The Best Innovation Comes from Necessity

When life gives you lemons…or breaks your pelvis; don’t waste too much time with self pity when you have have a huge opportunity in front of you.  That is what Gilad Wolf did. He took the time to make life better for not only himself, but countless other handicapped people throughout the world.  Personally, I can’t believe that this hasn’t been tackled as elegantly as his interpretation in over 60 years of wheelchair manufacturing??

Trae and I had an exploratory conversation the other day about where we see the Red Mountain Makers makerspace/hackerspace in another few years.  I told him I felt it should eventually be place where anyone can come to learn how to develop their own ideas into software and/or hardware products/tools that can be produced in small market test production runs. This Birmingham makerspace will give each person the opportunity design and develop their own ideas as well as full control over their own financial destiny.

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Alabama Makerspace Alliance listserv

As per discussion at the Montgomery Maker Festival, we’re setting up a makerspace listserv for discussion of organizational stuff specific to makerspaces within the state of Alabama.

Although I anticipate that the bulk of the discussion on the list will be with regards to non-profit spaces, for profits are also welcome to join to compare notes regarding obtaining insurance, membership management systems, wikis, websites, servers, security, leases and other organizational issues, and also to discuss co-ordination and planning of a regional mini-maker faire within the state for some time in 2015.

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DIY Circuit for LED Strip Activated by Opening a Door

A personal DIY project I’ve been working on is installing an LED light strip inside my food pantry.  Yes, I realize that there are pre-fabbed products out there to accomplish what I am trying to do, but that takes away from the experience of learning about how circuits work.

 

I chose to use 16 feet of white LEDs around the interior frame of the door on my pantry.  I wanted it to work like a refrigerator door, where the lights come on when the door is opened, but off when closed.  So I bought a cheap magnetic reed switch and by reading the Amazon comments figured out that it can only handle up to 500mA to function properly.  I didn’t want to run the switch off batteries, so I opted to use a secondary line from the 12 volt power supply that uses 5A to run the lights.

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Decorate Your Easter Eggs with Robots

We’re going to be out at Whole Foods Market in Mountain Brook on Saturday, April 19 from 11am-2pm with the Egg-bot and several egg decorating crafts for children and curious parents/grown-ups.

RMM Egg BotSkip the messy and boring dyeing process and let the RMM Egg-bot draw beautiful patterns, a logo, or even letters in the decorative font of your choice. Martha Stewart is no match for THIS precision microcontroller.

Most kids have a short attention span when it comes to dyeing eggs.  So we’ve also invented the Egg Band-it prototype to color three-quarters of their egg in less than a minute.  It’s very interactive so it’s guaranteed to hold every ounce of their attention.

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LED Matrix Update 4

We made a push on Tuesday, April 1 to get halfway through the LED matrix project. Our first prototype was a 40” frame used as a test model and holds the first four columns of lights.  However, this past Tuesday we were working the additional eight foot frame.

For those of you who love to know how things made, the frame is very simple. The goal was to make it light-weight, modular, and have the ability to allow light from the windows to pass through easily.  The base of the frame is a pine 2×4. Then a frame is made out of 1” diameter schedule 40 PVC. Each vertical brace is 44” tall and placed every 30 inches along the base. The top bar is supported by a T-joint that has been cut laterally along the top so that the bar cradles in the joint instead of being inserted in each side.

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