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Education Hardware

All Hands Active in Ann Arbor is a Makerspace for All Ages (Video) 35

Posted by Roblimo
from the active-hands-are-happy-hands dept.
This is an interview with All Hands Active's Josh Williams. He shows us a project the group is doing in conjunction with Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Communities. This is just one project, and maybe not the most exciting one they do, but it's something simple they can (and do) cart around to schools and other remote locations. They use a laser cutter for this simple project, not because it's really needed, Josh says, but because "any excuse to use a laser cutter is a good excuse."

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All Hands Active in Ann Arbor is a Makerspace for All Ages (Video)

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  • All Due Credit (Score:4, Informative)

    by samzenpus (5) * Works for Slashdot on Monday April 16, 2012 @07:53AM (#39699325) Homepage Journal

    Josh wanted to make sure a couple of credits were given out that didn't make it into the video.

  • truer words (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcSecond (534786) on Monday April 16, 2012 @07:57AM (#39699353)

    "any excuse to use a laser cutter is a good excuse"

    That should be added to the Slashdot quotes.

    • by El Torico (732160)
      Children and laser cutters, what could go wrong?
      • by durrr (1316311)

        Children could learn to be responsible and start innovating, can't have that now can we, please arrest this freedom hating child molester!

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        How else are we supposed to breed a new generation of supervillains?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm from Ann Arbor, and I've got Josh in my phone. AHA is fantastic, and it's awesome to see this on slashdot!

    • I don't know any of the people involved, but I must say, I'm really proud to have this going on one town over.
      • by Nova1313 (630547)
        If you are interested, please stop by sometime! Build night is held on Thursday evenings. Lots of neat projects going on!
  • Pop Science (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday April 16, 2012 @09:31AM (#39700013)

    "Makerspace" - a culmination of pop science/Mythbusters viewers who take off-the-shelf stuff, without knowing how it works, cobble it together, and claim to be hackers.

    Sad, sad world. Where's the next Steve Wozniak?

    • "Sad, sad world. Where's the next Steve Wozniak?"

      Watching video's like this and saying to him or herself "I can do better than that!" then heading down to their work space and doing so.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      First of all, I think the word "Makerspace" is ridiculous. That said, there's nothing to gain by demeaning anyone who doesn't fit your profile of a "true" scientist. And whether or not people know how it works (though I'd argue that they often do) is frankly irrelevant. You don't need to know how paint works to create a masterpiece, or why black powder burns so rapidly to create a rocket motor. Besides, hands-on experience is the best kind.

    • by Wyrd01 (761346)
      What's so bad about giving kids a space where all these creative tools exist and letting them just come in and see what they can come up with?

      Yeah, 99% of the things that come out of there will be nothing special, but what if this "makerspace" enables the one kid in a million who has an actual gift for this and he comes up with something new and innovative?
      • by joshdont (927192)
        Aye aye!

        The facility is primarily used by people within the ages of ~18 to ~30. However, we do a lot of work outside the space with younger groups. The space is open to all.

        Some people who come down are interested in a pretty low level/assembly code understanding of the world. Others just want to know the easiest way to manipulate it. Either way, hopefully they can find some of the resources they need at, or through AHA!
  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:44AM (#39701171)

    Title: All Hands Active in Ann Arbor is a Makerspace for both Adults and Kids
    Description: This is an interview with All Hands Active leader Josh Williams. He shows us a project the group is doing in conjunction with Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities.

    [00:00] <TITLE>
    "Slashdot Visits the All Hands Active Makerspace in Ann Arbor, Michigan" appears over a view the interviewer, "Slashdot Editor Rob Rozeboom" as noted in the SlashdotTV logo bar.

    [00:01] Rob>
    The folks at All Hands Active in Ann Arbor teach kids about science and technology through a variety of fun and interesting projects.
    Today they're gonna be building crossbows out of cardboard with the help of a laser cutter.

    [00:12] <TITLE>
    A view of Josh Williams at the Makerspace with various hardware equipment in the background appears, with the Slashdot TV logo bar reading "Josh Williams @ All Hands Active 'Ann Arbor's Makerspace'".
    Throughout the interview, generic shots of people working on the aforementioned DIY crossbow are seen mixed in with this base shot.

    [00:12] Josh>
    I'm Josh Williams and we're at All Hands Active at 525 East Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    [00:18] Rob>
    And what do you do here?

    [00:20] Josh>
    A bunch of things.
    It's always a fun - kind of complicated - question, but basically we give people access to resources, information, tools and other people.
    We've got sewing machines, laser cutters, 3D printers and then just a standard soup of your normal tools: hammers, screwdrivers, drill presses - things like that.

    [00:38] Rob>
    And what are we doing today?

    [00:40] Josh>
    Today we're building laser-cut cardboard crossbows.
    We're using Inkscape - open source image editing software - combined with a full spectrum laser cutter to cut out pieces of cardboard in the shape of a crossbow.
    From there we use a combination of dowel rods, rubber bands, duct tape, hot glue to put those pieces together and build a simple - kind of nerf gun style - crossbow that shoots about 10 to 40 feet, depending on the tension of the rubber band.

    [01:05] Rob>
    Can you just go through the steps to build the crossbow?

    [01:09] Josh>
    Basically, the first step is designing in Inkscape the basic layout.
    We provide people with a simple template ink Inkscape, from there they modify things;
    This is a unicorn from a Deviant Art user - they're pretty awesome, they've got a bunch of really cool line art.
    We added that to the template.
    We then took that image file, loaded up on RetinaEngrave over here, and that allows you to change the power settings and speed settings.
    So we've got slightly different settings for cutting out the cardboard versus etching out the actual unicorn drawing.
    Once you've done that, you've got roughly 5 pieces here, 5 sections of cardboard, you sandwich them together, leaving a little bit of space for the trigger to move.
    Using just a standard wine cork, we're using a piece of metal out of a clothes hanger, and drinking straws and a rubber band and a dowel rod.
    So this is all stuff that you can get at a local hardware store, just things that you might have sitting around the house.
    Altogether the actual parts for this is probably less than a dollar, which is really, really awesome.
    You don't have to have a laser cutter to build this; we just .. any excuse to use a laser cutter is a good excuse.

    [02:09] Rob>
    Sure!

    [02:10] Josh>
    From there you attach the rubber bands, the dowel rod - the dowel rod just goes through a quarter inch hole here, tie rubber bands around, pull the rubber band back, pull the trigger, rubber band shoots forward, and you have a bolt here that launches - and that's usually just made out of a slightly larger drinking straw, slightly bigger dowel rod, which fit conveniently well inside pencil sharpe

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Thanks for this. Slashdot should really have these things go up automatically with every video. -.-

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Seconded. I can't play videos with the sound on while I'm pretending to be busy at work.
  • I, for one, welcome our new laser cuter-wielding child overlords.

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