Enter the Maker Camp Low-Tech “3D Printing” Challenge

I like the juxtaposition of this Makey Selfie: a flat Maker Camper with a 3D Makey in his hand! [via the Hurley Young Makers Club]

I like the juxtaposition of this Makey Selfie: a flat Maker Camper with a 3D Makey in his hand! [posted by the Hurley Young Makers Club]

Attention young makers: We are preparing for the start of this year’s six-week-long Maker Camp (starts July 7), and to get everyone amped up, we have a fun challenge running right now: Make your own 3D Makey the robot!

Here’s how you do it:

1. Print out this template of Makey on a standard paper printer.

2. Take a fun photo of your Makey out in the wild. Maybe it’s on your backyard fence, or riding your pet dog, or inside your refrigerator. Get creative!

3. Post your Makey Selfie to the Maker Camp community page, with the hashtag #makercamp, by the end of the day Thursday (that’s tomorrow!). You can include a caption too, if you want.

We will pick our favorite Makey Selfie, and that person will win a Maker Camp T-shirt, stickers, and buttons. Can’t wait to see your Makey out in the wild!

makey in the city

Maker Week for Teachers


Photo courtesy of Maker Education Initiative

We know teachers are the quintessential makers, because they are making the makers of the future. And the best teachers we know love to roll up their sleeves and take on do-it-yourself projects with their students.

This week running up to Maker Faire, and over the weekend, we and our friends at Maker Education Initiative are hosting more teacher-friendly events than we ever have had before, and we’re delighted to invite you to them.

This post outlines most of what’s happening from Thursday through Sunday of Maker Week.

Coming with students?

Check out tips for leading a Maker Faire field trip, from teacher Walt Hays. Don’t forget to distribute those waivers and print out some pages of the updated Maker Faire Classroom Playbook and described in detail for last year’s edition. Bring your students by the Young Makers booth to inspire them to start a club and show their projects next year, and stop by the Maker Camp site at Maker Faire to sign up for this summer’s online and free camp program.


Friday: Behind-the-Scenes, Virtual Field Trips

pulpoMaker Connections wrap up on Friday, May 16, the day before Maker Faire opens! Take your class on a virtual field trip to the San Mateo County Event Center to get a peek behind the scenes with our crew and Makers.

What’s happening the day before Maker Faire opens? A lot!

At 10:30 am (Pacific), meet members of the Maker Faire crew and hear what it takes to make Maker Faire happen, along with their must-see picks for this year’s Faire.

At 1:00 pm (Pacific), meet some Maker Faire favorites as they get ready for the big weekend and learn what it takes to go from idea, to reality, to Maker Faire.

MakerConnectionsFind links to watch these live shows (and ask questions!) at MakerConnections.com

Everyone is welcome to tune in and ask questions, but if your class would like to participate live on camera, please fill out our Maker Connections interest form here.


Special meetup and sneak peek, just for teachers

Back for its third year, our ever-popular Educators’ Meetup remains a highlight of the Maker Week. We hold it onsite at Maker Faire so you can be one of the very first to preview the fairgrounds on Thursday, May 15th, 4-7pm. This after-school professional development opportunity features hands-on activities, demonstrations, workshops, networking, freebies (and pizza!) We’ll even have a special behind-the-scenes tour with our Maker-in-Chief and Director of Maker Faire, Sherry Huss! The meetup is open to both formal and informal educators, but space is limited, so sign up now!

Making Possibilities

Maker Education Initiative’s first Making Possibilities Workshop on Thursday, May 15th will bring together more than 100 carefully selected educators who want to implement making into their classrooms and youth serving organizations. While they had an overwhelming response to their open invitation and you cannot go in person, you can join in by watching live videos of the keynotes: Dale Dougherty (Event and YouTube) and Sylvia Libow Martinez (Event and YouTube). Sign up with Maker Ed to find out about any additional video to be produced and released by Intel in the future.

Plan your visit

We have a free app available to download for iPhone, iPad, and Android. You can also go online and choose Makers to visit by topic, for example, all Young Makers.

You could also be kept quite busy just with all the on-stage talks we have that are possibly relevant to your work with kids and inspiring the next generation of Makers. Check out the Education Stage’s full schedule with dozens of talks. I’ve woven those in below with the other relevant talks on other stages or with projects by kids.

  • 10:30 : Maker Mom Bootcamp: Carving Time To Make by Sarah Hodsdon on the Education Stage
  • 10:30 : Amazing Science by Michael Meneghetti on the Make:Live Stage
  • 11:00 : Curiosity Hacked: The Learner Controls the Learning by Samantha Cook on the Education Stage
  • 11:30 : How to ReMake the World through Making with Kids by Jennifer Turliuk on the Education Stage
  • 11:30 : Making an Electric Flower with the Arduino by Waverly and her Dad. on the Make: Electronics Stage
  • 11:30 : Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show by Sylvia Todd on the Make:Live Stage
  • 12:00 : My Cardboard World: Arduino in Context by Derek Runberg on the Education Stage
  • 12:30 : Empowering Diverse Young Techies through Soft Circuits by Kanjun Qiu on the Education Stage
  • 12:30 : Girls as makers and hackers: Lessons learned from DIY Girls by Luz Rivas on the Education Stage
  • 12:30 : Learning by Discovery by Charles Platt on the Make: Electronics Stage
  • 1:00 : Top 10 Myths about Making in K-12 Education by Angi Chau, Jaymes Dec, Christa Flores, Aaron Vanderwerff on the Education Stage
  • 2:00 : Making Makers Out of Young Children by Rebecca Grabman on the Education Stage
  • 2:00 : PancakeBot: Holy Cow, It Worked by Miguel Valenzuela on the Make: Electronics Stage
  • 2:30 : How to Start and Run a Maker Club for Kids by Rick Schertle on the Education Stage
  • 3:00 : Effective STEM Education: Project Envisioning with Young Makers by Jerry Valadez on the Education Stage
  • 3:30 : Maker Ed Cafe by  on the Education Stage
  • 4:00 : Raspberry Pi: Teach, Learn Make by Clive Beale on the Education Stage
  • 4:30 : How and Why To Teach Children to Code by Gary Stager on the Education Stage
  • 4:30 : littleBits introduces the Arduino module by Ayah Bdeir on the Center Stage
  • 5:00 : Making on a National Scale: NOVA’s MAKING STUFF Outreach Community by Scott Asakawa on the Education Stage
  • 5:30 : Teach Kids To Code: one girl’s journey with Raspberry Pi by Richard Jordan, Alexandra Jordan on the Make: Electronics Stage
  • 6:00 : What makes a maker?—Habits, attitudes and skills that you can teach aspiring makers by Andrew Milne on the Education Stage
  • 6:00 : The Science of Being a Maker by ”Science Bob” Pflugfelder on the Center Stage
  • 6:30 : Adopting a Maker Philosophy in Schools by Nate McClennen on the Education Stage
  • 7:00 : From Anarchist Free Schools to Modern Maker Spaces by Jennifer Wyld on the Education Stage
Check for updates on our Maker Faire Learning page.

Makerspace in the Classroom


During my eight-plus years of teaching students in a makerspace-style environment, I have witnessed first-hand a surge of interest in problem-based curriculum from both our youth and their parents due to its ability to engage students and to help them retain the knowledge.

This is why the marriage between the classroom and the makerspace is so potent. It fills the gap between classroom theory and the physical world. Historically, sparse classroom budgets have been the root cause for a lack of modern equipment in the classroom. This made sense, of course, when an entry-level 3D printer could cost more then $20,000. Now, a derivative of the technology can be purchased with the proceeds of a single bake sale, or even through parent donation.

The beauty of the makerspace is its ability to not only inspire students, but to accelerate their knowledge intake through exciting and imaginative curricular application. In order to facilitate this, schools need to consider the design constraints imposed by makerspace equipment and how it might affect classroom layout.


How to Make a Mini Maker Space for Mini Makers

Min Maker Space

A Mini Maker Space

Got a pint-sized Maker just bursting with new projects for the New Year? Christian Tsu-Raun at Scholastic Parents has some great ideas for creating the perfect at-home Maker Space for kids. With advice on tool and supply storage, work surfaces, and project management, Tsu-Raun offers tips for parents to design with their child to create a workbench that is customized to the needs of their mini Maker. As he explains, “For kid makers, having a dedicated space to work on projects can be pretty wonderful, and it just might help them create more than they ever imagined.”

Animatronics Kits for Learning

(c) Ian Cole / Pat Starace

Still from video by Ian Cole / Pat Starace

I just stumbled across the Star★Bot animatronic platform kit out of the community of makers in Florida. It’s designed for kids to “create animatronic robots and learn microcontrollers, mechanics and papercraft.” Its Kickstarter campaign ends in a few hours! Pat Starace developed the kits at FamiLAB “Central Florida’s provider of space, tools, and community for creative technical learning and projects.” (All the organizers for the Orlando Mini Maker Faire met at FamiLAB.)

Human model included in all kits. Toon and Toonimal included in StarBot Menagerie Kit.This campaign’s fully funded, but you can sneak in your support to get some of the kits into your hands. Get one for the maker, teacher, puppeteer, hacker in your life…or even an aspiring writer, playwright, or filmmaker! They offer acrylic bases for Humans or larger-eyed Toons and Toonimals.

Pat displayed the kits at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire last month and the Miami Mini Maker Faire last weekend. And Orlando gets a big plug in this mischievous little dragon’s hilarious video by Ian Cole.

Coming across this, I was reminded of Animatronics Workshop, a terrific site by Paul Dietz, about introducing programming and interactive design to kids.

Riley Morgan: Drone Pilot and Young Entrepreneur

Photo: Andrew Terranova

Riley Morgan at the Drone & Aerial Robotics Conference
Photo: Andrew Terranova

Riley Morgan, age 14, has the drive and intelligence to take him places. Most recently, it took him to the Drone & Aerial Robotics Conference, where he was the youngest attendee. He made quite a splash, getting to demonstrate his own quadcopter on the main stage. He also got to talk and exchange ideas with key attendees like Colin Guinn, Chief Innovations Officer at DJI, and Raphael “Trappy” Pirker, who is well known for his daring aerial videography. He made quite an impression for someone who just heard about the conference and decided he should go.

Riley has always been a maker. He loved Lego as a kid, and made all kinds of creations. At age 10 he got his first Lego Mindstorms NXT set, and that opened up a whole world of building and programming robotics and electronics. Later at school he competed and did fairly well in FIRST Lego League, applying all he had learned to solve challenging tasks.

Before the age of 13, he got interested in the online building game, Minecraft. Perhaps obsessed would be a better description. He built his own multi-player server, which he then migrated to a hosted server and began charging for access. The server became popular enough that he was able to make the $300 he needed to buy an Parrot AR.Drone 2.0. He dove into this new world of piloting drones with typical enthusiasm.

Riley Morgan's Quadcopters

Riley Morgan’s Multicopters

It didn’t take too many flights (OK, crashes) before he broke his AR.Drone. He started looking for something more robust. He bought a DJI Phantom quadcopter next, and kept upgrading. He eventually graduated from buying completed drones to building his own from DJI multicopter kits.

He flew his multicopters all over, every chance he got. People started noticing, and stated asking him questions. Seeing an opportunity, he started a website, made his own business cards, and planned to sell his assembled drone kits. He actually only sold one. After hearing the widely publicized news of a man who killed himself with a RC helicopter, his father became concerned and made him shutdown sales.

Riley's Aerial Photography

Riley’s Aerial Photography

Undeterred, Riley now he offers aerial photography services through his website, Storm Multirotors. If you live in NYC area and are interested, check out his site and contact him.

For his next adventure, Riley would like to create a weather-proof quadcopter to fly in the rain. He would equip it with a 3-axis gimbal mount for optical, infrared and night vision cameras. Perhaps even make it float for water landings. Riley hopes to approach local authorities to offer his services with this all-weather quadcopter.

Whatever Riley sets his mind to next, I’m sure he will continue to make an impression. With his enterprising spirit, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear more about this young man someday.

New in the Maker Shed: Bigshot Camera Kit

You may have heard about the Bigshot Camera Kit from Shree Nayar’s Science Friday talk, presentation at Maker Faire New York, or noticed in for sale in the Maker Shed Tent. Now, we’re excited to announce that the BigShot Camera is available for immediate shipping in the Maker Shed online store.


The Bigshot camera was designed with education in mind. It’s a complete digital camera that you assemble yourself, learning how it works along the way. The detailed descriptions, illustrations, and demonstrations teach you the fundamental concepts of optics, mechanics, electromagnetism, electronics and image processing as you build the camera. Once complete, the camera allows you to tap into your potential as a photographer. You’ll learn how to compose shots, experiment with lighting, framing, motion, and how to use the polyoptic wheel to explore new creative views – including 3D. After your pictures are taken, use the free Bigshot software (PC and Mac versions available) to download, process, and share your images with the world.

Using Bigshot 2

Although the Bigshot was designed for young makers, it’s just as much fun for adults. It’s also green in that it requires no batteries or external power. Just wind the integrated crank when your batteries get low and keep taking pictures!

More details and tech specs for the BigShot Camera Kit can be found in the Maker Shed.

Columbus Mini Maker Faire Set for Oct. 13


The second Columbus Mini Maker Faire gets underway this coming Sunday, from noon to 6pm at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI).

Michael Cao with an IC3D RepRap at the Columbus Mini Maker Faire 2012

Michael Cao with an IC3D RepRap at the Columbus Mini Maker Faire 2012

Come out for 3D printing, Arduino and Raspberry Pi-monitored Hydroponics, world class robotics, blacksmithing, metal casting, laser cutting and much, much more. We even have a giant Brownie Camera Obscura.

Alex Bandar prepares to launch a power tool racer at the Columbus Mini Maker Faire 2012

Alex Bandar prepares to launch a power tool racer at the Columbus Mini Maker Faire 2012

Making a return appearance is the Ohio Power Tool Racing Championship.

Terry Griner pours pewter at the Columbus Mini Maker Faire 2012

Terry Griner pours pewter at the Columbus Mini Maker Faire 2012

New this year is the mini maker interactive kids area, including hands-on workshops for Bristlebots, Plushies, and Stop-motion Animations (follow the links to sign up through Eventbrite).

The Columbus Mini Maker Faire – Sunday 13 October 2013, noon to 18:00 at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI).

More details on my makerblog.