SPOTechnology Logo

This year come test your remote surgery skills with Sergio! Makers Benjamin Lehrer and Jonathan Roach answer our questions in this week’s Maker Spotlight.

What do you make?

Ben and Jonathan's first Maker Faire with their electronic saxophoneOver the last four years we have constructed four interactive multi-media installations. Our first project was a fiberglass Arduino-controlled saxophone with a light up display of the note being played. The next year we made RFiClimb, an RFID (radio frequency identification)  powered tracking system for rock climbing training and competition. (We recently licensed our patent pending design to Climbalytics, a company making a similar product). Last year we built Marvin (Mono-purpose Automated Robot Versed In coNnect4), a 15-foot-tall artificial intelligence driven four-in-a-row game which beat human contestants about 80% of the time.

This year we built Sergio. The 9-foot-tall project is inspired by the Hasbro game, “Operation,” but modernized with an electronic 3-axis CNC-style arm to give it a remote surgery twist! Controlling the arm with the arcade-style control unit, which features a live close-up video feed, players can attempt to remove game pieces with an electromagnet while avoiding the metal edges.

Who do you make it for?

Not surprisingly, our projects have also caught the attention of saxophonists, rock climbers, and competitive adults nostalgic of their childhood games, but that is secondary to our main goal: to inspire young makers to dream big and get started with fun engineering projects.

Sergio in all their glory

Where are you located?

We work out of our home garages in a western suburb of Philadelphia. Over the years, we have learned to produce professional level projects with limited home-grade tools. You can find us online at www.SPOTechnology.com, or in person at local and national Maker Faires.

What inspires you to make?

We share a strong love of problem solving. Fundamentally, making is simply a string of problems that when solved, produce an item. In this way, it’s not really about the end product, it’s about the journey we take to get there.

Ben and Jonothan of SPOTechnology with their giant version of a Connect Four game

What was your favorite part about the Faire?

Ben: My favorite part was seeing kids’ faces light up as they realized that we made what they were looking at. Not only did this inspire us to continue creating, but it excited them to begin their journey in the Maker Movement.

Jonathan: My favorite part was when other makers, complete strangers, suddenly dropped everything to help us fix the bugs we encountered when setting up, and when we were able to help others. The fairs are always a testament to the power of collaboration in the maker movement.

Drawing Sergio
There are more Sergio build photos this week on our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest accounts! While you’re at it, follow SPOTechnology on Facebook, and on Twitter and come play with Sergio at the #PhillyMakerFare!
JUNTO Electric Bikes Logo

JUNTO Electric Bikes will be bringing their super cool, easy to ride, family of bikes for you to test ride at the Faire! In this week’s spotlight, Alec Powell, Director of Operations and Customer Service, took some time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.

JUNTO Electric Bikes Grey

What do you make?

We make custom designed Pedal Assisted Electric Bicycles; both a commuter bike and a utility/cargo bike

Who do you make it for?

We make our bikes for everyone! But specifically we are making them for urbanites who are looking for a viable replacement for — or alternative to — their car. We believe ebikes are the next wave in urban transportation and we are poised to help facilitate that Movement!

JUNTO Electric Bikes in traffic

Where are you located?

We are located right here in Philadelphia. We have an office in Fishtown/Kensignton on 2nd st.

What inspires you to make?

We are inspired by the prospect of increasing people’s mobility and making our planet’s future a little brighter. By providing a fun, relatively affordable and appealing alternative to driving, our bikes make it easier for people to get outside and feel more connected to the world around them. As our cities continue to grow in population, traffic, pollution and stress are becoming increasingly severe. Our bikes help to reduce each of these things by getting people out of their cars, reducing their carbon footprints and putting a smile on their face because they’re so fun to ride!

We also feel a great sense of duty to our generation to aid in the fight against climate change. As a recent college graduate, I am looking down the road at a future that can seem grim at times. We know climate change is already happening and for the life of me I can’t seem to understand why no one is doing anything about it. If we can help offset our carbon footprint by even just a little bit while providing riders with a sense of confidence, connection and infinite possibilities our bikes provide, I think we’ve done something amazing. The promise of change is what drives us. The promise of a brighter future for all of us is what keeps us working.

JUNTO Electric Bikes Hero Shot

What is your favorite part about the Faire?

Our favorite thing about the Faire is that people come together to celebrate making things. We feel that too many people simply consume and forget how much time and effort goes into creating the things they love. It is about coming together as a community of artisans and creatives to celebrate the beauty of the work they make. This is a place where ideas can be exchanged and people can connect and enjoy each other’s creations.

 

 

To keep up with them on social media, follow JUNTO Electric Bikes on YouTube  | Facebook  | Instagram

Are you a maker? Join us at the Faire on October 6th and show Philly what you make! APPLY TODAY!

Tracey Burhop makes Artist Trading Cards

This week we’ve been sharing the work and passion of artist Tracey Burhop who brought her extensive Artist Trading Card collection to last year’s Faire. Drawing crowds all day, her hands-on display had attendees making their own mini artworks!

Tracey Burhop makes Artist Trading Cards

What do you make?

Artist Trading Cards.

Tracey Burhop makes Artist Trading CardsWhat are Artist Trading Cards?

Small baseball sized cards you paint, draw, collage, etc. These are never sold only traded or given away.

Who do you make it for?

My collection as well as trading worldwide.

Tracey Burhop makes Artist Trading Cards

What inspires you to make?

Collecting Art

What was your favorite part about the Faire?

Sharing with others what Artists Trading Cards are all about.

Editor’s note:

Laura here and I’ll be making Artist Trading Cards for this year’s Faire! Why don’t you join me? Instructions here and we’ll trade at the Faire!

From the ATCs for All website here are the specifics for cards:

  • ATCs must be 2.5″ x 3.5″ (6.35 cm x 8.9 cm).
  • If your card backings are glued on, please make sure all glue is dried before mailing or before putting in a plastic sleeve.
  • Please put each ATC in a plastic sleeve. Plastic sleeves (also called penny sleeves) can be purchased at sports card or hobby stores. They cost approximately $1 US for 100 sleeves.
Sage is a modular, scalable irrigation and moisture monitoring solution that’s quick to install and easy to use.

Sage is a “modular, scalable irrigation and moisture monitoring solution that’s quick to install and easy to use.” with a goal of “building a greener world with smarter irrigation​.”

Sage is a modular, scalable irrigation and moisture monitoring solution that’s quick to install and easy to use.

What do you make?

Smart irrigation system of wireless, solar-powered sensors and valves

Who do you make it for?

Green roof installers

Sage is a modular, scalable irrigation and moisture monitoring solution that’s quick to install and easy to use.

Where are you located?

Philadelphia, PA

What inspires you to make?

We want to make the world a greener place! So many rooftops around the world are wasted space that overburden stormwater systems and contribute to the urban heat island. Green rooftops have so many benefits and we’re creating a tool that makes it easier and cheaper for them to be on every roof!

What is your favorite part about the Faire?

We love to see all of the new and exciting innovations that come from anyone, anywhere.

Sage is a modular, scalable irrigation and moisture monitoring solution that’s quick to install and easy to use.

Come see Sage in action at the PhillyMakerFaire on October 6th and follow them online here: Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

The Cocoa Press logo

Cocoa Press allows anyone to create custom artisanal chocolates on demand. Currently to create a custom chocolate, a mold is required. A simple 2D mold can cost $400, while more elaborate 3D designs can exceed $1000 and take months to make. Cocoa Press enables chocolate shops, bakeries and hobbyists to produce custom chocolates with no fixed cost per design, saving time and money.

The Cocoa Press

What do you make?

Cocoa Press is a 3D printer that prints chocolate. This allows anyone to create custom artisanal chocolates on demand. By 3D printing the chocolate, there are no mold costs and you can create unique textures and mouthfeels that cannot be created in any other way.

The Cocoa Press

Who do you make it for?

This winter, Cocoa Press will begin to sell custom chocolates for Christmas and Valentines gifts. In late 2020 we will begin commercializing the printer so anyone can create their own, unique delicacies.

Where are you located?

We work out at Pennovation Works and NextFab!

What inspires you to make?

I love the endless possibilities with making. Cocoa Press is unique because it is a tool for others to make as well. Being able to show off your work while learning and contributing to the wider maker community is really special.

The Cocoa Press octopusWhat was your favorite part about the Faire?

My favorite part about Maker Faire is the moment that kids and adults come up to my booth and realize that the prints are chocolate. I also love the endless connections, friendships and community that come out of the maker movement.

Evan will be brining his new and improved press to the faire! Check out his original design on his maker page from last year. Evan also sent us this super cool time lapse video from last year’s faire!

Stay up to date with Cocoa Press! Website | Facebook page | Instagram | Twitter

 

Rising Makers at PhillyMakerFaire2018

PhillyMakerFaire makers Yashas, 15, and Akshat, 13 are the founders of Rising Makers – a forum for young makers where they evaluate all product ideas from members and try to commercialize the most promising ones. It’s a blend of a hobby club, maker club, shark tank and business consulting.

After their Maker Faire debut in Philly, Rising Makers went on to the New York Faire and the EcoSoap received the prestigious Maker Faire Blue Ribbon and Yashas’ Ecosoap invention was prominently mentioned in the NY Times.

Akshat was interviewed by a reporter at the NY World Maker Faire.

What do you make?

We make anything that makes everyday life a bit better. We have made 3 things so far, and they are: the Eco Soap where we insert a reusable or recyclable core during the making of the soap, which prevents soap wastage because now there is no need to throw away the unused leftover bar soap, Safe Handle for trash cans which makes it easy and hygienic to open the trash can lids, Domino Trax which is a 3D template which allows players to quickly and easily setup dominos for toppling games. And we are working on many other ideas.

Who do you make it for?

We make things for ourselves and for members of our Rising Makers club. Goal is to use our collaborative approach and collective knowledge develop ideas and to solve a problem or invent something that improves the user experience in some meaningful way. We believe that many everyday items we use can be improved or reimagined and made better and we usually start a group discussion in our meetings by asking members to identify things that they think don’t work properly or are inadequate. Then we collect ideas and discuss the merits of each idea and pursue promising ones.

Where are you located?

We live in Garnet Valley, PA and go the Garnet Valley HS and Garnet Valley MS. I, Yashas, am in 10th grade and my brother Akshat is in 8th grade.

When did you start making?

We started making things about 2 years ago. But we are avid Shark Tank fans and have been watching it with our father for as long as we can remember. We always came up with ideas for making things better but Shark Tank has motivated us to make things and commercialize our inventions so that more people can have better experiences.

How long have you been making?

We have been discussing ideas and tinkering for about 3 years but got serious about 2 years ago.

What inspired you to make these products?

Shark Tank and our Dad, who is an entrepreneur and an inventor – he holds 2 US patents.

What makers inspire you?

Our Dad and all the kids who appeared on Shark Tank. We also like Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban of Shark Tank as they appear to be good businessmen because we think that all entrepreneurs and businessmen are makers too in a way. That’s why really we admire Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and Elon Musk.

What’s next?

Hope to commercialize our 3 products (EcoSoap, Safe Handle and DominoTrax) and be on Shark Tank.

What would you like to ask the maker community?

Some smaller events every few months so that there is more opportunity for kids like us to participate. Smaller events will also encourage more kids to become makers. These could be just events at an university or a library, but they would provide us with an opportunity to showcase and interact and get feedback.

Anything else you want to add?

We think that our Rising Makers club is a great incubator of ideas and products and we would like to have some investors come and meet with us for a mini-Shark Tank type session. Our funding needs are not much, but we are looking for advice, feedback and connections.  Getting some investors to back our ideas will truly validate our ideas, make it real, and give us a boost of confidence.

Philly Makers Bellbot

We’ve finalized the date! We have the Pennovation Center once again lined up for this great event.  We’re moving it to the fall so the weather will be cooler but still nice, and we’ll have better availability of university participation and K-12 students.

If you’re a maker and interested in exhibiting, or if you are a performer or presenter, please sign up for our newsletter so we can notify you when the registration form is set up on this site.  We are still finalizing the details, but here is what we are targeting.  Our plans are to double the number of exhibitors and triple the number of attendees!

We are looking for sponsors and are assembling the sponsor levels and perks.  Please email marvin@phillymakerfaire.com if you are interested in sponsoring the event at some level.  Makers and attendees please hold off contacting us until we have finalized the registration web site.  We’ll let you know of the registration opening through the email newsletter if you sign up here.  Lastly if you are interested in serving as a volunteer, please sign up on this site from the top menu by selecting Participate –> Volunteer.

 

William Muehlenhard - maker of the Collapsible Zoetrope

When did you start making?

My art career officially started with an MA in film and photography, Ohio State University, 1983. I liked documentary work, but it didn’t pay. Commercial work paid really well, but I really didn’t like it. I was working a job building scaffolding for bricklayers—always loved building things—when I heard about arts residencies.

William Muehlenhard - maker of the Collapsible Zoetrope

My first residency was with K-5th grade kids at a school in North Ridgeville, Ohio, 1984. The art teacher had a Super-8 camera, and an idea for an animated movie about the history of their town, stop motion animation using construction paper cut-outs. There are only a few simple rules for photographing flatwork, but they are hard to follow if you don’t have the right tools. So I built them a simple animation stand that made all that automatic. Another problem would be making sure the kids could shape their freely imagined ideas into actual pieces of cut paper, so I spent most of my two weeks with them planning doable vignettes—the kids could always elaborate later, but they had to start with something that I knew would work. Finally, we cut out rough drafts of a few vignettes, and practiced the production process with no film in the camera. I assigned three production jobs: movers (responsible for incrementally moving the cut-outs during filming); clickers (responsible for pushing the shutter button between moves); and monitors (responsible for keeping track of the moving and clicking). The art teacher spent the rest of the year talking about history, overseeing the drawing and cutting, and finally producing a twenty-minute, action packed animated movie. It worked, and it was wonderful and beautiful.

What inspired you to make a zoetrope?

I built my first zoetrope in 1985. Back then, most people were using either Super-8 or flip-books to teach animation. Super-8 has serious drawbacks as a teaching medium: There are lots of ways to make mistakes; you have to send the film out for processing, putting too much time between mistakes made and mistakes learned from; and even if nothing goes wrong, experimentation is expensive, both in money and time. Flip-books are cheap enough but, for me at least, an awful lot of work on a tiny little format for a quick little blip of animation. Some people did try using zoetropes to teach, but traditional zoetropes have all the animation on a single strip of paper, so tracing is impossible. I solved all these problems with a slot-paneled zoetrope that fit 4”x6” sheets of scratch paper.

That zoetrope let kids make a handful of comfortably-sized drawings, slip them into the slotted panels, and immediately study what they’d done, spinning it fast or slow, forwards or backwards, for as long as they wanted. I’d walk into a kindergarten class and hand out pre-numbered pads of scratch-paper. Then I’d tell the kids to turn to the bottom sheet and write their name; trace most of it on the second last sheet; a little less on the third last sheet; etc., etc., so that there’d be nothing left to trace by sheet number one. Five minutes later, kids would be lining up to check out their work. After their first success—and practically everyone had success—I’d suggest they add a pencil where their name ended on each sheet, or maybe a paint brush, or try whatever else they could think of. I’ve seen kindergarten kids complete three or four loops of animation during the very first hour they tried their hand at it.

How long have you been making?

I came to love sharing ways to play with loops of animation. Here’s one: Imagine a juggler with three dissimilar objects—most zoetropes don’t have enough frames to make that work. But if the three objects are identical, and follow identical paths, it effectively triples the number of frames you can use, e.g., after one spin, object #1 just has to be in position to replace object #2 in the cycle. That gives you forty-two frames of animation to play with in a fourteen-frame zoetrope. Here’s another: Trace the filmed image of a running cat such that there is one image of the cat for each frame of the zoetrope. Then add evenly spaced pumpkins in the background, one fewer pumpkin than there are frames in the zoetrope. Spin it, and it looks like the cat is running past a field full of pumpkins. There are lots of ways to play with loops. I’ve seen high-school kids work for weeks, lovingly perfecting elaborately detailed zoetrope animations.

When I was doing residencies, I liked to try something different each time. One of me favorite variations was the Giant Zoetrope Animation Project (1993). Kids, aged 5-12, attending summer programs in eight Philadelphia neighborhoods, made animated imagery addressing the theme, “things we like to do”. The animations were poster-sized, designed to fit a really big slot-paneled zoetrope. At 8’ in diameter, weighing over ½ a ton, with each panel lit from its edges by 40 watt fluorescent tubes, it was the least portable zoetrope I ever built, breaking down into twenty pieces (not counting hardware) for transport. At summer’s end, it toured all eight sites, and we had parties where the kids could check out the techniques/ideas of their peers living in other neighborhoods in the city.

William Muehlenhard - maker of the Collapsible Zoetrope

It wasn’t very long after the Giant Zoetrope project that it started getting more and more difficult do the kind of work I wanted to do, in public, at least. (I think it had something to do with the freedom I’d gotten used to feeling being vocal about the kind of work I didn’t want to do.) So I left that part of my life behind for a while, turning my attention to an idea I’d been toying with for almost as long as I’d been making zoetropes, and I patented my most portable design, the SEND IT AS A GREETING CARD, SAVE IT AS A BOOKMARK™ Collapsible Zoetrope. I’m more of a dreamer than an entrepreneur but, with the patent expiring this August 31st, I’m determined to do something public with my zoetrope, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The Mini Maker Faire, my official reintroduction as an artist, felt great…such wonderful feedback, so many good ideas. It confirmed for me the potential in this project, but I know I’ll need help in a few areas: 1) I’ve never been a natural business person, just the opposite, in fact—I shudder whenever I think about what’s involved in starting/running a business. 2) Though I appreciate the value of digital technology, I know next to nothing about using it, probably less than the average second grader. 3) Related to that problem, I’ve never used any modern social media other than email and texting. When an IP lawyer told me I should register a name that would work across several platforms, I had only the vaguest idea of what he was talking about. 4) A few other things, e.g., I’ve been working with people at NextFab, refining collapsible zoetrope prototypes on a laser cutter. When it comes to making lots of them, I think die-cutting would be best—quicker, cheaper, better score lines—but that’s about all I know about die cutting. Also, I’m sure there’s plenty yet to learn about things like paper stocks, printing, etc., and plenty I could learn about things I haven’t even thought of yet.

What’s next?

I just retired with a pension. I don’t have to look to get rich off of this project. Money’s nice, but what I’m really hungry for is seeing my ideas made real. E.g.: People seem to like the wooden zoetrope with the yellow wooden gears that was set up in the viewing station at Maker Faire. I’m working on a design for a similar zoetrope, one that would assemble from a kit, something like TinkerToys, and I’d love to see kids putting it together and playing with it. Another e.g.: I love finding connections between all kinds of subjects, from science to philosophy to history to math…Imagine a book full of little essays about motion, each essay approaching the subject from a different angle, each essay illustrated by an animation torn from the page edges and viewed in a blank collapsible zoetrope, included with the book. Also included with the book is a packet of cardboard drafting tools—things like squares, grids, stencils and rules—for working animation exercises on the flip sides of the animated illustration strips.

William Muehlenhard - maker of the Collapsible Zoetrope

John Abella

John Abella

What do I make?

I’m interesting in digital fabrication in all forms, and have spent the last 9 years playing with 3D printers and CNC routers off and on.

Who do you make it for?

Generally for myself, for my family, and just for fun. This isn’t what I do for a living, but I enjoy teaching and showing people what’s possible.

John Abella

Where are you located?

I live in Glen Mills, PA.

When did you start making?

Depends on how you define it, but I’ve been building 3D printers since 2009.

What inspired you to make 3D printers?

I’m interested to see how I can use modern tools to look at some more traditional works – especially those that I would normally not be good at: woodworking, carving, etc.

What makers inspire you?

Nervous System!

What’s next?

The Carvey CNC that I’m demonstrating at Philly Maker Faire is being donated to the Easttown Library in Berwyn. Thanks to Inventables for the gracious helping hand with getting their Maker Space started.

John Abella

Anything else you’d like to add?

I organized and ran the first ever 3D Printer Village for World Maker Faire for the first 5 or 6 years, growing it from a group of 10 people in a few small tents to about 185 people in 80 tents by the time I stepped aside. Along the way I probably brought 15 different printers to World Maker Faire, won a few ribbons, and eventually ended up teaching 3D printer assembly workshops in Philly and Wilmington circa 2013. I had the opportunity to write for Make for a few years and have met some of my best friends through the connections I’ve made at various Maker Faire events. I’m excited to see what the city thinks of the first ever Philly Maker Faire.

John Abella

Makers Slam

Makers Slam

What do you make?

I create 3D printed fabrications, interactive designs and art, and much more. My art and designs incorporate drawing, coding, painting, robotics, and bio design, to say the least. I use many materials and media, and I like to cross pollinate different ideas and techniques for the final outcome.

Who do you make it for?

I make these items for myself, but also to share with other people and for them to enjoy. If I just kept them to myself, or they were in an art gallery with a limited audience, what fun would that be? I like my projects to be interactive, for groups to work on them, to cross boundaries and genres.

Makers Slam

Makers Slam

Makers SlamMakers Slam

Where are you located?

Philadelphia, Pa

When did you start making?

As far as the fabrication side (non-fine art), I started when I attended National Art Education Association National Conference in San Diego in 2014 and learned from fellow art educators about 3D printing,MakeyMakey, and other maker technologies. I bought a 3D printer soon after that, and the rest is history.
Makers Slam

How long have you been making?

I have been an artist all of my life, but I did not start making until 4 years ago.

Makers Slam

What inspires you?

For myself, my curiosity into all avenues of learning from art, design, science, and technology and more, and the interconnections they make in life. For my latest projects in involving 3D printing molds to use with mycelium, I really enjoy using bio design as an environmental tool to reduce waste, and using high tech with low tech is really intriguing and interesting.

What makers inspire you?

Corinne Takara (@CorinneTakar), Erin Riley(@eeriley99), Josh Burker (@joshburker), Nettrice Gaskins (@nettieb), Erik Nauman (@openblackboard), Colleen Graves (@gravescolleen),Dr.Ji Qi (@qijie) and so many more artists, designers, and makers I hope I am not forgetting.

Makers Slam

What’s next?

I plan on continuing to teach, learn, explore, and do more workshops for educators, as well as with the public, especially the local community. I am really happy to work with awesome companies that I am an ambassador for such as Chibitronics, Ultimaker, MakeyMakey and Morphi. They are super supportive of my work and my teaching at Charter High School of Architecture and Design here in Philadelphia, as well as my studio work, and other places I teach. I am currently working with the Smithsonian this summer. This lessons will be for the Smithsonian Learning Lab collection, and I will be creating this summer curricula that will hopefully be incorporating items from the Penn Museum here in Philadelphia, as well last the Cooper Hewitt museum in NYC.

Makers Slam

Makers Slam

What would you like to ask the maker community?

I would like to ask the maker community how can we include others from the art, art education, and design community into the folds of the maker movement, and involve them further? Also, how can we help make a makerspace more economical to those who do not have the means to buy and/or use the maker technology such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines?

Makers Slam

Anything else you want to add?

I want to thank the organizers of this great event, it has been a long time coming to Philadelphia to showcase out talent in this great city of ours.

 

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