The makeshift makerspace for the March 13 Make-to-Learn Symposium in Chicago takes form. Photo by Laurie D. Borman
From creating working paper audio speakers to crafting Arduino-lit textiles and rewiring Frankentoys, the free Make-to-Learn Symposium in Chicago today offered loads of ideas for makerspaces. Play and learn time encompassed the first half of the day, when participants crowded around tables to learn from experts at working makerspaces around the US and Canada. Maker Kids, a nonprofit workshop space in Toronto, opened boxes of toys that could be chopped, amended, or just rewired to look and act different. “They’re so much more motivated when it’s their own idea,” said Andy Forest of Maker Kids. “Everything is open-ended,” he said of the organization’s 1,000-square-foot space, which features after-school programs and Friday night drop-in sessions in 3D printing, electronics, woodworking, crafting, and making of all kinds.
The buzz of 3D printers emanated from a number of tables, at which replica mustaches, heads, and other designs appeared. Wooden sticks and rubber bands awaited those who wanted to make a catapult.
At the table for the Wanger Family Fab Lab at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Fab Lab Manager Dan Meyer demonstrated the use of SketchUp and Inkscape to make laser stickers, laser etchings, and molds for rubber stamps. The lab offered samples for testing, and lines of participants formed who volunteered to have a 3D model of their head created.
MIT students demonstrated use of the MaKey MaKey invention kit and Scratch software to create sounds by connecting alligator clips to aluminum foil and other objects, like PlayDoh and fruit. No PhD required.
Evening events include a keynote speech by MAKE magazine founder Dale Dougherty.