There’s good stuff in old junk

George CarlsonBuild Log, Making, Materials

Overhead projectors are not used in schools anymore.  So you can usually get them for just a few bucks at the online school auctions. If the projector works, it can be a good way to enlarge objects and trace them on pieces of plywood.  But they’re even more fun to disassemble and scavenge parts for future projects.  My grandson and I took two projectors apart this afternoon (we have more). One of the best finds is the fresnel lens located just below the glass platen.  These lenses are about 12″ square and have a focal length of just a few inches.  Just what you need for solar energy projects.  Be careful, it’s easy to start fires with these. Other parts such as power cords, power switches, limit switches, super bright lamp holders, fans, metal pieces, and optics can be found.  The projection head almost always contains a high quality first-surface mirror. … Read More

2016 Houston Mini-Makerfaire

George CarlsonEvents, Making, News

Imagine the Possibilities, our theme for the Makerfair It was crazy!  The Mini-Makerfaire was held at the George R. Brown convention center on November 12 and 13. We had a 20′ x 20′ booth with lots of small projects for the kids to work on.  To select the project, the person would operate the large switch on the MakerBarn Robot Control Panel.  A large version of Makey would spin his “Wheel of Making” and randomly select a number for the project. We had around 200 – 300 kids (and some adults) build the projects Greg created.  The booth was very crowded both Saturday and Sunday. With all the clattering from Makey, and the constant use of the Aztec drum, we had to be the noisiest booth at the show.  Another big attraction was the Van de Graff Generator.  After a transfer belt change on Sunday morning, the generator was producing 10″ sparks. … Read More

Of Crosses and Doves – Maker Barn helps a church

John BuckleyBuild Log, Making

My wife and I love making many things, but I especially like to make things that serve a real purpose and  I can’t think of anything more worthy than helping our church to grow and serve others.    For many years our Woodlands United Methodist church has had a “Craft Circle” group of ladies who make craft items for two big annual Fall sales; one called “Gala” and the other “Boutique”.   The items include handmade quilts, glassware and various decorated items.  While the craft ladies are very good at decoration they often ask us to help supply the raw materials that go into a finished craft. A good example are the beautiful wooden crosses that Craft Circle decorates every year.  They come in two sizes; 15″ x 12″ and 20″ x 12″.  The small one is made from 2×3 lumber and the large one is made from 4×4 lumber. … Read More