Laser Cutting and Engraving with Epilog

Meet the Maker:  Epilog Laser

One of the most powerful and versatile maker tools is the Epilog Laser, and one of my favorites to watch at the NoCo Faire. Laser cutters work by directing a powerful laser beam onto a material which they either cut or etch, depending on to what depth the program has been set.  My first glimpse at a laser engraver was at a facility for disadvantaged youth. They had set up a laser engraving business where they kids made their own funds by engraving everything from local tournament trophies to mugs and keychains. Later, at a local makerspace, we got to know a talented artist creating everything from signs to jewelry.

But we are makers! We want something Big and a little bit dangerous to make. Here is a Sketch-Up design of a life-sized dinosaur to create with a laser cutter.

We get feedback from educators and makerspace across the state on tools and equipment. Epilog is well known as the Gold Standard when it comes to laser capacity and reliability. Here is a great video covering a range of products produced by Epilog:

You’ll be able to see a wide variety of Epilog capabilities at the NoCo Faire.  They are one of our steadfast sponsors that make our event possible. Come by and see Epilog Laser in action!

Call for Makers is OPEN!

Time to unleash your creativity!   

The NoCo Mini Maker Faire Call for Makers is Open!

aviators2NCMMF_2015

WWII era B25 Bomber
with flight simulators

built by the
Young Aviator’s Club

photo by Lucky Brake

 

Do you love to push technology in new or different ways? Are you an artisan honing a craft? Do you tinker, program, experiment, build contraptions or costumes and want to show off your work? Bringing a new Invention to market? Maybe you run a maker space and want to share your resources with the world! Join us at the 4th annual NoCo Mini Maker Faire to showcase your creation, enjoy collaborating with other makers, get exposure and promotion for your products, and have a wonderful time!

Spread the word and APPLY TODAY!

New Location and Maker Activities!

We’re getting bigger! So the Faire is moving to the First National Bank Building at The Ranch Event Center in Loveland. The NoCo Mini Maker Faire is now the launch event for Colorado Maker Week – catalyzing maker activities in schools, libraries and businesses throughout the state. In addition to the wide variety of eclectic, diverse and out-of-the-box projects that highlight the tinkerer spirit, this year we are also including:

Sparks & Spirits: a craft distillery tasting celebrating makers that create with fire, light and sound.

The 10th annual DaVinci Showcase: a competition for inventors to garner feedback from esteemed judges and for winners to get some great professional support to bring your idea to market.

Youth Entrepreneurs Market: if you are a youth still in school and have created your own business, Ottercares Foundation has sponsored your booth space and provides a pre-event workshop for you to learn about marketing and selling your creations.

Learn more and apply at NoCoMakerFaire.com or at Coloradomakerhub.org

What kinds of projects will be exhibited?

All kinds! Some projects are practical, innovative, life-saving, and some are just incredibly creative, fun, or all of those things. If you are passionate about something you created, you should absolutely apply to exhibit. We’d love to see your work. Maker Faire is all about embracing innovation, creativity, and sharing the things learned in that journey of discovery. We are looking for a wide variety of eclectic, diverse and out-of-the-box ideas that highlight the tinkerer spirit. Exhibits and displays can range from student projects, robotics, 3D printers and laser cutting, textile arts and crafts, home energy monitoring, rockets and radio control toys, sustainability, green technology, radios, vintage computers and game systems, electronics, electric vehicles, biology/biotech and chemistry projects, puppets, kites, kinetic sculptures, shelter, and unusual tools or machines. Makers are often pushing the limits of tech or exploring new ways of doing traditional crafts and we want folks who are willing to share and teach with an inquisitive and appreciative audience. We’re striving to show and teach participants that it’s okay to get hands-on with projects, to learn a new skill or subject, to experiment and design with wet labs, code, a paint brush or even all three together!

The NoCo Mini Maker Faire is offered by the nonprofit Colorado Maker Hub, and sponsored by Epilog Laser, University of Northern Colorado, Aleph Objects, and the maker community. We are an offshoot of the celebrated Maker Faire (www.makerfaire.com) created in the SF Bay area that draws over 120,000 annually from all around the world. Follow us a www.nocomakerfaire.com or on Facebook. To learn more about Colorado Maker Hub, find us at www.coloradomakerhub.org or on facebook or twitter at comakerhub. The NoCo Mini Maker faire is independently produced by Colorado Maker Hub in collaboration with Maker Media.

 

 

We Are Moving!

After 3 wonderful years at RMCIT in Loveland, we have outgrown the space and are moving!  The 2016 NoCo Mini Maker Faire will be held October 7-9 inside the First National Bank Building at The Ranch Event Center. The Ranch is easily accessible – just off of I-25 in Loveland.  And it has amazing facilities such as Water and Working Bathrooms! Those of us that enjoyed the feel of the old manufacturing building from the first few years are still looking forward to these luxuries.  ;-)

2014 Denver Maker Faire 112Over the years our “mini” maker faire has grown to include not only halls full of maker creativity and hands-on activities, but also Sparks & Spirits (formerly Makers After Dark), the Inventors Showcase and Bootcamp, and the Youth Entrepreneurs Market. We are working now to create the most amazing event yet during Colorado Maker Week.

If you want to get involved as a maker or volunteer, or want early bird tickets – click on the links to the right.  Want to be a sponsor or distiller – please contact elise(at)comakerhub.org.

 

 

 

 

Discovering Making

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E-Textiles, controller incorporated into the hem.

What does it mean to be a maker? It’s sometimes hard to explain to people who think it is all about one thing – the crafts, the tech, for kids, for geeks….  Here’s one maker, Kristi Rogers of the Loveland Creatorspace, sharing her adventures in making:

“I have researched DIY and maker culture in an academic context, and I have also identified as a maker/artist for several years now, but articulating the value of the depth and breadth of that experience is still tricky. …But, my experiences in this space have been incredible enough that I feel I should try. To me, being a maker is about way more than making things. It’s about being a part of a community of folks who believe in radical knowledge sharing, building a collective base of knowledge, skills, tools and in essence, we empower each other and the community in which we are situated to learn and connect through “making.” In short, as part of a maker culture, a person becomes part of a network of folks who have their own projects, yes, but just as often, we work together to ideate and then make manifest both the bizarre and functional.

When I went to my first class at the makerspace where I am now a member, I remember being really nervous when I walked in, clutching the bag of leds and coin cell batteries I had grabbed when walking out my door…I had zero experience (but lots of interest) in the topic being taught, and knew no one there. As the class got underway, however, my nervousness faded and gave way to interest and excitement about the project we were undertaking…at first on our own, and then as a group. The class was inexpensive, but taught by someone who was well qualified, materials were on loan from the makerspace, and I learned concepts that I would not have had access to outside of an academic classroom, which I didn’t have time or money for. That was four years ago, and now I am designing my own circuits, sewing them into clothing, and programming at an 11722585_10155935501430372_3567790728954406009_ointermediate level in arduino and processing…these skillsets and the courage to develop them were entirely enabled by the maker community.

For me, the courage I found in this context stemmed from the focus on exploration and curiosity that characterizes so many maker endeavors. In a binary world of right and wrong, pass or fail, trying new things that are situated outside of one’s sphere of experience can be intimidating. When I fell into maker culture, I found that I had unwittingly found my way into a context that was just as much about enjoying and sharing the process as it was about completing the project. Because I had access to resources and specialized tools in the space, I could customize my own learning and consumption experience, and a few years later, I have developed skills that allow me to make a decision between making or buying.

What I am trying to say here, is that when you undertake to make something yourself, and spend time in a community that facilitates that, it is freeing. You free yourself up to make mistakes in a safe context, and to explore the possibilities of an object beyond those that are provided to you out of hand by a manufacturer or retailer. In short, you are a prosumer, a producer of objects that you then consume and are joining a movement that is subtly and steadily changing the face of consumer society.”

Kristi is one of the talented makers on our team creating the Denver Mini Maker Faire to come June 11/12.  Her Dragon Warrior, built entirely out of paper, will be at the Faire as well as some of her musical creations.  Check us out and let us know if you would like to join us as a maker, volunteer, or hands-on visitor to the Faire .

A Maker Christmas

What a Maker Christmas we are having!

Last night we visited a maker’s musical christmas light show – check it out here.

When we got home it was clear one of the cat’s had attacked the tree and my family stained glass ornament was broken.  Thanks to our handy dandy Sparkfun soldering iron that was quickly fixed and back on the tree.

IMG_0599This morning I woke up to a wonderful laser engraving of one of my favorite photos of my daughter.  Thanks to my husband Ed VanDyne with help from Joel at the Loveland Creator Space and Epilog Laser!  Wow, what a gift!

And this evening we are hosting a makers Christmas dinner with makers from around the Front Range.

However  you are spending this  holiday – we hope it is merry. We are grateful for our amazing maker community and look forward to seeing you soon!

You haven’t heard much from us this month because we’ve been working hard on a bunch of exciting things for 2016. Next week we’ll unveil it all!

Makers by Day, Makers by Night!

Favorite moments from the 3rd annual NoCo Mini Maker Faire

Makers After Dark launched the weekend, featuring 21 distillers from across the state alongside makers that shine in the dark.

This was also the first year of the Inventor’s Showcase and Inventor’s Bootcamp at the Faire. Judges and Faire visitors weighted in on their favorites, with LucidBrake declared the 2015 winner.

Where else can you look through a window and see a landspeeder on one side and a B-25 WWII bomber front on the other?  Old favorites Fare and away creations brought their Star Wars characters and new favorites – the Young Aviators Club – showed off their B25 Bomber simulation built entirely by the club.

And faire go-ers having fun trying their hand at everything from electronics with Atmel to Sword fighting!

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We celebrated Colorado Maker Day with gusto at this year’s Faire!

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The Greatest Colorado Maker Day event!

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Yesterday, October 10th, was Colorado Maker Day and the creators were out in force at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire.  Still going on today from 10-5!  Here is Dave Taylor’s Go Fatherhood blog on his day at the Faire.   … Continue reading

Pluto, Physics and Planes!

You will not want to miss the talented speakers and their presentations at the Faire.  Make sure to plan your weekend around catching these.  Here are just a few of our speakers, for the full schedule, click on Makers/Speakers.  

Pluto New Horizons Mission briefing and Build your own SpaceBling workshop
Kimberly Ennico Smith, deputy Project Scientist on the New Horizons Pluto Fly-By with NASA/Southwest Research Institute and with Susanna Speier, founder of SpaceBling.    Kim will answer questions and discuss the New Horizons mission while Susanna Speier leads a Build your own Space Bling Workshop.  During the Build your own SpaceBling workshops Susanna provides materials for kids who want to design their own necklaces and keychains using resin pendants built from the New Horizons spacecraft line drawings.

It Doesn’t Matter
As a 13 year old maker, 
Katt Hendershott embodies her topic, It Doesn’t Matter. One of the great revolutions of the maker movement is that your age, size, gender, color or income level don’t matter.  What matters is your curiosity, creativity, and capabilities.  Come and be inspired on what you can do!    

Katt is in the gifted and talented program at school, and active member in Technology Student Association, and resident expert on the laser cutter at denhac. She is building a high tech cosplay for the upcoming Supernatural convention and hosted her own booth teaching visitors on glow science at the Denver Mini Maker Faire at the Denver Museum for Nature & Science.

Maker’ a Business: Taking Your Wares to Market
In this interactive talk, Ariana Friedlander shares the 6 counter-intuitive things she has learned about building and growing a viable business in the 21st century marketplace. Makers will walk away enlightened and enlivened, as they develop a deeper understanding of how to turn an idea into a business.

Ariana Friedlander, MPA is the Founder and Principal for Rosabella Consulting, LLC and has over 11 years of experience working with small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to create strategies for successful organizational growth.  Ariana specializes in translating complex ideas to simple, comprehensible points and finding connections when duality appears to be the norm. 

Re-building the B25 Bomber
Scott McEwan and Young Aviators Club – 
Follow the experiences of Scott and the youth makers and their mentos that have built the forward third of a full-scale North American B25J “Mitchell” bomber from scratch. Through this project the young aviators (YAs) learned how to handle aluminum, measure, cut, drill, debur, rivet, and use power and hand powered tools, just like “Rosie the Riveter” did during WWII.  The YA’s are also learning from their awesome engineer mentors how to make the instrument panel functional, how to used C.A.D. to replicate parts we don’t have, and what will be required to safely transport the weight and bulk of the project 1,000 miles each way to Wisconsin.

Clean Energy Members Power the Faire!

Clean energy is one of the top innovation industries – so of course we want to showcase the latest and greatest happening here in Colorado.  We reached out and thecoloradocleanenergyclusterlogo Colorado Clean Energy Cluster brought together it’s membership to help us power our outside makers and to help with internal power distribution.

exponentialengineeringlogoExponential Engineering led the way by determining our needs and building a plan.  They then brought in specific CCEC members to then fill their master plan.

crop_sm_Pos_En_logo_1Pos-en is bringing a solar generating and storage unit.

Dellenbach Motors will be contributing power via a Chevy Volt.  Both of these units are being used for the power needs for the significant outside exhibits and activities of the Faire.  While the building, RMCIT, has plenty of power going to the building, it is not distributed inside and out in the spots where our non conventional faire needs it.  These energy sources from PosEn and Dellenbach are helping solve this distribution need.

Spirae has a more complex task – creating a microgrid for the event.  Because this will take more time than is available, they will be analyzing the Faire this year and preparing grid solutions for 2016.  Each of these individual elements becomes more effective when put together.

“The partnership with the CO Clean Energy Cluster is a chance to share the potential of renewable energy as a reliable option for the future,” said Hunter Buffington, Operations Director. Using solar and biodiesel generators to power the outdoor exhibits is only the beginning. An electric car also acts as battery storage when power needs drop. The components together create a small system that generates, distributes and stores energy. This Micro grid technology is the future of clean energy and the plan for the 2016 NoCo Mini Maker Faire. Collaboration with the CO Energy Cluster, Exponential Energy and Spirae makes it possible.

Stop by and check out these clean energy providers, and talk with CCEC and Exponential Engineering team members about the power plan and distribution for the Faire as well as clean energy innovation in Colorado.

 

 

The Rover Rally Comes to the NoCo Faire!

The Rover Rally is coming!  Compete with kids and adults in this crazy robotics competition.

Competing in The Rover Rally is a fun and memorable experience.  Learn the basics of robotics and put yourself or your team to the test in an exciting day of challenges.  When you setup in the pit area with all the other competitors, you’ll be making lifelong memories and connections to people just like you.

Come join us at the Faire and experience the joy of competition!

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