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

If You’re Looking for a Makerspace that Fits You

the-crucible-100050674-largeWe’re very happy to share a new resource at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire site… A new RESOURCES page. To start the page off, we’re sharing an East Bay Makerspace directory that one of the East Bay Mini Maker Faire team members, Sagit Betser, pulled together.

Many of these makerspaces will be in residence on Sunday, October 20th at the fair.  Ace Monster Toys, Hacker Scouts, NIMBY, Rock Paper Scissors, American Steel, The Crucible, Counterculture Labs, and Mothership HackerMoms will all be at tables or doing demos throughout the fair.  But if you miss them, you can return to this list and find out when the next open house or workshop is—or to find others that for one reason or the other won’t have a booth.

The East Bay has a wealth of these spaces offering workshop space, shared sets of tools, and ongoing opportunities for making.  But it took Sagit’s research on the Maker Movement to get a page to finally manifest.

When Sagit Betser moved from Israel to the United States five years ago, it didn’t take her long to discover the Maker community. And feel awed.  A chemist and mechanical engineer — as well as the mother of a 10-year-old son and six-year-old daughter — Sagit became a science teacher at a private school in New Jersey, as well as its Director of Design and Innovation. This is what led her to attend the Maker Faire New York.

One year ago, Sagit and her family moved to the East Bay. “I went to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire and loved it,” she says. “Even more than the big New York one. It has more community feeling and artistic expression.”

Today, Sagit is working on her PhD at UC Davis in education, and one of her main interests is the Maker movement. She has taken both of her kids to Oakland’s Sudo Room. She also loved attending the Mothership HackerMoms‘ Open House in Berkeley.

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HackerMoms hanging out at HackerMoms makerspace

If you have more information to add to the page—or her research!—find Sagit next Sunday at the Riveropolis installation  (in the Magnolia Circle). What other resources should be listed? Leave comments on the page, or tell Sagit directly at the fair!

Bronze Pour at the Mini Maker Faire!

Metalsmith Dan Romo at workOn October 20th attendees at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire will get the chance to be metalsmiths for a day! Watch master metalsmiths Dan Romo and Hopi Breton (and her Diablo Valley College students) pour a bronze cast, then make your own work of art to take home.

Maker Faire attendees will be able to mold their own sand form, with numbers, letters, and other objects provided by Romo and Breton, or create your own. Guidance and assistance with making the sand forms will be provided by Breton’s students from DVC. Attendees will then watch as their ideas become their own original bronze sculpture!

Pouring bronze into a formIf you want to learn about this amazing art form, the first demonstration will start at around 11:00. Create a sand form while you learn the process of turning molten metal into art. Then, at noon, your sand form will be used as a mold for your very own bronze art piece you can take home. The cost to create your own bronze sculpture will be about $45 (enough to cover materials), but the experience will be one you will never forget!

The demonstration will repeat at 1:00, with another chance to make your own piece at 2:00.

Dan and Hopi think they will be able to pour about 20 pieces total for faire attendees, so register now and purchase in advance to reserve your materials and pour:  http://ebmakerfaire2013.eventbrite.com

If you love this, you won’t want to miss Breton’s upcoming Iron Pour at DVC on November 7th (make your mold) and 9th (pour)! Details can be found here: http://dvcart.blogspot.com/2013/09/iron-pour-coming-soon.html

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.







Neighborhood 3D Printing Store Opens in Oakland

Ed note:  This story is a re-post from Makezine.com, MAKE magazine’s blog.

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MakerBot has a retail store in Manhattan.  And UPS is testing in-store 3DPrinting services in five locations. But how many neighborhoods or Main Streets have a small-biz, 3D printing/digital fabrication retail store?  One that not only prints but teaches classes and sells printers?

The answer is… not very many.  According to MAKE contributing editor, Anna Kaziunas France, there is Deezmaker in Pasadena; The Color Company and iMakr in London; =The 3D Printing Store in Denver; and the GetPrinting3D Retail Store in Evanston.  And through this post we found out about iGo3D in Oldenberg, Germany.

As of yesterday, HoneyBee3D in the Montclair district of Oakland, Calif. can be added to this list.  Husband and wife team Liza Wallach and Nick Kloski are offering classes, printing, rapid prototyping, and they are a distributor for TypeA Machines.

Liza actually has had this storefront since 2003, running her successful jewelry line and store, LizaSonia Designs, out of the space.  Nick is an Engilsh major who rolled into the tech industry during the dot-com boom, doing 15+ years between Sun Microsystems and Oracle.

Knowing their background, It makes sense then that the two of them might have aspirations beyond the “Mayberry” of Oakland.  The HoneyBee3D website says that six more retail stores are planned for 2014.

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The store is simple, uncluttered, and calm in feel. There are wood desks and a ceiling-mounted computer screen that can be pivoted out the display window, or inside the store for teaching purposes.  When I arrived Nick was winding down a good conversation with a dad and two post-game soccer boys, and three TypeA Machines were printing away.
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Montclair feels like a 60s throwback main street-as-shopping-village.  It’s up in the Oakland hills. It is full of small businesses and is still supporting two or three bookstores. There is frozen yogurt, coffee, dentistry, sporting goods, shoes, kitchen tools, dry cleaning.  Lots and lots and lots of families, and a good number of seniors. Not “hip” in the least (the foodies and fixies are <em>not</em> in Montclair).  So it’s an interesting and telling choice for a store selling 3D printers.

Welcome HoneyBee3D!  We’re very curious to know how it will go; please keep in touch!

Visit with HoneyBee3D at their store in Montclair, or come meet them at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire on October 20th.

(Re)Making a Skate Park in West Oakland

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Douglas Kittredge is a carpenter, builder, set-builder, and artist.  He’s founder of OakTownHall, an old-West style building meant as a center for community projects, located in the enormous American Steel Studios building in West Oakland. He’s also Anarchitectural, a design/build company that specializes in “building the future with what remains of the past.”

OakTown Hall inside American Steel

OakTown Hall inside American Steel

Last fall & winter, Kittredge was one of the crew that created, built and programmed the magical and temporary Peralta Junction Project—a gorgeous pop-up community events “square” right across from American Steel. It was while working on that project, outside the walls of American Steel, that Kittredge got a deeper bead on what was going down in the adjacent West Oakland neighborhood.

That’s when he discovered Town Park Sk8 Gallery—a skate park with ramps etc— in the nearby DeFremery Park. Town Park Sk8 Gallery is, according to Kittredge, West Oakland’s most used recreational facility in West Oakland.   It’s also one of the most in need of repairs and maintenance.

20130909223350-563183_10151242064182191_1215395884_n_copyKittredge, along with park founder and resident mentor Keith “K-Dub” Williams, has been on a mission ever since to repair and improve the mostly wooden facility.  Kittredge himself has done 24 hour stints, staying all night in the park to get ramps fixed and ready for events.

K-Dub’s plan is to get the City of Oakland to realize that the park needs a more solid park infrastructure that is not so easily degrades as wood ramps with sheet metal (that occasionally gets stolen and sold for scrap).

In the meantime, the two of them persist.  Kittredge has organized a series of work parties—the next of which is this coming Sunday—where skilled and unskilled alike can pitch in to help make West Oakland’s most used rec facility decent.

He’s also recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise much-needed repair funds. There are truly amazing benefits from American Steel artists. But the campaign to date has only raised $1800 of the needed $15K—and there are only 15 days left in the campaign.

East Bay Mini Maker Faire is super happy to have Douglas, K-Dub and some of the Town Park Sk8 Gallery skaters exhibit at the fair on October 20.  But October 20th is too late to help the park with the IndieGoGo campaign or recruit helpers for this weekend’s work party.

Needless to say, if you can, please contribute today.  And if you’re a maker, get down to the park on Sunday from noon-6 PM to pitch in and lend a hand.

Meet the 2013 East Bay Mini Maker Faire Makers

EBMMF_GEAR_ROBOT_gsa_004_outlinesSuperstars!  That’s what you are!

It’s our pleasure to introduce a fantastic list of makers for this year’s 2013 East Bay Mini Maker Faire.

We have roboticists, textile hackers, artists, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, students, designers, blacksmiths, glass blowers, programmers, farmers, pranksters and printers.

We are updating the list daily, so be sure to check back here and again.  Our schedule of performers, workshops and presenters will go live next week.  But in the interim>>>>>peruse the list and appreciate!

The Nerdy Derby is coming to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire!

nerdyderbynycBuild your own innovative car and bring it to the Faire for some fun, crazy racing.  Or come to the Faire and get ready to create your own personalized vehicle to speed down the 30+ foot track.  The Nerdy Derby is a twist on the Pinewood Derby, but where all rules are thrown out. With a larger, more undulating track and few restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity. See the competition categories below.  Cars can be made from metal, wood, plastic, legos, cardboard, cheese or whatever you can dream up.  The crazier and more inventive the better!  Just make sure the wheels are 1¾“ apart and the car isn’t more than 8” high or 5” wide.  The Nerdy Derby is presented by Park Day School; the roller coaster track is being built by students and parents as part of their Design Make Engage program.

Check out the Nerdy Derby from World Maker Faire NYC!

EBMMF NERDY DERBY Competition Categories

  • The Slowest
  • The Fastest
  • Funniest Epic Fail (does not win fastest; crowd chosen)
  • The Noisiest
  • The Cutest
  • Littlest Wheels
  • Big Wheels!
  • Powered! (motorized)
  • Parachuters
  • Balloon powered
  • Most Awesome Car That Didn’t Make It
  • The Underdog (least likely to win, but does)
  • Sweet Treat
  • The Ugliest
  • The Tastiest (most edible)

written by Jennifer Cooper

Here Come the Makers!

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We are sending out our first round of Maker acceptances this week and are excited to start sharing them with you! One of the inspiring trends this year is the abundance of Young Makers who are applying–to perform, lead workshops, sell their artisanal wares, and showcase their skills.

IMG_1430 smlMeet Cooper Jacobus–a fifth grader from Redwood Day School who is coming to the Faire for his third time–to teach people how to make their own foam and duct tape swords. In the past, Cooper has sold pre-made wooden swords that he and his father had crafted. I asked Cooper if he wanted to share a little about why he likes to be at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire and how his project has evolved  over the years.

Here’s what he said:

This is our third year at the East Bay Mini Maker faire. We started selling wooden swords that we made in our wood shop. We tried lots of different designs for a year before we came up with a design that we liked. They looked great but you couldn’t really play with them without hurting someone.  What use are wooden swords if you can’t fight with them? We started trying new ways of making form swords.  So this year, we are selling foam swords that are fun to make and to play with.

We cut up all the foam and our customers stick it all together while expressing their creativity decorating and designing. Everyone’s sword is different.

This is a video I made using my stop motion animation characters showing you the steps in making a foam sword. 

Come on over to our booth and make your own foam sword!  -- Cooper Jacobus