Oct. 2009 – Show and Tell

Halloween Jack-In-The-Box Project

Halloween Jack-In-The-Box Project

There was an aire of mystery Tuesday night as we gathered for our October Make:KC Show and Tell session. A  large box shaped object was draped in a blue cover patterned with white stars. This package was not to be opened before its time.

Leading out from the covers was a hose making its way outside, under the garage door. In the parking lot, the line was connected to an air compressor.

Jason O’Reilly was responsible for this mysterious object but before revealing its contents, he showed us a smaller box which looked like a Styrofoam container. Inside this container was dry ice and what looked like an evidence bag. This bag had become part of the local lore after he left it on a friend’s porch with a severed ear inside.

Jason’s latest Halloween project was revealed showing the Jack-In-The Box he’s been working on. Lights, music, and sensors help trigger this air assisted clown popping the lid and jumping up.

Introduction to Circuit Bending

Introduction to Circuit Bending

Introduction to Circuit Bending

We kicked off a new feature with Make:KC tonight, our Project Challenge. We’re introducing a topic of interest and challenging others to build something and bring it for the following month’s Show and Tell. Our Project Challenge topic this time is Circuit Bending.

This is a fun and inexpensive way to begin learning about electronics. Its safe for kids to try because we’re using battery powered musical and talking toys. You can often find these toys at thrift stores and garage sales for a couple of dollars. Usually the only tool needed is a screw driver to open the toy’s case revealing the electronics and circuitry. The rest is poking around to find spots that change the way the toy speaks or sounds.

In the picture, above left, Bob Spangler is showing off a Furby he disassembled and short circuiting it by placing a screwdriver blade across some contact points. This causes glitches in his Furby from sounding and speaking funny to erratic movement behavior. In the picture, above right, Paul Vittorino is showing his musical keyboard. It has multiple keys arranged in banks which have separate electronic controls.

So the challenge is on, find a toy, take it apart and see what you can cause it to do differently. This is a great way for a parent to spend time with their child and begin exploring electronics.

We are offering a special night to work on these projects. Tuesday Oct. 13 at the HMS Beagle store from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

A Success Story

Mikes Soldering Projects.

Mike's Soldering Projects.

Mike O’Brien brought a couple of his projects to show. He decided to try his hand at soldering and electronics project so last month he bought one of the soldering kits at the HMS Beagle. The kit came with enough soldering tools to get him started. He built the projects flashing light and siren circuitry.

After finishing the kit it gave him the encouragement to try another project. He chose to build a solar powered robot that moves around the room when a bright light is shined on it.

There is something special about learning to solder. I’ve heard several people excited about getting their projects working and feeling a sense of empowerment with this new skill. Congratulations to Mike.

Mike also wanted to offer a challenge. He is suggesting we get creative and make our own name tags that reflect the types of activities we’re interested in. So, start thinking about what your name tag will look like. I’m already working on some ideas of my own.

Christmas in October

Randall Jessee brought in several boxes of junk priceless treasures that he was cleaning out of his house.

Parts and Treasures

Parts and Treasures

He was able to consolidate some of the boxes but ended up taking more than he hoped back home. Some of the finds in his stash were good candidates for circuit bending projects and many other things to keep a Maker busy and amused. Thanks for bringing this in.

He also gave us an update on the Rocked Day held at the HMS Beagle as part of their October Skies celebration. There were over 90 participants who brought rockets to be fired. He estimated somewhere close to 200 rocket launches were made.

Report by Vince Thompson

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