Meet a Maker: Cooper with Outchasers

Meet Cooper with Outchasers! We’re so unbelievably excited to have the opportunity to play the Outchasers card game at Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest!

iLMsLBUk_400x400My name is Cooper Heinrichs. I’m currently a computer science student at CSU. I’m working on starting my own game development studio with our first game Outchasers, where players get to battle each other with giant robots.

What do you make?

I make games, specifically strategy card games right now.

How did you get started making and why?

Game development has been a passion of mine for my whole life. I kept applying for jobs and getting denied. I got tired of waiting for someone to let me do it, and decided to just do it! After I had made up my mind,

I found a good friend to work with and the rest haIMG_4733s been nothing but hard work and a dream coming true.

What part of STEAM Fest are you most excited for?

I’m most excited to show off what I’ve made, and see all of the amazing things other makers have brought.

What will you be demo’ing, hacking, making, playing with at your STEAM Fest booth?

I’m going to be demoing my card game Outchasers at my STEAM Fest booth. I’m going to give people the opportunity to get into a giant robot and beat their friends up, metaphorically at least!

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?

I really love to see people get into a game design mindset when they play my game. I’ve been working on it for two years, and everyone is always willing to give advice, but I enjoy it most when they come up with a fun way to play that is outside of our rules. I feel like I’ve made a playground and now people just get to enjoy it however they choose.

IMG_5043What is your advice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?

My advice to creators who are looking to get going is just that – get going! Every little step you can make will get you closer to your dream, but you have to take one step at a time and keep pushing. That leads me to my favorite lyric by Hey Rosetta – “It’s just a dream until you see it happening.”

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

My favorite part of the movement is the empowerment. Makers don’t sit back and wait for someone to solve their problems, they get innovative and make their own solution.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?

I see myself moving into a digital space so that I can reach a broader market and shed some of the limitations that physicals goods force upon us. I know our game will be even more fun once it’s created in a digital space.

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?

I always admire makers who can work with electronics. I haven’t had time to learn, but I am always so impressed by what those guys and gals can make!

Meet A Maker: Pinshape

Pinshape is offering a 20% discount on 3D models to MakerBoulder fans! Just use the code “boulder”. Oh and hey, if you sign up for a new account or already have an account, Pinshape started a deals page for their Community that gives 5-25% off of 3D Printing Accessories – https://pinshape.com/deals

What does Pi3D-Community-Team-Pinshapenshape do?

Pinshape is the next generation 3D Printing Community & Marketplace for brands, designers and makers. Our community helps make 3D printing easier and more fun. We help brands and amazing 3D designers bring their 3D printable digital products to customers worldwide while respecting their Intellectual Property.

Who is your target customer?

Pinshape is a community for anyone who makes, designs, or prints 3D models. We work with global Brands and 3D designers to bring really innovative products to market. Most of our community members own 3D printers and use Pinshape to explore high quality models to print. We’re focused on Brands, companies, 3D Designers, 3D Engineers / Innovators, Makers, Hobbyists, & Teachers!

What is your most inspiring customer feedback?

“We’re working crazy hard to create the best experience possible for our community members to explore high quality models. We’re growing 150% month over month for the past 6 months! That’s the best customer feedback we can ever ask for. We have a lot of community on Pinshape and people really appreciate how much everyone engages with each other to help make 3D Design & Printing, easier and fun.” – Lucas Matheson CEO at Pinshape

Some of the most inspiring customer feedback has come on 3DPI where customers backed our platform in an article comparing us to Thingiverse. Read & Comment Here.Pinshape

Here is what our community is saying about Pinshape.com:

“This site has been very valuable to me and I am sure others will think so too. There are some great creative ideas available as well.”
“It’s an amazing way to spread out your work and find extremely useful parts”
“Because the community is awesome”
“A more user friendly site, with more usable search functions”
“Pinshape seems to have a tighter relationship with customers and designers”
“Reputable, quality models, good platform to launch from”
“for more serious 3D printing individuals, the value of observing settings and results enables the tuning and diagnostics of equipment in a way that isn’t really being engaged thoughtfully or rigorously by others“
“3D Designers use PinshapPinshape-3D-Community-Word-Cloude because of the transparency within the community and know that their designs are safe with them. Other websites have frustrated 3D Designers because of Intellectual Property disputes where Designers have lost the rights to their Designs.”

Where do you see your company in five years?

One of the most exciting things about 3D printing is the ability for people to customize and personalize digital products. The way consumers purchase products is about to change significantly. The next generation of consumers will explore models online, easily customize them, click a few buttons and have a unique product(s) 3D printed and shipped the same day.

Pinshape is building a new way for brands and customers to create products and innovate. Our strategy is to focus on bringing the best quality products to market and leveraging technology to make the experience as seamless as possible.

Why is Pinshape important and what will your customers get out of being members?

-The Best 3D Designers in the world use Pinshape
-Friendly Community with Expert Knowledge and Wisdom
-Thousands of 3D Designs to Browse, Print, and Share
-A ton of information and free resources to help with 3D Designing, 3D Printing, and everything in between.
-Free membership gets access to deals on 3D Printers, Filament, and Accessories; savings up to 25%
-Streaming Technology to keep your Designs and Intellectual Property Safe
-Contests are run frequently that encourage the community of designers, and engineers to create, and share their work with aim of winning awesome prizes like 3D Printers, Software, Filament, and gift cards.

What else do you want our readers to know?

We’re at the very beginning of a really exciting time! 3D printing is here and it’s growing everyday. If you’re passionate about design, or just love printing, you’re invited to join Pinshape; learn from the most experienced makers, hackers and designers and contribute to our ever-growing community.

We have a community-first approach so we value every insight that is provided and plan to keep making our 3D Printing Community and Marketplace a destination that appreciates Design, Creativity, and Innovation.

We feature a Designer on a monthly basis based on their work and involvement within the community. At Pinshape, we want to help Designers get their designs noticed as well as printed for free or sold to buyers who want to pay for specific designs. We are actively helping Designers become Entrepreneurs by provided them with the opportunity to put their product designs in front of a qualified audience as well as to educate them on best practices through educational resources and newsletters to make 3D printing as streamlined as possible

How did your company get started and why?Pinshape-Founders 2

Everyone at Pinshape has a passion for 3D printing and the future of the industry. We love seeing new products being designed and printed every day. For us, quality is King, and we want to build a community and platform that brings the best quality 3d content to market. We want to work with the most innovative companies, 3d designers, hackers, makers, hobbyists and teachers to create truly unique and inspiring digital products.

We got started because we saw a need to bring really amazing 3D content to the market. Without great content, 3D printing isn’t exciting! We went through the 500 Startups accelerator program in Silicon Valley, raised our initial seed round, hired an amazing team, and built what Pinshape is today.

What is your best advice to a young entrepreneur who wants to start a company like you?

My best advice is to ask for advice from really smart, really experienced, and really passionate entrepreneurs. Unlike a lot of industries, the startup community is full of ultra generous founders who will take time and help. If you want to get someone, find someone who’s been there before and ask them specific questions that will allow you to take actionable steps to building your company.

Meet a Maker: HyPars

denny and elliotMeet Denny, Isaac and Mitzi Newland, The startup team for HyPars LLC. We are two dads, a mom, a husband and wife team, a semi-retired nuclear engineer, a very retired customer service manager, a tech support specialist and soon, professional toymakers!isaac and mitzi

What do you make?

HyPars, the cool name for hyperbolic paraboloids. They are geometry based building toys that we hope the world will soon come to love.

How did you get started making and why?

Denny invented the toys and needed a lot of help getting them to market. Mitzi got involved with the technical writing and Isaac pitched in. We’ve just been taking on more roles as they come up. Turns out there are a lot of hats to wear.

bloom bouquetWhat’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?

When Denny started, he thought he had put together every type of creation possible with HyPars. As soon as we showed them to new people, the ideas began flooding in! It’s great to see that everyone has amazing ideas and we’re happy to share in them. Mitzi’s favorite so far is the Helical Coil that a future geneticist made. Love it!

What is your advice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?

Perseverance is required

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

Seeing the ideas that people have come to life firsthand!

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?twisted

Hopefully, we will be creating our toys in our brand new building in Longmont, Colorado. We’ve secured land just east of Sandstone Ranch and should be breaking ground on the building within the next year!

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?

Hyperbolic paraboloids do not always lend themselves to creating the exact shapes you want. We still haven’t found a good way to make a cube shaped box, but we’re working on it.

Bonus question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

The owners of Zometools! We’re huge fans.

Meet a Maker: Boxwood Pinball

Boxwood Pinball is made by Bill and Travis, two artists that love pinball and use their talents to create the most amazing handcrafted wooden pinball machines.

William Manke owner of Boxwood Pinball is a kinetic sculptor. I enjoy the learning process and craftsmanship of woodworking. I spend my days inventing pinball machines and honing my craft.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 10.29.52 AMWhat do you make?
I make wooden pinball machines that use board game style rules.

How did you get started making and why?
Boxwood Pinball started as an artist collaboration between William Manke and Travis Hetman. We both love playing pinball and use our skills to create our own machines.

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?
Pinball designer Barry Oursler, who has games all over the world, described it as “The Flintstones” come to life.

What is your advice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?
The most important part of being a creator is being CREATIVE, show me something no one else has seen.10151892_282983288528537_3560899948052722914_n

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?
The maker movement is all about the melding of art and science, science lets your imagination come alive.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?
Young makers are all about limitless possibilities, using technology is second nature to them, and they will take us places we never dreamed of.

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?
Robotic Dinosaurs.

Bonus question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Albert Einstein11164789_433992793427585_988850267037516284_n

Boxwood Pinball will be joining us at this year’s Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest. If you’re interested in sponsoring the creation of a LIFE SIZE (6′ tall) multi-player pinball game, email Anne@MakerBoulder.com!

Inventions we Love! Matrix Flare

We had so much fun at Denver Mini Maker Faire!  We saw tons of great new things, and met interesting people that are working on creative and wonder-inducing new inventions.

One of our favorites is Matrix Flare (and they’ve signed up to exhibit at the upcoming STEAM Fest – so be sure to join us and check them out!)

We interviewed Tasha Bingman and learned more about Matrix Flare.  We hope you’ll support her Kickstarter campaign.  We think you’ll be inspired by her story.

An idea is born
matrix.cubes

Matrix Flare cubes show off their creative animations and artwork created in the Pixel Maker App.

Tasha initially created this project for her 7 year old so he could learn about circuits, programming, graphical user interfaces (GUI), and still be able to create art quickly.  He enjoys it so much she thought it would be a fantastic Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) project.  After they’d created a couple of them, they realized that they were playing with the animations so much they figured others would enjoy them as well. Read more

The Lessons of Lock Picking

maxresdefaultAt the Boulder Mini Maker Faire, we hosted a lock picking table.  Adults and children alike sat for hours experimenting with locks and practicing their lock picking skills.  One of the parents at the event questioned our judgement stating that lockpicking is promoting illegal behavior.

That really got us to thinking.  Is she right?  Why would we encourage illegal behavior?

We sat down and examined the sport of lock picking (called locksport – see http://locksport.com/), and the value and virtue of lock picking as an activity.  Here are the reasons that we love lockpicking and why we’ll have it again at The Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest in September.

Criminals don’t take time to pick locks.  Statistics show that crooks don’t pick locks (technically “non-destructive entry”), they break windows, kick doors, or cut padlock hasps (“destructive entry”). The criminals don’t have the patience to learn a skill which will slow them down in the act of stealing things.

Locksmithing is a legitimate profession.  Locksmithing — the art of fixing locks, which often means picking them — is a legitimate, sometimes profitable, legal profession.  One of the goals of our STEAM Fest is to connect young people that are exploring their career options – or adults that are looking for a new career, to possible professions.

A lock is a complex mechanical device. Really, a lock is a puzzle. Our lockpicking exhibit has “open sided” locks that allow participants to see the insides of a lock. Participants have an opportunity to see how the tumblers and locking mechanisms actually work — this familiarizes them with the functionality, and gives them insight into why these devices protect their belongings and property.  It might also help them to identify locks that are not as secure, as well as those that are.

Because locks are complex mechanical devices (puzzles), they require problem solving skills to both open, and close.  A younger child will enjoy closing and opening a lock with a key (which was also provided at the table), while his or her older sibling, (or any one of the dozens of adults that were interested in the locks), will enjoy multiple approaches to solving the puzzle at their fingertips.  Problem solving is a critical skill (in life), and a skill that has been identified by dozens of career success reports as lacking in American adults.

It’s important to learn persistence.  Part of being a proficient problem solver (and of being a productive member of society), is the skill of failing, and learning to persist and to try again. If you visit a lock picking exhibit, you will observe all of the participants are failing many times, until they find a solution that works — and then they’ll do that two or three times (often with an expression of delight on their faces).  This determination and persistence is important to learning outcomes, and lock picking is a terrific way to give kids (and adults), a taste of it, without being so frustrating that they are angry.

Everyone likes the joy of accomplishment. Because lock picking exhibits typically include some relatively easy locks to pick, most people got to enjoy success with the task — giving them a sense of pride, joy, and accomplishment — as great event-planners, we want folks to get as many of these opportunities as possible.

There is a large contingent of people around the world that participate in the sport of lock picking — check out http://locksport.com/ – they have competitions around the globe — these are all sporting and professional men and women who love the challenge of a good puzzle — they are not criminals, nor are they advocating or participating in destroying security, privacy, or personal property.

Activities like lock picking can stimulate great conversations. Any child (or adult), that is concerned about the illegal uses of lock picking, can facilitate a great conversation about “good” activities and “bad” ones — some lock picking is illegal and NOT OK — but that same activity, in a legal and constructive environment, can be a fantastic learning tool. We’re also excited to provide activities like this that get people talking about important and complex issues.

Join us at Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest and try your hand at a lock or two yourself!

We Built This (Cardboard) City…

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Cardboard City Bridge is a success!

05/28/2015 – Eric Gundersen

Balance, patience, and plenty of coffee are indispensable when it comes to constructing a 16’ x 16’ city out of cardboard in about 16 hours.  That is the mission before us at the second annual Denver Mini Maker Faire (coming up on June 13 and 14).  Eight of us gathered on a cold and rainy day in May for our first preparation/prototyping session and learned much during those four swift hours.

Lesson #1: Safety, safety, safety

Two finger tips were lost in the first 30 minutes – fortunately they only belonged to a glove while the hand inside was left unscathed.  Cardboard is dense and even with sharp knives it requires a fair amount of strength to cut.  Always keep your blade sharp.  If cutting becomes a challenge dispose of the blade properly and replace it with a fresh one.  Retract your blade or store safely between cutting sessions.  I had a friend who required multiple stitches after stepping on an X-Acto blade stored in a coffee mug, blade up, on the ground.

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At work on the prototype Cardboard City

We used hot glue to affix cardboard to cardboard which takes time to set.  The glue can get up to 380⁰ F.  Instead of risking burns use binder clips to hold your pieces as they cool.  Also, remember to unplug your glue gun immediately after use.

Lesson #2: Cutting

A straight edge or L-square is beneficial for making long cuts.  Make two passes on the cut so you don’t have to use as much pressure.  To make a clean corner for a fold, score the interior of your piece by making a shallow, straight cut.

Lesson #3: Creature Comforts

Working on your hands and knees can get uncomfortable.  Consider using knee pads or gardening kneeling pads.  Coffee also hits the spot.

Lesson #4: Balance
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Our prototype in progress!

Our team is fairly diverse with a variety of skillsets.  Some of us are more technical and some more artistic and everyone has strengths & weaknesses.  We organically broke up into three smaller groups to tackle infrastructure (base plates), landmark pieces (a skyscraper and suspension bridge), and “greebling”/”gingerbread” details in parallel.

It… was… sloooow.  After four hours (nearly 25% of our allotted time) we had:

  • 8 houses
  • 1 swing set w/ slide
  • 5 trees
  • 1 classy above ground swimming pool
  • 2 base plate platforms
  • 1 skyscraper w/ water tower
  • 1 bridge that took 10 minutes to make
  • ½ a bridge that took 2 hours to make

We learned that a bargain must be struck between quality and speed.  Work too fast and it looks like junk, while painstakingly obsessing over getting all the details right takes way too long.

As we made ready to leave and looked across all the modest structures we realized that it’s the city that we’re making; not the house or tree or skyscraper.  The flaws are absorbed by the scope, variety and whimsy of the landscape.  These pieces make up the whole just as your companions’ participation make up the experience.

We’re going to create an assembly line process to accelerate building the building of 144 houses, our goal.  We’re going to separate into groups for mass production (speed) and unique landmark pieces (quality).  Perhaps you’ll visit us at the Denver Mini Maker Faire on June 13th & 14th, or better yet roll up your sleeves and give us a hand.

If one day you find yourself building a city out of cardboard remember to be creative, be patient, encourage your partners and have fun!

Editor’s Note: See the Cardboard City, and many other curiosities (you can even build your own cardboard creation), at the Denver Mini Maker Faire on Saturday June 13 and Sunday June 14 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Join MakerBoulder and Level(3) in some maker magic!

Catapult in to Fun, At-Home Activity!

7bec1ae57a5e19277834222ff4122b40We are honored to attend events all around the Front Range where we get to interact with adults and children alike and talk about our mission.

Most recently, we were at the Frank Shorter Kids Fun Run for Health where we met several amazing inventors that created unique designs for desktop catapults.  This fun activity is best when you simply put the materials out, and let kids go wild.  They will invent, iterate and problem solve.  You can set up your own targets using cups and bowls, or the sink – or your mom (as long as the ammo is a marshmallow or a nice, soft pom pom!)

Materials:
  • Popsicle stickscandy-corn-catapult-1
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic spoons or plastic water bottle lids

Yep, that’s it.  If you want to get fancy, you could add:

  • Alligator Clips
  • Clothes pins

You can also visit our Pinterest page to see more complicated designs.

 

(Thanks to FrugalFun4Boys.com for the example here.)

 

Take a Kitables survey!

Have you ever seen an awesome project you wanted to do and then looked at the parts list and just thought “NOPE!”

Our friends at one of our favorite local start-ups, Kitables are trying to solve that problem by providing kits for projects you love right to your door. No more wasting time and money sourcing parts, thank goodness, that stuff takes for-ev-er and can be cray expensive.

But they need our help…

They are trying to make their products better for makers and would greatly appreciate it if you took a minute of your time to fill out this quick 9 question survey!

If you do you will be entered to win a Kitables Kit! (we’ve taken the survey 43 times already… just kidding, they won’t let us.)

Also if you would like to reach out to them directly with questions, suggestions, or just want to say hi email them at info@kitables.co

Maker Interview – Alison Hughes

8667564636_a6e9a1e73d_mMy name is Alison Hughes and I’m a lifelong maker. I love music, art, craft, bikes, and the outdoors, especially when I can bring a nerdy angle to it. Engineering has always been a creative pursuit for me. I used to write audio hardware drivers at Apple but now I’m pretty excited about smaller scale embedded systems, sensors, and automation projects.

What do you make?

Lots of things! I am currently focused on enhancing the backyard farming experience with embedded technology but I also enjoy designing and sewing my own clothes, knitting, and making mixes with my cherished vinyl collection. I’ve built my own electronic instruments and assembled LED adorned housewares like my motion activated LED coffee table. Craft and electronics go together so naturally!

How did you get started making and why?

Since I was itty bitty, making has endlessly entertained and delighted me, especially growing up as an only child without a lot of playmates. My favorite playthings in elementary school were paper, scissors, pencils, yarn, and tape. I made everything I could dream up from these simple materials: animal ears and tail (my best friend was a dog so I wanted to fit in with the canine crowd), fashion eye glasses, lots of drawings, costumes, and games. I learned to program BASIC on an Apple IIe in 3rd grade. As I grew older, I picked up oil painting, sewing, jewelry making, DJing, and all sorts of crafts.

My father is an engineer/DIYer and had a huge influence on me growing up. He encouraged me to enter the science fair in junior high which led to my first hardware make: “Cooling Computers: Heat Pipes vs. Fans”. My dad specialized in thermodynamics so I obviously did not come up with that crazy idea on my own, ha!

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?

“Why don’t you just buy it?”

What is your advice to women and girls looking to do what you do or make what you make?

The most importaALISON HUGHES_bringyoujoynt thing is to figure out what you care about in the world – it could be music, food, the environment, running, ping pong, dog clothes, particle physics – whatever gets you very excited – and then think of something you’d like to create or improve that relates to that interest. It has got to be something that you care about or else it won’t be any fun. Things that bring you joy will inspire the best ideas and projects that you will be motivated to complete despite tough challenges along the way.

And don’t be afraid to combine your interests even if nobody else thinks it makes sense. Putting novel things together is where the gold is, trust me. And finally, always bring empathy and your unique perspective to your designs. As women, you have so much to offer in this regard.

 

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

I love the way it empowers everyday people to make their world the way they want it to be. It encourages people to be creative, teach themselves new things in a non-traditional manner, and to put their ideas out there even when it feels scary. Most importantly, the maker movement brings people together to exchange ideas and relate to one another in an empathetic way.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?

I would like to turn making into my own business. I’ve made things for fun, I’ve made things for others as my job as a software engineer – now I’m ready to take on making as an entrepreneur. I care a lot about education and connectedness to the natural world so I see myself working to use technology to enhance those domains.

What do you wish you cALSION HUGHES_THEWAYTHEYWANTITTOBEould make but dont know how to (yet)?

I suck at analog electronics. I can hack it a bit, make some small mods but honestly it is a blurry, hand-wavy mess to me most of the time. Someday I would love to be able to design my own circuits from scratch!