The editorial team just received preview copies of Volume 10 in the mail, and it looks fantastic! Flipping through, we were struck by how many of our authors and subjects will be coming to the Maker Faire next week, so we wanted to give a shout-out to a few of our most faithful makers. Some, like Tod Kurt (“Roomba Hacks”) and Michael Wernecke (“Homebrew Radio-Controlled Submarine”), and, of course the Crucible (covered in “Proto”), have already been previewed, but here’s a new batch of makers. Some, like neon-bender Shawna Peterson, robotics artist Douglas Repetto and Howtooner Saul Griffith, were at the Maker Faire last year, and others are coming for the first time. Be sure to visit them next weekend!
Shawna Peterson is featured in “Workshop,” Volume 10, page 120. We went to her neon-bending workshop in Emeryville, Calif. to check out her artwork and get a glimpse of the life of a modern-day tube bender. Shawna has been bending neon for 20 years, most of those years making commercial neon signs. Her current focus is her neon art, creating illuminated sculptures and furniture by combining found objects with new and scrap neon. She also teaches neon classes in Oakland. Stop by her demonstration workbench at the Maker Faire! Combining found objects with new and scrap neon, illuminated sculpture and furniture, she will exhibit a master tube-bender’s craft. See her glass bending techniques using a set of portable crossfires.
Douglas Irving Repetto writes the regular “Art Work” column for MAKE (in Volume 10, he writes about artists created what he calls “Illuminated Circuits” on page 28). An artist and teacher, his work, including sculpture, installation, performance, recordings, and software is presented internationally. He is the founder of a number of art/community-oriented groups including dorkbot: people doing strange things with electricity, ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show, organism: making art with living systems, and the music-dsp mailing list and website. Douglas is Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center. He’ll be at the Maker Faire to show off his piece “Foal,” an awkward baby horse table. It will stroll around the Faire grounds while he works on birthing a sibling foal from nothing more than scrap wood, a pile of dirty rags, and lots of ice coffee.
Mitch Altman, author of the Brain Machine Project in Volume 10 (for instructions on how to achieve altered states of consciousness with a simple microcontroller device called a Sound and Light Machine, see page 88), is an inventor with decades of experience with microcontrollers and teaching. His (in)famous and wildly popular TV-B-Gone makes it fun to turn off TVs in public places. At the Maker Faire, learn how to have microcontrollers do your bidding! Use inexpensive MiniPOV kits to make quirky gadgets like trippy colored blinky lights, brainwave hallucinators, a simplified TV-B-Gone, or EL-wire sequencers.
You can’t have missed the Howtoon we run in each issue–the latest is no exception; be sure to check out the gorgeous spread on page 154 showing how to build Das Bottle, a submarine built from two plastic water bottles, some rubber bands and a few paper clips. For those of you who don’t know, Howtoons are cartoons showing kids of all ages “How To” build things. Each illustrated episode is a stand-alone fun adventure accessible to all. Howtoons are designed to encourage children to be active participants in discovering the world through Play-that-Matters — fun, creative, and inventive — and to rely a lot less on mass-consumable entertainment. Howtoons creators Nick Dragotta and Saul Griffith (who is also the author of the “Make Trouble” column for MAKE and on the advisory board) will be at the Maker Faire ready to build projects from previous Howtoons and perhaps to create new ones!
Tom and Wendell Anderson are at it again! Authors of Volume 10’s Primer (see page 159), which covers electronic test equipment so you can see and understand what’s happening inside a circuit, they’ll also be at the Maker Faire under the guise of Quaketronics, a company they founded to provide experimenters with articles and kits for education and amusement. Stop by and learn to take high speed photographs using the Quaketronics high speed photography kit. Pop a balloon and they will take your picture with the balloon in mid-pop. They’ll have plenty of balloons on hand, and photos will be uploaded to Flickr.
David Battino is a frequent contributor to MAKE and author of “DIY Music: The Sweet Sound of Particleboard” in Volume 10, about George “the Fat Man” Sanger’s thrift shop open-back amp. He’s also coming to Maker Faire with his wife, Hazuki Kataoka. They will perform short dramas from their Storycard Theater series, winner of the 2004 Dr. Toy Award for Top Ten Creative Products. Storycard Theater dramas use the Japanese kamishibai (“paper theater”) format popularized by Japanese street performers in the days before TV. Kamishibai presents stories on large cards with artwork on the front and text on the back so the audience never loses sight of the picture. As 50,000 street performers knew, kamishibai decks are also easy to make and perform yourself. Stories will include Momotaro the Peach Boy, Kaguya Hime (The Bamboo Princess), Ookikunare (Grow Bigger!), and even a kamishibai version of Jack and the Beanstalk. For kids of all ages!
Tim Anderson, author of the “Heirloom Technology” column in MAKE (check it out in Volume 10 and learn how to make sandals from tires and seatbelt straps), will also be at Maker Faire to demonstrate his homebrew Aquaskipper (be sure to check out his Instructable of hopping hydrofoils, including history and videos). Bounce up and down and the Aquaskipper’s wing flaps and propels this homemade, human-powered, wooden, hull-less hydrofoil ornithopter like Sweden’s Trampofoil and South Africa’s Pumpabike.
Bill Gurstelle is an inveterate tinkerer who has been writing best-selling books, lecturing, and providing professional engineering services in the technology industry for the past 25 years. He’s a contributing editor of MAKE, and the editor of the Maker’s Calendar, full of MAKE’s favorite events from around the world. In Volume 10, he also wrote “DIY Circuits: Making it with the Make Controller,” about the best ways to use the Make Controller Kit. At the Maker Faire, he’ll be offering a historical and technological review of the catapult as well as a preview of the day’s King of Fling contest.
Maker Faire, Bay Area Maker Faire: May 19-20, 2007, San Mateo Fairgrounds – Link.