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Maker Interview: Erol Chandler of A-Lamp

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Hello again, my name is Jeffrey Garman and this is my second year on the Eugene mini Maker Faire Steering Committee.  I am excited to present here the second in a series of “Meet the Makers” interviews with Erol of A-Lamp Design as a lead up to the Faire on June 11th.

Jeffrey:  Hello Erol.  While preparing for our interview I was struck by how closely your last name resembles “chandelier” and how fitting that is for your work as a designer/artisan lamp builder.  I find your lamps provide a stage upon which the filament of the classically fabricated incandescent light bulb illuminates its subjects.  Just the thought of the word “filament” (one of my favorite words mind you) – has suddenly reminded me of a passage from Walt Whitmans’s “Leaves of Grass.”

“I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor…  Mad filament, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable…”

    Erol Chandler    Switched

Jeffrey:  Needless to say I think your work is very inspiring in its simplicity and form.  An A-Lamp would be a thoughtful addition to the desk of anyone who cares about the feng-shui of their work spaces.  Look at me — I am taking up all of our interview time! Let’s get this party started.  How did you begin with your craft?

Erol: I started out just tinkering around in a friend’s garage. I’m the type of person who always likes to be doing/learning something new. I didn’t mean for it to become my full-time job, but it took on a life of its own and now I have a little shop in downtown Springfield and I get to enjoy it every day.

Jeffrey:  You’re very lucky.  I don’t see many bulbs like these anymore.  I mean, I guess I see them in bars and restaurants on occasion but they are not readily available at your common hardware store.  I am very curious where you get them.

Erol: The bulbs are blown glass and skillfully hand-wound tungsten filaments made in Texas.

Jeffrey:  Perhaps you are aware that many governments around the world have passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs because of their inefficiency in comparison to LEDs and CFLs.  In Germany some importers have gotten around this by selling them as heating bulbs. What are your thoughts about this?  Does it affect your ability to sell internationally?

Erol: My lamps are more for aesthetic appeal. People buy our lamps because they are a perfect accent lighting or decorative touch that really brings a room together. The Edison-style LED lights have absolutely improved in appearance lately, but they still don’t create the same effect as the incandescent bulbs. Those little details are what it’s all about and incandescent bulbs serve our purpose perfectly.  Every handcrafted lamp has its own story and by selling them in person and meeting the customers, we get to see that story through until the end. We are there until the very last chapter and there’s something really fun about that. That being said, we have decided to only sell our lamps in person at shows.  So if we do an international show I don’t think we will run into any import problems.  While having our lamps available online is a quick and easy way to make a sale, that’s not really what we’re about. We’re a small company, and we’d like to keep it that way. It doesn’t make sense for us to have mass production online sales.

Jeffrey:  Speaking of sustainability and efficiency, tell me about the Shower Commander.

Erol:  The Shower Commander is something I invented about 8 months ago and has been my ongoing side project. It’s the world’s first foot-operated shower switch that controls the flow of water during your shower. It is an easy way to save both water and money and because it sits on the floor of your tub instead of behind the shower head. It’s the first water conservation device that children can access during the shower, making it a great teaching tool early on.

Jeffrey:  That really is a great idea!  I look forward to seeing you at the Faire.

Get your advance tickets to see Erol Chandler and more than 30 maker exhibits at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire on June 11! Tickets are $1 off until June 1.

Get your tickets!


The wait is over… ticket sales are now open for the 2016 Eugene Mini Maker Faire!

Wondering what you’ll see this year? We’ve posted our list of makers right here. You’ll see some familiar names — South Eugene Robotics Team, Steamworks R&D Labs, Eugene Weavers Guild, and NextStep Recycling are all making return appearances. You’ll also notice some new additions to our roster, including Arcimoto, One Drop Design, and Cosmos Creations!

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase your tickets between now and June 1 to get $1 off admission. Look for the “Early Bird” ticket options on the ticket sales page.

Check in with us over the next two weeks as we finalize our list of makers, as well as a brand-new maker speaker series. Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook to let us know you’re coming. We look forward to seeing you on June 11!

Maker Interview: Shawn Nelson of One Drop YoYo’s


Hello, I am Jeffrey Garman and this is my second year on the Eugene mini Maker Faire Steering Committee. I am excited to present to you the first in a series of “Meet the Makers” interviews with Shawn and David, co-owners of One Drop Design. The whole committee is happy to welcome them to the Faire on June 11th.

Let’s get started!

Jeffrey: It is not common knowledge that there exists an international high-end YoYo market, and it is even lesser-known that Eugene is home to a leading designer and manufacturer of premium/luxury YoYos like the ones you produce in the One Drop Design factory. My first question is, obviously, who the fusiform-gyrus are you guys, where did you come from, and what is your superhero genesis story? (Is that three questions?)

Shawn: Yeah, David and I met in 1991 as random roommates in an apartment that was full of people coming and going. We didn’t actually meet face to face until I’d moved into the room next door to his. We were the only two guys who would get up each morning and actually go to real adult jobs, sometimes stepping over piles of sleeping strangers to make our way out of our own apartment – it was a bonding experience. We quickly realized, as you do in your twenties, that working for other people kinda sucks. We committed to starting a business together although we had no idea what it would be, or when we’d actually get around to starting.

Our first idea was to rebuild and sell vintage VW Beetles. Our business was going to be called Future Bug Paradise, named after a song. Honestly though, more time went into the clever name than the business. One day Dave saw a trinket I’d made for myself at a machine shop I worked at; he thought it was cool and that maybe we could base a business on the idea that we just make cool stuff and a few weirdos would think it cool enough to buy. Life happened and we put it all on hold for 10 years, finally setting up shop in Eugene on 01/01/01.

Jeffrey: With precision ground bearings, side mount ‘spinner’ accoutrement and psychedelic vibrant anodized aluminum hemispheres that bring the thought of Jackson Pollock to my right hemisphere, it is clear that the modern day YoYo is not the simple toy of the past. I have to say these look more like navigational gyroscopes than toys. Can you bring me up to date on what the YoYo of 2016 looks like and how it is made?

David: There are 3 things that have revolutionized YoYo performance. The first is the ball bearing. When it first debuted as a marketing item for a bearing company in the late 80s, it immediately took spin times from 20 seconds up to a couple of minutes. Things have never been the same since, and the current world record spin time is about 31 minutes.

The second is making YoYos out of precision machined aluminum. The density of this material and the precision of manufacturing is ideal for this.

The third is known as “unresponsive”. Traditional YoYos can be returned to the hand by simply tugging the string. Unresponsive means that the YoYo doesn’t return to the hand on a tug. This allows for any complexity of trick without worrying that the YoYo will accidentally “trigger” and try to come back. In order to get it to come back, you need to learn a trick called “the bind”.

These are the three main innovations, but there have been lots of other small improvements in shape, weight, weight distribution, and lately using multi-materials. We machine our YoYos on CNC lathes out of various aluminum alloys, Delrin, and titanium. The aluminum YoYos are tumbled to put a matte finish on them, and then we send them out for anodizing which puts the protective layer on as well as the color schemes. We then assemble, test and ship.

Jeffrey: I for one am very excited about having you at the Faire. Can you reveal anything about what you will have at the event? (spoiler alert) Will you be selling specially priced Faire themed YoYos and schwag, doing trick demonstrations, or perhaps having a raffle? I love raffles!

Shawn:  We will have a booth at the Faire doing demonstrations and lessons (we will have YoYos for people to try). We will also be selling YoYos at a discounted price. David and I will also be doing a talk expanding on the topics of this interview and taking questions.

Jeffrey: This is going to be the best Faire ever.

This weekend: Makers and community

11236157_10208880560474005_4367091765865025429_nIt’s shaping up to be another great weekend for Makers in Eugene! This Saturday marks the grand opening of the ToolBox Project, Eugene’s newest community location for tool access and more. It’s also the fifth anniversary of CodeChops, the coworking space at Broadway and Willamette. Both sound like great reasons to celebrate — so they’re throwing a party together!

Curious about the ToolBox Project? From their website:

The ToolBox Project serves the Eugene-Springfield metro area by providing members with low-cost access to building repair and garden tools to transform their homes, businesses and neighborhoods. Our goal is to help individuals, families and neighborhoods thrive by creating a space where we can all share, build and grow together.

We were happy to host the ToolBox Project at our launch party in March, and we look forward to seeing more from them as they settle into their permanent home!

The ToolBox Project’s “Ready! Set! Share!” Grand Opening, held jointly with CodeChops, is this Saturday, May 14, from 1-4PM at their home on Adams and 22nd in Eugene. RSVP on Facebook or visit their website for more information. The fun will continue downtown Saturday night with a coworking space and pub crawl hosted by CodeChops. Happy making!

Spring into Making with EMS!

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Our friends at Eugene Maker Space are hosting their semi-annual open house on Saturday, May 7 from 10AM to 4PM.
Eugene Maker Space has been a partner with us since the very first Eugene Mini Maker Faire, and they’ve brought some of our favorite exhibits, including Team LEO’s produce-launching slingshot.

The “Spring Into Making” Expo will feature tours of the EMS shop space, tool demos, and hands-on activities with Eugene Rocketry and the Science Factory. This is a great opportunity to meet the members of EMS and find out how you can join one of Eugene’s best coworking spaces for hobbyists and professionals alike. Plus you’ll get a sneak preview of the projects and displays that will be at the Mini Maker Faire on June 11!

RSVP on Meetup for the event, or just stop by the shop at 687 McKinley St. anytime between 10 and 4. We’ll see you there!

Science Factory Maker Club


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.


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!


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!


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!

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!


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!