MiniMakerFaire Toronto

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We had an absolute blast at MMF-TO!

We handed out approximately 850 laser cut acrylic moustaches for kids and adults alike to colour up and make uniquely their own.

We’ve got some good pictures kicking around, but in the meantime, here’s an awesome video that TVO put together.

Big thanks to Richard for the endless laser cutting, Dave for bringing the cool toys, and Amelia for her 16+ hours teaching little kids to colour moustaches.

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MiniMakerFaireToronto 2013!!!!

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We’re going to the Toronto Mini Maker Faire — September 21 and 22 at the Wychwood Barns (former TTC streetcar facility)

 

You could come too if you get a ticket :)

 

Also, there will be moustaches… lots of moustaches.

 

UPDATE: Added the link where you can buy tickets. derp.

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Waterloo Mini-MakerFaire!

Waterloo Mini-MakerFaire

You know what we did?

(besides forget to post this)

We went to Waterloo Mini-MakerFaire!

It was a totally awesome experience. The folks from KW who put it all together deserve a huge round of applause for pulling off an event like that.

Our little contribution was the think|haus Moustache – a little laser-cut opportunity for decoration and self-expression.

If you’d like to see more photos, keep reading…

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Event: Introduction to Python Programming (5 Sessions)

Python Powered

Date: Weekly — starting Wednesday June 19, 2013 – 7pm
Place: think|haus – see side bar for details
What: Learn how to program in Python!
You need to bring: A notebook computer with Python and a decent text editor installed (see the wiki article for details)

$20/pay-what-you-can per session — 5 sessions total

Register Here

Details: Learn how to program in the Python language! These classes are targeted at those with no knowledge of Python, including those with no knowledge of programming at all. We’ll be covering all the base mechanics of the language, from printing and math through making packages and classes, plus a little on structure and best practices – you can see our full itinerary on the wiki.

Fees will be on a pay-what-you-can basis, with a suggested price of $20 per session ($100 for the full course of five sessions). If that’s too much for you, pay whatever you think is fair. Pay on a per-session basis or all up-front, skip a session if it’s not worth the cost, pay more if you think we’re really helping you, or less if you didn’t get much out of a session. We want to be flexible about it.

If you want to hear more, comment on the schedule, or talk about the content, join the course mailing list.

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Event: Sugru Build Night (sponsored by Instructables)

JulyBuildNight

Date: Monday July 1, 2013 – 7pm
Place: think|haus – see side bar for details
What: Come out, fool around with Sugru and see what you can make
You need to bring: yourself!

Open to Members, non-members $5/pay-what-you-can

Register Here

Details: This will be the second Build Night that we’re hosting – and we’ll be well on our way to Instructables Sponsorship. They’re sending us Sugru, we get to play with it. Bring lots of ideas!

This is the next step in getting full Instructables Sponsorship – which would be kinda awesome for the space – and since there’s a limited number of sponsorships available, I’d like to get in sooner as opposed to later.

Instructables is sponsoring monthly build nights at makerspaces and hackerspaces around the world. Each month is a different theme and we will send you materials to run a workshop at your space. We are partnering with sugru for our July 2013 build night. Sugru is the exciting new self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. It molds like play-dough, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight. Sign up for the July build night and we will ship you several packages of sugru to experiment with. Details below (please read all the information).

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

  1. Host a Build Night: pick a night in July (any night) to host the sugru build night. At the event experiment and play with sugru.
  2. Post Five Instructables: post 5 Instructables using Sugru. This can include: making products more ergonomic, simple fixes, or more advanced uses. You have 1 week after your build night to post these projects. Anyone from your space is welcome to post an Instructable that counts towards the 5. (Not posting these Instructables may affect your chances to participate in future build nights).
  3. Brownie Points (not required): after the build night post a forum topic on Instructables about your event. Include pictures, stories, etc… Here are two examples from the May build night:Noisebridge and Makers Local 256. We may even feature your photo on the homepage.

INSTRUCTABLES SPONSORSHIP
Use the build night as a launch pad to bring your makerspace towards Instructables sponsorship. Individual projects can be included towards the sponsorship AKA get people to post new Instructables to count towards sponsorship.

SIGN UP
We have 100 spaces available and it’s first come first serve. Please only sign up if you are able to complete the requirements listed above. You must be associated with a formal makerspace or hackerspace to participate. SIGN UP HERE.

RESOURCES

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Event: 3D Printing Build Night (sponsored by Instructables)

Instructables June 2013-06-06

Date: Friday June 21, 2013 – 7pm
Place: think|haus – see side bar for details
What: Come out, learn how to do 3D modelling in 123D and Tinkercad – maybe even get a print of your design!
You need to bring: A computer with a recent web browser

Open to Members, non-members $5/pay-what-you-can

Register Here

Details: So we’ve decided to go ahead and jump on the sponsorship bandwagon again. And hey – you can be part of it! We’re going to spend about an hour working on some learning and then spend some time playing and at the end of it, we’ll have completed the requirements and $150 worth of what we designed will be printed at Shapeways!

This is a first step in getting full Instructables Sponsorship – which would be kinda awesome for the space – and since there’s a limited number of sponsorships available, I’d like to get in sooner as opposed to later.

Instructables is sponsoring monthly build nights at makerspaces and hackerspaces around the world. Each month is a different theme and we will send you materials to run a workshop at your space. In June we are running 3D Printing Build Night with 123D and Tinkercad. Experiment with these free 3D design tools and receive $150 worth of printing credits from Shapeways! Details below (please read all the information).

How to Participate:

  1. Host a Build Night: pick a night in June (any night) to host the 3D printing build night. At the event play around with 123D, Tinkercad, or both.
  2. Share your work:
    • 3D Models in 123D Gallery: Post all models created at the build night in the 123D Gallery or the Tinkercad gallery. We want to see all experiments with the 123D products and Tinkercad from beginner models to more advanced uses. These must be posted 2 days after the build night. You will receive $150 in 3D printing credits to Shapeways after posting these models.
    • 2 New Instructables: post 2 new Instructables from the build night that incorporate your 3D models and/or prints. These can be posted after you receive your printing credits.Sign up for an Instructables account here.
  3. Instructables Sponsorship: use the build night as a launch pad to bring your makerspace towards Instructables sponsorship. Individual projects can be included towards the sponsorship AKA get people to post new Instructables to count towards sponsorship.
  4. Brownie Points: After the build night post a forum topic on Instructables about how your event ran. Include pictures, stories, etc… This is an example from the May build night @ Noisebridge.

Sign Up: we are limiting this month to 25 spaces so it’s first come first serve. No more spaces available.

Resources:

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Shapeokoed!

A quick update about a new tool we’ve added to the space. A few months back we bought a Shapeoko CNC milling machine. It’s an entry-level CNC machine, meaning it’s small, cheap and simple to assemble. It’s well-suited to smaller jobs (7×7″ working area) and can handle milling wood, plastic, styrofoam, copper clad boards, etc. It can possibly mill some metals but that’s going to take some experimenting. (check out the wiki page for more details about our setup)

 

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(more after the break!)

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The Future Is Already Here – Just Not Very Evenly Distributed.

futureisalreadyhere

One of the most rewarding (and interesting) parts of an organization like think|haus is the collision of the future and the now. Here we sit, in a city that is shedding its past and trying to determine its future. The old Hamilton isn’t working out quite the way anyone planned. The new Hamilton is finding its feet in education, medical and the catch-all “innovative technology.”

Way back in 1993, Canadian science fiction writer William Gibson famously quipped: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” I’m fairly certain that he was right then and even more right now.

When I was a kid, the future was going to include jet-powered backpacks, meals in pill format, vacations on the moon and suburbia as far as the eye could see. As long as the planet survived the nuclear holocaust.

Today, the future looks pretty different. Crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable development, paved farmland, insufficient healthcare and educational capability – it’s not a pretty picture. It will require some truly innovative thinking and an ambition that looks further ahead than the fiscal quarter or the next election.

Part of the answer lies in a focus on civic engagement – making it easier for residents to find and access services, making it easier to hear from all residents rather than just the ones with money / influence / access, and permitting residents to give back to their city by offering their skills and solutions for public consumption.

Engagement with each other and ambition won’t be enough. We’re going to need (at least) one more thing – the ability to do it ourselves. We can’t depend on our supply-lines stretching for thousands of kilometres and we cannot continue to treat everything as a disposable commodity. Over the last five years, we’ve been experiencing a renaissance in the “DIY / maker / hacker” world. For a long time the idea of repair or handmade at home has been looked down upon as the kind of thing that only poor people would do. The reality is changing. There are new tools and new techniques for creating things, new ways of sharing information on doing it yourself and renewed interest in learning and doing.

think|haus was conceived as a place where people could meet face-to-face to do the cool things and learn the new ways and share the cost of the new tools. We’ve been doing that for four years now and having a heck of a good time along the way.

  • If you have just learned about Instructables or Thing-a-verse.
  • If you picked up a copy of Make Magazine and can’t quite believe that it is real.
  • If you’ve heard about lasers, CNC and 3D printing.
  • If you’d like to be a teacher or a collaborator or a student.

Yeah. That’s what think|haus is all about.

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Perfect Opportunity for a Hamilton 3D Printing Win-Win

Mohawk College will be opening The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing in March 2014 (read more here).

This creates a perfect opportunity for Mohawk to support a Hamilton treasure, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. CWHM maintains in flying condition one of the finest collections of World War II aircraft in the world. Their restoration projects, bringing abandoned, rusting aircraft back to life, are awe inspiring. But as time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult, and more expensive, to find parts for these aircraft. One of their current restoration projects, the Bolingbroke, is using the remains of 8 aircraft to try to assemble one restored to flying condition.

That’s where Mohawk’s new lab could help. Imagine the benefit of a complete digital inventory of parts for CWHM’s storied Lancaster bomber, one of only 2 still flying in the world. Imagine the dedicated volunteers at CWHM being able to 3D print or CNC machine any part they need. What a fantastic benefit to the museum. What a perfect way for the College to demonstrate these leading edge technologies. And how better to get students and faculty excited about the possibilities than by having the opportunity to use 21st century technology to help preserve some of the finest examples of 20th century technology.

This is a perfect application for 3D printing – the replication, in low volume, of parts that are not practical to produce using higher volume, lower cost methods. Even where the actual part cannot be printed (it needs to be made from high grade stainless steel, for example), having a 3D printed model to guide the machinist is invaluable.

I was at the Museum yesterday with my son on a school trip. Several other classes were there too. The volunteers take the kids through the basic physics of flight, let them do hands on experiments to learn Bernoulli’s Principle, and pass on the history of the brave young men & women who built, maintained & flew these aircraft in defence of their country and her allies. I’ve heard the story of Andy Mynarski, VC, to whom the Lancaster is dedicated, several times, and yet I still get a lump in my throat every time.

As I walked past the working part of the museum, where the aircraft are restored and maintained, I was struck by several things. First, by the tens of thousands of hours put in by the volunteers. Second, by the fact that many of them are older, and won’t be able to continue for much longer. We need to bring a new generation in to help, and find ways to manufacture parts that are becoming impossible to find.

I’m going to contact both institutions and urge them to consider this. I’m hopeful they’ll be as excited by the possibilities as I am.

 

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Will 3D printing go mainstream?

Thoughts on the current and future state of 3D printing

Over on the Make blog, Dale Dougherty asked the question “How many people will own 3D printers?”  I posted a comment there, and I’ve expanded it a bit for this post.

In my view, 3D printers as they currently exist will remain tools for industry, hobbyists & makers. There are 4 things needed for them to break out as mainstream products:

1. Ease of use: current printers are finicky, requiring too much adjustment and have too high a printing failure rate. But the biggest impediment is the software. 3D design software is too complex, and the tool chain from design to print is too cumbersome. Simple design software, and a “print” button that looks after the rest, will be needed before these become household items.

2. Colour: current 3D printed items are boring. Printing custom bobble heads & action figures of your friends & family would be fun, but the painting required makes it too laborious. The ability to print colour items would greatly enhance 3D printer’s desirability. This can be through multi-colour, multi-printhead designs, or by using a combination of 3D printing and inkjet printing to “paint” objects during or after the print process. Alternatively, heat shrink colour printed skins can be made to put over objects, similar to the advertising wraps you see applied to cars, trucks & buses.

3. Simple, inexpensive, high quality 3D scanners: following on point 1, design software is complicated. If you have a broken part that you want to replace, it would be much easier to scan & print rather than try to design a replica in software. Scaling is also a reason for scanning – you have an object you want to replicate, but at twice the size, or half the size. Scan, resize, print. Or for customization – scan, modify, print.

4. Adoption of “designed for 3D printing”: this could, in my estimation, drive 3D printing more than anything. Think of the inconvenience and expense of the parts inventories held by companies & repair shops around the world. When a replacement part for a vacuum or a car is needed, you often find yourself paying a ridiculous price for the part, and/or waiting an inordinate time for it to come in. With current products, 3D printing can’t change this much, as most parts can’t be readily reproduced at sufficient quality. But what if product designers took this into account. What if a car company actively designed its cars so that as many parts as possible could be 3D printed. Dealerships & repair shops could install high quality 3D printers, and maintain a digital inventory of spare parts, which would be printed on demand for customers. No more waiting for parts, no more investing millions in spare part inventory and parts distribution systems. From there, one can see a progression to the home. Products that are sold can be designed for 3D printed part replacement. Just as you now can go on most manufacturer’s websites & download instruction manuals, you could go on their sites and download files to 3D print parts. Print the replacement part yourself at home, or take it to your local Kinko’s, Staples, or other 3D print shop. Companies could make these parts file downloads available for free, or charge a small fee for the download. In most cases, the 3D design files will already exist, as the product was probably originally designed this way. Many may think that companies won’t follow this path – they profit from expensive parts & built-in obsolescence, and hope you give up on repair & simply buy a new item. There may be many who will think this way. But there will be companies who will see “design for 3D printing” as a strategic advantage. They can market their goods as easily repairable, and green, in that they are not as likely to end up in landfill because of a small broken part.

I expect a market will also develop for “framework” products designed with 3D printing in mind. You buy the core component (electronics, mechanics, etc.) with the idea that you can 3D print the rest to customize your product. Buy the workings for a camera, 3D print the case to perfectly fit your hand. Or a case that moulds to your ski helmet. Just as clock mechanisms have been available for woodworkers, mechanisms for all sorts of products will be available for 3D printer owners. This market may be niche, but with the internet enabling both product discovery, marketing and commerce, niche can now be a viable business model.

The earliest hobby computers had toggle switches & blinked lights. They were of interest to a very small group who wanted to learn how they functioned, and who were fascinated by the process of building, programming, and making it work. Few people could see any reason why they’d want one. Using one as a calculator, requiring conversion to/from binary? Not a mainstream application, but it was the beginning. That’s the point we’re at with 3D printers today. They are difficult to use, and accomplish underwhelming tasks. We don’t yet have a VisiCalc for 3D printers. But I’m confident we will, and that 20 years from now, we’ll be doing things with our home 3D printers that today we’ve not even thought about.

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