White House Maker Faire’s Joey Hudy Speaking at Boulder MMF!

Joey Hudy announced the inaugural White House Maker Faire. He is Intel’s youngest intern. He fired a marshmallow cannon with President Obama. He once built a 7-foot cardboard trebuchet  that, “totally collapsed,” he says, when he tried to hang two dictionaries as the counterweight (note the lack of accompanying video link…). Thanks to a generous sponsorship from 3D drawing software, SketchUp, Joey will be speaking at the Boulder Mini Maker Faire, Jan 31-Feb 1, 2015!

When Maker Boulder chatted with Joey and his mom last night, we asked how many versions of the marshmallow cannon preceded the one that famously blasted a puffed sugar confection across the State Dining Room and he said the famous version was the first. “All we really had to do with it is make an enclosed area, pressurize it and have a valve that goes to a barrel,” he said.

Elementary, dear Watson. That is, if you’re Joey Hudy. That’s because, while the ‘mallow cannon may have been Joey’s first of that design, it was far from his first design. Joey knows how to make. And once you know that, you can make anything.

He does his making in a spare room of their new house. “We don’t have basements in Arizona,” he says. But when they moved, he saw they had an extra room and he, “claimed it as my own,” he says. So far, despite Joey’s penchant for cannons and trebuchets the room is still standing — no scorch marks and the drywall is still pristine. “My dad likes to paint the walls and he’d notice if there was, like, a smell,” Joey says.

His dad does data analysis for American Express. “He’s the numbers nerd and I’m more an engineering nerd…and kind of a general nerd,” says Joey, who is taking just one high school class — Pre-Calculus — this winter/spring before graduating from the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a program for gifted students run by Arizona State University. Next year, he hopes to be accepted and attend the Olin College of Engineering just outside Boston, where he’s interested in innovating the next generation of power control panels — PCPs to EEs in the know.

In addition to devices that shoot stuff, Joey says his favorite projects include making 3D scanners, Arduino kits, and a 10×10 LED array cube powered by an Intel Galileo. You can make a trimmed down version: HERE are Joey’s instructions for a DIY 3×3 LED cube that he published with MAKE Magazine.

That’s great and all, but we wanted to know more about the cardboard trebuchet. For example, why is a trebuchet so much cooler than a catapult? “It uses gravity, you know,” says Joey, succinctly encapsulating in his understated way something essential about making: you do more with less; you understand the basics forces that act on your systems; and then you make it with cardboard and sometimes it works better than others.

We can’t wait to hear what Joey says at the Boulder Mini Maker Faire. Click HERE for a ticket and please join us in being inspired by what is truly one of the most promising up-and-coming maker minds we’ve ever seen.

How a Maker Faire Collaboration Fixed a 20-Foot Tesla Coil

Have you ever wondered exactly what the heck a Maker Faire is all about? And why you would want to be involved as a VOLUNTEER, a MAKER or an ATTENDEE at the Boulder Mini Maker Faire, Jan 31-Feb 1? Let Jeff Scott answer all your burning questions. Jeff is the estimable guru of all things facilities and volunteers for Maker Boulder. Mssr. Scott did the same for last year’s Denver Mini Maker Faire and tells the following story of collaboration that could only have come from a room full of makers, hackers and tinkerers. You want to know what a Maker Faire is all about? Keep reading…

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Inside the Maker Classrooms of Friends’ School Boulder

Friends.Maker.1Steve de Beer, Head of School at Friends’ School Boulder, contributes this post describing his school’s innovative, year-long focus on making in the 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. For a hands-on taste of making in education, stop by the Friends’ School booth at the Boulder Mini Maker Faire, Jan 31-Feb 1! (Early bird tickets end on the 24th!)

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Who remembers Tinker Toys?  Me! Me!  Who spent part of their childhood inventing new machines with Erector Sets?  This guy!  Who used to make tunnels and cities and imaginary worlds (complete with imaginary knights and dragons) out of moving boxes and junk? Right here, me and my siblings!

What did these kinds of toys have in common – what do they still have in common? They were all designed to inspire the young me to be a maker instead of a consumer. They encouraged me to create.

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Is the Best Superhero Power the Tongue Lasso?

After dancing with Richard Simmons on the show “Who’s Line is It Anyway,” Wayne Brady quipped that he felt, “ten pounds lighter…and just a little dirty.” Dang, he makes me laugh. You know when he makes me laugh most? When they’re doing the superhero bit, that’s when. Here’s how it works: One actor leaves the room and the other actors are assigned super powers by the audience. A character gets toe jam that shields him from danger. Another can see through clothing. Another’s tongue can lasso any moving object.

You know, that kind of thing.

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New Boulder Mini Maker Faire Poster!

Think back to your teenage bedroom. C’mon, admit it: you had a White Lion poster hanging next to that blowup of Kirk Cameron. Now as adult you know better. You have tasteful art hung on your walls, some of which you didn’t even buy at the Pottery Barn. But lurking just beneath your cultured veneer is that rowdy teen. Now is your chance to reconnect with your teenage self. Please feel free to print as many copies as you like of this truly White-Lion-awesome Maker Boulder poster and use them to plaster your current bedroom. If, for whatever reason, wallpapering your bedroom with robot posters isn’t politically feasible in your house, consider printing posters for use in your place of business or at other places of business that happen to have wall space not yet covered by advertisements for bands with pot references in their names.

Here without further ado or preamble is the new, super sweet Boulder Mini Maker Faire Poster:

Maker.Boulder.Poster

Best. Animal Shadow Puppets. Ever.

Oh we think we’re so slick, sitting here in the present and looking back at the follies of the past. But the pace of innovation in which newness steamrolls oldness means that sometimes we lose things we really should have kept. Like astronaut ice cream. We really don’t eat nearly as much astronaut ice cream as we should. And what ever happened to the band INXS? Another great historical cultural achievement that seems lost or at least marginalized in the modern era is the art of hand shadow puppets. Today is the day we change this. Join Maker Boulder in bringing back the art of the shadow puppet. These should get you started:

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Can Soldering Teach Emotional Regulation?

Dr. Kristi Pikiewicz originally wrote this for SparkFun and gave us permission to repost — it’s a small town here in Boulder! In this post she shares a nontraditional use for soldering, namely to teach emotional regulation in a therapy setting. What’s your soldering experience? Calming and meditative or infuriating and awkward?

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Homemade Halloween: Gizmo is More Than a Costume

At your school, how many kids will be dressed as ninjas? How many will be Star Wars or Harry Potter or superhero characters? How many animals or vampires or witches? How many will be dressed as Gizmo? No, not the adorable fuzzball from the 1984 blockbuster film Gremlins, but Gizmo the robot as conceived in the brain of Maker Boulder co-founder Martha’s 9-year-old son, Coulter. The answer is exactly one, that is if you go to Coulter’s school. See, Gizmo is one of a kind and the process of one-of-a-kind costume creation makes more than a costume — the process of making creates an emotional connection between the builder and the product that no trip to Target can recreate. Check out what Coulter wrote about his design process:

“First, I drew a picture of the robot. I didn’t know his name, then, we had to make him to name him. This picture is our plan:

Gizmo.Plan

I showed my mom the plan and she had some ideas for how to create his legs – the problem was how could I bend my elbows and knees? So we cut strips of cardboard and used duct tape to keep them together. We went to EcoCycle’s Charm area to select boxes that were the perfect shape. Well, one box was leftover from Mom’s new computer. We painted the boxes with chalkboard paint. Then we painted the legs and arms with silver paint. It was a long day, and here is what he looks like now that he is done. We had to spray him with fixing spray so the chalk wouldn’t smear. After he was done, I named him Gizmo.”

GizmoPersonally, I remember the time I dressed up as a jukebox; when people put candy in a slot I would sing a song. And I remember how hard it was to bend chicken wire into the shape of Nightcrawler’s shoulder pads. About all those other store-bought costumes I wore all those other years? Meh, I can’t recall. It was the process of making that burned the now-slightly-mortifying memory of the jukebox into my brain. Let’s be honest: it’s the Tuesday before Halloween and so your child probably has his or her costume already made or picked out. And let’s also be honest about something else: some years you have the time and some years you just don’t. But memories built on making don’t have to limited to Halloween. Next weekend, when that ninja costume is shoved in the dress-up box never to be seen again, what could you build? Maybe it’s sugar rockets, built on Saturday and launched Sunday afternoon? Maybe it’s a trebuchet? But I’ll bet you this: if you build for Halloween, your kids will remember it. And if you build something — anything! — the weekend after Halloween, it’s that home-built project your kids will remember, far beyond any experience that can be bought in a store.

Making Makers at the Colorado Association of Libraries 2014 Conference

Since the 1970s, when it became cheaper to buy a new color TV than it was to fix the old one, we’ve lived in a throwaway culture. That’s what Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing creator, Editor and Chief of Make Magazine and Boulder native told an audience at the Colorado Association of Libraries 2014 conference yesterday. I was on a panel at the conference and was lucky enough to sneak over to Mark’s talk.

Mark said that 100 years ago, 80 percent of Americans were natural makers – we lived on farms and had to create the things we needed. Then there was the Great Making Lull (GML) of the 1970s through early 2000s, when the perfect storm of desire, access to inexpensive research and development tools, prototyping materials, funding sources like Kickstarter, access to manufacturing like 3D printers, laser cutters etc. and DIY sales channels came together to lower the barrier to entry to innovation and making.

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5 Ways to Foster Innovation in Children

Last week, Maker Boulder published a series of short posts by Alice Kembel describing how to foster innovation in kids. She should know: her husband, George, is Global Director and Co-Founder of the Stanford D-School and Alice is a thought leader in maker education. The Kembels are new to Boulder and bring with them their three innovative boys. And after last week’s series a couple of you intrepid readers asked if you could pretty please just have all the tips in one place instead of having to click post-to-post and inevitably getting lost in the process. So here they are: Alice Kembel’s 5 Ways to Foster Innovation in Children!

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