In my time working at DHF as a Project Planner, I worked on a few simple projects for Open Makes, which are opportunities for makers to participate in an activity that lets them create whatever they want within the bounds of the project. So far, I’ve completed seven small projects, two of which were not Open Makes, but one was a project to do during a class called VectorFab that is offered at DHF, and another was just a tiny activity to do during any class that is most convenient. These Open Make projects, though, all have the similarity of giving people certain guidelines and a premise for designing the finished product, but the participants always work individually or together in a group to make it their own. These projects are difficult to plan, because you can make pretty much anything you want when following the guidelines, so I can’t really systematically finish the projects, because I have to design the whole project and then I still need to test, but I usually don’t have the time or the right conditions to experiment right after I finish a project, so the work is a bit scattered in some cases. My first project has people making tiny robots that can use paint to compete in a turf war where the bot that applies the most paint to the play area wins. Since I needed a lot of different people to make art bots and compete in order to test this project, I worked on it during the first week and gradually started to finish it near the middle of the session.
My second project, Maker Band, mostly uses a kit called the Makey Makey, but it includes multiple different instruments that can be made using different methods. You can see each of the different instruments and how to make and use them here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AgAZMVMdYPdJJ0IaSKSL21aj0SVt72AinnDCTlBSaFs/edit
The process of designing this project was fairly simple. I just needed to come up with the instruments, test out the kits and make some of the instruments, and then make the slips to be given out at the Open Make. Everyone could play their instruments, and then maybe make a song together or have a jam session.
After that, I started working on a project that tasks a group of four or more to make a board game primarily using a laser cutter. This activity has roles for each of the group members, like the Maker Band, but a bit simpler. One person handles the designs for all of the laser cut designs, including decorations that stand up on the board, layers to make hills on the board, and the board itself. Another person will handle all of the designs that go directly on the board, like drawings, coloring in the laser cut parts, putting in tiles for the characters to move on. Someone else will handle the game itself, and will make the rules and each tile for the board, including some sort of story or explanation that shows what is happening in the game. The last member will handle the design of four different board game pieces for each member of a group to use when playing the game. They will use Tinkercad and 3D print the pieces when they are done. To test this, I decided to make an example board that shows different ways that the laser cutter can be used to make the board look more interesting.
My fourth project was one of the projects that was not for an Open Make, but instead it was made as a side activity for the VectorFab class. This activity would take time out of the class to teach kids how to use the laser cutter to cut simple designs, because the class lets people make designs for the laser cutter, but they never get to learn about the process of uploading to the laser cutter. They would get to create a craft using two small piece of wood and a binder clip to be able to play a game that could take place during free time in the class. The rules are simple: If you are clipped, you’re eliminated. But if someone catches you trying to clip them, then you’re out. Once everyone has been clipped once, the game will restart and everyone is back in again. The clip must be attached to an article of clothing that the person is wearing, and must be on that article of clothing for 1 minute before they are considered eliminated. Here is an example of one of the clips that was made as an example:
I also worked on a project that used a kit called the Circuit Scribe, which lets you use a conductive ink pen to draw circuits using magnetic components that snap onto a paper with a steel sheet underneath. I did the most experimentation and documentation on this project by far. With an apparent lack of resources, it took a lot of testing to make a project that was fun, educational, and possible to do with the two kits we have at DHF. I wanted it to be a group project at first, where multiple people work together to plan and sketch a big drawing that would contain the circuits in the lines, but I ended up making it an individual project, where one person could make the drawing as big as they want, start with a fairly simple circuit that wouldn’t really fail like some of my tests did, and then if they wanted to make a more complex circuit, they would be able to figure it out themselves, unless the help of staff is needed. Here are two of the pictures I used to test the more complex circuits that you can make with this kit:
My Vinyl Cut Advertisements project is an Open Make that will introduce people to using the vinyl cutter. The activity requires them to group up and create their own business, that can sell whatever the group wants. Then, they need to work together to produce advertisements to help them sell whatever product they chose to sell. Using Inkscape to draw the ads, they will learn how to upload to the vinyl cutter from a demonstration, and they’ll need to weed and transfer the decals they make to a poster board or flyer. This was a pretty simple project to make, because I just had to think of the premise, try to educate myself in using the vinyl cutter, then I wrote the instructions to the activity and to make sure everything I said was correct, I tested uploading, weeding, and transferring a decal. To double-check the instructions I wrote to the vinyl cutting process, I cut out a Batman design that I filled with holes so I would be able to practice weeding. I wasn’t too concerned about how the decal actually looked on the scrap paper I posted it to, so it does have a few folds and air bubbles.
My last project doesn’t really have a set purpose or time, but it will take place during any one session of classes. Anyone who brings in a white t-shirt while there are still supplies will get to use the Inkodye kit to print DHF-related pictures on the shirts.
You can use the ink in the kit to coat the shirt and the negative version of a photo’s colors to print photos or pictures in blue or red by exposing the ink to the sun for several minutes. We would set up a station with instructions to printing and pre-made negatives for people to choose from.