Sunday, October 12, 2014

Show-and-Tell Meeting

We were at an in-between stage for this meeting: the power system for the cupcake car is ready, and now it needs a structure around it. Some are starting to think about individual projects. With nothing specific on the agenda, we had a show-and-tell.

Show-and-tell is not just for grade school: it's a good way for members to share what they're thinking about and working on outside of meetings, and the simplest question/answer pair can be both instructional and inspirational.

Here is some of what was brought last week:
Doug's Yellow Submarine, made from a painted soda bottle, 3D printed additions, & hand drawn designs
Leo's gloves with carbon fiber knuckles, brought to show us what the material is like
Dave's r/c-controlled wheelchair base
The Campiz family's surplus computer, ready to be disassembled
the gyroscope Bob got through Kickstarter

Finally, Doug talked us through some design considerations when creating the cupcake car base: sizing it to fit a seated person, making sure the wheels are well spaced for comfort and maneuverability, keeping the parts accessible for adjustment and repair. Getting that started is our next shared task.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Starting the Cupcake Car

Last meeting the boys wired up new batteries to the wheelchair motor controllers and motors to confirm that the system would run as intended. They also learned to write up a wiring diagram for same.
batteries, motors, controllers and wheels
Over the weekend, the tubes and tires were changed out and cleaned.
prying old cracked tires off with screwdrivers
Jim explains the use of grease to help get the new tire seated
inflating the new tire
The bonus of having skilled mentors: when Sebastian wondered aloud how knurling was done, Jim was able to take him to the metal lathe and show him.
the knurling tools next to the metal blank
metal shards from the lathe
We now have a solid basis for some kind of motorized car. The next step will be designing the base and body.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Maker Club Considerations

This is our fifth year of meeting together to do projects. We have evolved over the years from a few kids working on projects at kitchen tables into an all-ages group of students, tinkerers and expert mentors who meet twice a month in a warehouse space and work on several group and independent projects.

Yet our roots are in the Young Makers arm of the Maker Faire, and our group is still tied to many of those values:
  • choosing a project that is interesting and challenging
  • taking responsibility for finding necessary information and mentorship
  • accepting the inevitability of mistakes and working through them
  • sharing one's work so that others might learn from and build upon it
It looks like we will have a couple of large group projects this year: upgrading and modifying the Power Racer, and creating a miniature mobile cupcake a la the Acme Muffineers. A couple people have also spoken of individual projects, as well.

Meanwhile, Emilio has been been building an art fence at home:  
photos by Sabrina Granados
And Sebastian recently made a charging box for a local school:
photos by Sebastian Simmons