ONE WEEK until the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire!

mmf_wideWe’re getting close! Only one week remains until the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on March 7th. We have over 85 exhibiting makers, speakers, and performers this year with exhibits ranging from robotics, electric vehicles, arts & crafts, drones, electronics, giant origami, 3D printers, to custom guitar pedals and much, much more! Check out the full list of makers here: http://nolamakerfaire.com/makers/ 

We hope you are excited as we are about the upcoming event. If you haven’t already purchased your ticket, you can do so here: https://nolamakerfaire2015.eventbrite.com

To stay up to date with announcements and information as the event gets closer, be sure to sign up for our mailing list (use the signup box to the right of this post), like us on Facebook (facebook.com/nolamakerfaire), and follow us on Twitter (@nolamakerfaire).

See you on March 7th!

Photo credit: Miss Malaprop (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) 

Featured Maker: Matter Inc.

Bird Project SoapMatter, Inc. is an industrial design & consulting studio based in New Orleans focused on raising awareness and funding initiatives that advance social change. The company, which was founded in 2010, makes products in the U.S. out of eco friendly materials that give back to social and environmental causes. We spoke withthe founder of Matter Inc., Tippy Tippens, to learn more about her company and why she is a maker. Tippens’ iconic product which lead to the creation of her company was the BirdProject Soap which she uses to benefit social change. Proceeds from the product benefit groups working on cleanup after the 2010 BP oil spill including Gulf Restoration Network and International Bird Rescue.  The soaps are made right here in New Orleans by the soap maker Emily Manger Davis at Sweet Olive Soap Works. All of the soap material and the ceramic piece in the center of the soap are made from Louisiana sourced eco-friendly materials.

Tippens is a maker, and has been designing and making home furniture for over 10 years. “I love being a maker because it makes me so happy and I find it so gratifying to work with my hands and make all kinds of things. When I’m in the middle of making something, I get so into it so that only that process exists at the moment, the rest of the world slips away for a bit.” Matter, Inc. will be bringing their BirdProject soaps and other items to sell at the Faire this year. To be able to talk with the social entrepreneur and maker in person, be sure to stop by the Matter Inc. booth at the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on March 7th at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick Center.

 

 

Featured Maker: STEM Project at the National WWII Museum

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A WWII POW radio

Getting kids excited about science and math is not always easy. One problem with science education is that  schools often have limited resources to teach hands-on science to students. Therefore science can come across to kids as boring and they don’t learn about how scientists really work. To tackle this issue, Rob Wallace and The National WWII Museum use STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) to teach about history. One of their goals is to get kids thinking about science and math in a way that gets them excited about it. “Science is not just what is in books, it is a way of looking at the world,” says Wallace. “To tackle the problems of WWII, society needed STEM.” For example, the kids learn why boats float and how the Higgins boats were critical in winning in the Invasion of Normandy. Additionally, students use math for problem solving. For example, if we need to mobilize 14 million United States soldiers to fight the Axis powers, how many more pounds of cotton and wool are needed to produce their socks if each pair of requires 1.9 ounces of wool and 1.2 ounces of cotton? And that’s just socks, because coats and blankets needed cotton and wool too. Some maker activities run by at the museum in their programs include teaching students how to build makeshift radios that Prisoners of War used to communicate, or having a competition to see who can build the best assembly line. Rob Wallace will be at the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on March 7th at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick Center and showing visitors how to build a makeshift radio, and giving a presentation about how Higgins landing craft were built and how they float. If you’re interested in how science helped win WWII, be sure to check them out!

Featured Maker: The Laissez Boys

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The Laissez Boys

You may have been watching a Mardi Gras parade over the past week and been startled to see a bunch of guys riding down the street on reclining chairs. This is, in fact, a formal Krewe called the “Laissez Boys,” who will be showing off some of their chairs at the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire.

Along with the rest of the Krewe, Paul Wisneskey drives around a recliner chair mounted on top of an electric wheelchair base. The inner electronics and circuitry are altered so that the reclining lazy-boy chairs can be accommodated; secondary 12-volt automotive battery packs are added to the chairs to operate electronic add-ons like lights and a sound system. Although the Laissez Boys get to relax and ride during the parade, being a maker in the Laissez Boys krewe presents some challenges. According to Paul, “getting the chair and wheel frame to align in the center of gravity is particularly difficult. You need to get it right when each scooter weighs about 300 pounds. Additionally, cold weather during Mardi Gras can be a problem, potentially causing the car batteries to die mid-route.”

Paul’s chair is James Bond ‘Q’ themed and has some incredibly cool gadgets attached. This year he built a bar in the armrest with a functioning beer tap, touch screen controller, and a rearview camera! To be able to see this incredibly cool ‘Q’ chair in person, keep an eye out for them at Mardi Gras parades, or check out the Laissez Boys exhibit at this year’s New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on March 7th, 2015 at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick center!

Photo by Skooksie (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Featured Maker: Night Shift Bikes

Matt Candler, founder of Night Shift Bikes, is hooked on riding electric motorcycles. According to him, electric bikes are both more fun than cars and, unlike gas bikes, there is no exhaust smell or deafening noise when you ride them. Originally inspired by an online Do-It-Yourself electric vehicle forum ElMoto.net, Matt bought some spare parts and a basic chassis of a Honda motorcycle and got to work converting it into an electric cruiser. After many months of tinkering in his garage at night after his kids went to sleep (the “Night Shift” name comes from his long hours working at night by himself), he finally completed and sold his first Honda Stretch bike. Matt became hooked on being a maker because it felt satisfying to build a complicated machine himself that had a practical purpose. According to Matt, “Building bikes is about achieving a goal that is really difficult but also about learning from other people. You meet new people you would have never met otherwise in getting advice about the bike’s construction.”

Suzuki Street Fighter Night Shift BikesMatt is now working on his next project, a Suzuki Street Fighter completely customized to run on electric. Only the chassis is stock, while the engine, transmission, and other parts are custom. It will have a top speed of near 80 mph and a range of 50 miles. Matt’s Suzuki Street Fighter bike will be featured at the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on March 7th at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick Center. Be sure to check out the Night Shift Bikes exhibit to see the bike and find out more about the project!