Magic in the Midwest: Maker Faire Kansas City

What did you do over the weekend? I spent both days at Maker Faire Kansas City and it was awesome. This is the fourth year the Faire has been held in Union Station, a stunning Kansas City landmark that celebrates its centennial this fall.

The Things

As you might imagine, there were 3D printers galore. One of my favorites was the One Up family from Q3D. These acrylic beauties start at $199 and offer a heated bed plate option.

Maker Juice Labs, purveyors of 3D printing inks for SLA brought a LittleSLA printer which they demonstrated by making some very nice key chains.

Little SLA does it stereolithographically.
Little SLA does it stereolithographically.

SeeMeCNC had their Rostock Max V2 printer cooking up some huge prints, and Oni Technology, a local KC company, had their H Bot cranking.

Locally-made Oni H Bot.
Locally-made Oni H Bot.

At the Modio booth, my companion and I constructed heroes and monsters from a rainbow-colored pile of 3D-printed body parts and weapons. With Modio’s iPad app, you can create characters from the existing parts library, modify those parts, and print them on any 3D printer. All of the parts are designed to snap together. Modio recently teamed up with MakerBot and hopes to port their app from the iPad to the iPhone and Android in the near future.

I managed to resist the inexplicable Hostess booth and their free piles of Twinkies, Cup Cakes, and Coffee Cakes. They had a display that promised banana Twinkies and some Greek yogurt oddities, but only had the regular stuff on hand. On Sunday, I saw many people lugging around entire boxes of free Donettes and other goodies.

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Prop Replica Tesseract Case Has Some Serious Tech Inside

tesseractpng

[Dustin Evans] is a big fan of the recent Avengers movies — heck, we are too! So he decided to make this awesome Tesseract Case prop replica!

Tesser-what? A tesseract, or cubic prism is a geometric shape that is technically a four-dimensional hypercube — in the Avenger’s movie, it is an incredibly powerful and unstable alien energy source.

To make the replica, [Dustin] picked up a cheap aluminum tool case from the hardware store, took some measurements and began designing the inside of it using SketchUp. He’s crammed in an Arduino with a spectrum shield, a BlueSmirf Bluetooth modem, a Raspberry Pi, a 7″ LCD, speakers and an amp, a WiFi card for the Pi, and a few strips of Neopixels. It is running Raspbian with a stand-alone version of XBMC, which means using AllCast he can wirelessly control the box from a phone or tablet — now all he’s missing is a mini-generator that can put out a few million watts!

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NES controllers for any Bluetooth application

[Dustin Evans] wanted to used his original NES controllers to play emulated games. The problem is he didn’t want to alter the classic hardware. His solution was to use the connectors and enclosure from a dead NES to build a Bluetooth translator that works with any NES controller.

Here he’s showing the gutted half of an original NES. Although the motherboard is missing, the connectors for the controllers are still there. They’ve been rewired to an Arduino board which has a BlueSMiRF modem. The controller commands are harvested by the Arduino and sent to whatever is listening on the other end of the Bluetooth connection. He also has plans to add a couple of SNES ports to the enclosure so that those unaltered controllers may also be used.

In the video after the break [Dustin] walks us through the hardware setup. He then demonstrates pairing the device with an Android phone and playing some emulators with the pictured controllers.

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Daft Punk table with iPod dock

This beautifully crafted Daft Punk table with iPod dock was built by [Dustin Evans]. The table itself was built with the help of a friend in one day with electronics added a bit later. It features an 8×8 grid of boxes with red LEDs mounted inside. The picture above is not quite the finished product, a diffuser will be added later to augment the scattering of light already provided by cutting the tip off of each LED. On the underside you’ll find a power supply and a set of speakers. The system is controlled by an Arduino which resides in the same drawer as the dock. See the final product in the clip after the break.

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