Tag Archives: Maker

16 Dec 2020

Dublin Maker partners in Erasmus+ Programme – ASSESSMAKE21

📢 We are delighted to announce that Dublin Maker (and DCU) is a partner on an Erasmus+ Programme called ASSESSMAKE21 (thanks to Mairéad Hurley from Science Gallery Dublin for connecting us to Learnovate who is the main drive of the project). Maker Advocate, Vicky Twomey-Lee will be point of contact on behalf of Dublin Maker.

Partners: Learnovate (TCD) – Project Coordinator, Dublin Maker (DCU), EDUMOTIVA, American College of Greece, Karlstad University (Sweden), Cyprus Interaction Lab (CUT)

🗓 Dublin Maker will be planning the first multiplier (information) event at the end of Jan 2021. Keep an eye out when we will announce the registration page for the event, it’s free to attend and will be online. If you are an educator, Maker, organisation that work with kids and youths, thinking of forming a Makerspace or having Maker activities in your community, library, school, club, etc., this is an event is for you!

Below is some info about ASSESSMAKE21 (the website will be coming shortly).

ASSESSMAKE21: Innovative digital solutions to assess 21st century skills in makerspaces: schools & non-formal

As the maker movement is increasingly adopted into K‐12 schools and nonformal makerspaces, students have more opportunities to generate unique, personalized projects and artifacts, such as computer programs, robots, DIY electronics and to develop new competencies and skills.

Digital making technologies if coupled with proper learning methodologies such as suggested by Constructivism (Piaget, 1974) and Constructionism (Papert & Harel, 1991) can provide learning experiences that promote young people’s creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills, the essential skills necessary in the workplace of the 21st century (21st C Skills).

However, assessment of these higher order skills is not easy, particularly within these open-ended environments where students create unique solution paths to problems, interact with peers, and act in both the physical and digital worlds. Currently, digital technologies offer novel methods and solutions to assess the 21st century skills and offer insights to learners’ efforts and achievements that become available for both learners and researchers. Thus, the goal of this project is to provide, pilot and validate novel assessment methods and tools intended to use for the assessment of 21st century skills.

The assessment solutions will be piloted in different learning contexts but focused on makerspaces (schools and nonformal ie the makerspaces will be either currently located in Schools or will be nonformal spaces whose programmes engage with School groups). The project partnership will run learning environments that will enable students to act as makers using a wide variety of physical and digital tools through hands-on experiences that emphasize collaboration and creativity following inquiry-based approaches instead of direct instruction of facts and formulas. 

Teachers and non-formal educators will receive training and will be highly involved in planning and implementing the activities.

 the project will report findings and conclusions from implementations and assessments that will take place in 5 schools and 4 non-formal maker spaces in 4 countries. 

15 Dec 2020

Winners of the Christmas Decoration Competition

Dublin Maker, Benchspace Cork and TOG Hackerspace would like to thank everyone who supported and took part in our joint Christmas Decoration Competition.

A big thanks to the judges besides myself:

It was quite a difficult decision, we’ve had over 104 amazing festive entries and after careful consideration by our judges, here are the winners of the Christmas Decoration Competition… drum roll…

Runner Up – €50 One4All Voucher

Runner Up – €50 One4All Voucher

Winner of the €100 One4All Voucher

A big thank you again to all who joined in the fun and congratulations to the winners.

On behalf of the Dublin Maker Team Santy, we wish you all Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year & we’ll see you next year! 🎄🎉

P.S.: Don’t forget to check out upcoming events from Benchspace Cork and TOG HackerSpace.

29 Oct 2020

Maker-a-Day: Friday with Megan Scott/Chester Beatty Library and MadeByCliff

On our final Maker-a-Day, we are joined by Megan Scott, an artist with Chester Beatty Library showing us how to make a “DIY Steampunk Plague Doctor Mask”, and James Clifford from MadeByCliff who will be showing us how to make our own “Ergonomic folding laptop stand”.

🎤 Be sure to add your questions to our live-chat on our Youtube stream.

Don’t forget to hit subscribe and click that 🔔 reminding you when the live-stream goes live at our Youtube channel.

Tag #ScienceWeekMaker if you are posting on social media. We are @DublinMaker on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

12:00 – 13:00

Megan Scott (artist) / Chester Beatty: DIY Steampunk Plague Doctor Mask

Megan Scott will show you how to make a medieval style plague doctor mask with a steampunk twist.

Materials to take part in this workshop

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel
  • Straws
  • Masking tape
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Stapler

📍Where to find Megan Scott

📍Where to find Chester Beatty

13:00 – 14:00

MadeByCliff: Ergonomic folding laptop stand

James Clifford will be running this workshop on creating your own folding laptop stand.

While are all working from home these days, our ergonomic work environment has been left behind. I have created a laptop stand which raises the laptop to the correct height and also folds away when you’re not using it. It also becomes a case for your keyboard, mouse and other peripherals when folded.

Materials needed for this workshop

It is a simple plywood design with a few small 1 inch hinges. It can be made with a saw, chisel and wood glue.

📍Where to find MadeByCliff

For more info on our other Maker-a-Day events during Science Week, check out https://www.dublinmaker.ie/maker-a-day-at-science-week/ for more details.

29 Oct 2020

Maker-a-Day: Friday with Crafty Nathan’s Creations

TGIF! We have Nathan Wheeler from Crafty Nathan’s Creations as our Maker-a-Day during Science Week showcasing how to make a small scale diorama of a country road.

🎤 Be sure to add your questions to our live-chat on our Youtube stream.

Don’t forget to hit subscribe and click that 🔔 reminding you when the live-stream goes live at our Youtube channel.

Tag #ScienceWeekMaker if you are posting on social media. We are @DublinMaker on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

13:00 – 14:00

Crafty Nathan’s Creations: Make  a small scale diorama of a country road

Nathan Wheeler will be making a small scale diorama of a country road, small enough for the table top. This will be a showcase of simple modelling techniques to make a simple and easy to enjoy diorama, replete with a nice custom made tree.

Materials used for this showcase

  • Wood
  • Foam
  • Latex
  • Metal wire
  • Static grass
  • Misc modelling

📍Where to find Crafty Nathan’s Creations

For more info on our other Maker-a-Day events during Science Week, check out https://www.dublinmaker.ie/maker-a-day-at-science-week/ for more details.

29 Oct 2020

Maker-a-Day: Thursday with Fab Lab Maker Hub

We have Stuart Lawn from Fab Lab Maker Hub joining our Maker-a-Day during Science Week showing you how to do basic 3D modelling in Tinkercad.

🎤 Be sure to add your questions to our live-chat on our Youtube stream.

Don’t forget to hit subscribe and click that 🔔 reminding you when the live-stream goes live at our Youtube channel.

Tag #ScienceWeekMaker if you are posting on social media. We are @DublinMaker on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

13:00 – 14:00

Fab Lab Maker Hub: Lego Modelling in Tinkercad

The workshop will show how to do basic 3D modelling in Tinkercad and then how to use the Bricks function in Tinkercad to convert that to a Digital Lego model. We will show how to get a step by step guide to building that Digital Lego model in the real world using the Lego bricks that you have at home.

Tinkercad is a free online 3D Modelling application that runs in a web browser and can be used on Mac, Windows, iPads or Android Tablets. 
No previous experience of 3D Modelling is necessary as we will take you through the basics of how to create shapes and models in Tinkercad and show some ‘secret’ Tinkerpowers that will super charge your Lego building.

What you will need to participate

📍Where to find Fab Lab Maker Hub

For more info on our other Maker-a-Day events during Science Week, check out https://www.dublinmaker.ie/maker-a-day-at-science-week/ for more details.

29 Oct 2020

Maker-a-Day: Wednesday with Jellylab (UCD)

Joining us on our third Maker-a-Day during Science Week is Mark Pickering and his team from Jellylab (University of Dublin) on How do sea creatures react to light? How to build a simple experiment to explore the world around you.

🎤 Be sure to add your questions to our live-chat on our Youtube stream.

Don’t forget to hit subscribe and click that 🔔 reminding you when the live-stream goes live at our Youtube channel.

Tag #ScienceWeekMaker if you are posting on social media. We are @DublinMaker on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

13:00 – 14:00

Jellylab (University College Dublin): How do sea creatures react to light? How to build a simple experiment to explore the world around you.

We believe that anyone can be a scientist, and we want to democratise discovery by taking experimental tools out of the laboratory and into the hands of anyone curious about the world around them.

This project will show how to use simple and easily available components to build an experiment to answer a scientific question: if tiny sea creatures have eyes, what do they do when they see light? For this we’ll use brine shrimp (also called Artemia), which are sold as “sea monkeys” and “aqua dragons”, as well as some tiny plankton we collect in the sea, but you could also adapt this to investigate bugs from your garden (how do ants or spiders respond to light?). The experiment can be run using an Arduino controlled neopixel RGB LED ring. We’ve been using this as a demonstration for some time now, and documented the experiment here:

Now, we want to show how you can make everything you need to do this type of experiment yourself. We’ll show you how to set up the lights with an arduino, and how to control the light pattern with a game controller (specifically the nunchuck controller from a nintendo Wii).

In addition to showing how to make the light experiment, we’ll also show how to build a system to hatch your own brine shrimp, and how to collect tiny plankton from the sea that can be used in this experiment. FInally, because some of these creatures are really tiny, we’ll also show how to make really simple, cheap “microscopes” to make the invisible visible!

The contents of our proposed video are all things we have lots of experience with, so we have confidence that it can all be covered in a 40-45 minute video, and we think we can make it pretty entertaining as well!

What you will need to participate

For the light experiment you’ll need:

To hatch brine shrimp:

  • You’ll need an empty plastic bottle (1.5L or 2L size would be perfect) – make sure to keep the cap!
  • A small air pump and tubing (you can get aquarium air pumps from most pet shops, the smallest size is fine).
  • Brine shrimp (Artemia) eggs. You can also get these from many pet shops.
  • If you want to catch some plankton from the sea, you’ll need a wire coat hanger and a pair of tights (no, seriously).
  • If you want to try simple DIY microscopy, you’ll either need a webcam (Logitech C270) or some transparent silicone.

📍Where to find Jellylab (UCD)

For more info on our other Maker-a-Day events during Science Week, check out https://www.dublinmaker.ie/maker-a-day-at-science-week/ for more details.

28 Oct 2020

Maker-a-Day: Tuesday with MakerMeetIE

Our second day, we are with Chris Reina on a “Paper Tower Challenge”. Join us and take part in this challenge followed by a Q&A with Chris afterwards. Be sure to add your questions to our live-chat on our Youtube stream.

Don’t forget to hit subscribe and click that 🔔 reminding you when the live-stream goes live at our Youtube channel.

Tag #ScienceWeekMaker if you are posting on social media. We are @DublinMaker on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

13:00 – 14:00

MakerMeetIE: Paper Tower Challenge

Participants will need to try and build a tower made from paper. However, NO tape or other sticky materials can be used… JUST paper! Oh, did we forget to say it should support at least a 100g weight? 😉

Materials needed to take part:

  • 10 sheets of white A4 paper
  • 100g weight (a small bag of rice is good)
  • a measuring tape

📍Where to find MakerMeetIE

For more info on our other Maker-a-Day events during Science Week, check out https://www.dublinmaker.ie/maker-a-day-at-science-week/ for more details.

03 Jul 2020

The Dublin Maker Podcast: A Chat with Crafty Nathan’s Creations

The Dublin Maker Podcast first episode is here. 🎉 🎉 🎉

We (Vicky and Jeffrey) chat with Nathan Wheeler of Crafty Nathan’s Creations from how he got started in making costumes, things he learnt along the way, and and catch some tips on making and tools used by Nathan.

Crafty Nathan’s Creation on Instagram for updates on his projects and keep an eye out on his upcoming Youtube channel focussed on tutorials.

The Dublin Maker Podcast are available on

You can find other platforms we publish via https://anchor.fm/dublin-maker

👉 If you want to subscribe to the podcasts directly via our RSS feed: https://anchor.fm/s/63e0fd54/podcast/rss

Music Credit: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chad_Crouch/Motion
Motion by Chad Crouch is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.


Vicky Twomey-Lee 0:05
Welcome to our first episode of the Dublin maker Podcast. I am your host Vicky Twomey-Lee. your friendly neighbourhood maker advocate from the Dublin Maker team. Dublin maker is an annual maker festival funded by Science Foundation Ireland. This year’s Dublin Maker was postponed to next summer due to COVID-19. So we are bringing Dublin Maker to you with our podcast series this summer. This is the first episode in the series of six. Today I have Nathan Wheeler of Crafty Nathan’s Creations as our special guest. And my co host for this episode is Jeffrey Roe from Dublin Maker team. So Nathan, welcome to our podcast. And thank you for joining us for chat and not having

Nathan 0:42
No worries, thanks for having me on

Vicky Twomey-Lee 0:44
Not having a Dublin Maker Festival this year is kind of weird. But here’s our solution bring the world of our Dublin Maker community to listeners themselves. So think of it as a virtual drop into your maker tent. So tell about yourself and what you do. I guess

Nathan 1:03
I would have been a maker I’d say for the past three years, I kind of I like to think of myself as a mixed media maker, I don’t really stick to any one kind of format. I tend to kind of go with the ebbing of the tide. So one day I’m working on leather work and I’m building a leather bag. Another day I’m making posters, or I’m making miniature dioramas some other times I’m making giant suits of armour, and Ray guns. I really, I wouldn’t say you could pin me down and say that I’m this kind of maker on like, you come to my, if you were coming to my, let’s say, my imaginary booth at Dublin maker, you’d be like, this is a lot of weird stuff. And I don’t know how it’s connected, but it works. And that’s kind of that’s kind of how I’ve always been, I’ve kind of looked to people like Adam Savage and that and I’m like, they’re not just they classify themselves as a maker first, not as a leather worker or not as a tailor or seamstress. But as someone who gets great joy from the act of making And I like to think of that as very much. There’s so many different ways I can do something if I have a problem, I just have to figure out how the hell I’m supposed to get there. And if that means I have to learn how to stitch pieces of leather, or if it means I have to learn how to weld, I’m gonna have to figure it out. It might not be beautiful, it might be pretty, but I’ll get there in the end and that’s the joy I get out of this. So I guess when Crafty Nathan’s Creations came out, it was just kind of a kind of a visual appearance of the things that I want to make. And how I come up with my ideas is you can write a book on that that’s just more kind of trying to figure things out as I go along. But it’s it’s pretty straightforward process I’ll see something and I’ll be like, that’s cool. I’m gonna go try and do that. And then it’s me falling towards off until I get something that looks somewhat decent.

Vicky Twomey-Lee 2:47
Oh, amazing. Well, you mentioned Adam Savage I’m big fan as well especially the the recent his recent kind of videos on all this like favourite equipment and stuff is just general stuff and it’s all Like it’s not just focusing on one thing. So I understand you know, when you say a maker could be, it’s not just switch specialise on one particular thing is like a maker now can be very general. How did you actually get started in, in, in making.

Nathan 3:14
Em this is, I guess I come from somewhat of an artistic family. My grandfather was an art teacher and both my parents went to art college, and I wasn’t. So we did art in secondary school, and I was always somewhat arty, but I would never have considered myself the moniker of a maker. You know, that kind of came later on. So I always kind of had that background of kind of building things. When I was quite young, I kind of built a couple of costumes and stuff. But during university I kind of I was very focused on my studies. And it was only kind of after that a couple of years after that. I was a friend of mine said, just a convention coming up and I’d never been to a convention. I was like, oh, okay, well, we should go and it was it was Dublin ComicCon was the My first my first convention, I was like, Dublin ComicCon, it’s incredible. And you’re, you’re walking around, there’s incredible costumes everywhere. And you’re thinking, this is really, really cool. And I was thinking, you know, we’re looking at the costume contest. And we were sitting there, the pair of us knowing nothing about how to make anything. Even EVA foam was a foreign thing that we didn’t understand the magic of, and we sat there, and we were looking at the costumes anyway. And we’re like, these are really, really good friends. And they’re they’re cracker. Like, I’m really, they’re really, really good. And he said, think you could do one of them. I was like, I could definitely do one of them knowing full well that I’ve no idea how to do one of them. But I said, You know what, I’m gonna give it a bash. And I’ll try and make something. So I kind of went home and over the last couple of the next couple of weeks, I was like, Jesus are actually gonna have to figure out how to make something. So I got the idea of making a plague doctor, which very topical now but at the time, it was, I just it seemed like a good idea. So I kind of I think kinda have to figure out how to pull all these things together. So I wanted like a plague mask and I was I was bit intimidated at that point to start with leather. So I did EVA foam and I got some patterns for us. And then I needed to like make kind of leather apron and stuff. So I got some faux leather and I on a badly stitched it. I mean, you’ve never seen worse stitch lines than Oh,

Vicky Twomey-Lee 5:21
you haven’t seen my stitches.

Nathan 5:23
Oh, it was this thing was like it worked because it was like plague doctor, unlike you could get away with it. But it was really looking back. It was really thrown together. But it was incredible act of making, I have to figure out how to do so many different things. And by the end of it, I turned my spare bedroom into this massive em into this massive area where I was filled with equipment. And I had like tools that I’d had to pick up and I had foam and I had glue and I had all these things and I was like this is great. And then I went to the convention, I don’t know what convention It was a couple of months after Dublin ComicCon. And I went around anyway, I was kind of walking around and my plague doctor outfit, people must have thought I was mad because it was awesome, it wasn’t very relatable. And it was just like, that’s a bit creepy. Because it was it was the whole it was all black. And it was, I had like, this is kind of, like vials of like, putrid fluid on me and everything. And I was kind of just wandering around and people were probably like, Don’t get too close to that man. Okay, but I some people weren’t really into it. And they’re like, I was really, really cool. And it was a great sense of kind of build up to the confidence, which is, you know, that’s great. Like, I put a lot of effort into it. And then I’m thinking, you know, I’ll make another one and I’ll make it bigger. And I’ll try something completely different. And then one thing led to another led to another and then I started making the costumes. And then I made my I made the first document the fallout one big red outfit that most people know and people really were into that and then I made the metro, which was heavy Russian, and it was it was massive Railgun and everything and people were really into that. And then as Jeffrey knows all too well there’s a massive tech priest sitting in the middle of TOG, that’s definitely not taking up any space and it’s totally fine. Em and then I just started branching off into other things. So in lockdown, I can’t make a costume, but I can work on different projects. So I started making some dioramas, I’ve been working on some yoga bags and wallets. I’m just kind of, I’ve take I learned all these skills, and then I can go, I’ve got all these skills now. I can actually build some of the things that I’ve always wanted. Why I don’t need to buy these things? I could build something. Something as silly as I got pencil case here that I built the other day, and I was like, I need a pencil gates for going back to uni. And I was like, Oh, I could build that now. And it’s not perfect. It’s not most fancy thing in the world. But I made this and it’s, it’s cool. It is a great sense of accomplishment for that. Jeffrey sitting there wondering where his sewing machine is, but it’s sitting here beside me in my workshop. And because I borrowed it two or three days before the lockdown happened that has been sitting here ever since. And I was like, oh,brilliant, I’ve got so machine I may learn how to sew. So I did that. And it’s been really really rewarding and kind of learning that new skill sewing in particular, I’ve been doing an awful lot of since I’ve been in lockdown because I don’t have the space to do anything. I found that when I started sewing, I really struggled. And I think I’d really botched two sewing machines. Jeffrey’s freaking out thinking I botched this one, it was great. It was great to chat to I don’t know if you know, Jeff, but Meg, who’s joined target easily enough. She was really, really great. She kind of knew that I was coming at this as a complete learner, but I needed to make these big draping robes for my costume. And she was really, really good. And like two or three days, she sat me down, and she helped me work through the project. And it was so good to have someone who could just explain something to you in a really simple way because as you said, there’s you’re going to too fast and all that sometimes you want it to take you an hour to realise, well, what am I doing wrong? It’s like when you have a 3d printer, and you don’t know what the hell is going on when it could be super, super simple. If you don’t have that knowledge, it’s exponentially more complicated. So, I always found there’s a great sense of, if you have someone who’s somewhat okay to add that skill, and gives you even a day to just explain something to you, you can jump so many hurdles that would take if you’re just trying to figure it out yourself, you can actually leapfrog an awful lot of stuff because the basic mistakes you’d make, that you eventually need to learn from, you could just be immediately don’t do that because this will happen. You’re like, Oh, I understand that now. And I won’t make that mistake. And it’s made. I’ve always found if I’m gonna start a new skill, I try and find someone Tog has being a great one for that has been a great, em, kind of resource for that because there’s so many people there that have really off the wall skills. If it’s 3d printing or laser cutting, you can just grab someone, have a conversation with them. And you can kind of learn something, really what seems really complicated, but you learn it. And then you can actually apply that knowledge to your next project pretty seamlessly. And excuse the pun. for them. That’s kind of been the way I’ve kind of found things. Yeah,

Jeffrey 10:18
I think it’s a great way to I find that’s a great way to learn myself is a lot by just jumping straight in. Personally, I’ve never been one for classes or tutorials, I just find I, I learned by just trying out and incorporating failure into this whole process.

Vicky Twomey-Lee 10:36
What are your tips if things go wrong during a project? You know, I know like Jeffrey was saying, like you just go into it and just learn from the failures. So, you know, from your experience, you know,

Jeffrey 10:48
what’s happens when you cut a piece of fabric too short or you just adjust your design or what have you sort of deal with that sort of thing?

Nathan 10:57
And that’s that’s a really good question. I have Guess the greatest sample there is with the fabric is you put your fibre too short, you either have two options in that situation, you just your design, you start again. Em, I tend to be, you know, waste not want not, so I try and adjust my design for things, to try and make it work. Because even if it doesn’t work out most perfect way possible. As Jeffrey said, you’re going to learn from that failure and you’re going to learn generally don’t cut cut a little bit too short again, I had the same thing with I think Jeffrey’s probably an awful lot better at this than I am, but more familiar with electronics. And my understanding of electronics is very, very basic. I make the lights go on, and I can also make them flash. Half the time that’s good enough for most people. People are like, I’ve got flashing lights. That’s pretty good. I don’t need to do any more fancy than that. But when you’ve got like 20 LED lights on the costume or something and you’re like, Ah, no, I shall push the button and nothing happens. You’re like, Ah, there’s nothing more frustrating than just things don’t come together and you have to figure it out, go back. But as Jeffrey said, you do learn from these things and you learn from your failures and you’re able to kind of make a bit more progress. I still don’t know what a resistor does, for sure.

Jeffrey 12:13
So you’ve had plenty of great projects I’ve seen on various social media platforms. I just want to ask you about your process of or if you have of documentation, you have a particular platform you like, have you got a notebook where you keep all your sketches? Or how do you document or record your process?

Nathan 12:33
I don’t if that’s on it, so what I would tend to do is is I tend to get an idea of something, so I don’t know if you saw this but the diorama I did of the Dublin Georgian streets with all the intricate lights and all that, the idea for that came because I wanted the book nook and then I thought well I’m stuck in Dublin, so I may as well do something Dublin themed. So I thought book nook, Dublin themed and then I kind of thought I’ll bodge this together. So I’ve written down the rough idea that I wanted on a scrap piece of paper, I tend not to keep a running Journal of what my plan is. And then I just kind of ran at it and I kind of figured that out as I went along, took a couple of pictures, had a couple of ideas of what I wanted to do, and then just kind of kind of rolled with it. And I’d like to think I have a better process for that. But it’s actually definitely something I need to work on. Because I’ve had that issue in the past where an example big tech priest I built, an awful lot of those ideas were how to crazy idea. I built it, but does it really tie in with the rest of it? Not necessarily. So that’s something I’ve always really struggled with having an idea, but then actually planning to the end of that idea and not getting, you know, going off on a bit of a tangent halfway through and then arriving back to Oh, this is what I was doing.

Jeffrey 13:53
Yeah, I find documenting my projects, at best I can do a few photos and at the end I might write something. Retrorespectful thinking, Oh, this is what I had in mind, but, pre-planning. Yeah, just not me.

Vicky Twomey-Lee 14:07
So for me, like I do mini.. mini kind of projects. I’ve only just started for the lockdown because I want to find some, some something to do a bit of content as well to show that you know, I’m doing something. So like what Jeffrey said, you know, take take pictures. But I also take some videos as well, because I’m also like whenever it gets something work, especially electronics, because I’m not great at electronics either. So when something works, oh my god, it works. It works. It works. And they take videos, they look as a proof that it does work. It’s not just a picture of a light come on. It’s a picture of an actual thing that’s doing something that I said it would do, even as work in progress. And then I found that then I write kind of a blog post about it and I realised that I actually go through even though I thought like, oh, it doesn’t didn’t take that long. There wasn’t that much work and after all, but when I actually log it all down and write it in the post is actually quite a number of steps before I find the right way of doing things and things that went really wrong and how the thought process going to be around it. And it’s quite satisfactory because then you have a whole blog post of a completed project of a mini project, you know, so I found that yes, yes, I can do something so I’m on to doing the next thing which I’m really stuck on at the moment. So but it is that’s more of a rambling blog so I have to summarise when it when it when I get the project working, I’ll probably summarise that into within a blog post so yeah, so from so it is quite hard to try and document something because it’s just an idea and you’re not quite sure if it will work or not. Especially if you’re just wandering all around and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And some of them could be just really, or just hitting the dead end. You wondering like would you like to tell people about that?

Nathan 15:52
It always reminds me of what Jeffrey said there and it always reminds me of the quote from Napoleon said it. Or maybe misattributed to quote, Napoleon said, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy”. And I always think that’s very similar when you start a project is you have a great idea and you’re like this is gonna go perfectly right? And then you actually realise this is not going to go well at all. And then what you what you have at the end is often very different from what you started with. And you’re like, how did I get all the way over here when I wanted to start something over there. I find the bigger the project, the more you’re getting away from what you originally thought, you know, if you have a very simple project, so like, em, probably an example here, I made a lightsaber the other day, and it’s just print lightsaber, paint lightsaber, make lightsaber go, be pretty, give lightsaber to someone else, that’s a project is very hard to get away from. But if you’re thinking of like, massive moving parts or you know, electronics and lots of different media, it’s so easy to go, I actually have a better idea than my original idea. And then you go off on a tangent and things kind of go completely. But other times I built things, and as you said, they can be dead ends, things just don’t work. And you have to kind of go, No, that didn’t work, chuck it in the bin, and then start the next thing.

Jeffrey 17:12
Yeah, I guess a good segue to that is and they’re kind of complimentary topic is, how do you know a project is finished? Is it after the event you built it for? Is it when a new idea takes over your minds? How do you know something is

Nathan 17:27
finished? For me, personally, no project is ever finished. Because no project is ever perfect. You know what I mean? And I think if you have the capacity to think, yeah, no one has the capacity to make something perfect, that would be arrogance. But if you have the capacity to improve on something, you could put endless amounts of effort into improving that. But at the same time, there is an awful lot of truth to you can overwork something and you can put more energy into something than it’s actually worth. So an off the wall example, I could make a suit of armour made completely out of leather, you know, and it would be a perfect, that’s a perfect replica of something that’s going to cost me hundreds of hundreds of hundreds of euros, and I will look cool. But is that a practical thing, and then you could polish it up and you could do this and then you get the next different bit. And you could go down a hole of just, is this worth it? And is through a net benefit back to me. But at the same time, it’s also why are you doing a project? So for me, I like to kind of try new things. I like to kind of show other people what I’m working on. I like to kind of I like to just mess around. But if your goal is to make this thing, a perfect replica, you could spend years perfecting it like people are the five-oh-first they spend you know, I mean, you know, those guys look over screen footage of you know, frame by frame to see if that pauldron fits right there and like that’s a level of dedication that I just don’t have but you could work on a project endlessly and at the same time, that project could be useless, which is difficult it is difficult especially it’s something you’ve you know poured your heart sweat and tears into and you’re really worked on that can be a very difficult thing to do. And I can understand why so many people are reluctant to do it. Me included.

Vicky Twomey-Lee 18:38
For people who are getting into this, do you have any kind of recommendations or resources that are handy to know? Like say we’re getting into cosplay, making costumes and cosplay is a very big part of what you do. Like if people are getting into it, like where would you go and buy stuff they say online or what kind of online communities or communities that you know, people can start off with and chat to and because if they have an idea that I want to make that you know, whatever whatever video game characters are into, or anime or cartoon characters in this, oh, I want to I can I can wear that costume. You know, maybe coming up to Halloween may or may not be a convention. It could be a Halloween costume, you know, and so do you have any kind of advice?

Nathan 19:21
Yeah. And that’s a really good question. I guess. I’ve always viewed cosplay as the ultimate in mixed media. Because if you take an average costume, there’s so many different parts on most things that you take, let’s say, the Mandalorian, there’s leather work on that, there’s metal work, there’s polishing. There’s fabric work, there’s 3d printing work. There’s so many different skills that you need to make that work. You’re going to need to learn an awful lot of things and I found with cosplay, there is there is a gradient, everyone should be able to make anything that they want. And I’m a firm believer that I don’t believe in giving people stick for all that’s not perfect or you could have done this better. I tend not to believe that, I’m judgmental of myself enough. I don’t want to be judgmental of other people on what they do. So if you’re starting, the best thing to do is to just start is to just give it a bash and EVA foam is the industry favourite followed by warbler, bit of fabric work and there’s so many different parts of the community that people fit into. So I found that you’re going to have certain cosplayers and probably more myself who kind of fit into armour builds. So they’re their builds tend to be quite armoured, hard plates, you know, very metallic. And that tends to be the way to go, there’s the other side of the spectrum. And you see this at any con that go for the much more fabric side. And so people are into manga and anime, and they’re, I don’t know much about it myself, but they’re very, very strong fabric or fabricate they’re into fabric and they sew and all that kind of stuff, which is completely different to generally what I do. And then you’ve got people who are kind of middle of the road where they can kind of move between those two. And you’ve got the obviously the higher end where people are doing like, really incredible stuff to the international cosplayers. And then you have me two years ago, he’s just starting out who has a pretty weird plague doctor outfit the looks a bit scary. And so when you’re starting out, you just got to kind of go for it. Try the simple stuff. First, start with EVA foam figure that out. And then slowly work your way into it because the reality of it is is although cosplay is somewhat accessible EVA foam is not that expensive. Glue is not that expensive, as you kind of get bigger and bigger and bigger. And you take on more the different parts and you try and do them in a more faithful way. So, you know, if you did all the armoured bits of a, you know, the Mandalorian in EVA foam that’s grand, it’s great if you want it to the next stage, and then do all the leather pieces, you need a huge amount more tools and the amount of information you know, grows exponentially and then if you want to do 3d printed the blaster, you need an awful lot more tools. So it tends to be is stick to one minute At the start, generally EVA foam or fabric. start with one those two and then work from there, because the amount of tools you’ll need grows exponentially. Now I’m quite lucky. I’ve built my own little shop here I’ve got my 3d printers back here, I’ve got my wall of tools up here, I’ve got my paints, and I’ve kind of collected things as I need them. But when you’re starting into it, that can be quite intimidating. So I’ve always found start small, start with EVA foam, make something that looks cool, learn from it, and then go, Oh, that’s deadly. Now what I’ll do next is I’ll do this and I’ll add this little bit into it. And I’ll do more fabric work and your amount of skills and your expertise in it and your knowledge grows, you know, as you build and as you take on more complex projects, and that’s what it’s really all about, like all I want to see in the community is more cool costumes and you know, get talking to people who make cool things. And that’s all that’s all there should be. Is there people out there who are a bit weird about things? Yes. Don’t ignore those people. Those people are not the people you want to be chatting to. The cosplay community in Ireland is quite good, and they’re quite supportive. So it’s pretty open, in my opinion. Well, we’ll kind of wrap this

Jeffrey 24:12
up. So amazing. One more thing. Sorry. But before we let you go, and you let us know where our listeners can find your stuff.

Nathan 24:20
Yeah, of course, you can catch me on Instagram at Crafty Nathan’s Creations. I kind of post everything I have there on my Instagram channel on I have a Twitter as well. But generally, go to my Instagram, I’m still I have most of my stuff there and I’m going to be kicking off a bigger YouTube channel. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, a bit of a camera equipment arriving and I’m going to be doing more in depth tutorials to kind of, you know, as he said, like, it sounds an awful lot easier. But when you kind of see the process, these things can make an awful lot more sense. So stay tuned for that, but you can catch me on Instagram. Anytime I post there at least once or twice a week.

Vicky Twomey-Lee 24:56
Oh fantastic. Thanks again Nathan for coming aboard and speaking with us. And yeah, thanks for having me. And check out Crafty Nathan’s Creations on Instagram. And thanks Jeffrey, for co hosting our first episode. Remember to hit subscribe to our podcast. We’re also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Take care stay safe. And this is Vicky signing off from the Dublin Maker podcast.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

28 Apr 2020

I MADE a Zine

I’ve been wanting to make a zine for awhile now. Especially when I came across Bubble Sort Zines and Julia Evan‘s Wizard Zines collection ranging from command line, linux, networking, http, bit and latest one is “How containers work”. I missed a zine workshop by Grrrlzine when they visited Dublin last year as part of the Irish Literature Festival.

Ever so eager, I wanted to run a zine-making workshop as part of LoveLaceSpace but timing didn’t work out…. Until a recent email from Science Gallery Dublin and it had a How to Maker a Zine in its newsletter. It was a Friday and I though… “Huh, why not!! 🤔😎💪”

My first attempt

  • A sheet of A4 plain white paper
  • Scissors
  • A HB Pencil
  • Markers

Followed the instructions (click on the pic in the Science Gallery post 👆), that’s where the scissors comes in, just for a quick snip.

Now for the content… what to do!? 🤔

💡 I know, it’ll be a perfect companion for my Maker project, “Print your own adventure game”.

You’ve got 8 pages (teeny ones at that 😆), so this what I decided on:-

  • Front: Title and simple image so people know what this zine is about
  • Page 2 – 3: Requirements for the project (this is high level, I didn’t include wires, power, thermal paper)
  • Page 4 – 5: What I used for coding: Circuit Python, I included Python because it’s good for general references outside of coding the thermal printer and arcade buttons, plus I’m a bit rusty so I was looking up docs a lot. I used Mu Editor because it works and nicer than the other editors on the Raspberry Pi (Modal 3 and 4), and it comes as default on the Raspberry Pi, so no need to install an editor.
  • Page 6 -7: Brief overview of playing the game. 🔘👾🖨
  • Page 8: End of the zine, my personal contact dets.

Initial outline of the zine in pencil followed by inking with black pen

This is after using markers to colour in the content.

Before I coloured it in, I inked it with a black pen (muji oil-based, 0.5mm). I wasn’t very happy with the results. They were cheapo markers from LIDL (I think), and wasn’t very clean, erasing the pencil marks left it really grubby.

Next – let’s digitise it!

🤔 So I thought what if I scanned it in and then re-ink and colour it digitially on my iPad Pro with Procreate. My recent foray back in to drawing and use the iPad with Procreate properly instead of watching videos/movies got my artsy creative brain ticking.

So that’s what I did:-

  • Scanned unfolded zine (I was delighted it was all on one side, that makes life easier)
  • Saved to my Dropbox (shared with iPad handily enough)
  • Opened Procreate on iPad and started a brand new project and imported the scanned images, inked all the outlines, then created the necessary layers for inking and colouring.
  • Exported the digitally inked/coloured copy back to Dropbox in PDF.
  • Back to my laptop and printed it out, and created the zine again.

Now at this point, I thought it’s all done and dusted. First of all, it was not quite centred and it was all a little off after folding the zine, things were not where they seemed or cut off.

  • Tried printing with no margins – erm, that made it worse and not any better
  • Opened up Sketch on my laptop and imported the PDF and centred it and exported the PDF (different name) and printed it out with the printer’s default settings.

Now I was not happy with just the flat colours, why not add a tiny bit more details to bring out the chunky headings on each page.

Finally, let’s add a little more detail digitally

I’m super pleased with the results. I’m still learning to finish details, so it’s not for this zine as I don’t want it to look perfect, I’ll leave that to my next digitial painting project.

Here’s my final demo of the finished zine.

Share your project (or zine)

Anyone who makes zines out there? Do share! You can tweet @DublinMaker with #DublinMaker #ShareYourMakes.

Finally, I hope everyone is safe and well in this extraordinary time, let’s keep making, sharing and connected!

/// Vicky (Maker Advocate)

(Originally posted at https://codinggrace.com/news/i-made-zine-2020-4-28/)

14 Apr 2020

Vicky’s First Maker Project

This week was meant to be my first time attending a Makerfaire, it was going to be in Berlin. Unfortunately it was cancelled due to COVID-19. 😢

I had a small project to demo and it was inspired by The Choosatron at Berlin Game Science Center, I had so much fun visiting it last year.

I had the Adafruit mini thermal receipt printer, a Raspberry Pi, arcade buttons and wanting to play more with CircuitPython to interact with these electronic components. As a newbie and from software background, I was more comfortable with coding, as you can imagine.

Have been working on this on and off since February this year, and I decided to why not get it all working properly even if Makerfaire Berlin is cancelled. 💪

I had a Pi-Top which has the Raspberry Pi 3 in it (thanks to Coding Grace), and used it prototyped the idea on it initially.

Ok, that was cool.

How this will work is, I have 3 buttons, a YELLOW (left option), a BLUE (right option) and a BLACK button (resets the game).

  • When you start the game, it welcomes the player and asks the player to select YELLOW or BLUE button to begin.
  • If a player selects a YELLOW/BLUE button, they are presented with the start of the story, and asks to press YELLOW/BLUE button again to continue with the story, or BLACK button to reset the game.
  • If the player selects the YELLOW/BLUE button again, the next part of the story appears dependant on the button chosen. The player gets asked one more time to choose which button to press.
  • Result of that choice is printed followed by end of the story.

I put in some sample silly dummy stories so I can see how the game runs, it’s pretty short as I don’t want to waste too much paper. 🌲

I moved on to 3D print a stand for the 3 arcade buttons and a case for the thermal printer using the Prusa 3D printer (had fun building this last Christmas with my husband). Plus I decided to try out the Pi-Top which has the Raspberry Pi 4 in it.

So it’s all coming together.

After a bit of code wrangling as I wanted to add stories into a spreadsheet where I can pull the stories from and feed it to the thermal printer, it was all done. Here’s the final demo result. 🙌 😊

If you are curious, I have a longer write-up on the process and issues I came across via https://www.codinggrace.com/news/my-maker-project-print-your-own-adventure-game-2020-4-9/.

🤔 Anything else I would like to do now that it’s working? Well, what I would like to do is use just a Raspberry Pi (even a zero) and make a nice simple case for it, probably use cardboard or something as 3D printing a whole case uses a lot of material.

🌈 You have a work-in-progress project, or planning one? Please share your #MakerAtHome projects (even ongoing ones) with #DublinMaker via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even on LinkedIn. 🤖🛠✂️🗜🖌

Wishing everyone well and safe. #StayAtHome #WashYourHands