kwartzlab rocks Hacky Halloween!

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On Saturday, Waterloo Region’s super-duper makerspace, kwartzlab, set up shop at THEMUSEUM to engage the community in an awesome event that involved building electronic candles and carving cool pumpkins.  Dubbed “Hacky Halloween”, this KW Awesome Foundation-funded event really highlighted kwartzlab’s mission of enabling the maker in all of us regardless of skillset/age/gender/whatever.  The event also serves as a powerful example of putting together something uniquely cool with a minimum of overhead when community partners come together in the spirit of the do-ocracy.  Git ‘er done!

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THEMUSEUM was an awesome King Street venue for this event.

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I don’t know how kwartzlab did it, but with only $1000 and a lot of sweat, they offered up one hundred home-grown electronic candle kits coupled with one hundred pumpkins.

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Regular makebright readers are no stranger to the multi+massively-talented James Bastow.

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James *designed* and operationalized this killer candle kit that includes a custom circuit board, AVR microcontroller, wide-angle LED’s, and even batteries!  As icing on the cake he also put together awesomely fool-proof instructions

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Kitted handily into bags by many kwartzlab elves, this made Halloween like Christmas morning.

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Totally free, reprogrammable, endlessly extensible microcontroller?  Yes please!

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With a little soldering…

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and smart kwartzlabbers on hand to teach and help…

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this bag of parts turned into…

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a sweet electronic candle with flickering orange and yellow LEDs.

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Next up: pumpkin carving! Some makers chose to free-style their design…

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while others employed the push-pin + paper-pattern approach.

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Of course before you can actually start carving, you have to pull…

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and scrape…

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out their…

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guts!

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Friend-of-kwartzlab, Jeff Schmidt, cooked up this low-cost and safe home-brew pumpkin carving tool that embeds a saw blade into a wooden handle.  Far cheaper than the commercial versions, he said.

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Pumpkin carving continued…

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with great intensity…

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while more folks showed up for soldering and kit construction lessons.

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Fortunately for the assembled crowd, zombified maker, Agnes, chose bagels over brains for breakfast.

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This mix of ages…

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and costumes…

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and experience…

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is common with kwartzlab meet-ups and events.

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Also common are the smiles when the circuit you just built with your own hands lights up and flickers to life.

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Nothing to do now but roast these seeds.

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Well done and thank you kwartzlab+kwawesome+THEMUSEUM for making this possible.  It was a ton of fun.  Speaking of “TON”, you should really check out kwartzlab’s Tuesday Open Night that happens every week 7pm-10pm at their homebase over at 283 Duke St. W in the former Boehmer Box building.  There’s always something interesting in the works

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If you missed this event, get over to kwartzlab’s site and hook up to their twitter/blogs/DL/bat signal to get plugged in to all the cool things they’ve got cooking.  You will for sure want to track the progress on the arrival of their new LASER CUTTER, now en route on a slow boat from China.  That will be a whole new world of makerly possibilities.

Happy making, indeed!

DW

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4 Responses to kwartzlab rocks Hacky Halloween!

  1. Alex W says:

    Great photos and wrap-up! I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble awesome projects you and the kids get up to with those boards.

  2. Pingback: Hey guys! at the flying squirrel

  3. Agnes says:

    Awesome post DW. Great to see the whole White family come out to the event :)

  4. Pingback: Maker Club–extending innate makerliness | makebright

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