Makers we need to solve real problems

People who want to monetize have to solve a real problem.

How to find a real problem? I think if you survey your community you will find people with problems.

Problems are everywhere.

The popularity of your solution will be proportional to the number of people that have the problem. Your ability to monetize will be the product of the seriousness of the problem and the number of people with the problem.

Don’t believe me? Check out my friend Matthais and his answer to the pen-ink problem.

I’m a huge fan of Matthias and this video really rocks!

Bay Area Maker Faire

My friend Gary was at the Bay Area MakerFaire today. http://makerfaire.com/

Lots of CNC mills and 3D printers.
www.shapeways.com
www.zentoolworks.com inexpensive.
www.techzone.com maybe the best.
…and many more.

Several hackerspaces where you can rent space, tools. They are all over the place. Search online for one near you, or start one. http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces

A place called www.iFixit.com . Couple places that recycle materials for classroom use:
www.trashforteaching.org
www.raft.net

We pretty much covered most of the territory. I’m sure we missed a couple things. Not enough time to see everything and pay enough attention to the most interesting things.

My favorites were the Bay Area Garden Railway Society, live steam model trains www.bagrs.org and www.museumproper.com . The latter does not show much on their site unless you follow the links from the “office” to the YouTube videos like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=2AqFIM33mfw This is a water controlled Power Point Presentation. 😉 Made in an old suitcase from plastic bottles, bits of wood and hardware. This is a performance/puppetry/kinetic sculpture group, something a little different.

No airplanes. There was supposed to be a folded paper airplane guy, but we did not see him. Probably not very interesting.

Klutz was there, no RBPFM book.

He sent these pics so far.

Oh, and here’s a video:

Venue for Toronto Makerfaire this weekend

Here are pictures of the location for the Toronto Makerfaire this Weekend!

I’m supposing they put a tarp on this structure.

Looks like it the weather will be ok in Toronto this weekend.

Who’s coming?

Making a cardboard box

Cardboard box design

I’m making a box to practice using my CNC machine. It’s a great example of 2D CAD and cutting.

The tools I’m using are:

Google Sketchup: To draw the box.

Phlatboyz Plugin: To mark the cuts and scores on the box. They actually have a tool called “fold” which does exactly what I want. This plugin also generates the g-code.

Mach III: CNC control software (to run the g-code and carry out the cutting)

The image shows the design. In a nutshell I want to score all the lines that are on the inside and cut completely through the cardboard on the entire outside. I added a couple of tabs so the cardboard would stay put while it’s being cut.

The scored lines will be folds. Notice the folds are not all in-line. This is because of the thickness of cardboard and the geometry of folding.

Challenge: I can’t seem to get the cuts and folds to be on all the lines I need.

I know this is just a matter of learning Google Sketchup (and the plugin) but I’m so anxious to make a box. 🙂 Any input is very welcome. 🙂

This is the smallest box I will make. The long lines are 12.5″. The base and top are 3″ wide. The height is 2″.

Update: 2am, Jan 4, 2010

Okay, I’ve been fooling around with this problem and I’ve managed to get some boxes made.

I’m still having a lot of problems figuring out Sketchup and the Phlatboyz plugin. For one thing I couldn’t get the box object to accept an outside cut. I had to redraw it. For some reason the second time I drew it, it accepted the cut. I also couldn’t get the folds (partial cuts) in the same g-code file as the outside cuts.

I’ll need to try this again.

The boxes are already taking less time to make and of course they are highly accurate compared to my hand cut ones! And it’s more fun!

Here’s a video. As you can see by the end I had the speed up a bit higher plus I was getting the dept of the bit right.

Here are the boxes I made in the first run: