Maiden Kansas City Keyboard Meetup Was A Clacking Good Time

Wow! I can’t believe it already came and went — but the first annual (semi-annual?) Kansas City Keyboard Meetup was, in my opinion, a rousing success. And I think organizer and Discord-nominated god among men [Ricardo] agrees with me. (He does; I checked before we left the venue.)

First of all, the attendance was off the charts, perhaps thanks in part to our announcement last week. We aim to get you the news sooner next time, in case you want to come in from surrounding states and municipalities. RSVPs sat around 20-something, and then shot up to 60 or so in the days leading up. Fortunately, there were enough tiny sandwiches, granola bars, and s t i c k e r s to go around. I already put mine on my keebin’ toolbox.

The Hive Was Buzzing

The event took place at Hive Co-Working thanks to [Nick], and overall, the space turned out to be a good layout. We were set up right inside the windows looking out to the street, and I like to think that we drew in a few passers-by, though I am probably more than a little bit biased. I wondered aloud on the way home how a sandwich board out on the sidewalk would have affected the influx of randos.

My husband pointed out that even though we were all the way downtown, this is Kansas City and not New York City, and most of the keyboard enthusiasts about town were already accounted for. Hmpf. I still say we should try a sandwich board next time. We could go meta and mention the tiny sandwiches inside. Don’t worry — there was plenty of sanitizer and napkins to go around, plus a box of gloves.

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Maker Faire Kansas City: Coming To Grips With The Mechanics Of Dexterity

There is always a great variety of things to see and experience at the Kansas City Maker Faire. This is the fifth year for the event which is held at historic Union Station, a beautiful art deco train depot from a bygone era. With a multitude of booths and exhibits across two floors and a vast outdoor area, there is something for pretty much everyone. Often times, the interesting things are mobile conversation-starting creations. When we saw [Dan] walking around with a giant wooden contraption on his arm, we knew we must find out more about it.

The impetus for [Dan]’s project was his desire to pick up a soda can using a mechanical grip. He now believes this to have been a lofty goal, given the weight of a full can of the stuff. This prosthetic hand is made from wooden finger segments that are connected by small, continuous hinges. Each of [Dan]’s gloved fingers curls around a metal ring to control that digit’s large wooden analog. On the inside of the hand, sections of paracord run underneath strategically placed eye bolts on each finger segment and are tied off at the fingertips. A second set of eye bolts on the back of the hand anchor the network of rubber bands that provide resistance. Although he made it look easy to open and close the hand, [Dan] said that it’s pretty heavy to lug around and somewhat strenuous to use. Next time, he’ll probably go with foam or 3D-printed pieces.

MakerFaire K.C. Kansas City Hackerspace Delivers

The Kansas City Hammerspace crowd really brought an amazing amount of stuff this year. Some stuff you’ve already seen, some stuff that is totally new. I’ll be sharing details on some of them individually as they really deserve the attention.  Their booth, or booths were huge, taking up roughly 1/3 of the main hall. It was packed with a plethora of individual projects that really were all over the place. There were enthusiastic people at every turn happy to show off what they had built.Their presence really boosted the awesome level of the MakerFaire through the stratosphere.

Not only did they bring tons of awesome to the MakerFaire, they were gracious enough to invite people back to the hackerspace after the show for an after party. They stuffed food in my entire family and made us feel at home. It was really cool seeing everyone gathered discussing various projects. The ArcAttack crew was even troubleshooting a small tesla coil cit that wasn’t working right.

Watch the Hackerspace tour and check out some pictures after the break. Posts highlighting some of the individual projects will be coming soon.

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MakerFaire K.C. First Impressions

I arrived at the Kansas City MakerFaire bright eyed and bushy tailed, excited to meet up with like minded people and see awesome projects. I was not disappointed in that respect. The building itself is quite beautiful with giant main rooms and decorated 40 foot tall ceilings. If you haven’t ever seen the Union Station in Kansas City, I suggest you check it out. It is really quite fantastic on its own.

The event seemed rather well organized. There were talks on different subjects as well as clearly outlined areas for each event. The place was absolutely packed, but walking around still managed to be tolerable. Volunteers in bright red shirts were wandering around offering assistance to anyone looking lost or confused. I didn’t run into a single person complaining about the event. I’ve been to a ton of large events and there are usually a few people who were upset. I didn’t find any here.

The booths covered subjects from all over the place. There was knitting, model rocketry, robotics, lego construction, random hacks, cast making, and of course, 3d printing.  I’ll be posting projects separately, as there were only a selected few that I think our readers would enjoy.

There were only 3 things I found frustrating.

1. Some of the coolest stuff I found, we have already covered.

2. I didn’t have time or ability to get as much detail on any one project as I would have liked. I’m used to seeing full write-ups with schematics and pictures. I only had a couple minutes with anyone. There were constant distractions as well as an amazing amount of noise (tesla coils especially!). I walked away felling almost like there was no point in doing interviews, but I guess this is how “on location” stuff works.

3. My footage is shaky. I apologize in advance. I didn’t end up bringing a rig with me to stabilize the camera and I spent the whole time wishing I had. I know how frustrating shaky footage is. I’m truly truly sorry. I will flog myself appropriately at my soonest opportunity.

after the break is a small gallery of random pics from the event with pretty much no accompanying info. Actual posts will be coming soon with details.

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Heading To MakerFaire Kansas City

Today, I’m heading out to Makerfaire Kansas City. I plan on covering this event quite extensively. If you see me, don’t hesitate to come up and introduce yourself. I may even have a custom cut vinyl hackaday sticker left for you. Since we are Hackaday, I plan on trying to get into the details and get interviews following [Ian Lesnet’s] lead. We don’t just want to see a neat thing on a table, we want to know how it works and what roadblocks that person ran into. See you there!


Maker Faire KC 2011: In Photos (Part 1)

As a writer for Hackaday, I get to see CNC machines, Prototypers, Tesla coils, and much more on a nearly daily basis. However, there are an uncountable number of people that don’t usually get to share in these technical wonders. Maker Faires provide the chance for the public to see and interact with the inventions, kludges, and geniuses that put together the things we write about on Hackaday.

Follow along after the break for some photos of the interesting things I got to see and enjoy.

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