Showing posts with label Maker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maker. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2013

Awesome Things Seen at the Kansas City Maker Faire

Welcome to the Kansas City Maker Faire! I took my younger daughter, the Gingercat, to the pre-show party Friday night before the show and the first day of the show. These are a few of the things we saw. A larger collection is located on my Google+ stream at

As is typical in geek events, cosplay characters roamed the show. The Iron Man entourage was a big hit! The female Iron Man was a little scary.

Gingercat was wielding my old Sony NEX-3. She now has a weapon to shoot back when she catches me aiming a lens her way!

Last year, I posted about a great IBM Selectric conversion. It has been updated and no longer needs a laptop to drive it. See version one at

Behold the little Raspberry Pi processor that now drives this beast.

The creator had fun wandering around is costume as well. The Hammerspace makerspace and the Cowtown Computer Congress shared space and projects at the show.

And in the fun and weird category, here is a creation from one of guys at Hammerspace. He built this contraption in two weeks out of scraps laying around the shop. Children fish for babies to feed to the mother. No worries; new babies come along just as quickly.

Inky goodness! The lino cut print goes in my office. The best part about Maker Faire is getting to meet and talk with people about their projects.

This sculptor does large scale bronze. His pantograph device is pretty amazing!

Maker Faire wouldn't be complete without PowerWheels racing! This is what you get when you mix adults, battery powered kiddie cars and a whole bunch of modifications. They staged racing heats and endurance runs over the two day show.

We were happy to see Super Awesome Sylvia and her Dad, the Tech Ninja. Sylvia was showing her home brew WaterColorBot. She earned a spot at the White House Science Fair and got the run of the house while the parental units chilled.

This one is for Richard P on the current state of 3D printing. I reread his comment from last year regarding 3D printing. It was everywhere and is barely a novelty among the maker crowd today. Later this year, Staples will carry a household printer for less than $800. Kinkos may start printing services in stores. People are using Google Hangouts to collaborate on countless useful projects including mechanical hands, artificial limbs, machine parts and casts. Auto parts are made out of sintered, printed metal and MIT is experimenting with printing entire buildings.

Kansas City even has its own R2D2 builders club. These are not your run-of-the-mill models. Note the machined joints. Gorgeous!

Members of the Airship Noir group ran a little experimental station. I think this guest is being reprogrammed. Be sure to read the sign on the Jacob's ladder.

With almost 300 makers in the house, Union Station is getting pretty crowded with overflow in the parking lot and most of Science City. We almost didn't stop in one of the side rooms. Good thing we dropped in or we would have missed this cool device. What a great way to use unloved analog technology!

The photos here and on Google+ don't even scratch the surface. The show is a phenomenal success. The maker movement is strong in Kansas City with abandoned buildings being turned into maker hives. There is a reason why Google chose Kansas City for its first fiber Internet project. For more technology and artistic greatness, checkout #makerfairekc on Twitter.

I'll leave you with one of the headliners taking one of Nikola Tesla's inventions to the next level.

 Yet another Copyright notice *sigh* Yep, the words and images are Copyright DwayneF of Vintage Technology Obsessions. Having tired of vague threats, I will simply remind the reader that all content creators deserve their due. Please like, share, post, Google +1, etc. and share the social love. Follow and I will likely follow you back. Commercial use requires prior written authorization from the Copyright holder. And so on...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Remington Typewriters Practically Assemble Themselves

This great video shows some of the manufacturing steps in building a 1935 Remington 16. The self-assembly steps occur at around the four minute mark.  Enjoy and happy International Typewriter Appreciation Month!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Maker Faire KC: Fun with Electricity!

Welcome to the second installment on the 2012 Kansas City Maker Faire!  You can find background on the event on installment one presented on the topic of printing technology.  Today's post features a subject near and dear to me:  Fun with Electricity!  Let's get started.

The Quantum-Encabulator

This device lives in the "stuff and nonsense" category.  Every switch and dial makes different things happen including flashing lights, moving dials and fog. I didn't have a chance to chat with the maker, but it appeared to live with the stuff from the Cowtown Computer Congress, a Kansas City maker collective.
User beware!  Perhaps when I read a sign that says "DO NOT USE THIS SWITCH!" I should respond by leaving it alone.  Or not.  This little sucker actually delivers a mild electric shock!  At least I was not the only person that fell prey to this little prank.  I saw at least one high school age boy touch the handle.  Talk about impulse control issues!

This typecast is brought to you by a Remington Mark II.  It has the snappy and precise guts of a Torpedo 18 in a solid plastic body that looks something like the aftermath of a stingray becoming one with the Borg.  The machine does not look fabulous, but I got it for the the unique cursive typeface and a craving for Torpedo feel.
At Vintage Technology Obsessions, we support the excessive use of Nixie tube displays.  We have a Fluke multimeter equipped with Nixie tubes and have considered acquiring a clock kit on more than one occasion.

The Mad Scientist's Laboratory

Welcome to the mad scientist's laboratory!  As you feast your eyes on this display, keep in mind that all of this was brought in and set up just for a two day event.  The huge tube houses a home brew Jacob's Ladder.  Most impressive.

Unfortunately, there were always willing volunteers waiting in line for diagnosis and treatment.  I only got to see the act without hearing it.  In the next image, the Doctor is approaching the patient with great care lest he still harbors residual electrical energy from his first round of treatment.
Given his petulant nature, it became obvious that enhanced treatment was in order.  Be sure to click the photo below so you can read the labels.

Repeat after me:  Mwah, ha, ha.

Power Wheels Racing League

Our next stop transitions from the world of AC to the wonders of DC.  Have you ever noticed the jawas that cruise neighborhood trash piles the night before the real trash hauler comes?  The amount of useful detritus that ends up by the curb is truly sad :( 

Fortunately, it isn't just flea market, Craigslist and ebay flippers plucking good bits from the garbage!  When the right maker gets hold of one of those old battery powered kiddy cars the magic and madness of Power Wheels racing can begin!

You might guess from this pit area scene that the Power Wheels Racing League isn't about stock vehicles.  Nope, these are like the nitro burning funny cars of the kiddie car world.  Most of these have at least two deep cycle marine batteries in their customized chassis.  A day at the races includes endurance laps, drag racing and trips around the road course.

Yeah, I want to do this in the worst way.  The participants get bonus points for flair.  There are more photos from the 2011 event at

Real Cars with Electric Style

This little car got a lot of attention.  It has a hybrid drive train with pedals for the driver and passenger and a battery powered electric motor.  It is a street legal 1998 import from Europe.  While it is a daily driver, the lack of air conditioning probably causes it to be parked during heat spells like what we have been experiencing.  As I write this, it is 95 degrees at 10:00 PM after an afternoon high of 104.  Thank goodness for Tesla and Westinghouse!

This car is more for show than go.  Still, who wouldn't love to cruise around in a reproduction of the Back to the Future Delorean?
Looks like the flux capacitor is up and running.  Engage the time circuit!

Arc Attack

And now, welcome to the madness that is Arc Attack!  This band hails from Austin, Texas.  They built these two Tesla coils that crank out 12 foot, 500,000 volt streamers.  On top of that, they vary the input frequency so  the coils "sing".  The act started in 2005 and has been refined along the way.  The coils were redesigned after an unfortunate fire.  Just this year they added a robotic drummer to the crew.

I was unable to upload one of my videos, but there are plenty of samples on YouTube.  The sound may be a little garbled because these things are incredibly loud!  The microphone on my Sony NEX3 was totally overwhelmed.

The front man walks around in a chain mail Faraday suit.  It was a 100 degree day and at least ten degrees warmer inside the tent.  This form of insanity takes dedication.

Yeah, he is getting hit in the head with a streamer.  So jealous...
Part way into the performance, the band rolls out a Faraday cage and asks for volunteers from the audience.  Children must have parental permission and adults have to promise to dance like crazy people inside the cage.  Sadly, I have not been selected from the audience.  It would be a very Star  Trek experience!

Thanks for reading!  I'll do one more post to close out the series and hope you can come along for the fun!

A friendly reminder about the archaic concept of copyright:  all photos are copyright Dwayne F. at vintagetechobsessions.  Please cite the source if you liberate my images.  They are not to be used for commercial purposes with or without citation.  You could wake up with an Oliver 99 hovering over your bed.  You have been warned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Big KC Weekend: Maker Faire and Art of the Car

Credit where credit is due:  This is a lino cut produced onsite by Will Burnip of The Print Factory.  This mobile printing operation was just one of over 100 exhibitors at the 2011 Maker Faire.

This weekend is the best of the best when it comes to area festivals.  First up, we have the Kansas City Maker Faire at the Union Station on June 23-24.  It is dedicated to all things maker.  If you live in the area, you must go.  If you don't live in the area, you should look into the other regional Maker Faires or perhaps find out about your local maker collective.

For a preview of what to expect, visit Late Maker Nerd News
The official website is here

The Art of the Car Concours is here Art of the Car 2012.
This year, the Concours features one of nine Talbot Lago coupes ever built.  Now in its sixth year, Art of the Car attracts some of the finest vehicles in the country.  This is also the year of the peddle car at the Concours.  All proceeds benefit the Kansas City Art Institute's scholarship programs.

Bobby Darin's Dream Car by designer Andy DiDia.  This is a past year feature car.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Maker Space - Teen Spirit Free of Charge

This page was scanned from the 1954 edition of "Science for Here and Now".  The student information inside indicates it was a second grade textbook in the Kansas City, Kansas schools.  It is a Good JuJu find from a couple of months ago.

Behold our new slate top work bench!  It should be impervious to solder, fire, many fine chemicals and Lego NXT pieces.  Metal bits can scratch slate, so we'll be careful with typewriter repairs and robot builds.

The real challenge is keeping a house full of book, crossword, pen, typewriter and electronics loving nerds from filling up this luscious horizontal space.  We will do our best and try to keep the major builds out by the drill press on the junk art bench.
Here is the new multipurpose maker space.  This was before addition of 200 watts of halogen lighting above.  This beast is all oak and the slate is 1 1/4" thick.  Yes, it as heavy as it looks.

I finally have a place to set up a proper soldering station.  This is our trial run with a new Radio Shack digital unit I picked up during one of their many sales.  It heats up quick.  Now we just need to improve our soldering skills.  I found the magnifier stand at a local thrift shop.
First Project:  I'm working with Claire on a kit we picked up at the Kansas City Maker Faire.  One of the local hacker spaces put together a pre programmed TV Be Gone.  It will be housed in a mini Altoids tin.  These things are the only way to stay sane in airports and waiting rooms.  I use my TV Be Gone selectively when it is obvious that no one is paying attention.  I've never noticed anyone even look up when the random, blaring TV suddenly goes dark.  Southwest terminals were horrible in 2010 and through the middle of this year.  I've noticed many of them have muted the screens except for football games.

This is what decades worth of teen spirit looks like.  There are few random gouges in the slate as well, but none profane.  Some of the graffiti looks pretty recent.  There is a Springfield, Missouri school district property tag on the bottom that can't be more than  20 years old.
This is somewhat benign teen spirit spoor.  Shelf liner covers up the worst of it.  Not that we or our middle schoolers have never seen four letter words.  Mild refinishing will have to wait for spring.
Well, my boring gray Royal Futura 800 looks like it grew out of the slate.  If I'm not careful, the color scheme may actually grow on me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Late Maker Nerd News

This blog is still pretty new.  I was reminded of this as I looked through existing photo collections for new material and inspiration.  I'm preparing for a week on the road and Blogger will help me by putting up posts on schedule and in my absence.  Tricky... I've done this before on a recent business trip.

I want to keep this blog fresh and lively.  "Fresh" to me means diverse content and recent events.  The downside is that there are have been some awesomely nerdy events that happened in the recent pre-VTO blog era that I think deserve mention.

Today's nerd event (actually from June) was a first for Kansas City - we got our own mini Maker Faire this year!  So exciting!  We even delayed leaving town on a family trip to hang out here.  Before the Kansas City event was announced, I had considered a special trip to Detroit or the Bay Area for their Maker Faires.

I am really stoked on the emergence of a modern Maker movement.  It is second nature for people who like opening things up to see how they work or figuring out how to turn something old into something new.  In my personal opinion, the purely organic and spontaneous emergence of all things Maker is one of the things that will keep America from lapsing into an innovation deprived coma.  No Child Left Behind isn't doing a whole lot to stimulate creativity along with test scores.  Oops.  Got political there.

Bonus story courtesy of MAKE Magazine:  Economist Magazine on the Maker Movement 12-2011

So, presented for your viewing pleasure is a total nerd overload known as the Maker Faire.
Claire with Super Awesome Sylvia.  She is sporting the finest in Olathe Northwest Ravonics Team 1710 FIRST Robotics wear.  This is currently her high school of choice.

Slyvia and her Dad, the Tech Ninja.  This is a family of Makers.  Slyvia video blogs on tech and science projects in plain language even mortals can understand.  Tech Ninja runs a website and blog of his own.  They travel the country for Maker Faires.

Claire with a new friend.  Yeah, this took some coaxing.

Thanks Mr. Tesla for your coils.  Thank you to Mr. Faraday for the protective cage.  And thanks to Arc Attack for teaching coils to sing and creating such visual nerd goodness.  P.S.:  Claire has a slight Tesla/AC fixation.  Don't get her started.

Homegrown Kansas nerdom from Topeka.

This has to be the best use of scrap computer parts I've seen all year.

Welcome to the thrills and spills of Power Wheels Racing!  What is it?  Start with dumpster or garage sale kiddy toys, add deep cycle marine batteries and real motors and let the fun begin!  In this case, something electrical overheated.

Competitors get extra credit for flair.

I'm jealous.  I want to build one of these.
 Next year, the Kansas City Maker Faire should be bigger and better.  There is a Fab Lab located in the Northland and at least two hacker spaces in the Metro I am aware of.  I hope you enjoyed the photos of the future engineers of America club.

There are more photos on my Fotki site at