Maker Expo pop-up rocked Summer Lights Festival

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We, the Maker Expo + kwartzlab crew brought our love of making to Summer Lights on Saturday night and the people responded with gusto. Agnes Niewiadomski had kitted up an LED-lit plastic badge for night wanderers to make-and-take and Ben Brown and Neil Eaton were helping visitors make buttons. Our Jennifer van Overbeeke was running a crowd-sourced fan-folding table to create fans for Maker Expo. Triple the making for triple the fun. Given the near-overwhelming interest in making from the crowd, we were happy to have help from our extended family of makers.

As I stood perched atop a 10-foot stepladder getting this shot, I could only think that this completely validates our idea that people love to make. If we give them some support, some materials, and some guidance they will roll up their sleeves and engage. So here’s where I say:
* There are only 8 days left to apply as an exhibiting maker for Maker Expo. Please join us. Sign up for a table to make paper airplanes. Bring your home-brew forge to City Hall. Teach people how to use handtools like a plane and hand-drill. Sew saris. We are all makers.
* Promises are for yesterday, today is for commitment. Get on board as a maker, sponsor, volunteer. Right now. All the necessary info is linked from the top of this very page. We’re working a substantially unhealthy number of extra hours on Maker Expo, in addition to our jobs, school, startup businesses, and family responsibilities. We’re doing it because we love making and we love our community. But there are only 10 of us and there are thousands of you. Every single one of you that steps up to participate and contribute lightens the load and increases the awesome of Maker Expo. If you are experiencing any sort of difficulty/mental block/apprehension/delay in joining our effort, reach out to me (Darin White) directly and I will help connect you.

Ok, now on to a completely unreasonable number of photos from our Maker Expo pop-up at Summer Lights Festival

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Our visitors started rolling in right at 8pm, didn’t they Jen?

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MEEPs Agnes and Jen on the right.

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Agnes had cut out these jar-shaped badges from 3mm acrylic with knock-outs for an LED (light-emitting-diode) and a coin-cell battery (CR2032?)

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kwartzlab President James Bastow, undoubtedly sorting out a hard problem.

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Agnes got these markers so all our visiting makers could individualize their badge.

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Well, if it isn’t Ryan van Stralen of Palette. We all took over the former Entertaining Elements space, just a few doors east of Gaukel on King Street.

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The Palette crew was paired up with our friends (and Maker Expo sponsor) Communitech to run a…

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photo booth.

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The amazing electronic art of kwartzlabber Bernie Rohde. You’ve gotta see this IRL to get the sparkle effect.

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Figured I’d better survey the street before things got busier and ran into Jeremy Ladan from the old BlackBerry days.

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This wearable featured flashing LED modules and produced a really cool effect.

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Our pal, photog Brent Wettlaufer waving at the crowd at Matter of Taste.

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Seemed like the making was happening outside too.

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Our friends Juanita Metzger and Trent Bauman. I first met Juanita back in 2009 when she dropped by a kwartzlab Tuesday Open Night and asked “What’s kwartzlab all about?” Juanita and Trent have done a lot of work in the Little Libraries efforts in WR. And community gardening. And… lots of stuff.

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When I got back to 179 King St W, business had picked up. There’s our MEEP Neil Eaton on the left at the button station.

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Caught Kathy and Dwight Storring making their escape.

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Here I think Agnes was tasking Darcy to create some big signage detailing the instructions for making badges.

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Me, shouting: EVERYONE WHO LOVES MAKING PLEASE RAISE YOUR HAND.

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Fun fact: these LEDs were $8 for 500. And $25 for shipping if you want them before the fall.

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It was so cool how into it our makers got. You can do this make-and-take in as little as 5 minutes or spend 20 minutes adding cool designs. No prior experience required. Great choice for the night, Aga.

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Darcy, are those signs ready yet?

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Batteries.

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Colour-coordinated maker.

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Making with friends.

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Love the added ‘H’.

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Ben wrangled the 3D printer to get demo prints going.

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That orange-handled button press of Ben’s has probably cranked out tens of thousands of buttons in its lifetime.

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When Zenia Horton leaves THE UNDERGROUND, it’s mostly to hang out with people like us. Oh, and I see you back there Meaghan Coneybeare.

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CJ Allen stopped by which was great because I got to meet his wife Jinah. He had mentioned earlier in the month that his gig The Shot had more successful applicant sign-ups in person. So we took that to heart.

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This is where the eager crowd started inching the table toward our crew.

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I brought a badge kit out to Melannie Hogg because we hadn’t considered crowd control with respect to accessibility. My Pop was in a wheelchair for the the last several years of his life and that really opened my eyes to accessibility issues. It’s all theoretical until it’s personal. Narrow doorways, curbs, steps, ill-placed parking, lack of automatic doors, snow clearing, all sorts of things I looked at differently and he did too.

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I got some great contact points for our Maker Expo event from Melannie and now some more items on my to-do list. I’ll be looking for some help from GRT and City Hall, so expect us.

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I also got a shot of two more badged makers ready to light up the night.

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Smiles. And badges.

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Davenport arrives.

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I wonder how many people learned that night that current only flows one way through a diode and hence you had a 50% chance of getting light when you first hooked your LED to the battery with tape.

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Makers come in all sizes.

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Fortunately Agnes had about 12km of string for the badges.

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It’s not a party until somebody fires up SolidWorks. A whole group of kwartzlabbers took various SolidWorks courses at Conestoga College.

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Ben is our Maker Expo boss. Ben!

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This is where we started wondering how much longer the supply of batteries was going to hold up. The kwartzlabber and balloon master Drew Ripley (right) said: “Hey, I’ve got bags of these LED capsules that I use in balloon sculptures. Are they useful?” Yup.

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I think I see my pals Sam Clark and Briton Burgio back there, yelling “Dude, throw us some badge kits!” to which I replied “Dude! I’m atop a ten foot ladder!”

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This is possibly the best photo I’ve ever shot of James over six years of maker adventures.

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You should check out your awesome local makerspace kwartzlab on Tuesday Open Night, 7-10pm at the corner of Charles and Kent in Kitchener. Great people, great space. Every week.

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Game faces.

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Another familiar face from the Communitech posse: Mr. Chris Plunkett

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Sam, Briton, and Chris. I see you too there, Olga Lioudvinevitch.

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Davenport…

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fixed da sign.

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Yeah!

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By this point in the night I think we were…

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completely overrun.

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And still the badge making continued.

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Briton (right) and her friend cranking out fans in the Maker Expo colours. Thanks!

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Nice work, Sam Clark.

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Game faces.

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Plunkett.

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Hey! My pals…

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Marie LeBlanc Flanagan and Aaron Levin.

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Went outside for fresh air, a drink and some photography of tealights in origami boats at City Hall.

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Along with the dozens of other photogs roaming the event.

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I could have shot this a lot more…

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if I was slightly…

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less tired.

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Hey, interesting-sound-maker Ben Grossman all the way from Guelph rockin’ his hurdy gurdy for the masses.

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Also found my friend and artist David Jensenius performing by the pool. Was delighted to have had the chance earlier in the evening to show him my DroneBox project. Aside from Marie, I reckon he can best appreciate what I’m going for with that project.

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Ben.

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Ben.

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More music.

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Lori Freedman all the way from Montreal to play for you. She crushed it at Communitech on Friday.

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Alone together.

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Inside the Rotunda, Jim Tigwell and Eric Moon were shepherding this epic karaoke.

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Back outside it was an instagramming frenzy. Sextuple meta, FTW!

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I leave the shop for 20 minutes and… this. Mr. Kurt Schwarz.

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Button station still rockin’ as midnight approacheth.

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Caption this photo.

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Or this one.

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Palette: come for the controls, stay for the magnets!

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Things finally slowed down after midnight, and then…

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Mayor Berry Vrbanovic arrived in time…

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for one last shot of the night.

Jump in with us on Maker Expo. We are all makers.

DW

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