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Maker Interview: Cliff Dax of LumiDax Electronics LLC

left hipster cred Cliff DaxSelfy Cliff Daxright hipster cred Cliff Dax

Cliff Dax has been a maker since before the maker movement began and that gives him a sort of hipster cred within the local community. We’re pleased to bring you the following interview with Cliff Dax of LumiDax Electronics LLC, who will be at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire on June 13.

Question: When and how did you become a maker?

Cliff: I have been “making” gadgets since junior high school in 1968. I was very popular.  I made a radio in a bandaid box, fun “shock boxes”, an FM transmitter (with a vacuum tube) and other amazing things. In college, I built a light show for my friend’s rock band and an Alien from the movie set for the dorm’s Halloween weekend bash (complete with a metal jaw that the dorm RA wore). I have been making laser light shows and other various items continually since. I also enjoy restoring old radios and TVs.

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Q: Given that you received your electrical engineering degree and began work at Rockwell Engineering 20 years before the first MAKE Magazine was published, what do you think of this current DIY maker movement?

Cliff:  I think it is wonderful. There has been a growing innovation deficit nationally and I feel the Maker movement is a strong force in filling this void. People have created a grassroots movement that is rekindling the love of innovation in America. As an instructor at the University of Oregon, I have noticed an increase in students who are excited about hands-on experiential learning which is useful for approaching many engineering challenges.”

Q: Did you show something at any of our past Eugene Maker Faires?

Cliff: We showed our prototype Bakerboard last year.  Kids loved the ability to play with the waveforms on the function generator and how they changed on the built-in oscilloscope.

Baker Board1 Cliff Dax Baker Board3 Cliff Dax Baker Board2 Cliff Dax

Q: Do you mentor or work with newbie DIY’ers in the Eugene/Springfield area? What wisdom could you condense into a few principles to follow for someone who wants to become a maker?

Cliff: Well, being a maker comes naturally to those who are in engineering and the sciences. We create things that don’t exist, and solve problems that haven’t been answered yet. I have been involved in the past with assisting people with their projects, both inside and outside the university system. As for principles – just be curious about the world around you. Take a closer look at the way nature works. There is also a wealth of information online that can boost your maker experience. Finally, don’t exist in a bubble – get out and meet people. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can create when you pool your resources.

Q: What are you planning for Eugene Maker Faire 2015?

Cliff: Lasers above the indoor floor [and] a color range projection display next to our Lumidax display table. We’ll also have a set of computer speakers so kids can hear what the output of the function generator sounds like.

Q: What projects have you made recently? What do you consider your Magnum Opus?

Cliff: High power ‘Air Effects’ lasers for outdoor projection at a rock festival in Creswell. I am working on a 6C33 Russian tube amplifier with no output transformer which is considered the perfect audiophile amplifier. The Bakerboard concept is the most popular of the ideas that I have done.

Q: How do you get your project ideas?

Cliff: Just look around and find holes in what is available to do specific tasks, then find a solution and most importantly, check to see if it will be affordable for those who might need it, If so, then go for it.

Q: You are a senior development engineer by day, repairing and building custom scientific equipment on the University of Oregon campus.  What drives you on your own time to make your laser light-show gear as well as invent educational hardware such as the baker board?

Cliff: The desire to create business here in Eugene. My vision is to get people interested in making things, to provide jobs, jobs that are fulfilling and create something with tangible value. Oh, and it is fun for engineers like me.

Come check out the LumiDax Electronics LLC table at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire! We will have lots of fun activities for kids and adults alike! Get your advance tickets online or purchase them at the door.

Maker Hub at the Eugene Public Library


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!

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


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!


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.

Makers Go National


There’s no doubt that the Maker Movement is an international phenomenon, with 130 Maker Faires in 25 countries last year. But we couldn’t help but think that this whole “making” thing was finally catching on when we found out that last year the White House hosted its own Maker Faire. Following the success of that event, this year the White House has declared June 12-18 a National Week of Making, including an expanded National Maker Faire on June 12-13.

We’re thrilled, of course, that our own Faire coincides with these dates, and we hope that the national attention will highlight Eugene’s place at the forefront of do-it-yourself science and technology. Eugene’s own Mini Maker Faire is not only a homegrown party, but now also our local contribution toward this nationwide celebration of making.

If you think that promoting learning and innovation through making is important to recognize on the national stage, we’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts below, or better yet, show us by signing up to be an exhibitor at our Faire!

SERT does it again!

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Update 4/10/15: SERT had a great showing in Washington last weekend, placing 34th out of 153 teams. This has earned them an invitation to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis! They are currently raising funds to cover travel and registration, and we wish them the best of luck as they compete against 600 teams from around the world.

(Original post below)

As this post goes live, our friends on the South Eugene Robotics Team are a few hundred miles from home, in Cheney, Washington for the 2015 FIRST Robotics Pacific Northwest District Championship. They will be competing against the best teams in Oregon and Washington in the culminating event of a very exciting and rewarding competition season.

This year’s competition is quite different from previous years — there are no balls or frisbees in play. Rather, “Recycle Rush” requires robots to collect and stack plastic recycling bins — the higher the stacks, the more points.

The team from South Eugene fared well in its two preliminary competitions. At the Oregon City competition on February 28, SERT placed fifth overall and also won the Creativity Award. One month later in Philomath, they placed 11th and received the Excellence in Engineering award.

Here’s a video of one of the Philomath matches. Look for SERT (2521) on the Blue Alliance.

Congratulations to SERT on a great season so far, and best of luck this weekend! If you’d like to see “Nessie” in action, be sure to join us on June 13 at the Science Factory! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the first notice of advance ticket sales, which will be available soon.

Maker Interviews: Rick Osgood

Rick Gesture

Rick Osgood has played a big part in bringing the maker movement to Eugene.  He cofounded Eugene Maker Space, he produces a maker YouTube channel, and he still finds time to write for Hackaday.   We asked him about all that.

“Inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes, walking through the hardware store you see some tool you’ve never seen before and it will immediately give you an idea.” — Rick

Q: When and how did you become a maker?

Continue reading

Woohoo! We’re off and running!

Our Launch Party on Wednesday night was a great success! Thanks to everyone who turned out, including Mayor Kitty Piercy for her remarks.

Of all places in this world that should be in front of the Maker Movement, it should be Eugene, Oregon.
— Mayor Kitty Piercy

Thanks also to Claim 52 Brewing and The Barn Light for their sponsorship of the Launch Party, and to the makers who brought just a small sample of what we expect to see at the Science Factory in June: Eugene Maker Space, Lumidax Electronics, LagerBot, South Eugene Robotics Team, and the eNABLE community.

If you were at the party, we hope you’ll share your feedback with us so that we can improve next year’s event. And we also hope you were inspired to submit your own project to display at the Science Factory on June 13!

We’re throwing a party…


and you’re invited!

To celebrate our Call for Makers, we’re holding our first-ever Eugene Mini Maker Faire Launch Party! Please join us on Wednesday, March 18th from 6PM to 8PM at the Broadway Commerce Center, 44 West Broadway. Special thanks to The Barn Light for sponsoring this brand-new event!

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy will be on hand to share her thoughts on the role of making in Eugene and her reasons for signing on to the Mayors’ Maker Challenge last summer. We’ll also have some light refreshments and beer for those 21 and over courtesy of Claim 52 Brewing. The Science Factory, LagerBot, Eugene Maker Space, and other makers will be on hand with a few demos and activities to give everyone an early taste of Maker Faire. If you’ve never been to a Maker Faire, or if you’ve attended one but want to find out about exhibiting as a maker, this is the perfect opportunity to meet makers and find out how to get involved.

We appreciate your RSVP by e-mail. See you downtown on March 18th!