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.

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 Pinshape 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?

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.

Who is Temple Grandin?

Dr. Grandin will be joining us for Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest on Sunday morning and will be speaking at 2 p.m.

Temple Grandin is a professorRW Temple headshot of animal science at Colorado State University and she has been a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals.

She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Temple’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Fortunately, her mother defied the advice of the doctors and kept her out of an institution. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech. As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

RW Photo Temple with Cow

Temple Grandin with a cow

Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University.

I have done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment I have designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with companies on animal welfare.

Following her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, she has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling plus 63 refereed journal articles in addition to ten books. She currently is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where she continues her research while teaching courses on livestock handling and facility design. Her book, Animals in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling an Transport, now has a fourth edition which was published in 2014. Other popular books authored by Dr. Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, Animals Make us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach, The Way I See It, and The Autistic Brain. She also has a popular TED Talk.

Dr. Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin Pierce College and received an honorary doctorate from McGill University, University of Illinois, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duke University. She has also won prestigious industry awards including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine and the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In 2015 she was given the Distinguished Service Award by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Her work has also been recognized by humane groups and she received several awards. HBO has recently premiered a movie about Temple’s early life and career with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2011, Temple was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” In 2012, Temple was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

IMPACT STATEMENT OF DR. GRANDIN’S WORK

Dr. Temple Grandin has had a major impact on the meat and livestock industries worldwide. List below are six specific examples that document this influence.

  • Design of Animal Handling Facilities – Dr. Grandin is one of the world’s leaders in the design of livestock handling facilities. She has designed livestock facilities throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In North America, almost half of all cattle processing facilities include a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Her curved chute systems are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many producers to reduce stress during handling. Temple has also designed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. This system is being used by many large corporations to improve animal care.
  • Industry Consulting – Dr. Grandin has consulted with many different industry organizations each year for the past ten years. These efforts represent the majority of her time as she has a part-time appointment at Colorado State University but a thriving business as a consultant. The majority of her work is involved with large feedlots and commercial meat packers. She has worked with Cargill, Tyson, JBS Swift, Smithfield, Seaboard, Cactus Feeders, and many other large companies. Her company also does design work for many ranches. She was also involved with several major packing companies. Her consulting has led to work with companies such as Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle, and McDonald’s Corporation, where she has trained auditors regarding animal care at processing plants. She also has consulted with organic and natural livestock producers on animal care standards The animal handling guidelines that she wrote for the American Meat Institute are being used by many large meat buying customers to objectively audit animal handling and stunning.
  • Research – Dr. Grandin maintains a limited number of graduate students and conducts research that assists in developing systems for animal handling and, in particular, with the reduction of stress and losses at the packing plant. She has published her research in the areas of cattle temperament, environmental enrichment of pigs, livestock behavior during handling, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility housing dairy cattle and effective stunning methods for cattle and hogs.
  • Media Exposure – Dr. Grandin has provided worldwide media exposure for the livestock industry and, in particular, with issues relating to animal care.       She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 hours, CNN Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, and has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and Time magazine. Interviews with Dr. Grandin have been broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) and she has been taped for similar shows in Europe.       She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people. HBO has made a movie about her life starring Claire Danes.
  • Outreach – Dr. Grandin maintains an appointment with Cooperative Extension at Colorado State where she has been active in making presentations to Colorado ranchers and farmers as well as those interested in the packing industry. She is sought after to discuss issues of quality assurance. Privately, she has developed her own website (www.grandin.com) which has been expanded to include information on livestock handling in addition to information relative to the design of handling systems. A section on bison handling and one in Spanish have been popular. Over 2,000 people visit the website every month and approximately 1,000 download significant amounts of information.       As many as 1,431 files were downloaded daily and over 42,000 have been downloaded in a single month.       The website has been accessed by people from over 50 countries worldwide. She also did a TED talk in 2010 entitled, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.”
  • International Activities – It is clear from the wide variety of information accessed via the website, presentations made in international settings and interest in livestock handling systems developed by Dr. Grandin that her work has reached an international audience. She typically travels to make presentations internationally 3-5 times annually.

View Temple’s TED Talk

 

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!

Meet a Maker: Hypatia Studio

Hypatia-smiles-1-of-1-216x300Hypatia Studio is a husband-and-wife team of Matt Roesle and Mahi Palanisami. We are both mechanical engineers by training. Mahi has worked in construction and HVAC design, and is interested in documentary radio and film as well as dance. Matt has researched heat transfer and fluid flow, and is interested in all most things nerdy. We’ve known each other for about eight years, have been married for two, and started our 3D printed jewelry business a little over a year ago.

What do you make?

We use 3D printing to make mathematical jewelry and sculpture. Our designs are based on geometrical concepts such as Platonic solids or braids, or are direct embodiments of equations like strange attractors or fractals, or are derived from simulations of physical things like water flow or sound waves. I usually write our own software to make the 3D models of our designs, have them 3D printed using an online printing service, and then do finishing work and assembly.

How did you get started making and why?3D printed_Hypatia Studio_fancy clean platonic solid earrings

I’ve always been interested in building things. I started learning computer programming, in BASIC, at about age 8; and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved to take things apart to see how they work. (Successfully putting them back together came later!)

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

Recently we had the opportunity to show some of our jewelry in a fashion show at RAW Denver. The hair artist also took some strange attractor sculptures I had made, and wove them into the models’ hair as fantastic hair pieces. I never would have thought to do that!

What is your adv3D printed_Hypatia studio_Julias scaffoldice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?

The most important thing to have is hands-on experience, and the best way to get it is to just start trying to make things. At first the things you make might not work more often than they do work, but if you can figure out what went wrong and learn something from it, you haven’t failed. (Even though it might not feel like it at the time.) Theoretical knowledge, like you get through a college education, is helpful too, but you will get more from college if you have practical and life experience first.

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

I really like how the maker movement encourages people to just go out and try things. You don’t need formal education, fancy tools, or a big workshop to make really cool things. I also like how the proliferation of hacker spaces and events like the Rocky Mountain STEAMfest emphasize local co3D printed_Hypatia Studio_Silver swoop ringmmunity-building. The local can get lost in this age of national TV networks and the global Internet. Most of us will never be on national TV or in a magazine like MAKE or get 15 seconds of fame by going viral, but we can play an important and lasting role in our own community by helping, teaching and mentoring, and celebrating each other.

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

Right now we are trying to grow our jewelry business enough to support us as a full-time business. In three to five years, I hope that we will have succeeded in that, and we will be starting to think about and plan our next endeavor – what that will be, I have no idea yet.

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

I made the 3D p3D printed_Hypatia Studio_choker bronze steelrinter we have at home, and we use it to make prototypes of some of our designs and some larger sculpture pieces. But it can’t really handle small or intricate designs, and I wish I knew how to make the kind of printer that can print small, detailed parts in wax or a more durable plastic like nylon!

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!

Meet a Maker: Martha with Maker Boulder

I am a serial entrepreneur with three small start-ups under my belt (well, one of them is not a startup anymore as we’ve been in business for over five years). My first venture is my ongoing education consulting firm. The second is an electronic word game – similar to Scrabble, that you play on your computer or phone, only it has some unique rules, and the third is MakerBoulder, we produce events and activities that connect people to hands-on learning.

What do you make?

In addition to making businesses, I am a “try-anything-once” crafter – I’ve done a lot of scrapbooking, needlework, sewing, and photography, and I dabble in duct tape, gardening and a few other random crafts. I also love to cook.

How did you get started making and why?

I don’t have a choice, really. I can’t sit idle. Even in front of the TV. My mind needs to be creating something, so I keep trying new things. Some stick for a while, and some are abandoned (even before they are finished sometimes).

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

I wear this silly duct tape apron to a lot of events. It’s been photographed over two dozen times, and once a mother and daughter made me stand there while they talked about their own – before I could leave, they had each designed their own projects, and made a plan to get together to make their own. It actually made me feel really great – to see them creating in action, and to see how excited they were to try to make one on their own. That’s what this is all about – get your hands dirty, try things out, iterate, etc.

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

Just do it. The first one won’t be perfect. The next one will be better. No matter what, you’ll feel great about making something.

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

The look in someone’s eyes when they discover something new, or when they accomplish something for the first time. “I did it!”

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

I hope it is just like it is today. That I get to try lots of new things, dabble in a few favorites, and with any luck, work with others to help them try things, too.

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

Well, I’ve always wished I could make great music – but I can’t sing, and I can’t seem to learn to read music, so that’s a struggle. Aside from music, I’d love to learn to work with metals – silversmith, or even heavy metals – welding. So cool.

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

Meryl Streep. Sandra Bullock. The CEO of Tech Stars. My Mom.