Opening Soon: Laser Cutter Cafe in Chinatown

Laser Cutter Cafe 4
o
Ever had your tea with a side of laser cutting? You’ll soon be able to at Vancouver’s newest (red) hotspot, The Laser Cutter Cafe, popping up June 26 on Columbia Street in Chinatown.
o
Inspired by similar ideas in Tokyo and San Francisco, owner Derek Gaw wanted to bring the accessibility of public-space laser cutting to Vancouver. With his Full Spectrum Laser Cutter, Derek can make everything from business cards printed on wood veneer to etched glass, puzzles, sculpture and signage. He can take photos, text or graphics and etch them onto plywood or glass, and cut through wood, plastic or cardboard. Derek demonstrated The Laser Cutter Cart at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year, and had a slew of visitors come by to see just how easy it is to do their own laser cuts.

o

Intrigued, I caught up with Derek to find out more about this unique project that’s sure to bring a smile to our city.

o

Laser Cutter Cafe 2
o
Can you elaborate on what the laser cutter cafe is all about?
o
The Laser Cutter Cafe is a cafe (we serve tea and stuff) that has laser cutters for anybody to use. Come make something and have some tea while you’re at it. In addition to our namesake tool, we’ll also have other things to play with, like 3D printers, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter, a textiles lab, and an electronics lab.
o
fabcafe-masakiishitani
o
Tea and lasers! Delicious combo. Where did the idea come from?
o
The Laser Cutter Cafe was inspired by equal parts FabCafe in Tokyo (above) and TechShop in San Francisco. When I moved back to Vancouver, I missed having ready access to laser cutters, so I decided to get some myself to share with everybody.
o
Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the cafe? Do you provide supplies?
o
When you walk in, you’ll probably see someone using a laser cutter right in front of you. You’ll smell a hint of of campfire from the plywood they’re cutting to make a coaster for their tea cup. And then you’ll notice a whole slew of laser cut products for sale and display. First time visitors can take a quick safety and usage tutorial, and be laser cutting their own stuff in half an hour. We’ll have an inventory of ready-to-laser materials, or you can bring in your own, assuming it’s safe and approved by us.
o
Laser Cutter Cafe 3
o
o
Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?
o
Vancouver’s maker movement is growing strongly in part because it has a ways to catch up to more established maker cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Our west coast siblings are great role models, and we get to learn from their failures and successes.
o
Why’s it important to share skills and knowledge?  
o
It’s much easier than making all the mistakes for yourself (although sometime, that approach is quite educational).
o
_____
o
So check them out on or after June 26! Until then, you can start plotting your newest laser-cut project. See you at the Cafe!
o
o
Laser Cutter Cafe 1
o
o
Photos courtesy of Derek Gaw, except Fab Cafe photo, courtesy of www.spoon-tamago.com






Meet Your Makers: Cymata, 3D printing and Generative Coding with Music Analysis Data

923081_451359921622336_1936623776_n

.

Cool is a word that, perhaps by definition, resists definition. Cymata focuses on this adjective by restoring our lost physical and social interactions with the medium of music. The software initially produces physical objects from music by leveraging 3D printing and generative coding in processing. Songs are then interpreted using a combination of user input and music analysis data.

.

Music has lost many of the physical aspects of its experience. CDs, records and tapes all had a physical medium and album art that could be held and shared. But now, by experiencing music in its digital form, this appreciation has become fleeting. Our attention is spread thin in that space.

.

Active on Art Not Ads and Facebook, I spoke with Tim Rolls, one of the creators of this open-source project, which is available on Github if you’d like to experiment with its latest build.

 

How did you get started with making/creating for Art Not Ads?

o
It actually started as a street art project. I went to New York and witnessed the amazing/horrific site that is Times Square. I’d never really thought about how invasive advertising was in our lives. Public space is supposed to belong to everyone, so why is it illegal for most artists to use that space, while advertisers can use it for any message they choose? I have a history in graffiti and street art, so my initial concept was to engage local artists in a campaign to attack the ads directly, turning them into works of art that encouraged participation. At the same time, I realized this was all quite illegal, which was never a problem for me personally, but it starts to get sticky when you’re including others. Ultimately, I chose to go with more non-destructive routes that offset negative corporate messaging with positive, radically inclusive artistic ones.

.

Screen-Shot-2013-04-02-at-1.30-930x524
o

How did you get started developing Cymata?

o
We went through at least a month of thrashing on ideas before Cymata started to take shape. Something we’ve wanted to explore more is generative code and data visualization. A lot of the work in that space takes place digitally, on screen so we knew early on that we wanted to bring those concepts to built objects. It wasn’t until a couple months later when we had a proof of concept working that music came into play. It was one of those rare “Eureka!” moments, and has been driving the project since.
o

Walk us through some of your creative process.

o
I’m a Designer, Artist, DJ, Producer and general technology nerd, plus I like to cook, ha ha. Those things probably seem unrelated, but it’s helped me realize that creative process is agnostic to what you’re creating.
o

Typically, the phases look something like:

o

  • IDEA/CONCEPT
    The main ingredient is always the concept. Having a central vision helps with making decisions and keeping focused as a project unfolds.
  • RESEARCH
    Seeing what’s already out there, and being done well. Just be careful not to compare your work to others…that’s a slippery slope.
  • SYNTHESIS
    Combining elements and ideas into something new, working towards the initial concept.
  • ITERATING TO REFINE
    Taking feedback or observations and applying them to the project to make the final product or next version better.

o
The whole thing is fairly loose, and doesn’t always happen in that order. That’s part of why I love creative work…it keeps you on your toes.

.

CYMATA
o

Is there anyone specific that inspires you?

o

So many people inspire me, and lots of them aren’t even artists, but I’ll try to keep this short.

  • Probably my favorite visual artist is Justin Maller. I’ve been following his work for years, and he never fails to make me feel like a beginner all over again.
  • Joshua Davis and Matt Pearson have both done a great job of practically applying generative art, and doing it well.
  • Daito Manabe is inspiring because he’s a tinkerer like me, and his Nike Music Shoe project is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

o

Is there anyone specific that you would like to work with in the future?

o
Anyone who has the imagination and motivation to make ideas happen. We’re working on opening up Art Not Ads to collaboration by detailing our process on the new blog, and offering our code on github for anyone what wants to play with it.

o
In the future, we plan to organize creative meetups focused on constructive criticism and communication with like-minded people, which we crave but can be hard to come by in paid work. Combined, we hope those initiatives will help us build a community of passionate creators who are as excited as we are about creating positive change.

o

—–

.

Cymata will experiment with turning your music into a 3D printable sculpture today at Maker Faire, so come on by and check them out!

.







Meet your Makers: Terminal City Glass Co-op

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA-

Did you know that Vancouver’s Terminal City Glass Co-op is the first non-profit, co-operative glass arts facility in all of Canada?

..

Ideally located in artist-friendly East Vancouver, Terminal City provides access to high-quality glass making equipment and resources for new and experienced artists and offers classes in glassblowing, flameworking, beadmaking and sandblasting (for ages 16+). The Co-op also tries to engage the community through special events, like the Eastside Culture Crawl, that promote glass as an art form.

-Terminal City Glass Co-op_3_flameworking

-

I spoke to co-founder and Program Director Holly Cruise and here’s what she had to say about why Vancouver is such a great place for co-ops, the city’s reaction to it, and what people are getting up to in their classes:

..

What makes Vancouver a good place for Canada’s first glassblowing co-op?

-

Vancouver is very co-operative friendly city. We live in a place where we have to maximize our use of space and resources, and so it makes sense to share work space, materials and equipment.

..

Has the city embraced the co-op since it started up?

..
The people of the city have. Everyone who comes to Terminal City is a little awe-struck by our space. It’s big and we make a lot of magic here, plus everyone is very supportive and friendly. We’re also in an ideal neighbourhood for creativity, as we’re at the epicentre of the Eastside Culture Crawl in the Mergatroid Building which has 55 artists studios. We couldn’t ask for cooler neighbours!

..

What’s the most popular class?

..

Our Glassblowing 1 class is always full! But really it’s about even between Glassblowing, Flameworking, Beadmaking and Sandblasting. Anything at the beginner level is always busy.

..

What kind of people come to your classes? And what do they typically make?

..
We have such a broad range of students, from 16-year-old kids to 70-year-old retirees, and everyone in between! A lot of people who come here want a creative experience, to do something fun in their spare time. In Glassblowing 1, students learn to make glass paperweights, small cups and bowls, and in the Beadmaking class, they learn how to craft a variety of colourful beads. Flameworking students are taught how to make small sculptures, pendants and marbles using borosilicate glass, and in Sandblasting, they learn how to apply surface decoration to flat glass and other glassware.

..

Are there any fun facts that people are surprised to find out about glassblowing?-

..

You don’t have to have strong lungs to blow glass!

-

Terminal City Glass Co-op-

I got to visit a workshop on the tiny island of Murano, just north of Venice, to watch glassblowers at work. Sitting there watching little molten blobs of glass become beautiful works of art – with just someone’s breath – was riveting. And while doing my research for this feature, I was amazed to learn that that the glassblower was using the same technique, and practising in the same place, as a glassblower in the 13th century!

-

The history of glassblowing actually dates all the way back to the 1st century BC. Invented by the Phoenicians during the rise of the Roman Empire, glassblowing is glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble using a blowpipe and shaping it to make glass vessels. Glassblowers “free blow” short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a ‘”gather” which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe. This produces an elastic-y “skin” on the interior of the glass blob that matches the “skin” on the exterior (which happens when you remove the glass from the furnace). The glassworker then quickly inflates the molten glass and works it into whatever shape they want.

During the middle ages, Venice became the go-to place for blown glass after artisans learned the secrets of glassblowing through trade with the Middle East. In order to maintain their monopoly in the industry, the government forced all the Venetian glassblowers to move to the island of Murano in 1291, where they practised in exile. While in exile, the Murano glassblowers perfected the craft and developed an incredibly clear glass called cristalo, and new colors like deep blue, amethyst and emerald. Despite the fact that leaving the island was punishable by death, many glassblowers managed to escape and shared their new techniques and colors with other craftsmen throughout Europe and parts of Asia.

-

Untitled-1Through all this, glassblowing techniques remained unchanged, and it’s neat to know that we can still learn the exact same techniques today at Terminal City Glass. If you want to get a little taste of what they do, check out their booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire where they will be doing flameworking and beadmaking demonstrations.

..
Holly Cruise will also be at the Maker Faire Speaker Stage from 2:30 – 3 pm on Sunday, talking about different techniques in glass making. Her talk is called FUN with Glass: How to Work with Fire and Not Get in Trouble! Definitely something you don’t want to miss!

..

Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!

o

Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

o
Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

 -

 ***

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glassblowing; http://www.seattleglassblowing.com/glass_history.html

Photos: Terminal City Glass Co-op







Meet Your Makers: Dan Royer, Makelangelo

o

On May 3rd, I brought my camera and visited Dan Royer, who will have a table again this year at Maker Faire. He will be displaying Makelangelo: an art robot you put together yourself that produces 2D renderings of any image using a single line.

o

Dan is a member at our local hackerspace, VHS, and he’s been diligently prototyping his kits all year. His dream is to see these being built by 6th graders.

o

In this video, Dan talks about making robots for a living, what he will be bringing to Maker Faire this year, his next big robot-making project. He also shares some advice for people who want to get started making things and building robots.

o

“It’s really easy to get started in robots these days. All you need is cardboard, hot glue, servos, Arduino, and a 9 volt battery, and you are off to the races.” – Dan Royer

o

Dan sells his Drawbot kits online. The kit includes a 3D printed pen holder, 2 stepper motors, a 12v2a power supply, 2 3D printed bobbins, an Adafruit Stepper shield, and (optionally), an Arduino UNO. The kit requires no soldering or wire cutting, and is perfect for use in a classroom.

o

Haven’t got your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet?

o

Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

o
Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

0







Vancouver Maker Foundation connects Educators, Librarians, Makers and Enthusiasts

In line with the Vancouver Maker Foundation‘s mission to build a strong and vibrant community of makers in our city, we hosted a meet-up last Thursday the 9th- to connect families, leaders, educators, mentors and organizations in order to start a dialogue around the impact of integrating more of the Maker Ethos at the level of education and community programming.
 
The event was a great success! We have decided to turn this into a monthly thing. If you are interested in coming to future meet-ups, please sign up to our Meet-up group. A big thanks to Mozilla, who sponsored the evening, and future meet-ups to come!

20130509_VMMF_IMG_5467

20130509_VMMF_IMG_5479

20130509_VMMF_IMG_5390
20130509_VMMF_IMG_5465







Meet Your Makers: Colin Johnson, The Emperor’s Cabinet

Wooden AT-AT

o

If you’ve passed by 6th and Main recently, then you may have noticed the amazing Wooden AT-AT in the window of Hot Art Wet City Gallery & Shop. Woodbutcher Colin Johnson is the artist responsible for this eye-catching piece of wonder, and it’s coming to Maker Faire!

 

May LaForge Be With You: A tribute to Star Wars and Star Trek

o

It’s also being featured at an art show called May LaForge Be With You, dubbed “an epic art battle between two sci-fi favourites: Star Wars and Star Trek.” The opening reception is tonight from 7-11 pm (details below).

o

I haven’t even gotten to the best part—it’s a fully functional liquor cabinet! Booze and Star Wars: two things that make me the life of the party. I asked Colin a few questions about the liquor cabinet that I would happily sell a kidney to own.

o

atat-DY

o

ATAT 032

o

DY: You must be a huge Star Wars fan. What made you decide to turn it into a liquor cabinet or was that your idea all along?

o

CJ: Yes, I am a huge SW fan. I didn’t know it was going to be a wet bar when I started, but I did know I wanted it to contain something. (I was toying with the idea of a diorama of some kind.) I would like to say I had a lofty reason for making it, but I made it for notoriety.

o

DY: How long did it take you?

o

CJ: It took about 600 hours (give or take 100).

o

IMAG0213-1

o

DY: You describe yourself as a Woodbutcher. Has this always been your preferred medium?

o

CJ: I started making things with Lego. When I found Lego to be too limiting I started using paper. Now I mostly work in wood. It is my preferred medium but have dabbled in plastics and some metal.

o

DY: When I was at the gallery today, everyone who was waiting for the bus was totally into it. What kind of reactions have you gotten from people?

o

CJ: People love it! Some of the reactions have been very animated.

o

IMAG0212-1

o

Colin Johnson will be at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 1 and 2, but catch him tonight at Hot Art Wet City for the opening of May LaForge Be With You.

o

Hot Art Wet City, 2206 Main Street, Vancouver
Thursday May 9 – Saturday June 1, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION TONIGHT: Friday, May 10 from 7-11pm

0

 

 







Meet The Crafters: Heidi Liao, My Secret Cravings

ih_vector_pattern

-

After searching high and low for the perfect cake topper for her wedding cake and coming up empty, Heidi Liao decided to make her own using the clay molding skills she learned in pottery class. It was such a hit with family and friends that she decided to try her hand at making clay jewelry. Now Heidi specializes in handcrafting tiny food in jewelry form. I contacted her for a Q&A before her very first experience in the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. Here’s what she had to say about her craft.

-

SV: First off, why food? Are you a big foodie and wanted to bring that into your crafting?

-

HL: I was never a foodie growing up so it’s ironic that I decided to make food-themed jewelry. But I thought food is appealing to everybody, and it can be made to look so delicious! Making non-edible food is almost as good as making real food!

-

SV: Where do you get your inspiration?

-

HL: I get my inspiration mostly from bakery shops and Pinterest.

-

SV:  Once you decide on the treat, how long does it typically take you to make a piece? What’s your process?

-

HL: Initially, it takes me around 15-20 minutes to make each item. As I get more familiar with the colour and texture of the piece, it takes less time. I start each piece by mixing the colour of the clay. Then I start molding the clay to the shape I want and continue working at it until I get the proportion right. Once I’m happy with it, I send it to the toaster oven to bake. After baking, I let it cool and then put on toppings, if any, and then let it dry. Lastly, I finish with a glaze to seal the colour and apply any findings (if it’s a pair of earrings). Once that’s done, it’s packaged and then ready to be shipped to the customer.

 -

SV: What’s your favourite piece in your collection?

-

HL: The mint chocolate ice cream cone stud earrings (below). I love the way the colour really stands out and I think they’re perfect for summer!

ice cream earrings

SV: Of course I have to ask — what’s your favourite secret craving?

 

HL: Even though I’m not a huge foodie, I really do love ice cream. My favourite ice cream flavours are matcha green tea and black sesame. And I also love anything potato, especially sour cream & onion chips and fries, of course!

***

 

Make sure you visit Heidi’s booth June 1-2 to check out all her adorable wares. You can also find her sweet treats on Etsy. Oh and don’t forget to get your tickets for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire!

-

*photos courtesy of Heidi Liao






Visiting Vancouver Hack Space: 3D Printer Night

People gathered around 3D printers at Vancouver Hack Space

o

Have you ever been to Vancouver Hack Space? VHS is a self-organized, inclusive collective of makers, AND a space to collaborate on projects, that will be coming to Maker Faire again this year! I visited VHS for the first time this past Wednesday, May 1st, and it was a really cool time to be there, because it was their second monthly 3D printer night!

o

A 3D printer at work

A 3D printer at work

 

Close-up of a 3D print being made

Close-up of a 3D print being made

 o

While I signed a simple safety waiver to be in the workshop space, people were setting up 3D printers they brought from home. Armed with long spools of ABS plastic to print things out of, they were ready for some requests!

 o

After an hour or so, the crowd had settled down, smaller conversations had broken out, and it was a lot more social while people helped each other out with technical challenges.

 o

It was exciting and overstimulating for me, and the space was pretty tight for the crowd of almost 30 people. However, our host for the evening, Dan Royer, made a special announcement: VHS is officially moving to a new space!

 o

Dan Royer hosts 3D printer night

Dan Royer hosts 3D printer night

 o

VHS is presently stationed at 45 W Hastings St, with an entrance that opens from the ground floor in a low-lit back alley leading up a set of rickety stairs. It can be a bit of a scary experience for some people.

o

The inside is well-lit, but tight, and densely packed with maker tools and supplies, shown below.

 o

VHS at the end of the night

VHS at the end of the night

 

Machine tools at VHS

Machine tools at VHS

 o

In the new space at 270 East 1st Avenue, VHS will have an extra 2000 square feet to fill, which they plan on dividing into two areas, with one room designated for CNC machines and power tools and other equipment, and another room for collaborative learning and other quieter projects.

 o

Below is a photosphere I shot of the new VHS space on Friday March 3. You can click and drag around in to see the space, and use your mouse’s scrollwheel to zoom.

o

(View full screen photosphere of the new location for Vancouver Hack Space in a new tab)

 

VHS aims to complete the move in 30 days, just in time to invite everyone who sees them at Maker Faire to visit them in their new home.

 

Learn more about VHS’s move and find out how to help.

 

Donatio(n) at VHS







Maker Music: Meet Your Artists: Legs

‘Legs’ (Frederick Brummer)

Since the beginning of 2012 sonic mastermind Frederick Brummer has been working on a new musical project.
It’s called Legs.

 
 

In a nutshell Legs is live electronic dance music. He plays beats and bass on an array of hardware.

 
 

Legs has it’s very own website here:
http://legsss.com/ 
 

and more tracks online here:
https://soundcloud.com/legsss








Meet Your Makers: The Robots of Dan Royer

 

Hannah Miller interviewed Dan Royer

 

 

Dan Royer is coming to VMMF 2012 with a robot entourage. In this video, he talks about the moment he realised he needed something more fulfilling to dedicate himself to – and why robots are it for him.

 

 

 

 

What’s the first thing you can remember making earlier in life?

 

The first popular moving device that I made was a small mechano rotary fan that looked like a scale model of a windmill that I brought into the portables at my grade school in grade 5 or 6. I was the only kid who had a fan in this blistering hot little sweat box so I was quite popular. It was one of the few times that I was!

 

 

What is it like to be part of the Maker community at Vancouver Hack Space?

 

There are definitely minds here that think differently from mine. The projects that I work on tend to be big and complicated and they take a long time and a lot of patience. I see some people here who come up with simple things that can be done in minutes, that are beautiful to look at and just the concept alone – everyone gets it right off the bat. I just go, wow, because I don’t think that way. I’m so focussed on my goal and there was this beautiful thing off to the side and I wouldn’t have seen it, even if I was looking at it.

 

 

Since this is your second Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, what can we expect this weekend?

 

As a maker, expect to be standing on your feet for two days, expect to lose your voice, bring your water and your lunch prefaced and you will be smiling from ear to ear the entire time.

As a person who is visiting the Faire, pretty much the same thing. The few times I took a break and said watch my table I’m going to go around, I was just…I didn’t know where to look next, I was all over the place! There was a giant crab that walked. There was a woman making glass beads outside and you could participate and make your own glass marbles. There were paper planes that were flying around. There were all kinds of things that were lit up and moving that responded. There were sounds. There was some kind of thing you danced in front of and on a screen it showed you dancing there, but it was funky technology changed around…I don’t know how to put it. There were people with CNC machines – there’s a whole 3D printer village this year! Last year there were two 3D printers and a laser cutter. It’s grown enormously and it’s just going to be fantastic. I expect to be thoroughly awed.