The Hardest Working Makers This Weekend Will Be…

Just one more sleep until the 2014 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire! We’re so excited, and hope you are, too!

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There are so many crazy and exciting things to dazzle Faire attendees that sometimes our most hard-working Makers go unappreciated – nearly unnoticed, sometimes, even. Nonetheless, they keep coming back year after year, and the Faire wouldn’t be the same without them. They each add something tangible to the flavour of the Faire, and they work hard all weekend long to make sure the rest of us -attendees and VMMF staff alike- have the most enjoyable weekend possible. You know who I’m talking about, right? Yes – our food vendors!

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The 2014 VMMF sees the return of the food trucks who have supported us every year since we started, and some new ones, too!

varinicey-pakorasVarinicey (pronounce it VERY NICE ee) Pakoras is back, of course – the show wouldn’t be the same without them!  Their pakoras are vegan, gluten free, and delicious, making it easy to feed just about anybody.

taser-grilled-cheeseTaser Grilled Cheese is back to serve up the best gourmet grilled cheese in town!

serious-sausageAnother VMMF regular, Serious Sausage will serve up some… well, some serious sausage. 

Ze-BiteZe Bite will be at the show serving up their fantastic sandwiches (served on a baguette or a gluten-free crepe); if you’ve got a sweet tooth, their selection of sweet crepes is also sure to delight!

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Treat yourself to a tasty snack that’s sweet, salty and oh-so healthy! Cup-A-Corn’s got six flavours to choose from, including Wasabi Ginger, Thai, Peanut Satay, Indian, Cinnamon Dessert and Classic (with lemon, salt, and pepper).

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Johnny’s Pops sells handmade artisan popsicles out of an old-school bicycle-mounted cooler.

On-the-grindOn The Grind uses both pedal and solar power to bring you the finest grinds and tastiest treats!

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Look for our awesome food vendors in the outdoor area of the Faire, on the west side of the building.

 

 

 

 







Meet Your Maker: IoT Design Shop

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Vancouver-based IoT Design Shop is a leader in the development of Internet of Things (IoT)-related technology. They’re dedicated to bringing a number of solutions to market in 2014, including Bluetooth Low Energy devices, proximity systems, and wearables. Their products are designed, manufactured, and assembled in their office, right here in the Lower Mainland. They’re bringing their ConnectionMaker indoor location system to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire for attendees to try out; fairgoers will be able to download the ConnectionMaker app from the app store and then use it to locate and identify other people who are using the app. Fun!

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What are you making/exhibiting at VMMF this year?

This year we are exhibiting ConnectionMaker, a state-of-the-art indoor positioning system that brings the power and convenience of GPS to micro indoor locations. It’s basically an indoor location-based social network that makes it easy for people to meet with one another at events or conferences. Using the ConnectionMaker app on your smartphones, you will be able to see the location and contact information of other Makers at the Faire. ConnectionMaker is revolutionizing how people meet at events and the underlying technology will pave the way for indoor location-based services that will change the way people do business.

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What else do you make?

We are excited to be launching the beta version of our new consumer product at VMMF this year! It is a system that bridges your digital and physical worlds by combining the location-detection abilities of our beacons with a mobile app. Basically you can configure your smartphone to take predetermined actions when you encounter beacons in the world. These actions, or really reactions, include:

 

  • launching an app

  • displaying a message on your phone

  • playing a sound

  • opening a URL

  • starting a text or email message

  • starting a tweet or Facebook post

  • starting a phone call

 

So how do we use it? Our favourite ways are to launch iTunes as we approach our cars and to play a sound to announce our arrivals at the office! Stop by our booth at the event to see the product in action.

 

We have also developed a proprietary platform called IoT Core. It is basically a toolkit that can be used to rapidly develop connected-product ecosystems. The components include mobile apps, Bluetooth Low Energy devices and a cloud back end. IoT Core is what we have used internally to build our new consumer product, ConnectionMaker and Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons with iBeacon Technology (BLE Beacons). We see IoT core being a key bridge between Makers and smartphone control of their creations.

 

Our BLE Beacons create small, concentrated areas of detection where a user’s proximity to a known location can be determined. This opens the door for many promotional, analytical and convenience applications that have not been possible until now. The basic idea is that business can increase revenue by sending targeted messages to their customers upon entry to a zone or store.

 

For Makers we currently sell a Beacon Development Kit with iBeacon Technology that includes custom firmware and a sample iOS application. This is available for purchase through our website and will also be available at our booth at VMMF. We engage directly with companies that are looking to roll out large numbers of beacons or even customized devices.

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What is your favourite part about being a Maker? Your least favourite part? The most challenging part?

Without question the our favourite part about being Makers is seeing our ideas come to life. There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the proverbial “Hello world!” message when you flip the power switch or run an app for the first time. Our favourite-favourite part is then refining our ideas to make commercially-viable products so we can create revenue for our company. Our least favourite part is hunting down well hidden bugs, which can also be the most challenging part. But without challenges to overcome, and the headaches that come along with them, Makers would not get the same satisfaction out of their creations!

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How else does the passion for making manifest in your life? Where does it come from?

Making is really a state of mind. Once you’re there, good luck keeping it from permeating the other areas of your life. An example of this is spending all day trying to optimize a solution in the office. When you go home and make tacos for dinner, I bet they won’t end up being the base solution of ground beef, salt, and tortillas. Those babies will be optimized with cilantro, spices, guacamole, salsa and of course mucho queso!

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Have you been a maker your whole life? What’s your earliest memory of making ?

 

Yes we have! Some of our earliest memories of Making include ‘playing’ with Duplo. Looking back on this now we all agree that we were in fact developing job skills that we’ve since applied in our careers in the tech industry. Another memory that often pops up is that of taking things apart to see how they work. I have to admit that I struggle not to take my toaster apart on a daily basis… I know how it works, but maybe this one is something different than the 10+ I set my parents’ kitchen on fire with when I was 7. Those were bad years for household appliances!

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Who’s your favourite Maker? Other than yourself.

Nikola Tesla is my favourite Maker of all time hands down. Not only were his ideas huge and crazy, he was a genius and actually turned his waaaay-out-there concepts into super useful technology!

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Who or what inspires you to keep on making, even when your project falls to pieces?

It’s hard to explain, but we all feel the same deep-seated duty to build things. It’s almost a primal instinct to create. So really, it would be a challenge to stop making rather than to find the inspiration to continue. Save us from ourselves!

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What is it about Maker Faire It that attracts you as an exhibitor? What are you looking forward to the most?

As Makers we love to connect with community to see what our peers are up to. We never cease to be blown away by what our fellow Makers dream up and the quality and complexity of their projects.

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Your company is a VMMF 2014 Sponsor. What is it about the Faire that draws your organization?

Making is at the heart of what we do. It’s all about identifying a need and then finding a creative way to apply technology to address it. For us it’s paramount to support other creative people, regardless of what their medium is, and to help them show the world what they’ve done!

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Don’t miss the presentation that IoT Design Shop’s Trent Shumay is giving as part of the 2014 VMMF Speaker Series! He’ll be telling us about how they used 3D printing technology to quadruple their manufacturing capacity, and how it allowed them to test markets, pivot, and deliver production-quality units to customers around the world. And make sure you stop by the VMMF silent auction to place a bid on their awesome donation – a Mini Electric Guitar Kit! For more information and to keep up with what IoT Design Shop is up to, check their website or follow them on twitter.

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Meet Your Maker: Sophia Kreuzkamp of Parrotphernalia – Five Reasons Great Jewelry Comes From Happy, Healthy Birds

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We’re excited to host Sophia Kreuzkamp of Parrotphernalia in our Maker Faire Marketplace this year. We were so intrigued by her process and her products that we asked her to tell us a little bit about herself, and how she ended up working with a medium as unusual as bird feathers. Here’s what she told us:

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My story begins with my Blue-fronted Amazon, Larry. While he can sometimes be a grump or a little wary around new people, Larry is actually very sweet once you get to know him. I think Larry and his parrot-brethren are some of the most beautiful animals on the planet. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in pretty much every colour imaginable. As is natural for birds, Larry loses his feathers (or molts) twice a year around winter and summer. During one of these molting periods, I realized that Larry’s feathers, too beautiful to be thrown away, deserved to be appreciated as the works of art that they are.

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And thus, Parrotphernalia was born!

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Here are the top five reasons we love what we do:

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1. Our products are from happy, healthy birds.

Most (if not all) feathered jewelry and accessories bought in stores use feathers plucked straight from the bird while they’re still alive. All Parrotphernalia products are made solely with ethically-sourced feathers no longer needed by happy, healthy birds living in sanctuaries across Canada or as someone’s companion.

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2. Our products are from natural breed birds.

Feathered products bought in stores often come from birds that were bred specifically for the production of these items. Feathered hair extensions are a common example – these come from specially bred roosters created to produce a special kind of tail feather. These roosters live in a factory environment solely to produce feathers for consumers. Our products, on the other hand, come from birds who enjoy freedom of movement and healthy interaction with humans.

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3. No dyes or harmful chemicals are used to create our products.

Many feather products bought in stores have been treated with harmful chemicals before being imported. In most cases, these feathers have also been dyed, which imparts an unnatural hue. Not only are these processes environmentally unfriendly, they diminish the final feathered product’s longevity. Compared to our ethically-sourced feathers, commercial feathers have a very short life-span. Because we know our feathers come from healthy birds, and they are not imported, we are able to use a simple cleaning solution which doesn’t affect the colour or longevity of the feathers.

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4. We give what we get!

In return for each feather donation we receive, we make the contributors an exclusive piece from their donation as a way of thanking those that help us bring our products to the world. Additionally, we provide products for our partner sanctuaries’ fundraising events.

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5. If we can upcycle bird feathers, you can upcycle something fabulous too!

From our business we hope to inspire others to upcycle and recycle everyday things to create something fabulous. Every little act of creativity, whether by us or you, helps our environment and our feathered friends!

 

Look for the Parrotphernalia booth in our Maker Faire Marketplace, or check them out online on their website, on facebook, or (fittingly) on twitter.

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Meet Your Maker: Jessi Langager and Joshua Langager

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Young Makers Jessi Langager (15) and Joshua Langager (13) are two of our most popular Makers, and they’re returning this year with a new project! We can hardly wait to welcome them back.

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What are you bringing to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

We will be doing demos of our NXT robot which is a buildable and programmable robot.  We will showcase how it gets programmed on the laptop, showing how it moves and turns, and fun things you can build and program with it.

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What is your favourite part about being an exhibitor at the show? 

We get to teach kids about robotics and we loved the “like stickys” last year, all the awesome displays- 3D printers, the Titanaboa robot……The toughest part was leaving and waiting another year to come back.

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How else does the passion for making manifest in your life? Where does it come from?

We have always being very creative; we love to build things. Our mom finds competitions, events, fun programs for us and dad has trained and pushed us to practice everyday our robotics so this year he helped us get a gold medal.  He has been our robotics coach.

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You’re among the youngest Makers at the show this year – what’s that like?

We love the attention and we can teach kids better because we are kids.

langager-2Have you been a maker your whole life? What’s your earliest memory of making ?

We both love drawing Pokémon, Mario kart, and playing minecraft- creating lots of worlds.  Joshua started composing his own songs at 18 months old about his favourite toys.

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Who’s your favourite Maker? Other than yourself.

Titanoboa is the most fun coolest robotic snake we have ever seen!!!

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Who or what inspires you to keep on making, even when your project falls to pieces?

Our dad pushed us to  practice a lot and it can be frustrating when a program doesn’t work properly but we stop and try again- we have learned to get along better, to not argue or get mad at each other, we make a really focused and relaxed team and our mom got a ton of complements from the judges of the competition this year, she was so proud.

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What is it about Maker Faire It that attracts you as an exhibitor? What are you looking forward to the most?

It’s fun being there showing off our talents as programmers and it’s so much fun to look around at  all our neighbours and all the cool things they’re doing.

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Don’t miss the Langager booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year! You’ll find them in the tech zone at the north end of the Forum.







Meet Your Maker: Zaber Technologies

 

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Zaber Technologies is a Vancouver-based manufacturer of computer-controlled motorized linear slides, miniature linear actuators, motorized rotary stages, and other devices. Make sure you stop by their booth this year to catch all the moving parts! They’ll have several interactive demos, including a “Microsurgery Game”, interactive musical stages called the “Zee Board”, laser-cut give-aways that will be made at the booth, and “Big Zed” – a moving/changing Z-shape that lights up. In fact, they’re bringing so many different projects to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire that we had to talk to several of them to put together the details for this article!

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What are you making/exhibiting at VMMF this year?

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Several Zaberians (people who work at Zaber) have gotten together to make the following:

Frank’s project: Micro-surgery game – Think “Operation”, but miniaturized and with a joystick.
Justin’s project: Big Zed – A giant, multi-part, moving, 3D “Z”.
Aaron and Connor’s project: Zee-board  – Make your own music with our stages.
Dan’s project: Laser cut give-away – Something to take home and make yourself!

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What else do you guys make?

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Zaberians have been known to make a lot of things, including music, automata mechanisms, heliostats, etc…

 

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What is your favourite part about being a Maker? Your least favourite part? The most challenging part?

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Frank: I’m an engineer and my work projects are expensive, complicated and precise. Building personal projects helps me develop my skills in new areas with low risk. My least favourite part is not having the right tool for a job or waiting for parts. The most challenging part is finding time.

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Connor: My two favourite parts about being a Maker are the satisfaction of seeing something I created come to life, and the look of enjoyment and surprise on people’s faces when they see the project for the first time.  My least favourite parts (which thankfully haven’t happened this year) are the rare occasions that someone calls into question the usefulness of spending time on the project.  The most challenging part would definitely be when I’m 20 hours into a 5 hour project and it finally feels like I’m about halfway there.

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Justin: Favourite part about being a Maker is the simple joy of creating, sucking sawdust, getting my hands dirty, and problem solving. I’m also able to express my sense of humour through my creations (when possible) which otherwise may go unnoticed from day to day by others. I also actually on occasion make myself laugh because you never know exactly how things will turn out….
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Dan: I’ve never called myself a Maker, but I like making things. My favourite part is starting projects, when every idea is possible. The most challenging part is finishing them.

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How else does the passion for making manifest in your life? Where does it come from?

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Frank: I became an engineer as I enjoyed designing and building things. It comes from years and years of training with Lego.
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Connor: I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that allows me to embrace my passion for making and work on cool projects, so my passion for making manifests itself almost daily at work. It’s hard to trace the passion for making since I’ve had it for as long as I can remember; however, I can say that my family has fostered my curiosity and enthusiasm for making since I was a small child.
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Justin: Being a ‘Maker’ is a central part of my soul. I create and ‘make’ at home constantly, so much so a day without ‘Making’ would be fairly unusual. Making comes from a desire to create and express where words rarely can be used or are insufficient -OR in some cases words are just a waste of time. One glance, you get it…

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Dan: I try to do my own car and bicycle repair. I get to make lots of prototypes at work. A lot of it comes from pride; I think I can do a better job than what’s out there, or I care more about the end result, so I end up doing things myself.

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Have you been a maker your whole life? What’s your earliest memory of making ?

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Frank: Yes, building a Lego gun with a trigger that could shoot Lego blocks about 5m when I was 8.

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Connor: I have been interested in making for as long as I can remember, but I would have to say I was initially more of a watcher and un-Maker – staring at construction sites and taking apart old appliances.  My earliest memory of creating rather than dismantling something is probably one of the hundreds of Lego or science kit projects I undertook as a child.

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Justin: I have been a ‘Maker’ all my life from very young. My earliest projects included a dozen or so tree forts, a Return of the Jedi Scout Walker made entirely out of cardboard and wire (because we were very poor and I couldn’t afford the proper model kit), and a large aerial view diorama of Kennedy Space Center made on a large table in my folks basement – which was inspired by the excitement of the first Space Shuttle launch.

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Dan: I spent a lot of time drawing as a kid. I think that has something to do with it. I also did origami with my mom. I probably inherited some of her Japanese “eye-for-details”.

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Who’s your favourite Maker? Other than yourself.

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Frank: Dan Gelbart. There are few other engineers that are so proficient at design, machining, and prototyping with such a broad range of expertise and experience.
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Connor: I don’t really have a favourite Maker, or even a favourite project.  If I had a dollar for every time I was blown away by the creativity, complexity and detail of another Maker’s creation, I’d be able to retire and just spend my time building things for fun… however taking into consideration what I get to do at work, I probably wouldn’t.

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Justin: Hands down automata artist Paul Spooner. A close second is Tim Hunkin and his ‘Secret Life of Machines’ BBC series.

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Dan: Tesla, but I guess that’s a pretty popular answer, so maybe Curt Herzstark.

 

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Who or what inspires you to keep on making, even when your project falls to pieces?

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Frank: You usually learn the most from failures. I actually enjoy massive failures, because that it is something that I’ll never forget and eliminates an approach, technique, or at least makes for an interesting story.

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Connor: To paraphrase Thomas Edison “I have not failed.  I’ve just found another way that will not work.”

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Justin: I have to, it’s who I am. Cliché but true. You always learn something from a failed project. The next one is ALWAYS better than the last.

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Dan: It’s whoever I promised something great to. If I don’t tell anyone about a project, I will probably just leave it in a box when it stops being fun, but if I tell someone about it, I feel obligated to deliver something, and nobody likes delivering something below expectations. This is why I usually don’t like showing unfinished work.

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What is it about Maker Faire that attracts you as an exhibitor? What are you looking forward to the most?

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We like that Zaberians can get together to make something using our products. The process is fun, challenging, and team building.  We also really like that VMMF is a family event. It might sound cliché, but we look forward to the “show and tell” aspect of VMMF. We like to talk about what we have made, but we also enjoy seeing other people’s projects. We are still kids at heart!

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Your company is a VMMF 2014 Sponsor. What is it about the Faire that draws your organization?

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Zaber’s roots are in “Making”. The company’s founders are Makers, and a lot of Zaberians are too. We also understand the vital role “making” and creativity play in building a strong community. All of the groups who participate in VMMF – crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors, and commercial exhibitors – get together because they are passionate about making things. We feel like we have a lot in common with these folks – some of them may even one day work at Zaber or go on to start their own companies. We find this very exciting.

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For more background on Zaber’s progress for VMMF projects, please visit Zaber on Facebook to see more photos and write-ups.

 







Meet Your Maker: Lee’s Electronic

MYM-Lee's-ElectronicLee’s Electronic was established in the heart of Vancouver in 1993, and has been proudly serving local businesses, manufacturers, and people for more than 20 years. They are one of few remaining electronic component stores in the lower mainland. They provide multilingual technical support for students of all levels, from elementary to undergraduate. They’re huge supporters of the Maker scene in general, and the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in particular. They answered our “Meet Your Maker” questions the way they do everything else – as a team!

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What is Lee’s exhibiting at VMMF this year?

We are making a wirelessly controlled mini tank using a Raspberry Pi micro-computer (we called it the PiTank). Viewers will be able to navigate the tank through obstacles and hopefully if we can make more than two, the tanks might play soccer or a game against one another. This exhibit is to introduce micro-controllers to the general public and how easily available it is for everyone to join into the fun of building.

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What else do you make?

Members of the team each have their own individual projects, like autonomous romba vacuums, lego machines, car custom lighting, and IOS/Android app development.

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What is your favourite part about being a Maker? Your least favourite part?
Our favourite part about being Makers is the feeling one gets after working on a project for many, many days and when you power it up, IT WORKS! That feeling is extraordinary – everyone needs to experience it! Our least favourite part would be struggling to debug code that you know should work, but doesn’t. It’s tedious – but when you find the problem, it’s very rewarding!
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How else does the passion for making manifest in your life? Where does it come from?
The curiosity for newer and better ways to solve current problems and future problems encourages us Makers to strive forward.
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Have you been a maker your whole life? 

Some of us on the team have been Makers since an early age, and some have just joined the team not too long ago. Our team members come from various different fields of study and work; fields such as human kinetics, computing science, engineering, chemistry, linguistics, and industrial design.

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Who’s your favourite Maker? Other than yourself.

Some of our favourite Makers include Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman (Myth Busters), Ben Heck (Element 14), and historical makers like Thomas Edison.

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Who or what inspires you to keep on making, even when your project falls to pieces?

Other Makers in the community are a huge inspiration. When you see how their projects have changed the lives of so many people, and how you yourself may be using their invention, it makes you wonder how you can contribute back.

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What is it about Vancouver Mini Maker Faire It that attracts you as an exhibitor?

Vancouver Mini Maker Faire is a great way to not just show your projects, but to invite others to also be curious and introduce them to the new era of electronics. We’re really looking forward to seeing all the interesting projects other Makers are working on.

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Your company is a VMMF 2014 Sponsor. In fact, Lee’s has supported VMMF right from the start! What is it about the Faire that draws your organization?

We have been around for more than 20 years empowering students, hobbyist, and Makers of all ages with the parts and tools they need. We -along with organizations like the Vancouver Hackspace- have been working to build communities of makers and all interested in electronics. We are grateful to see an organization like Vancouver Mini Maker Faire also shares this vision with us. We believe that the VMMF is an awesome event that everyone needs to see and experience for themselves.

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Find out more about Lee’s Electronic at the 2014 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, on their website, or on their Facebook page.

 







Meet Your Maker: Heike Kapp, Glass Artist

 

MYM-Heike-KappHeike Kapp is a local glass artist, and a perennial favourite of Vancouver Mini Maker Faire attendees. She creates glass jewelry, marbles, and small-scale objects, and is returning to the show this year with her collection of striking flamework marbles. Heike was a quilter for many years and enjoyed the tactile and three-dimensional aspects of textile art very much. After completing courses at Joanne Andrighetti‘s glasswork studio, she started incorporating her own soft-glass beads in her work, but was more and more drawn to the sculptural and magnifying properties of clear borosilicate glass. Heike now sells her glass pieces at craft fairs and online, and her goal is to create objects that enrich the owner’s life.

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What are you exhibiting at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

Glass marbles.

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What else do you make?

Art quilts and photography.

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What is your favourite part about being a Maker? Your least favourite part?

My favourite part is letting my creativity run wild; my least favourite part is being forced to triage my creative ideas to fit into the limited amount of time I have for making.

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How else does the passion for making manifest in your life?

I show people who think they are not creative how to be a maker, with the abilities they already have. Sometimes it just takes a small spark!

 

How did your passion for making originate?

My parents always encouraged and helped me to be a maker, my mom was very crafty and my dad was a practical tinkerer.

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What’s your earliest memory of making?

I’ve always been a maker; my earliest memory is of making a rattle from a cardboard cheese box, glue, and rice.

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Who’s your favourite Maker?

I have to pick just one? Impossible! Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, John Kobuki, Gerda Conzetti, Sandra Meech, my dad.

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Who or what inspires you to keep on making, even when your project falls to pieces?

There is always a new project on the horizon.

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What is it about Maker Faire It that attracts you as an exhibitor?

Maker Faire is so wonderfully different from any of the events that I attend. The exhibitors and visitors are so inquisitive and have such a positive attitude, the atmosphere lifts me up and carries me on a high that lasts for most of the year.

I love what I do, and what gives me the greatest joy is seeing the surprise and wonderment in the eyes of the person holding one of my pieces for the first time.

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Check out Heike’s pieces in our Maker Faire Marketplace; her marbles are like whole universes unto themselves, and they make great gifts for the hard-to-shop for – or for yourself! To keep up-to-date on her work, follow her on facebook.

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New for 2014: Maker Faire Marketplace!

The Vancouver Maker Foundation and Vancouver Mini Maker Faire are proud of our ability to provide an incubation ground for new Makers, and support for established Makers who are looking for new ways to grow. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that this year we’ve got a whole new area of the Faire dedicated to just that! The Maker Faire Marketplace is your spot for finding unique and interesting handmade goodies, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in town.

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new-vendors

Many of our Marketplace participants are brand new to the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, and we’re really excited to welcome them to our little club! Elgin Vine is bringing his handmade bags and leatherwork items, and Kukubee will be there with their zipper pouches, paper goods, and accessories. Stop by the eBoy booth to check out their  modular Blockbob toys and their city posters, built of modular pixel elements. Strathcona 1890 will be at the Faire with their carefully-curated seed collections, perfectly suited to growing in any Vancouver garden.

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Is your wardrobe looking for a little pick-me-up? Stop by the Blu Pixie, Devil May Wear, and DRIFT booths for gorgeous and unique finds. If you need something a little more casual, Locomotive is back this year with their awesome collection of t-shirts, just in time for summer.

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VMMF-Food

As always, we’ve got an awesome group of food trucks lined up to keep you fed at the Faire -but don’t forget to stop by our Marketplace and grab some treats for later! We’re delighted that Living Lotus is back this year, and excited to welcome Chickadee Family Bakery. In true Maker Faire spirit (and for those of you more patient than hungry), Make Cheese is back with their cheese-making kits.

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Need a little treat for yourself? Alie & Droid is back with their quirky, handmade items for everyone’s inner geek, and PHRESHA is bringing their 2014 line of jewelry and accessories, ON THE PROWL. Also back this year: Parrotphernalia, with their feather-based jewelry and accessories – as far as we know, the only place in town to get humane feather jewelry. Jewelry makers Umbrella Bird and Dalliance and Design are both joining us for the first time this year, and on Sunday, June 8th only we’ll be joined by Sublime Sisters, a Young Maker team of two sisters.

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giving-back-vendors

Two of our Marketplace vendors give as good as they get. The African Fair Trade Society produces organic shea butter-based soap, shampoo, and skin lotion in an environmentally sensitive manner and without animal testing, and  then uses the profits of their shea butter sales to channel micro-aid to small, impoverished communities in Western Africa. Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) works with emerging women artisans in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to develop an alternative form of business or employment that is grounded in the needs and realities of their participants. Look for their jewelry, paintings, art cards, headbands, dream catchers, and pottery in the VMMF Marketplace.

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holiday-headstart

Maybe you think June is too early to get started on your holiday shopping? Think again! Glass artist Heike Kapp, steampunk artist Professor Whovianart, and local collective Queen Bee can all help you with those hard-to-shop-for people that you’ll be fretting about in December.

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Stop by the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Marketplace and feel good about indulging in a little treat for yourself or someone you love!







Opening Soon: Laser Cutter Cafe in Chinatown

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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.
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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.

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

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Can you elaborate on what the laser cutter cafe is all about?
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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.
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Tea and lasers! Delicious combo. Where did the idea come from?
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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.
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Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the cafe? Do you provide supplies?
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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.
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Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?
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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.
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Why’s it important to share skills and knowledge?  
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It’s much easier than making all the mistakes for yourself (although sometime, that approach is quite educational).
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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!
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Laser Cutter Cafe 1
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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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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How did you get started developing Cymata?

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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.
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Walk us through some of your creative process.

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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.
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Typically, the phases look something like:

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  • 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.

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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.

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Is there anyone specific that inspires you?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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