Tag Archives: DIY

Celebrate the Day of Making

The White House is hosting its own Maker Faire today!  Follow the action at http://www.whitehouse.gov/maker-faire.  Or join in the fun from home by posting a picture of your own creation today, using #NationOfMakers.

day-of-making-badgeWe signed the “Building Maker Communities” Pledge on Makezine.com to show our support for the maker movement, and you can, too!  When you sign the pledge, you’ll also receive a free e-copy of the book, “Zero to Maker,” by David Lang.

The CNS Maker Team is headed to South Side Hackerspace this evening to start building the dice kit provided to us by Chicago Electronic Distributors. There will likely be making of other things, too–chainmaille from Blue Buddha Boutique, lockpicking from TOOOL, and possibly some of the gadgets we picked up from Maker Faire Bay area!  Follow us on Twitter @CNSmakerfaire for updates on our projects.  Or come join us tonight, starting at 7:30!

And just a reminder of the fun we had last month, here are some more pictures of the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire.  Thanks to ChiBots, the Schurz photography class, and Glowing Mood Flower for sharing!

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Thanks for Coming!

20140503_115024May 3rd, 2014 marked the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, and the largest Chicago Maker Faire yet! 80 exhibiting makers, many of them young makers, and 2,000 attendees made this an amazing event. Thanks to everyone who made this happen!

20140503_140409For those of you who joined the fun, here’s a recap of some of our favorites.  And for those of you couldn’t make it this year, here’s a taste of what you missed. Our veteran makers returned with some of the exhibits you’ve come to expect from Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire – lockpicking with TOOOL, soldering with Build-A-Blinkie, tinkering with hackerspaces, DIY projects from Chicago Children’s Museum, Build Your Own Chicago, FIRST Robotics presented by local high schools (Schurz, Lane Tech, Whitney Young), Blast the Nerds from the Schurz National Honors Society, and many more!20140503_134647

When you first entered Maker Faire, did you notice the aerial drones from Mad Lab Industries flying overhead? 14 - 7 20140503_120922-MOTION

Did you hitch a ride in a muffin baked by Oak Park Muffineering? 20140503_115440 20140503_115551-MOTION

Did you learn to use a drill from the Chicago Tinkering School and Chicago Children’s Museum?20140503_115749

Did you blast a nerd or explode some Coke with Mentos?20140503_115814

20140503_150926We grew so much this year that we needed to expand. For the first time, the stunning domed library was open for Maker Faire, housing a planetarium brought by the Adler Planetarium, all three major Chicagoland hackerspaces (Pumping Station: One, Southside Hackerspace, and Workshop 88), the Chicago Public Library, ChiBots, and Schurz’s own Anime Club.20140503_145836

The hallways were packed with student art, 3D printed designs, a Rube Goldberg device in action, a DIY photobooth, and a taste of the neat offerings of Chicago Electronic Distributors.
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Of course, the cafeteria was a center of activity. We hope you also checked out the Electric Garden and Colossal Squid just across the hall, all the robots from the FIRST Robotics teams who presented in the Gym, and Schurz Digital Media making images and beats in the surrounding hall.2014Garden

Did you make a bouncy ball and learn more about supporting Comer’s Children Hospital from the Schurz IB students?20140503_144229Or were you too distracted by the adorable bunnies?20140503_142814Or maybe it was this guy?20140503_134952

Did you learn how to make a cool coin purse from a recycled chip bag?20140503_134709

Did you play a round of Giant Jenga?20140503_140644

Did you check out the Shapeoko 2 from Inventables?2014Inventables

Did you see the bionic hand made by UIC New Media Arts?2014Bionic

Did you make a giant mold, learn to solder, use a cyclic harmonograph, make pictures with fire, craft your own spa products, build your own Chicago, inflate a moon ball, fold some origami, etch an eraser stamp, needle felt a design, construct a hexbug, or build a kit from Brown Dog Gadgets?  Whew! We were overwhelmed, too!20140503_135155

Don’t worry, we’re coming back in May, 2015 – more makers, more attendees, more stuff to DIY. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to always be in the know. That’s all folks! Keep on making, and come back for more!

Meet the Maker Sponsor: Chicago Electronic Distributors

2014ChiEdHello world! Want to make some awesome electronics? Then you definitely have to check out Chicago Electronic Distributors, a sponsor of Mini Maker Faire Northside Chicago. The company distributes electronic kits, preconfigured Raspberry Pis, and many other wonderful electronics. Craig LeMoyne started this internet based company in February 2013 when he started selling preconfigured Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized low cost computer that you can plug into a monitor or TV screen. In time, the company grew and now it sells a variety of products including electronic kits from Adafruit, Arduino, Spikenzie Labs, RaspBMC, Cyntech, and more.

In an interview, Craig LeMoyne said, “My goal is for people to know that building something electronic is a lot easier than you think. Soldering shouldn’t be scary, anyone can do it.” There is lots of information online and that you can learn from online tutorials. Plus, at Maker Faire this Saturday, you can try soldering for yourself with Build-A-Blinkie! If you’re a novice, Craig suggests making a TV B-Gone by Adafruit, which turns off all TVs!

Craig was drawn to the maker world because he feels that people should really try to make more of their own things. Chicago Electronic Distributor is a huge supporter of the maker community and the study of STEM subjects. The company also has a neat blog detailing various projects that people can do. For instance, in honor of the Polar Vortex, he wrote about making a digital thermometer. Sweet. Chicago Electronic Distributors is also looking for people to write blog entries about their projects so if you are interested, you should definitely talk to Craig LeMoyne via email or at Maker Faire.

At Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, Chicago Electronic Distributors is bringing various products like the TV B-Gone, a basic clock, a thermometer, and much more! You’ll get a chance to learn more about these electronic kits and the company. Chicago Electronic Distributors is looking forward to meeting its customers and supporters and learning more about the needs of makers in Chicago. Check out their website to learn more about the products and their projects: http://chicagodist.com/

Meet the Maker: Cyclic Harmonograph

2014HarmonographYou have to check out the wondrous machine called the Cyclic Harmonograph. Built by Peter Dalton, this hand-powered wooden machine uses a pulley system to create incredible circular interloping designs on paper. The Cyclic Harmonograph is a bit like a spirograph but it’s much larger and it uses pulleys instead of gears. The designs can be changed by five principle variables, such as changing the ratios between drawing arm and the paper, the rate of the movement of the drawing arm, and more. You can also change the paper and the pens to get different effects. But it’s not all about the pretty pictures.  The machine is a wonder of mechanics.  You can learn a lot about how rotary motion converts into lateral motion and much more.

The first Cyclic Harmonograph came about several years ago when Peter decided to try to put it together as a proof of concept. And it worked! Last year, his neighbor Katherine Edwards remembered the device as a kid and asked him to make one for a Tedx conference at University of Michigan. They collaborated and he built a larger Cyclic Harmonograph. It was a hit! Peter also showcases the machine on special days at the school where he works as a substitute teacher.

When I asked Peter what he wanted people to get out of his Cyclic Harmonograph, he told me that he wants you to know that you can take an idea, put it down on paper as a rough sketch, and figure a way to actually make it. It’s important to continue that process of discovery. Peter also advises that kids watch their family and friends to learn new things, like woodworking and sewing. So come on by to see the marriage of art and mechanics in the Cyclic Harmonograph and get your own design made before your very eyes!

Meet the Maker: South Side Hackerspace Chicago

2014SSHThis week, Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside took a field trip to South Side Hackerspace (SSH) at their headquarter in Bridgeport. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a hackerspace is a collective space where people interested in computers, electronics, and more can experiment and learn with other like-minded individuals. The hackerspace may also have equipment like saws, 3D printers, drills, and soldering guns, available for people to use on their projects. Classes are also held at SSH to teach various skills, like soldering.

South Side Hackerspace is a pretty happening place. Members join at various levels and have access to the space and its tools (with appropriate training and approval of board members). There is not one but two 3D printers in addition to lots of other machine tools for your projects. It’s an open learning environment. Right now, there is a weekly Machine learning meet up. But it’s not all about work; it’s a social space too. They just had their 2 year anniversary party!

One of the big focuses of SSH is education, especially for the youth. They want to provide a safe place for younger people to learn about science and technology. They’ve done several workshops partnering with Chicago Public Library (CPL). Right now, you have to be 18+ to become a member of the space (with possible options for 16-18) but they want to continue outreach as a resource for younger people in Chicago. They are currently in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to make their space even cooler.

South Side Hackerspace is very excited to be coming out to Mini-Maker Faire for the third year! They can’t wait to meet people and share with them about SSH. They are going to show off one of their 3D printers. They’ll explain how it works and print out prototypes. So be sure to check them out and learn more!

Meet the Maker: The Maker Mom

moonball collage 600

Be open to mess! Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside sat down with Kim Moldofsky, The Maker Mom, to talk about her work and philosophy. She started blogging in 2006 in part to encourage herself to learn how to make an Arduino and other electronics. That blog soon turned into The Maker Mom blog that is “dedicated to helping parents raise STEM-loving, Maker-friendly kids.” She also runs STEM Kids Chicago blog and Bedtime Math, which encourages parents to celebrate math with their children, and hosts #STEMchat on Twitter each month. Her Maker Mom blog is a wonderful combination of videos, experiments, news, and other resources for parents who are committed to STEM education and making.  She sees a natural fit between STEM and the maker movement.

Kim Moldofsky stressed that parents can encourage STEM with their kids without breaking the bank. It’s not about buying lots of expensive stuff (though you definitely can do that). There is a lot that parents can do at home with ordinary household things. It’s really just observing, asking questions, and thinking about solutions.  Kids can learn a lot by exploring everyday things like filling up containers of water and seeing what happens when you change elements. It’s important to help kids have the mentality of exploration and observation. And yeah, sometimes you just have to be open to messes.  Parents don’t have to have all the answers. Just create a space for kids to explore.  She sums it up best, “Parents do not need to feel that they have to gift wrap everything. Kids gain from being able to explore on their own.”

At Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside, The Maker Mom is going to show people how to make Moon balls and other objects. Moon balls are made from interlocking panty hose and a balloon. It makes the balloon into a heftier object and more suitable for playing outside. But that’s just the start of all the awesome stuff you can do with panty hose! So come on out and make some Moon balls and learn more about Maker Mom’s work!

Meet the Maker: Drawn with Fire

tumblr_mj3p4zI5I01rcgo2vo1_500Ever considered making art with fire? Then you have to check out Steve Baltrukonis’s Drawn with Fire at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. Steve Baltrukonis creates art through pyrography, a form of decorating wood through fire. He got his start in pyrography in 2012 when he started experimenting with a wooden medicine cabinet and a soldering iron. Within a short period of time, he was hooked. In an interview, he explains, “As an art form I like how versatile it is. My work runs the gamut from very traditional stuff with a Wild West vibe to super weird psychedelic black light pieces and sci-fi illustrations.”

Steve finds a lot of his inspiration from books, especially science fiction. When he’s not taking commissions and working on other projects, he’s working on his big project to read the top 100 science fiction books and creating a piece to correspond with all of them. He also creates street art in Chicago. Several years ago, he started photographing the amazing street art in Chicago and blogs about it at StreetArtofChicago.com. He loves street art because “it’s ethereal…it’s incredibly dangerous. It’s the great leveler. Someone with no talent can grab a paint marker and scrawl a tag on a wall or someone can bolt a gorgeous piece of art that took hours to make to a stop sign.” After a while, he decided that he should create his own street art.

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At Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside , Steve plans on demonstrating pyrography to demystify the process. He’ll be working on several pieces and fielding questions about the art form. He’ll conduct some presentations to discuss different tools and effects that can be achieved through burning on wood and leather.  So stop by Drawn with Fire and learn about using fire for art’s sake!

Meet the Maker: ChiBots

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Chibots is coming to Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside! Based in Schaumburg, IL, Chibots has been committed to making robotics accessible to everyone for about fourteen years. Back in 2000, many people thought that robotics was too complex to anyone to get involved in. Thankfully, some forward-thinking individuals thought otherwise and founded Chibots to make robotics accessible to everyone. And there is nothing like working on your robot and then getting see the immediate results when it starts working (or not working). The excitement is tangible.

Chibots continues fulfilling its mission today through a variety of venues: monthly meetings, an online forum/group, and various events in the Chicago region. Chibots showcases its robots at libraries and Science Nights at middle and high schools. In addition to these events, they hold their own competitions. Previously, they’ve held events like Mini-Sumo, a form of sumo style fighting, and Line Maze, where robots try to complete mazes. Recently, they’ve been hosting a larger competition called SRS RoboMagellan. SRS RoboMagellan is a competition where robots have to navigate to three traffic cones, avoiding obstacles. People can use GPS, sensors and much more to try to accomplish the task. The contestants are graded on speed and accuracy. Chibots’ next SRS RoboMagellan is coming up soon so you should definitely check it out. Or better yet, you should build a robot to compete!

For Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside, Chibots will be showing off a selection their robots in action. They’ll also bring some video of old competitions, like Mini-Sumo! ChiBots wants you to get excited about learning more about robotics and wants to help kids to get more involved in STEM related activities.  ChiBots want you to know: “We are here. We are willing. We are able. All we need is your interest in robotics!”

Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside Returns Saturday, May 3rd

Reserve your spot to the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire! Tickets are FREE to the public, but by reserving early you guarantee your spot. Now you can e-sign the media release on Eventbrite and skip the line! As always, your generous donations allow those who cannot otherwise afford Maker Faire to attend for free. Recommended donations are $10/adult, and $5/child under 12.

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS!

Are you or someone you know a maker of awesome things? Apply to be a maker here! There is no fee to set up an educational display to show your stuff! The deadline to apply is April 7th.

SHOW YOUR STUFF

Did you miss Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside in 2013? Catch a sneak peek from our blogger Elisa Shoenberger:

Robots, sharks, and circus, oh my! Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside was a blast! The halls and front lawns of Carl Schurz High School were full of laughter and hard work as children and adults, alike, tried to learn wondrous things from our Makers. There was so much to see and so much to do. Human sized bubbles and spider robots greeted visitors outside. IMG_0627

Inside, there was a wonderful hallway of crowd-sourced painting and life sized cardboard people from the project “Make Your Mark.”  Everyone was encouraged to decorate the walls or play available musical instruments. Downstairs was a DIY photo booth by Maker Troy McLucas who originally created the machine for his own wedding. Makers and visitors alike could dress up in tiaras, glasses and funky lips to commemorate this wonderful day.IMG_0562

When you go to the second floor, you couldn’t help noticing the life size Great White Shark from Dee Hotchner’s Discover the Depths, the people behind Artology-the Colossal Squid.  The true to life organs of the Shark were on display, all made from recyclable materials.IMG_0570

 Inside the cafeteria, there was a flurry of activity as people learned lock picking, chainmail jewelry making, and so much more. Bookbinding Words showed people how to make flexagons with wonderful stories and drawings. The Blue Buddha Boutique had a table for people to make chainmail earrings and key chains. Build a Blinkie was immensely popular; the soldering tables were always humming with happy busy activity. Community Glue Workshop mended a variety of items, including the hem of pants and a ceramic doll. Museum of Science and Industry’s Wagner Family Fab Lab let people design stickers or scan themselves in three dimensions.IMG_0659

Visitors also had the opportunity to play. The Reptile Convention brought out various snakes and lizards for people to learn about and even touch! Larger than life Jenga pieces invited people to challenge one another or build up to the ceiling! Goats in the City stopped by with several goats and their kids. It was so delightful watching them munch on the front lawns. In the gymnasium, DIY Circus performed several thrilling acrobatic shows and taught kids how to stage fight and make puppets.

It was an excellent day of mischief, wonder, and learning. Can’t wait for the next Chicago Northside MiniMaker Faire!

Year-Round Making for All Ages in Chicago

Calling all Chicagoland lovers of making, hacking, and tinkering!

Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire comes around but once a year, but making isn’t just a one-day thing.  Here are some activities for makers of all ages going on in Chicago RIGHT NOW:

Keep up with cool happenings in your city, and keep your imaginations active for Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside 2014!