Glowing Chucks at Make-a-tion

Glowing Chucks at Make-a-tion

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  It’s neither.  But everyone that attended our Glowing Chuck Taylors workshop (as part of our Summer Make-a-tion series) certainly gained the power of being awesome!

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Thanks to AdaFruit‘s excellent tutorial, we too were “light” on our feet by cutting out an EL Panel:


adding an inverter for some much needed power (supplied by a simple coin cell battery):


and sewing it to our shoe of choice (in this case, a Chuck Taylor All-Stars):


Check out the finished product.  I dare you to say that doesn’t look cool.


In fact, this workshop was so easy, we had time to pull apart some old wind-up toys and make these little guys:


What does it do, you ask?  Stop by the space and find out :)

Check out more pictures on our Facebook page here.

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Soldering and Post-It Speakers at Make-a-tion

Soldering and Post-It Speakers at Make-a-tion

We continued our Summer Make-a-tion series in true Discotech style by setting up several workshop stations which allowed everyone to move around as they liked.

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We had our classic soldering workshop which teaches the basics behind using a soldering iron.  The project revolved around putting together a small robot pin by attaching its eyes (LEDs) and a holder for a small coin-cell battery to the body.

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I’m not going to say people learned a lot, but I think people learned a lot.

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And the finished product:


Pretty snazzy, right?

And if you think this isn’t the most fun you can have in 2 hours on a Saturday, we also taught people how speakers work by making our own mini versions using origami paper, speaker wire, and a magnet.

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We discovered this jem of a workshop at this year’s Allied Media Conference in Detroit.  Props to Mt Elliott Makerspace for being awesome.


Check out the rest of the photos on our Facebook page.

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Makerspace Urbana meets a Children’s Maker Summer Camp

Makerspace Urbana meets a Children’s Maker Summer Camp

Yesterday ten Makerspace Urbana members made the trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal, Illinois to host a Maker Disco Tech for their  Design It, Create It, Make It camp! And just in case you are wondering, Disco Tech stands for Discovering Technology. Which instead of a dance party is more like a maker party where we set up different maker learning stations hosted by our Makerspace members that the kids could wander between.

Barry, Emily, Brian, Colten, and Jeff worked one-on-one with each child to teach them the tricks and safety tips of working with the soldering iron. Above we have a maker summer camp kid showing off that fashionable blinkie badge that she made!

Did you know that you can make a speaker just using some paper, magnets, magnet wire, and hot glue? And that anyone can do it? We certainly didn’t until Jeff attended the Allied Media Conference just last month and brought back this awesome workshop idea (Thanks to Jeff Sturges from the Mt.Elliott Makerspace). We had a blast with the kids making these and testing out each one to make sure they worked.



Gergana and George taught the kids some origami to create these LED magnetic throwies. And then some of the kids got pretty creative with the supplies…


And a few of these creations ended up on the metallic ceiling vent! (Some of us may have been enablers of this “extracurricular” activity).

When I asked some of the Children which workshop they enjoyed the most, a few responded with the t-shirt bag project. We are teaching a whole new generation of kids how to upcyle starting with this project, with which just a few snips and knots turns old unwanted t-shirts into bags the kids could take their creations home in!

Special thanks to Children’s Discovery Museum Education Coordinator Bethany Thomas for reaching out to Makerspace Urbana, and making this happen! And especially thanks to the 19 kids who made this event a memorable one for all of us.

Full photo album here.

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3D Printing at Make-a-tion

3D Printing at Make-a-tion

Our first ever Summer Make-a-tion 3D printing work happened last weekend and we had a wonderful turnout. James and Brian put together a workshop aimed at introducing people of any and all skill levels to our 3D printer.

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With no previous knowledge required all participants were able to find 3D models to print online and personally customize them using free and easy to use online resources.

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After every group had customized and generated their 3D part we loaded them all up into the 3D printing software and printed them all together in one run.

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The Maker Space Urbana Solidoodle 3D printer  is free to use and available for people whenever the space is open (check the calendar or join our facebook group for times). Plastic and maintenance for the printer are payed for by a donation jar sitting next to the printer so please contribute if you are able.

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Now come print something!

More photos from the event here.


Resources from this workshop:

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Living Letter Press Workshop

Living Letter Press Workshop

Summer Make-a-tion kicked off this year with a field trip to The Living Letter Press,  one of our favorite local maker friendly resources.  In this workshop we hand set original wood type and created two different one of a kind posters based on famous quotes that we picked out as a group.

Living Letter Press 2013

We all got to browse through their enormous cases of type to pick out the exact letters we wanted for every word. We searched through both their upper cases and their lower cases of type. Yes, that’s where those terms come from – how neat is that! In fact many of the terms used in modern word processing programs have their origins in the physical workings of letterpress shops. Visit the Living Letter Press and you’ll be sure to learn more examples.

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After the type was set we moved it to an an original Vandercook Proof Press.  We inked the press with red and blue ink so that they would merge together and print a red/purple/blue pattern. Then it was time to print!
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We all hand cranked out our own posters and ened up with some pretty beautiful results.
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Huge thanks to Molly for hosting us and being a wonderful instructor. Find out more about the The Living Letter Press at
Full photo album here.
Check out our up coming Summer Make-a-tion workshops here!
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Art at the Market!

Art at the Market!

365 (115 of 1)After last years successful “T-Shirt to Tote Bag” workshop at Urbana’s Market at the Square  we were lucky enough to be invited back to do it again. And it was a huge success, we started with a massive pile of shirts and actually ran out. That means their are now more reusable bags in the world and less old T-shirts. It’s really a win-win for everyone. And the extra T-shirt scraps were even donated to The Bike Project to be used as rags. Here is a brief description of the workshop be did:

 T-Shirt to Tote Bag
Expand your collection of re-usable shopping bags by converting an old t-shirt into a tote.  No sewing skills required, pick a shirt and we will show you how to make the adjustments. Then, fill it with a harvest of Market goodies!


And a huge thanks to the Urbana Public Arts Program for sponsoring this event.


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