Author Archives: Nick

Science Factory Maker Club

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It’s no secret that we love making at the Science Factory. We’ve just wrapped up another successful Spring Make week, with 3D pens, art bots, and flying machines galore.

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We’re very excited for our newest program — our afterschool Maker Club! Kids in grades 2-8 can come to the Science Factory once a week after school to learn new skills and build awesome projects. Each two-hour session will have both structured workshop activities and free time for independent exploration. We have experienced mentors on board (including past Maker Faire participants) who can help kids hone their ideas and develop new skills. Kids who come to two or more workshops and develop their own projects will get the chance to show them off at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire!

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Personally, I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground — and not just because I get to open all of the new boxes of “maker toys” as they arrive! We’ve had numerous requests from visitors for afterschool enrichment programming. And we’ve been searching for a way to connect our maker programs together, from Spring Make through the Maker Faire and even into our wide array of summer camps. Most importantly, we love getting kids involved in making, and we love when young people exhibit their projects at the Maker Faire! We’re grateful to ASTC’s Creativity Garden program for providing the grant funding to get us started. We hope that this ten-week run of afterschool sessions will be the first of many more such programs to come.

All of the info, including a schedule of workshops and a registration form, is available on the Science Factory website. The first workshop is coming up on Wednesday, March 30!

We are GO for launch!

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Thanks to everyone who attended our Launch Party last week! We were very happy to see so many people excited about the Maker Movement in Eugene. Let’s carry that excitement forward to June for the biggest maker party of the year!

If sitting in the driver’s seat of an Arcimoto electric car got you excited about the future of manufacturing, or if hearing Kelley Roy talk about how artisans and entrepreneurs have transformed Portland has got you thinking of your own projects, now’s the time to get in on the Maker Movement in Eugene! Start working on your own project and submit an application to exhibit it at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire on June 11.

And if you don’t have a project but still want to help out, e-mail us to let us know that you’re interested! We can use lots of help leading up to the event — publicity, sponsor recruitment, maker cultivation, and more. And on the big day, we need as much help as we can with setting up and breaking down the party!

Time to get excited, everyone… this will be our biggest and best Maker Faire yet!

ADX 101

“What happens when you put a lot of different people together, in one space, and give them access to the resources they need to be creative?” –Kelley Webb Roy, founder of ADX Portland

Find out more about how projects like ADX and Portland Made have made a difference in Portland, and how similar spaces and projects are already having an impact on Eugene. Meet Kelley, as well as local Eugene makers Arcimoto, Lumidax Electronics, ELM Robotics, and the ToolBox Project. Try hands-on activities with the Science Factory and tour the Eugene Public Library‘s Maker Hub. RSVP by e-mail or on Facebook to join us at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire Launch Party this Wednesday!

Here we go again!

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We’re back for a fifth year of celebrating the makers that make Eugene great! Mark your calendars for the fifth-annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 11 at the Science Factory.

But you don’t have to wait until June to get your maker fix! Please join us for the second-annual Call for Makers Launch Party on Wednesday, March 16 at the Broadway Commerce Center in downtown Eugene. You’ll have the chance to meet a few of our favorite local makers, get your hands on some fun activities, tour the Eugene Public Library’s new Maker Hub areas, and find out how you can be a part of the big event in June.

Our special guest at the Launch Party will be Kelley Roy, owner and founder of ADX, Portland’s hub for collaboration where individuals and organizations make and learn.

Check out the full invitation and RSVP to join us on March 16. We look forward to seeing you downtown!

Wow! What a day!

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From the first rocket launch to the last flying pineapple, the fourth annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire was a spectacular success! Thanks to everyone who attended, big thanks to the 100+ makers who showed off their work, huge thanks to our local sponsors, and GIANT thanks to the Science Factory staff and to the volunteer members of our planning committee who pitched in to make it happen! (If you’d like to contribute to next year’s effort, please e-mail me to get more information about joining our planning committee.)

We’ve got lots of great pictures on our Facebook page, and I’ve included links to other makers’ accounts below. In the meantime, if you can’t wait till next year to get into the fun of making, there’s lots of things you can do! Stop by the Science Factory every day during the summer and try out our new Build, Tinker, Make, Create exhibition. Or check out our summer camps on robotics, engineering, and lots of other great topics. Visit Eugene Maker Space during one of their Open Hack Nights every Tuesday and Friday. Follow the Eugene Public Library’s progress in creating their brand new Maker Hub. Most importantly, go out and make something! You’ve got just under one year to get your project ready to show off for the 2016 Eugene Mini Maker Faire!

The view from above

I think Google Maps is a pretty amazing tool. I’ve used it for years now. I remember being amazed at having such easy access to high-resolution satellite images. And as cool as it was to see the natural and manmade wonders of the world — The Great Wall of China! The Grand Canyon! The Pyramids of Giza! — in some ways, it was even cooler to stay local — There’s my house! There’s the school I used to go to! Is that my car at the supermarket?

With time, the novelty of Google Maps wore off. We inevitably get used to almost any new technology. But once in a while, it amazes me all over again.

This is the current satellite photo of the Science Factory that anyone using Google Maps to look for us will see. And I know exactly what day this photo was taken.

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June 7, 2014. The day of our third annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire. You can see all the canopies along the north wall of the building, the food truck near the point of the covered patio, and of course, the giant slingshot on the north edge near the pond.

If you zoom all the way in, you can even make out the line of pennant flags strung between the trees along the pathway.

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In a little over 24 hours, those pennant flags will be back up. The food truck will be out, the canopies will be up, and the giant slingshot will be back in place. But there will be so much more! Twice as many tables on the front lawn. Rocket launches from Eugene Rocketry. A beer garden, serving Agrarian Ales, operated by LagerBot. 3D printers, battle bots, woodland sprites, and alien habitats. And that’s just outside! Inside the museum you’ll find steampunk art, electronics, lasers, looms, and much, much more.

As much fun as the overhead satellite images are, they won’t really give a good sense of what makes a Maker Faire special. I think you have to see it up close to really understand the excitement.

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Better yet, you have to get your hands on it. Don’t be afraid to break things.

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Don’t be afraid to try something new.

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And most importantly, share your excitement about making new things. It’s contagious.

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I hope you’ll be there for all the fun on Saturday! Get your tickets in advance or at the door.

Maker Hub at the Eugene Public Library

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One of our sponsors, the Eugene Public Library, has some exciting news to share! Be sure to stop by their table at the Faire to meet library representatives and find out more.–NS

DIY’ers, innovators, inventors, and tinkerers have always been among the most active users of public libraries. And Eugene Public Library’s met that demand with free books, premium online resources, hands-on classes, and more.

This fall, the Library will expand opportunities for local creators of all ages by opening a Maker Hub at the Downtown Library. This new dedicated space will allow the Library to schedule more workshops using a wider variety of tools, including a 3D printer. The Maker Hub will also offer open-studio time for individual exploration and projects.

With financial support from community donors through the Eugene Public Library Foundation, Library staff are designing the Maker Hub to meet a range of community needs. Those include boosting STEM education for kids, providing a positive place for teens, and supporting adults’ career development and lifelong learning.

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But there’s no need to wait! Free activities coming up during the Library’s Summer Reading season include learning about electricity for kids; making felted sushi and Frankentoys for teens; and making wearable bike signals and printing your own book for adults.

Come talk to us at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire to get more info and share your ideas. For home-delivery of details about Eugene Public Library’s Maker Hub and events, sign up for the Library’s e-newsletter or connect via Facebook or Twitter.

Check out our makers!

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We’re thrilled to announce our 2015 lineup of makers, representing all corners of Eugene’s maker universe! You’ll see returning favorites such as Steamworks R&D Labs and Eugene Weavers Guild, as well as new entries MECCA, BRING Recycling, and Contraption Maker. From lasers to looms, biotech to battlebots, and fire-starting to flying produce, we’ve got something for everyone! Stay tuned here for previews of some of our makers, and be sure to tell your friends about Eugene’s celebration of the DIY community.

Greetings from San Mateo

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The tenth annual Bay Area Maker Faire is already underway! Your fearless educator and Maker Faire producer has made the trek south once again, this time with a few other members of our team, to learn from other makers and producers about what makes a great Faire. Best of all, we got to take a peek behind the scenes just as the big event was getting started. Our tour guide, Sabrina, is pictured above introducing us to one of her favorite exhibits (yes, it shoots flames). It’s been great fun meeting producers and aspiring producers from places as near as Corvallis and Fresno, and as far as Shenzhen and Paris. And the weekend is just getting started!

I’ve included some more photos below. Sadly, I can’t promise an event in Eugene quite as jam-packed as the 900+ makers of the Bay Area Maker Faire… But we’ve gotten more applications than ever this year, and I can’t wait to share some of their amazing projects with you when I’m back in town next week! If you think your project is good enough to show and tell, there’s still time to fill out our application! There’s no cost to be a non-commercial maker, and you’ll get to meet hundreds of visitors who are just as excited about making as you are. Applications are due by Friday, May 22.

Maker Faire features many art installations. This one has an astronomical twist.

Maker Faire features many art installations. This one has an astronomical twist.

Oh, my... What could be hidden back here?

Oh, my… What could be hidden back here?

It's the backstage area known as the Boneyard, where much of the heavy equipment gets stored. It takes a huge and complex infrastructure to produce an event of this size!

It’s the backstage area known as the Boneyard, where much of the heavy equipment gets stored. It takes a huge and complex infrastructure to produce an event of this size!

Drone battles have become a major attraction at the Faire.

Drone battles have become a major attraction at the Faire.

It's a Maker Faire tradition... The evening before the Faire is a giant maker party, featuring Gerard's awesome paella prepared in the largest pans I've ever seen!

It’s a Maker Faire tradition… The evening before the Faire is a giant maker party, featuring Gerard’s awesome paella prepared in the largest pans I’ve ever seen!

Get Your Tickets!

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Our advance ticket sales are now open! Visit our Eventbrite page to purchase your tickets for our June 13th event online. And stay tuned here for more announcements about our maker lineup. With both new presenters and returning favorites, it’s shaping up to be our best year yet! If you’re a maker, it’s still not too late to join LagerBot, Eugene Maker Space, Oregon Electronics, Eugene Public Library, and Eugene Weavers Guild as exhibitors at this year’s Faire. Fill out our maker application before May 22 to sign up.