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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!

 Ready for some Tesla action? How about Arc Attack playing a geek favorite?

Like the beloved Doctor, I am bumping back and forth in time. I shot the video on June 28, 2013 at the Kansas City Maker Faire. Semi-fascinating detail: the video jumps in the first thirty seconds. Electrical resonance is an interesting thing. The vertical posts on one of those small crowd control barriers was aligned with the coils. They were toasty and tingly. The people leaning on the horizontal top rail didn't notice a thing.

Through the miracle of Blogger scheduling, I'm writing this blog entry on August 17, 2012.  Really, is it possible to plan Tesla Day too far in advance?

Here in August of 2012, what reminded me about this was an article in the Guardian UK about a fund drive to buy the famous Wardeclyffe property.  Agfa film spent millions cleaning up the toxic mess left by a company it had acquired.  It is on the market and the owner of The Oatmeal website is leading a Kickstarter drive.

Fast forward to June 30, 2012...

It happened! The Oatmeal indeed raised enough money to purchase the property and have some seed money left for a museum. 

Here are some photos of Tesla coil awesomeness to tide us over until next year. Get yourself to an area Maker Faire or hacker space. You will not regret it! The full photo album live on my Google+ account. Join, Plus1 and share. It is a pretty groovy place; especially for the photo inclined.

The name of this band is Arc Attack.
15kW and 600,000 Volts of pure, high frequency Tesla goodness. The streamers on this design travel around ten feet.

If you want to enter Arc Attack's Faraday cage, you have to promise to dance. In their words: "Dance, cage monkeys, dance!"

We are happily on vacation in a far away land. Your comments are not lost, but they may not be moderated until July 15th. Thanks for reading!

Semi-creative Copyright Statement: Use these words and images for commercial use with permission, you shall. All original content is Copyright DwayneF of Vintage Technology Obsessions. Like, link, repost, Plus1 and share the Blogger love. We have implied threats beyond legal remedies involving Tesla coils - just an FYI.

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...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Geek Pride Day! The 2013 Edition

Happy Geek Pride Day!

Today we recognize one of the defining moments in modern Geekdom that was the release of Star Wars on May 25, 1977. As with last year, I will celebrate by featuring the some of the awesomely geeky things I have featured on this blog or photographed in the last year.

Sometimes I even surprise myself. What kind of a geek put this blog together, anyway?

This is the Army that turned the tide in the war against the Mayan Destructors.

Could it be the Mayans came up with that world ending calendar concept as an elaborate means to introduce a new typewriter acquisition?  Anything is possible in tinfoil hat conspiracy land.

The Christmas Squirrel is an astute military commander.

The freakingly amazing Curiosity!

Celebrating a special birthday.

Experts in green inspect a repainted machine.
Zombie on the streets of Kansas City. I hope no one steals their coffee.

The House Full of Nerds viewing the Transit of Venus.

Typecasting on vacation.

I got to see five separate Shakespeare performances since Geekday 2012.

A Maker, making.

You never know what will turn up at the local Maker Faire. Go, you must.

Your career at NASA

The Vintage Technology Obsessions crew visits San Francisco for Greenbuild 2012

Godzilla put up a valiant fight against the Mayan Destructors. Thank goodness the world didn't end!
The absolute highlight in my year in Geekdom was staying up to watch the livestream of Curiosity landing on Mars. This bit of awesome was brought to us via the great, modern disruptive force known as the Internet. It is gratifying to see personalities from the mission team become media rock stars. Really, we live in the Golden Age of Geek.

Photographing my screen.

That's without mentioning the amazing photos from the ISS courtesy of Chris Hadfield (my daily Twitter fix) and all of the awesome news rolling out of Elon Musk's technological market disruption empire. Tesla just became the first auto maker to fully pay back its government loans and is attempting to circumvent the dealer franchise model of selling cars. SpaceX completed the first commercial mission to the ISS. Geeks, without a doubt, are on a roll!

Oh, and thanks to Yahoo, Flickr and digital imaging, everyone is now a professional photographer!

Prom photos at the Duke University Gardens last week. Sure, Yahoo's CEO rolled back the snarky comment about professional photographers, but it appears she really meant it. Does that mean every 12-year-old that makes an app is on par with a Google system architect?

On a personal note, I am especially proud of my Geeklings. They have had an amazing year full of music, drama and obsessive academic over-achievement. Highlights include Geekling the Elder playing Curtis in a school production of "Taming of the Shrew" and Geekling the Minor (aka: gingercat) being recognized in the Duke TIP 7th Grade Talent Search.

In case you are interested, the 2012 parade of geek that is Vintage Technology Obsessions is at

Thanks all for reading this little blog of mine! I would probably do it without anyone looking, but the hit counts (approaching 50,000), Google Plus Ones and comments from people like you are gratifying.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Year Anniversary: Picture Heavy!

Today marks the first anniversary of Vintage Technology Obsessions.  Before I go any further, I want to thank all of you who regularly visit this blog.  I'd like to think that I would keep going without page views, but the truth is I like to see the number go up and the comments and conversations are greatly appreciated.

In the spirit of this blog and the Typosphere, this is a hybrid post.  I think I will use a few different typewriters.  Do you recognize the machines from their typefaces?

Yeah, typewriters are real; typographical errors and all.  The machines:  Underwood Deluxe Quiet Tab, Royal Signet, Olympia SM-7, Remington Mark II (a plastic Torpedo) and a 1932 Royal known as Keylime.  I lust after a machine with German blackletter or an Olivetti Graphika.

I've been surprised at some of the posts that have picked up the most hits; mostly from Google searches.  I'm glad that I diversified content from the beginning.  I blog because I love learning about many obscure subjects that have nothing to do with my professional life.  I also love photography and this is a fun avenue for me to share images.

Here are some of my favorite images from the last year:

This little guy was a graduation gift for a friend of the family.

Svetlana Optima is our mysterious Cold War throwback.  She was manufactured in East Germany in the early '50s and has some pretty serious trust issues.  This comes from her new ribbon day.
And now for some statistics.  Thanks to readers such as yourself, this blog passed the 16,000 pageview mark on August 11.  The top ten posts by pageview, paraphrased and in descending order, are:

ITAM Special Report: The Eight Millionth Remington
Remembering Ralph McQuarrie
Zeiss Ikon/ICA Folding Camera
Juvenile Cold War Space Fiction
Happy Typewriter Day from Keylime
The Birthday Blog Post from Space
Royal Typewriter Rescue(feature Old Red, a Royal with the Vogue typeface rescued from choppers)
A Tale of Two Cameras (the modern Sony NEX3 coupled with Olympus PEN F lenses)
Mousiest Royal Futura (a not all that fun to type on Royal with an awesome cursive typeface)
B-36 Restricted Report (Features an SM-9 keeping track of the dreaded Svetlana Optima)

And here is the subject of the top post, Remington number 8,000,000.

Just full of awesome and kind of OK to type on.  This machine receives plenty of Google search hits.

If only I could keep the bench this tidy.
Being an Art Deco icon, this machine starred in its own movie "Last Stand at the Remington".
This is an outtake from the hit movie "Last Stand at the Remington".

Yeah, totally growing up would be pretty boring.
This is the first typecast with our Senatorial Olympia SM-9.  Racoons had recently dug a hole through our roof.
This man of mystery was a hit at the 2011 Kansas City Maker Faire.

The dreaded Dollar Store "Spacebot" testing out that old saw about the pen being mightier than the sword.  However, Bill has some muscle in the form of a junk part R2-C4 unit.

I'm still bitter about losing a whole summer worth of B-grade movie reruns to the Watergate hearings.

You don't want to know.

Here's our family mascot, Trollie!  Isn't that the most creative name you've ever heard?

Gotta love southern Florida.  There was a guy shooting a monster handgun towards a 40 foot fiberglass panther on the other side of the parking lot.  Ah, the memories Trollie and I have together.

Two extremely shiny typewriters.  They don't get used nearly enough what with my weird typeface fetish.  The gold Royal goes by the name of Margo.

Thank goodness we have a good copy editor in the house!  What fate awaits this tough Royal?

Like a candle in the Windy City.  Poor Marilyn is about to lose her head.

Keylime and Old Red, the Vogue typeface Royals.  The one on the right is named Keylime.  That was redundant, but I am too lazy to reconfigure the link.

Such a happy couple.  Too bad they are about to be mauled by zombies!

"Do you hear moaning?  I swear I hear moaning."

Imaging the Transit of Venus with a pair of binoculars.

Shopping for the perfect violin for Hannah.  It was a great experience.  The bow cost more than my first car.  Sure, the car was a beater, but you get the idea.

In the violin finish lair.  This strings shop is a great maker space.

My portable typecasting machine for our summer vacation.  We came back to a very long stretch of hot and a drought that came out of nowhere.

Something shiny from the Art of the Car Concours.

This is a nice rat rod from the Kansas City Good Guys show.  The Duesenberg at the Concours was worth more than a Belgian dressage horse.  The rat rod?  Not so much, but it is awesome!

3-D printing pretty much rocks.  This is from the 2012 Kansas City Maker Faire.

Souped up kiddie cars in the Power Wheels racing series.
This is Super Awesome Sylvia and her dad, the Tech Ninja doing some live science at the 2011 Kansas City Maker Faire.

This is precisely why we need maker culture.  We are so proud of Curiosity's team!  I still have a rendering of the skycrane lowering Curiosity set as my wallpaper.  We haven't forgotten Opportunity, either.

The team, as seen on my LCD during the live streaming of the landing.  Dang, where is that sexy Mohawk Guy?

Ahhhh!!!! Not only is he adorable, the Christmas Squirrel will bring your family socks and undies.  Part 1 on "The Origins of the Christmas Squirrel" is found here.  Yes, there is a Part 2 and the story involves Nikola Tesla, Erwin Schrodinger and a certain Mr. Edison.  It was cold outside and I was on vacation.

Claire's most awesome repurposed Christmas present to me.
This is one of Claire's friends.  She is a convert to the ways of the typewriter.  We gave her an Olympia SM-9 with the Senatorial (robot) typeface.  She is a total typeface junkie and can tell you about the history and design of many typefaces.  That may be atypical for the average eleven-year-old.

Claire (aka: gingercat) and the Six Fingered Man's twin brother at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Thanks again to all of you that follow or have happened upon this crazy, mixed up blog of mine!  It's gotten a little serious in the last couple of months.  Me thinks it is time to break out some Hong Kong knock-off robots and a jumbo Machinder.  Yes, that would do nicely!

Copyright:  The Copyright is a noble beast that I, the owner of the blog known as Vintage Technology Obsessions, claims for my own.  With the exception of the images of the amazing Curiosity, all images and text are mine and are copyright 2011 and 2012.  Regular readers would not need to be reminded that, in addition to legal recourse, if someone were to pilfer my images for use without attribution or for commercial use of any form they would likely be awakened in the middle of the night by the buzz and hiss of a flying, steam powered Oliver Number 99 hovering over their bed.  Thieves, you have been suitably warned.