Summer in the Parks: Make Buttons and Stickers

By: Jessi.BoM On: 07/01/2014 12:00

Barrel of Makers is once again partnering with the city of Wilmington and going from park to park this summer making fun things with area children!

This year we will be helping the children make their own buttons and stickers.  We are looking for volunteers to spend a few hours having fun making things with kids! 

Don’t want to volunteer?  Have children?  Come out and pay us a visit! The more the merrier.  Make a button and sticker at no cost.

Thursday, July 3rd. 9:30–10:30 AM
Speakman Playground (Northeast: BBW Park at E. 30th Street) 

Thursday, July 3rd. 12–1 PM
Judy Johnson Park (N Dupont &  W. 3rd St) 

Monday, July 14th. 9:30–10:30 AM
Barbara Hicks Park (Bradford & B Streets)

Monday, July 14th. 12–1 PM
Helen Chambers Playground (N. Madison-W 6th and 7th St)

Friday, July 18th. 12–1 PM
Holloway/Compton Park (N. Lombard &E. 7th St)

The City of Wilmington is sponsoring arts activities for kids in parks all over the city this summer.  For a complete schedule and updates, link to:  www.TheGrandWilmington.org/Parks

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Barrel Of Makers - Event Details

By: aknipe On: 06/28/2014 03:50
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Brian Givens Preschool Joke Machine

By: aknipe On: 06/01/2014 12:00

 “With each of my children, I’ve notice that at a certain age (maybe 3 or 4), they figure out the basic structure of a knock-knock joke, but don’t really understand how or why the joke works.  This means that you get a long period of time where they gleefully fill in whatever nonsense floats into their head. This Joke Machine is an attempt to simulate this style of chaotic joke telling, just in case you don’t have a 4 year old around.

    The machine is powered by an Arduino Uno. All the electronics will be housed in an old beige desktop phone. While not finished, the machine is currently functional. The Arduino detects when the user picks up the handset via the cradle switch and plays the opening of the knock-knock joke, “Knock, Knock,” through the earpiece, in a robotic voice. All sounds are generated by an AdaFruit Wave Shield and play pre-recorded WAV files from an SD card. When the user responds, the Arduino detects the sound via the mouthpiece and a SparkFun Sound Detector board, then plays the first element of the joke, “Badger”, for example. The words are chosen at random from a directory full of interesting words. Once the user responds again, the Arduino finishes the joke by choosing another word at random. So the end result is something like, “Badger mailbox.” It will then, just like a 4 year old, laugh at its own nonsensical joke.”

The kids at Delaware’s “Robotics Day” had a lot of fun with this creation.  Thanks, Brian!

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3D Printer Progress

By: aknipe On: 02/02/2014 12:00

It’s been a while since we last talked about our 3D printer.  When we first built it, we were super excited about all the possibilities.  As it sat in my office, I started to print as may things that I could.  Unfortunately, each print seemed to increase my frustrations.  The more I printed, the worse they got.  I was being to get frustrated.  Things were not looking good.  I worked hard to try to get everything calibrated, but each fix brought on more problems. For a while, I didn’t give up.  I wanted better prints.  I wanted the investment of Barrel of Makers to mean something. 

Eventually, the frustration got to be a too much. I gave up on the printer.  It just sat in my office, mocking me.  After a few months of having an expensive paperweight in my room, I was given a challenge.  I was told, not asked, to bring the printer to a Make Along in December.  I was told to have it up and running and that I would be printing out ornaments for everyone who came.  After a full weekend of work, I finally got it printing.  It was happiest day of my life.  I had successfully printed several snowflake ornaments and everything was running smoothly.  Then, I brought it with me.  After setting everything up, the first prints were a disaster.  I spent the entire two and a half hour Make Along trying to figure out why, again, it wasn’t printing correctly.  It was embarrassing and the end of my journey with the 3D printer.  I had had enough.  It was time for someone else give it a try.

I reached out to another member of Barrel of Makers, Greg Cheng.  I told him about my struggles with the 3D printer and he agreed to help.  It was in his hands now.  I could breathe freely now that every time I walked into my office it was no longer mocking me.  Shortly after giving the printer to him, I started receiving text messages about what he had done with the printer.  It was almost embarrassing all of things that he had to fix or align during his calibration.

Have a look at what Greg has done:

  • Replaced power supply
  • Tightened all bolts
  • Lined up 3 endstops
  • Printed New Endstop to replace broken ones
  • Realigned y axis belt
  • Realigned Z-axis on both sides
  • Changed Baud rate to 115200 in configure.h and reflashed firmware
  • Changed Slic3r option to have 0.1 mm layers and reprinted endstops (better result)
  • Tighten y Axis Belt
  • Tighten x Axis Belt
  • Printed Spool Holder

I can’t even tell you what I did, but it wasn’t all that (obviously). While it was a little embarrassing, my frustration did not fully manifest itself because I was just happy that someone was able to get the infernal machine to work.  Things are far from being perfect (we are still having problems printing with abs plastic), but right now we are moving in the right direction.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at the differences in our prints:

As you can tell we have come a long way, or at least Greg has.

I will try my best to keep everyone up to date on the progress with the printer, but finally things seem to be coming along quite nicely.

-Brad J. Glassco

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Intro to Soldering #1

By: aknipe On: 02/01/2014 12:00

Barrel of Makers has been wanting to do a soldering workshop for a long time.  We received a microgrant from the fabulous Wilmington STIR dinner to put toward the materials, but it just wasn’t enough.

After over a year of running various Make-Alongs, on January 12th, we held an Intro to Soldering Make-Along!  Brian Givens taught the class with help from Greg Cheng, and I was….there.  ; )

It was so great!  Everyone created a Trippy RGB waves kit.  By the time they’d soldered it, they were ready to take on any kit out there!  Some of the soldering was super difficult–very close through holes which needed to be soldered so that none of the solder would touch!  Only 2 out of the 7 attendees has ever soldered, and everyone accomplished it.  All the kits lit up right away, and no one burned themselves!  Amazing, since my boyfriend still burns himself every time he solders.

At first, all the kits, are running through their own cycle of colors, but when you wave your hand over them, their light sensors cause them to all reset in unison


We learned a few things from teaching the class: 

1. despite having “third hands” to hold the circuit boards, it’s also good to have some play dough to stick them in and hold them steady.

2. Metal sponges are way better than wet ones.  So, we’ve got to order some.

These are mportant discoveries because we will soon be teaching this class again to 50 kids through the FAME program!  We’re ready!

We’ll also be teaching a second session to the kids at FAME.  If you’d like to be a guinea pig for that 2nd class, join us at the Creative Vision Factory on March 9th.  We’ll be doing a run through with 10 of you.  If you’ve soldered before, this is the class where you take your skills to the next level!  Find out more on Meetup.

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Great Critique Night, Everyone!

By: aknipe On: 12/15/2013 12:00

Last night we held our monthly Critique Night.  Steph and Jeff brought business cards back with lots of improvements that were suggested by the group at last month’s gathering.  Look at how much they improved:

These are going to be Barrel of Makers, Inc’s new business cards. They are a little craft project as well!

We also talked about how to take the books we made at October’s Make A-long, to the next level.  Here they are so far:

It was a fun night.  Thanks for bringing cookies Bailey, and thank you to everyone for sharing your works in progress.  See you next time!

~Jessi

Tags: Critique Night Business Cards