Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exploratorium Open Make Session 2

"It's really about how well we can play together." ~Josh Short from Cardboard Institute of Technology
What can you make with cardboard?

You can make miniature buildings, adding paint and architectural features, even scaled photos of actual doors and windows.
 Stack the buildings, and you get something else altogether:
You can make masks and props:
Full-sized medieval gates:
You can even make yourself into a giant robot:
Saturday's Open Make session was all about cardboard. Cardboard feels like the most egalitarian material, being both abundant and intuitive to work with. There probably isn't a child alive who hasn't cut apart a box and taped it back together to make something or another. Cardboard is both pliable and sturdy, lightweight and solid, flat and textural. It is easy to glue and paint, to cut down or build up to any size.

The speaker session included this cardboard stop-motion video:

If you want to listen to the hourlong speaker session in its entirety, the webcast is here.

Just as inspiring was the plussing session. Young Makers from the Bay Area presented their projects in whatever stages they were in. Sometimes this meant printouts from the web, sometimes there were drawings or wiring diagrams, and a few were in the first stage of creation.

John and Alex (and also Sam, who was skiing) plan to make a Ruben's Tube.
Isabella is working on a K'nex horse which will accurately show the motion of a running horse by turning a single crank.
Joseph is refining his Halloween Metroid costume.
And Savannah, along with her mentor Sara, were making a music visualizer.
There were also plans for go karts, a secret-knock gumball machine, and a power-saving mechanism to turn off electrical power to appliances when the room is unoccupied.

Whether they had begun working or not, all the Makers were articulate in describing their projects and what they wanted to do next. Those who had begun the iterative process were also clear about what they wanted to improve.

We left inspired to begin projects and meet up with our group again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Introduction: S

I'm S.

I'm in the Young Makers Yolo group and I'm making a modded Xbox 360 controller. I'm going to paint it and mess with the wiring to help me with fps games. So far I have everything for rewiring the inside.

To start my project, I got the controller to mod. I did a google search and found some Instructables and YouTube videos that showed how to paint the shell and the connections I need to solder in order to make a rapid-fire mod.

Here are some of the links I found:



To take off the back of the controller, I needed a special Torx T8 security screwdriver. It just came a few days ago. It is now taped to the top of my controller box so I won't lose it. I'm waiting to get 22 gauge wire.

Once I have taken apart the controller to mod it, I won't put it back together until I have painted the shell.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February Meeting

One of the dads in our group has access to a storage unit with more than enough extra space for setting up tables and chairs on a weekend. It is also airy and light, with a restroom and access to a side yard for running around. In short, it is the perfect meeting place for Young Makers Yolo.

This same dad created a beautiful Ford hot rod, complete with a miniature pedal-car version on the back. Talk about an inspiration. It's probably no coincidence that all the kids in this group (or who expressed interest but without being able to commit this year) have parents who themselves love to build and tinker with things.
Just before we met, I'd been in correspondence on Freecycle about a circular saw being given away. I thought it would be great to start a community toolbox, both for learning and for loaning. The generous Freecycler offered us some hacksaws and ball peen hammers, as well.
All the kids have ideas about something they want to build or modify, but only L brought his Xbox controller to the meeting, ready to open up before adding some rapid-fire controls.
This attracted a lot of attention.
So I think we're off to a good start.