Author Archives: Lish Dorset

Meet the Maker: Inventables

Easel and Shapeoko - No Logo

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Inventables.
Inventables is a small startup company in Chicago. We sell all the tools and materials you need to make pretty much anything, including digital manufacturing tools like 3D printing and 3D carving, and laser cutting.

What was the inspiration for the Shapeoko 3D Carving Machine?
The Shapeoko 3D Carving machine was created by Edward Ford, who ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. He wanted a DIY, affordable carving machine for his home and figured that other people did too. The response was immediate and very enthusiastic. Edward joined forces with Inventables to bring Shapeoko to a wider audience and has been selling the kits since 2012.

How long did it take to create your project?
Shapeoko was created in 2011, and version 2 was released in 2013. We released the companion Easel software in March of 2014, to make it easier for anyone to get started making their own ideas out of real materials.

As a maker, what inspires you?
Everyone on the Inventables team is a maker, and we all come at it from different angles. Some like to make jewelry, others build musical instruments and electronics, some build skateboards and go-carts and miniature rollercoasters. We’re constantly tinkering in the workshop and helping each other with our ideas.

What are you most looking forward to at Maker Faire Detroit this year?
We’re really looking forward to letting people try their own hand at 3D carving! We’ll be running hands-on demos all weekend to let people make their own bottle openers out of wood and aluminum. And also we’re fielding our own go-kart in the power wheels racing series.

Meet the Maker: Kidpreneur®

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and Kidpreneur Entrepreneurship.
Thanh Tran is a serial entrepreneur who founded Kidpreneur®, two software companies and D-NewTech, an organization which aim to inspire Detroit’s startup growth. The idea for Kidprenuer® came about when he realized there were not enough opportunities available for young children to learn about entrepreneurship and new technologies; especially computer programming. He believes that starting young could build a life-long interest and creates future job creators.

kidpreneur_logo3Kidpreneur® teaches kids aged 13 and under about entrepreneurship and the latest technology including coding, app development, game design, web development, robotics programming and more. The goal is to educate kids about technology and how they can build businesses using the technology they like. Continue reading

Three Lessons Eighth Graders Taught Innovation Garage About Innovation

No matter what type of activity we work with our clients, an innovation workshop, Chamber of Commerce event, innovation accelerator, invention session, or coaching a team in a development process, there is a common question that always comes up.

Why is innovation such a difficult concept for most adults?

Read more about innovation inspiration from Maker Faire Detroit sponsor Innovation Garage over on their blog.

Meet the Maker: Maker Works

The Nerdy Derby in action at Maker Works.

The Nerdy Derby in action at Maker Works.

What is Maker Works doing at the Maker Faire Detroit this year?
14410101780_af9e842617_oMaker Works, a makerspace in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been at every Maker Faire Detroit so far, and we wouldn’t miss it! In years past we’ve helped with the Learn to Solder activity and demonstrated various tools from our shop. But we’re always on the lookout for fun, new things to bring. This year we’re excited about bringing the Nerdy Derby to Maker Faire Detroit. We’ll have a 30-foot long, three-lane track for racing small cars down, cars that visitors will make and decorate themselves right in our exhibit space. “No rules.” Think the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby meets Mad Max (and minus the explosions, we hope).

Every clamp in the Maker Works wood shop was put to work getting the Nerdy Derby ready for last month's Open House at the shop.

Every clamp in the Maker Works wood shop was put to work getting the Nerdy Derby ready for last month’s Open House at the shop.

Why is participating in Maker Faire Detroit important?
Maker Faires are important because they expose visitors, especially kids, to the fun and power of STEAM–Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Maker Faires, museums, maker meet-ups, and makerspaces all provide opportunities for kids to learn about the world and how they can have an effect by making. They may start off making things to address their own specific wants and needs, but it’s not far from there to figuring out how to meet the wants and needs of others (perhaps for profit–a business!–or to make the world a better place). Maker Faires in particular are extraordinarily inspiring. The creator of that two-story bike over there? She’s not a professional bike builder, just someone who learned to weld and wanted to make something cool. The tiny satellite next to her? Built by amateurs exciting about the possibility of launching their creation into space. One of the best messages of Maker Faire Detroit for us is, “You can make cool things too.”

What do you find most inspiring about Maker Faire Detroit?
The creations of younger people, and the acceptance and celebration of their creativity among the visitors. It really is an appreciative crowd for a young maker to exhibit or demonstrate their creation.

Why We Go to Maker Faire

Coke and Mentos Guys at Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford - Courtesy of The Henry Ford

We missed the very first Maker Faire in San Francisco in 2006, but we’ve been going to as many Maker Faires as possible since 2007 – big ones like Detroit, San Francisco, and New York, and small ones like the Lewiston/Auburn Mini-Maker Faire near our home base in Buckfield, Maine.

Why do we go?

Maker Faires are a fabulous mix of creativity, home-brewed engineering, old-school crafts, and new-school robotics, not to mention Arduino hackers, paper airplane gurus, yarn bombers, 3-D printers, and Star Wars fans.

And every time it’s new.

Every time, we come home from Maker Faire full of new ideas and new inspirations. And the EepyBird laboratory is now home to an amazing three-foot-tall, glowing, enameled, steel jellyfish sculpture, a set of 800 plastic Strawbee drinking straw construction connectors, and a small elephant sculpture made from an expertly-bent, but otherwise unbroken and ordinary, wire coat hanger. Each was acquired at a different Maker Faire – because Fritz couldn’t live without them.

We go to Maker Faire not only to see surprising things like those, but to meet and talk to the people who create them. Maker Faire is amazing for the collection of cool, fun, and fascinating inventions people bring to show, but to us, the most important part, the real power of every Maker Faire and of the global Maker Movement, is the openness the Makers bring to the event. It’s not so much about, ”Look at the cool stuff I made!” as it is about, “Here’s the cool stuff I made – and here’s how you can make one, too!” That attitude makes Maker Faire one of our favorite places to be. Ever.

So we’ll see you at Maker Faire Detroit! Come see us drop 500 Mentos into 100 bottles of Coke to create huge geysers, all set to music, right in front of the Henry Ford Museum.

And you definitely should make your own Coke & Mentos geysers, too! You’ll find complete instructions right here.

EepyBird will be performing at Maker Faire Detroit on Saturday and Sunday, July 26th and 27th, at 4pm each day.

By Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe, EepyBird, AKA, the Coke & Mentos guys.

Download the Maker Faire Detroit App

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Stay up to date with this year’s Maker Faire Detroit app. You’ll find a Special Savings area that features a coupon code good for 25% off one-day admission (available for advanced tickets sales only and redeemable until July 19). Download the Maker Faire Detroit app in the Google Play or Apple App stores.

Call-to-Makers 2014 Has Closed

maker-faire-detroit-2012

Our call-to-makers for 2014 has closed. If you have a question about an application or involvement with this year’s Maker Faire Detroit, please email our Maker Relations Team at makerfairedetroit@thehenryford.org.

Call-to-Makers Deadline Approaching

Lifesize Mousterap at Maker Faire Detroit 2012

Makers! Don’t forget to get those applications submitted for the 2014 Maker Faire Detroit! The deadline to apply has been extended to June 20, 2014. Register here.

Tinker, Hack, and Invent with… 501st Great Lakes Garrison

4. R2 under const.

For our final Tinker, Hack, Invent Saturday of 2013 (can you believe it?!) our friends from the 501st Great Lakes Garrison will be patrolling Henry Ford Museum. But don’t worry! The good guys from the Rebel Legion will be there, too! Learn more about the group and what they’ll be bringing to the museum.

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What will you be doing during this week’s Tinker, Hack, Invent, Saturday?
We’ll be displaying the Droids, costumes and props that we’ve made. We’ll have costumers walking around the museum throughout the day. You can expect to see Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Jedi knights, R2-D2, Tusken Raiders, Jawa’s and a Droid Factory full of droid parts similiar to what you might find in a Sandcrawler. Also blasters, Light Sabers and much much more. All built by hand by members of the 501st Legion, Rebel legion and R2 Builders club.

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What are some of the favorite DIY activities among your fellow Star Wars enthusiasts?
We meet periodically as a group and have “Armor Parties”. An Armor party is just a bunch of us getting together and putting our resources together to build a costume or prop. We have members with various backgrounds. Some are good at vacuum forming, sculpting, making resin parts etc. while others are good at electronics, and machining. Some of us are just good at assembly and ideas.

3. R2 under const.

What other projects are you working on these days?
There’s always something in the works. We currently don’t have protocol droid (C3PO) in the area, so I’ve started on this. It’s an expensive project if done right so it will be a while before he’s completed. You might see some of his parts lying around in the Jawa junk yard this year. And there’s always a secret project or two in the works :)

What’s one making tool you can’t live without?
Dremel tool. I’ve used it on every costume and droid that I’ve built.

What did you enjoy most about Maker Faire Detroit this year?
The guests. We spend most of the day answering questions and taking photos. There’s something about the attendees of Maker Faire that isn’t like any other event we do. Maker Faire attendees are really interested how things are put together, how we did it, and this is our chance to pull R2′s dome off and show them what’s inside.

Tinker, Hack and Invent with Ben’s Encore

Ben's Encore

This weekend we’re pleased to present an action-packed Tinker, Hack, Invent Saturday in Henry Ford Museum with familiar Maker Faire Detroit faces HYPE, Kettering University and Ben’s Encore. Get to know a little more about Ben’s Encore and the project they’ll be making.

Ben's EncoreWhat will you be doing during this week’s Tinker, Hack, Invent, Saturday?
We will be making bottle cap sleigh bells, shown above, with the guests of Henry Ford Museum this weekend. We like to use recycled materials to make instruments that are fun, cheap, and easy. These sleigh bells will be perfect for the upcoming holiday season. For instructions on how to make these sleigh bells and other ideas, download our free instrument building guide.

Ben's Encore

What are some of the favorite hands-on activities at Ben’s Encore?
The hands-on activity of ours that people like the most is our giant percussion wall. We created it for Maker Faire Detroit this year. We basically took some wood and a bunch of recycled materials that make cool noises and built a giant wall for people to bang on. Unfortunately, it is extremely loud so it won’t be traveling with us to Henry Ford Museum this weekend.

What other projects is the group working on these days?
We are currently building partnerships with music organizations in the metro Detroit area to roll out our 2014 series of grants supporting musicians and music education. In support of these grants, we are having a chili cook-off fundraiser on Dece. 15 at Dragonmead Microbrewery in Warren. More info can be found here.

Sheet Metal Punch

What’s one tool you can’t live without?
We are all feeling quite a bit of love for our sheet metal punches right now. These punches allowed us to pre-punch holes in roughly 10,000 bottle caps in preparation for this month’s Tinker Hack Invent Saturday. We used to use a hammer and a nail to punch a hole in the each bottle cap, so these punches have saved us quite a bit of time. That method worked fine enough when we were hosting smaller workshops, but imagine trying to use a hammer and nail to punch a hole in 10,000 bottle caps!

What was your favorite part about Maker Faire Detroit 2013?
Our favorite part of Maker Faire Detroit 2013 was easily all of the amazing people in attendance. When you run a small non-profit organization, the power of your work lies in the people that support it. We were energized by all of the people at Maker Faire Detroit that expressed interest in our cause and our work. That is one of the most wonderful things about Maker Faire Detroit: it provides an opportunity for the creative minds in the area to display their ideas and their work, and gives a chance for the community to experience these ideas and interact with them.