Gas station without pumps

2016 February 15

Applying for Mini Maker Faire

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:02
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In Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2016, I posted about the upcoming Mini Maker Faire on 2016 April 16 in Santa Cruz.  At that time (the beginning of January), I was undecided about whether I should just go as an attendee (for $8) or register as a maker and have a table.  I’ve decided that I will take the extra time to apply as a maker, though that means about 9–10 hours on April 16, plus work getting ready for it.

I’ll want to transport everything for the display in one bike-trailer load, and it will all have to fit on top of whatever table they provide.  Luckily most of my relevant stuff is fairly small, so that should not be too serious a constraint.

When I posted about the Mini Maker Faire in January, I asked my readers for advice on whether I should register as a maker and what I should show. I got one reader suggesting I not bother and urging me to have something flashy to attract kids’ attention.

Here are some things I could do:

  • Display the PC boards I’ve designed.
  • Display the desk lamp and the strobe light (which use the same electronics hardware: only the firmware is changed to turn the dimmer into a strobe controller).  I can show both at once, and have a few of the LED boards on display also.
  • Display some of the tools a hobbyist needs (soldering iron, bread boards, wire strippers, …).
  • Display some of the projects from the book.  The problem is that the components and boards are not very exciting unless they are in use, and I’ve only got one computer to run PteroDAQ on, unless I haul the huge iMAC on the bike.  I might be able to set up some quick reconnection on a bread board, so that I could demo different projects.
  • Have a poster or banner with the book cover on it.  It may be cheaper to print a cloth poster to hang from the edge of the table than to print a paper poster, but I’d need a lot of lead time. I’d have to design the banner.
  • Hand out business cards that point people to this blog, PteroDAQ, and my book. I’d have to design the cards, but printing them should be cheap.  Should I get separate cards for PteroDAQ and the book/blog?
  • Set up an optical pulse monitor with PteroDAQ to record the waveforms.  (Problem: the waveforms look much better after band-pass filtering, and PteroDAQ doesn’t do filtering.)  The optical pulse monitor takes less setup per person than an EKG or blood pressure cuff, but I’d probably need to make a new finger block with shallower holes, for shorter fingers than the college students I’ve been working with.
  • Display the nerf-gun prototype (not pressurized) and the soda-bottle rocket launcher (again not pressurized).  These are a bit off the main theme of electronics, though, and take up a fair amount of space.
  • Hook up the analog oscilloscope to a couple of function generators to display Lissajous figures.  Kids could play with the frequency and amplitude of the sine waves to get different patterns.
  • Set up the oscilloscope with the microphone preamp, so that kids could see their speech waveforms.
  • Have kids make LED “throwies” out of CR2032 batteries, LEDs, magnets, and electrical tape, but I’d have to find cheap sources for all those parts, and I’d need to spend a lot of the time managing the activity.

Any other ideas?

pterodactyl-512I’d like to get my application submitted this week, and I need to write a one-paragraph description for my “Maker sign”, so I’ll need to finalize at least a generic description.  I also need a “Project Name”.  I’ve considered three names so far:

  • PteroDAQ (and use the PteroDAQ logo on a banner)
  • Applied Electronics (and use the draft book cover on a banner)
  • Kevin Karplus, Maker (I could use the PteroDAQ logo and the book cover side-by-side on the banner)

Does anyone have any better ideas for a name to register?

I’m rather partial to PteroDAQ as a catchy name, but only part of what I’ll be showing is the PteroDAQ project, so that may not be such a good fit.

That reminds me—I still haven’t mentioned the mini Maker Faire to the freshman design seminar.  They will have finished their projects by the March 15 deadline to register as makers, so they will be able to decide whether or not they want to show them off.


  1. Have fun!

    Comment by chaikens — 2016 February 16 @ 10:54 | Reply

  2. Remembering back to when I was a kid – I enjoyed things where I could interact. I like your two oscilloscope ideas. One other idea – the power of light – if you had a simple circuit that could detect light – and then hook it up to a radio (via a relay), the kids could play with a flashlight to turn the radio on and off. They could learn a little bit about relays. You’d have to shield the photoresistor from the ambient light – or perhaps make it turn on when the photoresistor was covered from the light. You could also hack one of those lawn lights with a solar panel from Walmart to do the same thing. Not sure if this is too simplistic??

    Comment by klaurence — 2016 February 18 @ 17:48 | Reply

  3. […] I’m getting closer to applying for the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire, as mentioned in Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2016 and Applying for Mini Maker Faire. […]

    Pingback by Applying for Mini Maker Faire round 2 | Gas station without pumps — 2016 February 26 @ 22:29 | Reply

  4. […] for the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire, as mentioned in Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2016, Applying for Mini Maker Faire, and Applying for Mini Maker Faire round […]

    Pingback by Applying for Mini Maker Faire round 3 | Gas station without pumps — 2016 February 27 @ 20:10 | Reply

  5. […] application for the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire (mentioned in Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire 2016, Applying for Mini Maker Faire, Applying for Mini Maker Faire round 2, and Applying for Mini Maker Faire round 3), was accepted […]

    Pingback by Accepted for Mini Maker Faire | Gas station without pumps — 2016 March 25 @ 00:02 | Reply

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