Project updates

YoungMakers - Willow Glen Makers - Meeting 3

posted Mar 16, 2013, 8:05 AM by Lendy Dunaway

We had another great meeting last Saturday. There was a large attendance with new members still exploring ideas and others that are well on their way. I had some help taking photos this time. My son Davis and wife Cammie were able to get a number great shots that help capture the activity of the group. I've attached a pdf file[find it here] I put together that is a collage of some of the pictures along with a few comments. I'll put it on the website in the File & Links page. All the pictures and more are now included in the Gallery.

We have another interesting Open Make this Saturday. There will be a number of activities and interesting speakers. The event will wrap up with a maker plussing session from 2-3pm. Be sure to bring your drawing, prototypes, materials, etc. It will be fun to see and share project progress. I hope you all can make it. It's another chance for us to connect and help each other along. For those that haven't been yet be sure to sign up on the page. This will get you on the list for free admission to the Open Make located down stairs at the Tech.

Keep up the great work guys. Email me and send me pictures.
See Saturday!

Open Make @ The Tech Followup

posted Mar 1, 2013, 9:32 AM by Lendy Dunaway   [ updated Mar 1, 2013, 10:17 AM ]

There was a great turn out at the tech for the most recent Open Make. The rocket building was a huge hit. Rick’s project really makes something that seems complicated completely accessible. The kids came right in and got busy building, rebuilding and modifying their rockets. The rockets themselves were simple paper and masking tape constructions. The key was using the PVC pipe stands during assembly. The result was near perfect ballistic flying machines.


The central open area at the Tech made for a prefect launch site. The completed rockets were slipped over a PVC launch tube. A bicycle pump supplied the compressed air fuel. Twenty PSI of pressure was stored in a larger PVC canister and secured by an ordinary irrigation valve.  A battery powered switch would open the valve to release the stored energy. The air is vented through the launch tube that the rocket is mounted on sending it flying! Several actually stuck in the ceiling.


A number of familiar faces were in attendance. The meeting gave us extra time to connect and talk about the progress of our projects. It’s very nice to have the entire space of the museum to explore. This month’s theme was flight. The “Meet the Makers” session had three presentations about different aspects of aviation, rocketry, flying robots and flight simulation.


A panel discussion with questions to the makers finished up the session. A number of the questions were to the Viper team, a group of young makers that has been involved with Maker Faire projects for several years. The take-away for me was that this is a very valuable experience for the kids and adults alike and that significant knowledge and skills development is always part of the result. These projects have the potential to bring positive lifelong benefits to all the participants.


The last part of the Tech Museum event was the plussing session. The groups were split into two for showing and viewing projects and ideas. The group that was showing stayed at the tables while the others wondered about asking questions and making suggestions. This was a really fun time. The kids loved talking about their project ideas and there was no shortage of suggestions either. This is a good method for getting "out of your box" and expanding the context of your project. There were a lot of creative ideas floating around, more than a few stuck.



I have an update from the Flow game team. The boxes for the tiles seem to be working out well. The two real milestones have been reached. The first is that the acrylic top with pixel mounting has been prototyped and seems to be working out as hoped for. The second is the one that really had Davis and Matthew smiling. They managed to get the pixel strips lit using the arduino. After spending some time lighting the entire strip in solid colors they set to work


on getting the strips lit with multiple colors and patterns. This involved a crash course in C programming, number bases and logical operators. The boys were able to cobble together a few functions that allow them to display color and patterns at will. Next will come load cell monitoring and tile communication. Good work guys!


I've gotten some questions lately similar to: “Now that I have a plan how do I get started.” This transition from design to development is obviously a crucial step in the project process. Size, shape and dimensions followed by materials and mechanics is often the starting point for me. Budget and funding are important early considerations as well. I use Sketchup to create full scale three dimensional models for all of my projects large and small. I’m happy to help those that are interested in building a 3D model and love teaching Sketchup to others but it is not necessary. Getting a good idea of the needed parts shape, size and quantity will give you a list to get started on.

I know a number of you are interested in a project that involves remote control. I've setup some individual meeting with a few kids and mentors that have contacted me. If you are having trouble getting started I think it might be a good idea to setup a meeting with me and a mentor or two that have related experience. This could make for a great jump start by having each team member leave with a specific list of action items. Contact me if you feel this would be helpful.

Keep working hard and sent me some updates.


Charlie's Project Presentation

posted Feb 27, 2013, 11:45 AM by Lendy Dunaway

Be sure to check out Charlie's project presentation of the ACH-Bot.

The Awesome Foundation

posted Feb 27, 2013, 10:14 AM by Lendy Dunaway

Money, Money Money...
Is your project going to require a lot of cash? Would $1,000 cash help you make your project more Awesome? Then you need to take a look at this:


For the Arts and Sciences and the advancement of Awesomeness in the universe.


Hi World! We are the San Francisco chapter. We want to fund projects in the Bay Area that delight people and spark discussion.

Finally, Youth month has arrived! For folks under age 18, please apply between Feb 1 and Feb 28th! Everyone else, please hold off your application until March!

San Francisco chapter proposals are due THE LAST DAY OF EVERY MONTH. Winners are announced by the middle of the following month.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook (icons at the top of this page) for the latest news, events, and projects happening here in the Bay Area.

Or email us:

Meeting 2 Minutes and Open Make...

posted Feb 15, 2013, 10:46 AM by Lendy Dunaway

Greetings Makers, Mentors and Parents:

Important pre-Meeting Minutes Announcement: If you are planning on attending the OPEN Make at the Tech Museum this Saturday (and I hope you are) be sure that you are registered here. If you are registered you would have received an email from Rick with the Subject line: “South Bay Young Makers - Open Make@ The Tech on 2/16 - Important Details!.” I have added a copy to our website for those that did not receive it. Registration details are included. Thanks Rick. I’m really looking forward to the Open Make. There’s still a little time left for me to put some signs together or you can make your own. Try and bring some of your project work. Davis and I hope to have a prototype of his Free Flow tile.

I thought we had a great meet on Sunday, lots of new faces and new project ideas. Twelve Makers and eleven Parents and Mentors were able to make it to the meeting. We started again with a front porch chat. For those new to the club we had brief introductions followed by general comments about the Maker Faire and projects. Several of the young makers had clearly given their projects a good deal of thought, three had PowerPoint presentations (hey guys, can I put those on the website?) and most shared some details with the group. We have an exciting group with a diverse set of skills and capabilities. The projects ranged from earth worm composting systems, child size kitchen complete with sounds and lights, robotic balls and flying copters.

After about thirty minutes we moved inside for a plussing session. Our dining room had been cleared out for a party the night before which left a great space for four tables and twenty chairs. There were pencils, markers, graph paper, tape and scissors. We spent an hour or more building up project ideas. The Makers pretty much stayed in one spot while Mentors circulated from group to group. I was pleased and excited by the energy in the room. From my perspective everyone was engaged and really making progress fleshing out their projects. I’d really like to hear some of the thoughts and impressions from you guys. Please offer any and all suggestions for keeping these meeting fun and productive.

I want to take a minute to thank the Mentors. You guys did a great job working with the kids. It was obvious to me that they really appreciate and respect all that you have to offer. I could hear the excitement in the young maker’s voices as they described their projects. We are very fortunate to have a great collection of willing and able Mentors. Thank you guys so much for sharing your time and knowledge with the group.

For those that were new I did another quick trip through the shop. I’m planning on putting together a demo to run on the CNC Router for the next meeting. My plans are to design a “Brain Storm Support Station” that will conveniently store the tools necessary to capture and communicate the “Stokes of Genius” that Makers tend to have.

We finished with a demo and talk from Wolf Witt. Wolf is an Engineer and avid RC helicopter hobbyist.  He brought in three beautiful helicopters and gave a nice presentation of the mechanics and controls of each. Thanks Wolf! Your show-and-tell rounded the meeting out nicely.

I want to again encourage the project groups to contact me with any needs or questions that I can help you with. If I can’t help I’ll find someone who can. My shop is your shop. Send me an email and we’ll set up a time to make some saw dust.

For those who are interested in learning Sketchup: I have some time next week to schedule a couple Sketchup introductions. Check the website Calendar. It's never too early to start drawing with Sketchup and you can make a lot of progress on your own. Download the free version at When you start Sketchup the first time it will ask you to choose a template. I would recommend using the product design and woodworking-inches template. Then with Sketchup up and running I would start here with the 4 "new to Sketchup" videos. Pay special attention to Navigation (the ability to quickly and easily move around your drawing) it is very important to the drawing process and is covered in the first intro video. The short cuts for zoom, pan and orbit are mapped to the scroll wheel of a three button mouse. In my opinion the use of the navigation shortcuts via the mouse scroll wheel is essential to the Sketchup drawing process. Otherwise it can be slow and frustrating. A touch pad and/or a one button mouse can result in spending more time trying to move around to see your drawing than actually drawing. Be sure to pause the videos frequently and practice the steps. You’ll be drawing on your own in no time. If you have any problems, get stuck or just can’t get it to do what you want it to email me. I can respond with a model or a short screen shot video.

It’s time to get to work. Put together material lists and schedules and clear out some working space. Don’t forget to take photos. I’ve got a Maker Faire sign for each of you who sends me some build photos for the website.

See you Saturday…

South Bay Young Makers - Open Make@ The Tech on 2/16 - Important Details!

posted Feb 15, 2013, 9:59 AM by Lendy Dunaway

South Bay Young Makers!

Our next Open Make is almost here!  It's this Saturday (February 16th from 10-3) at The Tech Museum of Innovation.  Please read this email for details about the day and check:

If you are receiving this email, then you are registered for Young Makers.  If you know of others who need to register still,  they can do so at: participants are asked to sign a participation agreement stating they will be actively involved in the program.  If you have not signed one yet, we'll have some available Saturday at check-in.

When you arrive on Saturday, come in the main entrance of The Tech and tell the folks at the desk you are with Young Makers and give them your name. You'll then be given tickets to enter the museum.  Remember, on Open Make days each Young Maker gets into the museum for free along with 1 adult mentor.  Additional family members can get into the museum for the group rate.

During our hands-on workshops from 10-12, there will be plenty of rocket-building & flying machine making for all the YM's, but please also note, that unlike last month, the Meet-the-Makers talks are now first-come, first-served. Seating is very limited in the Studio, so you should definitely line up early to secure a seat. We'll start letting people in line into the talks at 12:15.

After our Meet the Maker talks, you'll check in again at a designated table downstairs near The Tech Studio.  Check in for the plussing sessions will start at about 1:30.  Here you will receive your Young Makers lanyard and official name badge as well as a hard cover Maker notebook for all your ideas and drawings. While lanyards and names badges will be given to registered kids and adult mentors, only kids will receive the Maker notebook.  The official name badge will also serve as your entrance ticket to future Open Make sessions and entrance to Maker Faire.

Plussing sessions run from 2-3 p.m. are an opportunity to share your in-progress work with other project teams. Be sure to bring as much of your work so far as possible. Lists of project ideas, sketches, early prototypes, etc., are all appropriate. Be prepared to answer questions like: what is your project idea, how did you come up with it, what materials will be required, what do you expect will be the most difficult or challenging part, etc.  We'd like everyone to participate in the plussing session. Don't worry if you don't have a lot to show yet --- that's normal.  Also, if you are not connected with a specific club, you can do that during the session.

Finally, parking/direction info to The Tech can be found at:

I look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday.  If you have questions, you can email at the address below,

Rick Schertle
Young Makers South Bay Regional Coordinator

Meeting 2 Announcement

posted Feb 4, 2013, 11:50 AM by Lendy Dunaway

Hey Makers!

I hope you guys have had a good couple of weeks and are ready to dig in on our projects. Our next meeting is this Sunday 3-5 pm here at my house.

Continue to give your projects some serious thought. I’d like for each team to leave the meeting Sunday with both some short term and long term action items. In the short term we want to plan for the Open Make at the Tech the following weekend. Think of a team name and project name and I’ll work to have some signage. Bring any materials that you have that you think you will be using as well as sketches you’ve made and/or pictures you’ve found. If you have found any similar projects on the web, bring or email the links to me so we can look them up. We want to have a good showing at the Tech.

For our long term action items we want to begin our journey to Maker Faire. We want to start zeroing in on project requirements in greater detail. It’s never too early to start considering things like size, cost and materials etc. For those of us with ambitious projects, scheduling and setting milestones will be important.

Be prepared to ask the mentors questions and take notes during the meetings and don’t hesitate to email me for any help you may need. I’ll do my best to help you get started and overcome any obstacles you may encounter. We can schedule time on the phone, skype or even in the shop if necessary.

Here’s some big news: We have a Website! You can find it at Be sure to bookmark it and visit it often. Pass on any comments or problems you encounter to me so that I can fix and improve the site. This is a site especially for featuring our projects. We want it to grow in fun and interesting content so that when people find it they will think “I want to be a part of that!” So send me your favorite links, project updates and photographs from your make sessions. Which reminds me, don’t forget to take photos. Let’s all be sure to document our making. Think about assigning photos and note taking to a team member that would like doing that sort of thing. It will be great to have that record to look back over after the Faire.

It's not too late to get started so be sure to invite any friends or classmates to send me an email to be included or just bring them along to one of our meetings. I’m excited to see hear you ideas.


Meeting 1 Recap...

posted Feb 4, 2013, 11:37 AM by Lendy Dunaway   [ updated Feb 4, 2013, 11:52 AM ]

Please feel free to pass this email on to others that you think might be interested in Young Makers and if you rather not receive future Maker related emails from me just reply and let me know.

First Meeting Summary:

I thought the meeting went great. We had 7 young makers and 7 adults attend and several others that want to participate but were unable to attend. I really enjoyed meeting new people and exploring the project possibilities.

We spent the first 30 minutes or so discussing the maker movement, community and faire. Those of us who have been to the Maker Faire shared our experiences and observations. We emphasized the variety of the exhibits in age of the makers, size and type and encouraged the makers to think big, blend different ideas and to not be afraid not knowing how to make it.

After fielding a few questions we moved back to the shop to take a look at the tools. We briefly talked about several of the larger machines, their functions and the materials they were designed to work with. We stopped at the SawStop table saw to discuss its purpose and function which lead to a more general topic of shop safety and supervision. The last stop was at the CNC Router.

Before we left the shop we spent some time talking about materials and looking at some samples of shop projects.

The last hour was spent talking about project ideas. The ones that received the most attention are listed below:

Trebuchet with data logging projectile and 3d trajectory mapping
Trampoline with interactive lighting and power generation
Water stream music organ
Spherical land and water robotic vehicle
Fruit and vegetable chopping peripheral/appliance for use with Fruit Ninja video game.
Controller set shaped like pickaxes, swords and others with smart features for interacting with the Minecraft video game.
Robust and waterproof remote control system for making fruits and vegetables slice and dice capable for aquatic battles
Human scale “Free Flow” video game that uses a team of people stepping from tile to tile to connect colored dots and solve puzzles.

There was interest in learning and using SketchUp for project design. I will be creating a Maker Club calendar and including several times that I could host an introduction.

Before we broke up Sean gave everybody a quick quad-copter demo:

I'll send out a note when I get the calendar put together, in the mean time, work on the those project ideas, make some notes and draw some sketches. Please contact me if I can help.

Post Number One...

posted Feb 2, 2013, 1:26 PM by Lendy Dunaway   [ updated Feb 3, 2013, 9:34 AM ]


This is the first post to make sure anything is working and to also let people know that I'm working on the web site. Please send me questions, updates and photos and I will be sure they get added to here.

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