Category Archives: Meet your Makers

Meet Your Makers: Alex Kay of ReDeTec

AlexKayIs Alex Kay about to save the earth with 3D printing?

In an ocean of plastic waste, 3D printing just seems to be adding to it. According to a study done in 2011 on behalf of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, 2.8 million tonnes of plastic ended up in Canadian landfills that year. That’s a lot of Yoda busts.

This year’s Vancouver Mini Maker Faire welcomes Alex Kay, co-founder of ReDeTec. ReDeTec’s ProtoCycler recycles plastic into a filament used in 3D printing. Not only does it recycle your printer waste, you can throw in your dead monitor case, broken Lego pieces, and maybe some pop bottles too. Even when you do buy new plastic as pellets, it can cut the cost of consumables by two-thirds or more. Buying $30 per kilogram filament is a thing of the past, recycle and it’s free. Of course, you do have to buy the ProtoCycler itself which currently costs around as much as about 25 kilograms of filament, so there is that.

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Meet Your Makers: Heike Kapp, Found-Object Sculptor

Maker Heike Kapp is an artist of the truest sense. If you have been to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in the past, you might remember her amazing glass marbles. Since then, Heike has shifted focus to her found-object sculptures that incorporate driftwood, photo transfers, flameworked glass and wire-work into what she calls Sea Creatures.  We spoke with Heike about her shift in project, her creative process and how she stays inspired as a Maker.

Photo Credit: Joshua McVeity

Photo Credit: Joshua McVeity

Have you always been a Maker?
I feel I was born a maker. My parents were makers before that was even a term, so I think it’s in my blood. My earliest memory is making a water wheel with my Opa, in the Bavarian Alps, with his trusty Swiss Army knife (which I still own).

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Meet Your Makers: International Guild of Knot Tyers

CarolMaker Carol Wang of the International Guild of Knot Tyers – Pacific America Branch has been exhibiting at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire since its inception with her wide array of knots. As both tool and art, knot tying is one of humanity’s oldest skills, and Carol shows how it continues to feed, clothe and bind our world.

When did your love of knot tying begin?
When I was 10, I visited family in Taiwan and was given a book on Chinese knots, probably as a way to occupy my time.  This was very successful.

Knots are can be both functional and aesthetically-pleasing. Can you describe the aesthetic styles and where the inspiration for these styles originated?
The major decorative style known to the West is probably macramé which developed independently in Egypt, China and Peru.  The word “macramé” is Arabic in origin. Macramé takes a fairly small set of knots and ties them repeatedly in different patterns to give you anything from a friendship bracelet or a plant hanger to baskets or three dimensional sculptures.

The major decorative style known to the East is Chinese knotting.  Stylistically distinct variations have evolved in both Japan and Korea.  Chinese knotting in its basic form takes a single cord to tie one fairly involved knot.  The basic knots can be combined into even more complex compound knots.  Adding more decorative touches in other colours, of course, require more cords.

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Meet Your Makers: Make.Family.Fun

Xavier and his tangram

Xavier and his tangram

Sarah (an elementary school teacher) and Julian (a software developer) both love to create, and now with three kids, this family can often be found in the middle of creations, wires and chaos. Tristan, 11,  loves all things that shoot: potato cannons, marshmallow shooters, and especially Nerf. Liam, 9, loves mixing things together, especially if they catch fire or explode. And Xavier, 4,  likes to build things, especially if he can knock them down. Together as Make.Family.Fun, they want to inspire other families to start making.


What inspired you to start making with your family?
Julian grew up as a computer and electronics fanatic on an orchard in New Zealand, with a father who was a carpenter, and a mother who was an avid sewer and cook. Sarah grew up with do it yourself parents who sewed, canned, fixed, built and more. Sarah made kites, go karts and stop motion animations with her father, and puppets, stuffed animals, gardens and her own recipes with her mother. It was just second nature for us to start offering our own sons chances to create. Continue reading

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