Tag Archives: Schools

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!

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!

Meet the Maker: DIY Circus

DIY CircusDo wondrous things. That’s the philosophy behind Scott Priz’s DIY Circus. He believes that theatre isn’t just something trained people do on stage;  theatre can be made by anyone anywhere.  Everyone has an imagination; it’s just a matter of using it and having fun in the process. You don’t need a stage for any of that (though it is nice to have one). DIY Circus also believes in the importance of audience in all theatre. There doesn’t need to be a fourth wall. All actors should involve the audience and make them a co-conspirator in the performance.

Members of DIY Circus have put on their own shows throughout Chicago, even starting on a homemade stage in someone’s backyard. Today, members of DIY Circus collaborate with Pocket Guide to Hell to put on historical recreations and events in bars and parks throughout the city, such as the First Ward Ball and Chicago Children’s TV Shows.

DIY Circus is excited to return to Mini-Maker Faire. All day, DIY Circus will put on charming acrobatic performances by students from local circus school, the Aloft Loft. DIY Circus will hold workshops for kids where they learn to build scenes, learn about the structure of a play and then act. There will also be a puppet performance with a puppet making workshop. Come on by and release the inner circus performer within you!