We are starting the 2014 Season!
Save those old inkjet printers! Almost everybody has one that is languishing in the closet. These little low cost work horses are a marvel of engineering and a wealth of interesting and salvageable parts. If you've already cleared out your old one ask a neighbor or check a garage sale. They are usually available for $5 or less. I recently picked up several at a local tech recycle day. They don’t have to work and you don’t need to worry about cables or power supplies.
This summer we are going to learn about mechanisms, motors, connections, and electronics by disassembling inkjet printers, researching and comparing the parts and then repurposing the salvaged parts. We will 3D model the chosen parts and design additional needed parts to be 3D printed. The case or mounting platform will also be designed and then CNC milled from wood, plastic or aluminum. The resulting projects, simple or complex, will be left up to the individual makers. Inkjet printers contain DC and stepper motors, axles, belts, gears, optical encoders, ICs, etc. My goal is to have the kids hook parts together, electrically or mechanically, and then make them move with switches, remote controls or more likely with Arduino micro-controllers and simple program sketches. Once the kids get a couple of things hooked up and moving they’ll have a better idea about what type projects could be made. Who knows, this could be a jump-start into a project for Maker Faire 2014!
In order to achieve these ambitious goals much work will have be accomplished between meetings and with the support of a parent, older sibling or other mentor. For kids other than high schoolers with some experience, an interested and involved parent or other capable person will be necessary to assist during the meeting and then at home.
During the meetings I hope to provide an introduction, examples and resources and then answer questions and help as the kids and parents get started. Simple hand tools are all that will be required for dis-assembly and assembly. I will provide tools for the meetings. A laptop with a 3-button scroll mouse will be needed for running the free Sketchup 3D modeling software. Other electronic or material needs will depend on the project chosen by the kids. I will provide 3D printed and CNC machined parts from the kid’s 3D models. I usually have plenty of basic materials available from my left over pile. Special materials may have some additional cost.
This is the first time that I have had a summer workshop or really any type of workshop series so we will all be learning together. I have a lot of experience in designing and building things and love working with kids. I’m sure that with your help this will be a great experience for young makers. I know summer schedules are difficult so I will try to make each meeting valuable even if it’s the only one you can attend. Also I will try to make catching up on missed meetings easy by posting material to our website as well as scheduling a few weekday evening meetings along the way.
If you have an interest and are planning to participate please drop me a note. I’d like to have a general idea of how big a group we’ll have. As with the spring meetings, I will be sending an evite invitation out about a week before each meeting. Please reply to the evite if you are able to make it so that I can prepare for that particular meeting. Also, I am very interested in having a girls club that tracks along with the same material as described above. If this is something that interests you or your daughter I would like to talk to you, please contact me so we can work out an addition meeting time.
The level of interest so far seems high so I know that I could use the help of additional mentors. If you know of a maker that would be interested in being involved please pass this along. This would include technical and/or mechanically minded individuals as well as high school kids that have been involved with robotics or other engineering, electronic or programming projects.
Dates and Times:
Sunday afternoons 3:00pm to 5:00pm on the following days:
June 23rd & 30th, July 14th & 21st, August 4th & 11th
Please contact me with questions, comments and suggestions. I will really be relying on your feedback to do the best possible job with the workshops. Thanks for your interest. It is going to be a lot of fun!
Friday night May 17th: Maker Faire is here! We just got back from setting up the Flow Project booth. It was very exciting. Tomorrow and Sunday will be very busy days but we're all looking forward to it.
Maker Faire: What a great time! We all had so much fun talking with people about Young Makers and the projects that were on display. The weekend flew by. We can't wait for next year. In fact I think some of us are planning on going to the New York World Maker Faire in September.
I'm in the process of putting together a Summer program. If you are not on our email list and would like to get information on our plans as it becomes available please contact me via our contact page.
A new Makerbot Replicator 2X 3D printer arrived last week. It will play a prominent role in future club activities. It's going to be a great Summer!