!  Well, we have a variety of robots and robotics exhibits and talks (see below).  But the larger robots that attendees are going to get to drive (and that will be located in Robot Grotto off the Studio One Building), are at the fair in large part due to the Bay Area student robotics club community.

First, there’s three FIRST Robotics teams.  One is the Scotbots from Piedmont High School.  Two are Terra Nova Robotics from Terra Nova High School in Pacifica.

FIRST is a worldwide robotics competition program. There are 350,000+ FIRST teams around the world, and over 100 in the Bay Area.  It is very organized, with five different levels:

All the Scotbots and Terra Nova teams are FTC or FIRST Tech Challenge robots.  The organizing principle for the FIRST competitions is that every year the FIRST parent entity announces that year’s design challenge.  One year it might be about a robot climbing a structure and flinging frisbees through certain size slots.  Another might be shooting baskets with basketballs. From the FIRST website:

Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete on a 12 X 12’ field in an Alliance format against other teams. Robots are built using a TETRIX® platform that is reusable from year-to-year using a variety of languages. Teams, including Coaches, Mentors, and Volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an inventor and entrepeneur who designed and built the Segway, those self-balancing two-wheeled people mover machines.

These teams travel globally to compete.  The Terra Nova team is bringing a state champion robot!  And attendees of all ages will be allowed to drive some of these competition bots!

P1180156The other cool student-oriented robot group coming to the fair is UC Berkeley’s PIE (Pioneers in Engineering)PIE is a UCB student club that provides a quality STEM learning experience for students in underserved Bay Area high schools.  They offer a year-long mentorship program called Prep and an annual 8-week robotics competition.  For just $100 per team, they provide a robotics kit that’s fully designed and developed in-house, as well as trained college student mentors for each team.  Super awesome program!  (And speaking of UC Berkeley, thanks to them and their School of Engineering for coming in as lead sponsors of the 2013 East Bay Mini Maker Faire!)

Here’s a video of the Oakland Tech High School winning moment at the 2013 PiE final:

There will be a whole lot of other robotics oriented makers and presentations at the fair, including:

EXHIBITS

  • Arxterra Telerobotic Communities
  • The Tea Engine
  • Pxlbots
  • ButterBot
  • Julia Morgan School for Girls Engineering Programs
  • Aritifist Robotics
  • Mini-Bots

PRESENTATIONS

  • Drones, Planes, and Flying Robots
  • Multirotors 101
  • Getting Started with Arduino (time to be confirmed today)

The Making of seaGrass

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Some artists really don’t want you to think about process. They want to design an experience or impression, and they want you to not think about it—just feel it. Or admire it.

But the truth is, there’s a whole lot of making in most any art project.  Take seaGrass, Mauricio Bustos’ pretty elaborate Burning Man installation for this year.  It’s a grid of 30 – 30 foot towers that glow, bend and animate.  “Imagine wandering around the desert at Burning Man late at night and coming upon a field of huge, gently swaying, beautifully lit blades of grass.”

Not just large in scale, the project required a fair bit of tech. Each tower is fitted with 50 full color LEDs using a Teensy 3.0 board and XBee radio to allow a user to remotely coordinate patterns across the full field of grass blades.  A microphone and accelerometer are also connected to each tower to help capture sound and motion as other ways to make the sculpture interactive.

I loved clicking through the seaGrass Facebook picture set, because there is so much process shown there.  From renderings to prototypes of the electronics to band saws, you can see what it took to get to the bliss.  And do check out the bliss:

Mauricio was trained as mechanical engineer, but these days he’s doing financial modeling for a financial services company.  There’s a little bit of overlap, but it’s a bit far from the world of 3D making and materials.

Burningman has been an outlet for Mauricio’s maker self.  2013, the year of seaGrass, was his 13th year going out and making things for the playa.  He also teaches an afterschool maker class at his kids’ school where he introduces kids to graphics and processing and servos and motors—all in an effort to take the mystery out of software and hardware.

What’s nice is that Mauricio is bringing seaGrass to East Bay Mini Maker Faire in this same spirit.  Given that the fair is in the day, seaGrass isn’t going to really be in its full glory.  But Mauricio is hauling five or six of these 30′ tall reeds and is installing them on the front plaza of Studio One.  He’ll be there, as an artist and as a maker, to show the back end, to share the process, and what he learned getting to showtime.

Geocaching 101

Geocaches-01Thanks to Lily Lew for the guest post!
Ever wanted to go on a treasure hunt? Well now you can! There are over one million containers called “geocaches” hidden all over the world. That means the chances are really good that one is close to you right now. All you need are the coordinates and some hints at www.geocaching.com and a GPS device to get to the coordinates (usually a smart phone).

Stop by the Geocaching 101 booth at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire and see how many unofficial geocaches you can find dispersed among the faire. For the Maker in you, inspiration from the faire will give you new ideas for making and stashing your own secret containers that you make for you and your friends. The Geocaching 101 booth aims to provide education, responsibility and creativity for those interested in applying their treasure hunting skills. We explain map information, terrain, safety, environmental concerns and geocaching etiquette.
The ultimate treasure hunt is on!
Creative-Caches

Hands-On Heaven

7928207326_44b121d35f_b (1)The East Bay Mini Maker Faire maybe be “mini” compared to the 125,000 person Maker Faire Bay Area.  But we are MAXI in then number of opportunities visitors will have to try something new, to engage and make.  Take a gander at this list of hands-on making booths and come prepared to get busy!

BUILD IT

  • 2×4′ Jenga and Kapla Blocks – Hopi Breton & friends.  Here is your chance to play and to create wild modular sculptures at once with big Kapla planks.
  • Nerdy Derby – Park Day School – Create your own creative, innovative race car to launch down our undulating 30 foot track, made by students at Park Day School.
  • Riveropoliscreate an island temple, tree, boat or just play with the THE RIVER THAT TIME FORGOT.

METAL

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  • Make a tiny tool box with NIMBY - Our NIMBY volunteers will introduce you to the very basic sheet metal fundamentals. We have kid sizes safety gear to start things of right. We will walk you threw cutting, bending and welding your very own tin tool box.
  • Richmond Art Center: Learn the Art of Fold-Forming  A combination of origami and traditional metalworking, fold-forming creates three-dimensional forms by continuously hammering, folding, forging and annealing a thin sheet of metal.
  • The Crucible – Try your hand at some metal stamping.

DIRT & CLAY

  • Seed Bombs - Orange Door Properties.  Make seed bombs–small, balls of clay, compost and native, drought-resistant seeds that you can make and then launch into abandoned and blighted spaces like freeway medians, empty lots…or even your own yard!
  • Biodegradable Origami Pots  -The Blake Garden. Make origami pots out of biodegradable newsprint. 
  • Bowl Making – Park Day School.  Make a clay bowl by the ring method and donate it to Empty Bowl Project which raises much needed funds for the East Bay Food Bank.
  • Throw ClayStudio One Art Center Ceramics Studio.
  • Mosaic trivets – City of Paris Studios – Mosaics, Tile & Design. Put on the eye protection, hear the sharp shatter as you break tiles with a hammer, Plan and layout origional fesigns onto backer board pre-cut squares, put on rubber gloves and mix cement adhesive to glue, wait a minute for Fast setting cement to dry and then grout the trivet to fill in the spaces in between.

LIFE

  • Butter Booth – Park Day School.  Make butter

FIGHTING & FLYING THINGS

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  • Duct Tape Swords -Pufferfish Swords. Come and make a sword out of foam and duct tape!
  • Rockets!  – Park Day School.  Cut, roll, tape, launch, crane neck, locate.  Repeat.

ELECTRONICS

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  • Electronics Take-Apart and Re-Creation Station - Come take apart your favorite electronics devices to see what makes them tick!  We’ll help you identify DC and stepper motors, LEDs, optical sensors, switches, integrated circuits, transformers, heater coils, and many more.  Then we’ll bring these building clock components back to life outside of their usual life support systems. 
  • etextiles with Crafty Avenger. Work with a variety of textiles and electronic components to create small projects that light up! Project include patches, small plushies and more.
  • Fixit ClinicBring your broken, non-functioning things: electronics, appliances, computers, toys, etc. for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair.
  • Learn to Solder - Park Day School + Lighthouse Community Charter School.  Try your hand at soldering and make a circuit happen!

PAPER, TEXTILES, LEATHER, FELT

Clothing Swap Astoria #2

  • Screenprinting, sewing & textile hacking in the Swap-O-Rama-Rama Pick some material or some clothes from the used clothing pile and then make a costume, sew a dress, hack a blazer into a murse, silk screen rad designs onto your sweatshirt!
  • PAPER PUNK Use your hands to transform 2D sheets of brightly patterned paper into 3D masterpieces with a few simple folds.
  • Pen Pop Print Shop Print a poster of your own design using fallen leaves and found objects.
  • The Cyclocarder – Felt the Sun. Ride the Cyclocarder, a bicycle-powered wool-brushing machine, and practice making felted balls of wool.
  • GlovetopusCome make a Glovetopus, a stuffed octopus made from a pair of gloves.
  • Make Your Own Yarn With A CD SpindleLearn an age-old art and make your own yarn out of sheep’s wool with a simple CD drop spindle from Spindles & Flyers, one of the Bay Area’s oldest fiber arts organizations.
  • Waller Leather – Sam Waller.  Learn a few tricks of the art of leather craft.
  • Monster Dream Pillow – Sticky Art Lab.  Use scrap fabric and simple sewing to piece together a sweet little creature, add button eyes, and fill with lavender for a good night’s sleep, or place in your drawer for good smelling socks!
  • Oakland Hand Madelearn how to sew and make a prayer flag/wish banner.
  • Paper Bead Making – Carol Tanenbaum Designs. Make paper beads with colorful calendar and magazine pages. Then construct a necklace with the beads you’ve made.
  • Tile Art - Brushstrokes. Come paint a tile!
  • We Dream in Motion – Community Paper Quilt
  • Oakland Museum of California. Create a stop motion animation.
  • Free Utopian Projectsmake art!
  • Mothership Hacker MomsDesign a Día de los Muertos art project.
  • TapigamiCreate creatures and landscapes out of masking tape – and then place your creation inside of the exhibit.