Make SF Meeting

This past Sunday I went to the Make SF meeting graciously hosted by Tech Shop in Menlo Park.

I unfortunately do not have names and/or links to work relevant to the presenters, but I will try to give an overview of what I saw as best I can.

The first presenter showed a musical interface he made with a laser pointer and a photocell that altered a track of music to correspond with the disturbance of the surface of the water. He told of how he embedded many such bowls in a table and had the laser pointers shining straight down into them from the ceiling so that it seemed as though the water itself was changing the music. He used it a party the previous weekend (side note: I never get invited to parties nearly as cool).

Followed him was a man that created a device to interface with a computer as a USB HID. In short, it pretended to be a keyboard, mouse or joystick and then you could send it commands from a micro controller. He had his device installed in a model plane and based on accelerometer readings used it to control a flight simulator.

Next there was a man from Google who showed the low-cost Arduino based glowing orb that he was working on based on the Arduino Orb Build Warden. This was presented as one possible solution to have widespread visual indication for monitoring the status of their ongoing projects.

Presenter #4 promised not to have anything quite as high tech and passed around a copper bracelet made using copper wiring and traditional cold forge methods. He then spent the rest of the time talking about how he welded the ends of the bracelet with a tig welder made from a microwave much like this one. And even though he promised not to have anything technical to show, he went into the finer points of building your own microwave welder in regards to transformer modification and the importance of finding a reliable metal foot pedal to control the weld.

Lastly, someone came from Shape Lock and demonstrated his "Ultra-High Molecular Weight Low Temperature Thermoplastic." Or in other words, you stick it in a pot of water heated to 160 degrees for a few minutes, take it out and bend it into any shape you want, let it harden for a few more minutes and you're good to go. You can use it to quickly and easily make all kinds of high-strength custom shapes and fasteners. It is actually very cool. However, remember, don't stick it in your mouth (or anywhere else!) because albeit non-toxic it will lock your jaw shut and good luck getting that back to 160 degrees.

Oh... I should also mention that the meeting was organized and hosted by the legendary Andrew Milmoe.

And that summarizes what I saw and heard.

The next meeting will most likely be the first Sunday in March and you can get more info on the official Make SF site.

Also, there will be a Make SF social gathering next Thursday at Mars Bar in San Francisco (7th and Brannan).

It starts around 7 PM and there is rumored to be a special robotic guest attending.

(if anyone has more info on any of the presenters please let me know)

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Kiteman9 years ago
Thanks for the report.

Now, exactly when is somebody going to organise the far-eastern-edge-of-English-nowhere Faire?
randofo (author)  Kiteman9 years ago
Andrew just moved out to San Francisco from New York City and wanted to go to a meeting in SF like the one for Make:NYC only to realize that there was no such group for him to join. So he started his own. My friend did the same thing in Phoenix. So, I'm afraid you will probably don't have to start your own.

Then again, there is always Dorkbot which is just about everywhere (but probably the eastern-edge-of-English-nowhere).
Kiteman randofo9 years ago
Kiteman Kiteman9 years ago
Yikes, Dorkbot seems like a good idea, but parts of their (London) wiki are absolutely riddled with ... er ... inappropriate links.

If they can't keep their site in order, I'm not really keen on adding myself to their mailing lists and whatnot.

The Manchester site looks cleaner, but it hasn't been updated for a year... sigh
Anecdotally, the average open insecure wiki to gets spammed in 3 months. Do they still have meetings? I'm sure their meetings won't be riddled with inappropriate links.
If I go to an evening meeting in London, it's 3-5 hours each way (depending on exact part of London), plus many tens of our English pounds (rail travel is not cheap in the UK, and you do not drive in London).

Anyhoo, I've emailed, lets see what I get back.

(Good morning, by the way)