Wednesday, May 31, 2017

7C-1 Chibotrinics Constellation


For the BPC Maker Faire, I made a light up picture of constellations using Chibotronics. Chibotronics is a way of making circuits from copper tape, LED sticker lights, and button batteries. Chibotronics conducts electricity from the button batteries, through the copper tape, to light up the LED lights. I was inspired by the Chibotronics we started at the start of the school year.
I started by sketching what I wanted to do, and by researching Chibotronics. In the end I decided to make a drawing of constellations with the stars in the constellations that light up when you press the moon. Then I made the circuit with the copper tape and stuck on the LEDs.

7B-11 Flower Photography

Flower Photography

For my Maker Faire project I did flower photography. I choose to do this because flowers are beautiful and I enjoy looking at them, and I love photography. I started thinking about how I could make my project a little more interesting so I decided to make a 3D model of the flower in the picture coming out of the paper.

For my project I needed a camera. I was going to
 use a nice camera, but I couldn't get it ready in time.
 So I decided to use my phone. My Samsung Galaxy S6.
 It turns out that my phone has a pretty good camera!

I took my photos at home, at school, and some at the Maker Faire in San Mateo. I learned the importance of lighting and angles. They change the whole perspective of the photo.

7A-11 Metalworking with Field's Metal

Our group's goal was to make a foundry to cast and recast Field's metal cheaply and without danger. Field's metal is a metal that melts at 144 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about the same temperature of hot coffee or water. What makes it special is that, unlike most metals with a low melting point, it does not contain lead. This makes it safe to have around. Our group made some casts out of Sugru, a substance that turns into rubber. We placed a 3D printed robot into the Sugru, and let the mold sit overnight. It turned into rubber, and we had a mold. 

   We made the actual foundry out of wood and PVC. The plan was to use a wooden block instead of PVC for the swivel to hold the glass vial, but the wood was the wrong size and we didn't have a drill that could go all the way through. Luckily, we improvised and realized that a PVC pipe can serve basically the same purpose. There was an alcohol lamp, a swiveling glass vial to hold and melt the metal, and a stand to place the molds and to cast the metal. Then, we put it all together, and there was only one thing that we were still waiting for: the Field's metal.

At the Maker Faire
   On the day of the Maker Faire, our Field's metal still had not arrived. We spent the Maker Faire explaining our machine and what it was supposed to do, then silently cursing Amazon. Still, the Maker Faire was a learning experience, as it proved that life is unpredictable, and it is neccesary to have a "plan B." The next Tuesday, our metal finally arrived.
Trust the Process
Our (sort of) finished product

  At first period on Tuesday, we put the metal in the vial and began to cast it. Suddenly, the glass vial exploded! Luckily, the metal was already drying, but it was still a rude awakening. So, we got a Heat-proof Pyrex test tube, and we began to cast the metal. That time, it worked fine, but, again, another lesson about how quickly plans can go awry.
   This project really showed how improvisation and thinking on your feet can salvage a project that doesn't exactly go according to plan.

Group members: Owen, Avi, Andreas, and Arman

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

7C-10 SHACHIHOKO - a sewable LED shirt

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a shirt named Shachihoko. Shachihoko lived in a mailbox and got energy and life from the small battery sewed into the light blue fabric. This, dear readers, was our Maker Faire project. Using Lilypad electronics, we sewed LEDs into a shirt in the shape of letters; when you turn on the circuit, light-up letters spell "Shachihoko." 

Our inspiration for this enlightening endeavor was Shachihoko, which in turn references to Chihoko, who is… well, let’s just call him Don’t Ask. Don't ask. All you need to know is Shachihoko is a golden fish often found on rooftops in Japan. We have empathy for you. 

Okay, here goes with the design process: our main difficulty was making a circuit. As you may or may not know, a circuit is necessary for a light to light up. We slaved away for about five hours straight trying to make a single LED light up. We overcame this difficulty by actually reading some instructions and prototyping it with alligator clips, which someone told us to do, we agreed to do, and then forgot. Once we figured out how to make a circuit, our path was a lot easier. Or so we thought. Then came the next monstrous terror: the Knot In The Conductive Thread. The first time we sewed a letter, when we looked at the back of the shirt, it was a matted tangle of knots. The thread had tangled as we sewed, bunching up on the other side without our knowledge. Due to this, our circuit was short-circuiting with no mercy, and in a moment of weakness, we chopped off the knot with scissors. This only made things worse. We ended up having to re-sew the entire thing. 

Moving on from that shamefulness, some things we learned from the process were how to sew, how to make a circuit with the Lilypad electronics, and how to deal with stressful situations in a way that prevents brain explosions. To sum it up, this Maker Faire was a difficult and enlightening experience for us, filled with knots and frustration, but the knowledge we gained at the sense of accomplishment at the end was worth it.

7B-2 The Great British Henna Post

The Great British Henna Post:


By: Julia Weinberg and Lucy Collins

Hi!! Welcome to our blog post. In this post, we will explain the ins and outs of our Maker Faire project. For the Black Pine Circle Maker Faire, we decided to draw designs on peoples' skin (and leather and wood) with henna.

We were inspired to do henna for the Maker Faire because at Julia's bat mitzvah, she had professional people doing henna. Lucy liked the idea of henna at the bat mitzvah, and had some done on her hand.

We felt that people who didn't do henna as a living (which is most people), would want to do it, but they would need an accessible

We were going to buy pre-made henna paste, but because this was a MAKER Faire, we thought-- "Oh! Why don't we mix our OWN henna!!" In the rest of the post, we will explain how we mixed our henna, came up with our own designs, drew with our own henna, the designs on people, wood, and leather, and just all around how we perfected the art of henna (as well as two middle school students could!!)
This is a picture of some of the henna we did.
The paste had not dried yet, so the person who's
hand this was, didn't take the wet paste off.

Let's just start with a brief history of henna...

Henna is an art that is over 5000 years old.

What does henna do/what can you do with henna?

There are lots of different things that you can do with henna. Some people put henna in their hair, in order to dye it brown. Some people, like we did, use it to die their skin in whatever pattern they want.

Where does henna come from?

Henna powder comes from a plant that is called the henna plant. Henna powder is crushed-up dried leaves of the henna plant.

Why does henna dye your skin?

Henna dyes your skin because there is a molecule called lawsone in henna. When you put henna on your skin, the henna molecules (lawsone) penetrate the columns of your skin cell, and then you have a henna design on your skin.

How do you make our "Lucy & Julia Henna Paste?"

Henna paste is made by drying the leaves of the henna plant, and then crushing them to make a powder. This powder is called henna powder (As explained before...) You can make the perfect paste by combining a half cup of henna powder, 5 teaspoons of sugar, a half cup of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of any essential oil (we used tea tree oil), and lots and lots of love and creativity!! We got our henna powder from Amazon (we could not obtain a henna plant due to it only being available other continents...)

We made our first batch of henna paste using the recipe on Henna Caravan. We found that this henna paste was way too watery and runny. This was a big problem because when we would draw on someone with this paste, it would all run together(destroying the design.) So we decided that we could just add more of the henna powder or sugar, to make it stiffer. This worked!

We had issues with how to fill our bottles with the henna paste... 

For some reason, after we mixed our henna paste in a jar, we couldn't get it into the little bottles that we were using to do the designs with. We got the idea that we could put the paste into a funnel, and poke it with a pencil, into the henna bottle. This actually worked!


We created our own book for the designs that we had done. This included some that we had drawn on paper, but also some of the pictures of the henna that we had practiced of other people.πŸŒΊπŸŒΈπŸŒΉπŸ¦‹ This was helpful to have at the Maker Faire because when people wanted a certain design, they could point to one of the pictures in the book, and say, "I want this one, but without the finger designs, please."
Lucy (left) and Julia (right) practicing henna on wood.

What did we learn?

We learned that henna is like a baking recipe: you generally follow the instructions, but if something doesn't look right, add what you think it needs. We also learned how to make henna really easily and cheaply.

 If we had had more time...

 If we had had more time, we would have practiced our designs more, because though we had made the henna paste, the designs we did looked a bit lop-sided and funky.πŸ˜‰πŸ˜€

If you do this, you should:

If you do this, you should know that different people like to do henna with different consistencies, so it helps to make a more liquid-y paste, because it is easier to add more henna powder. This project is and easy and cheap way to be creative!! A "must do DIY"