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Brisbane Makes Makercamp

Yesterday was the Brisbane Makes Makercamp at Hackerspace Brisbane and the culmination of the Make Anything competition I had entered.

It was a very full day - the number of interesting people and interesting projects was incredible. The chance to talk with such a large group of like minded people was amazing - by the end of the day my voice was a bit croaky from talking so much but it was price worth paying though for such a great experience.

Soldering and test area

It was also an opportunity for the Hackerspace to show itself at it's best and it did it great job of it - the number of people who turned up to look around and participate was astounding. As well as the competition itself there were a number of projects and interests from various members on display and it was very clear how many resources the space offers it's members.

One of the printers

As expected the 3D printers were very popular with a range of commercial and home built models on display with their owners on hand to provide tips and tricks as well as giving demonstrations of their use. The quality of some of the objects being printed made me a bit jealous - I really have to devote some more time to tuning my own printer.

Just got back from the future

One of the more popular exhibits was a Delorean (made famous by the Back to the Future movie franchise) owned by one of the members. He had made the effort to deck it out with a props from the movie including a flux capacitor mounted in the back (unfortunately, not a working one). I do like his choice of number plate as well.

My corner of the bench

The culmination of the day was the Make Anything competition. Entrants had their projects on display for the whole day so everyone had a chance to look them over and ask questions about how they worked and what they were meant to do. I'm happy to say there was a fair bit of interest in my project and I had a lot of great conversations ranging from the very technical to more general questions about process and techniques.

All boxed up

Of course I made some late night changes the night before (and, of course, they didn't quite work as expected) so there were a few hectic hours for me that morning to get everything back to a working state before I could box it up for transport. Even though the project was not exactly complete I at least had a working prototype to show with most of it functional and working. To compensate I took along a few other completed projects like my Breadboard Prototyping Station and the Babyduino which generated some interest as well (I gave away a few spare Babyduino PCB's and got some helpful feedback on PCB design techniques as a result of that).

Overall it was a great day - personally I learned a lot and got a lot of great ideas and feedback, hopefully I provided the same to others as well. If any of the many people I spoke to during the day are reading this I'd like to say thank you for stopping and having a chat with me - it was much appreciated and a very enjoyable experience.

As for the competition the final results were:

1st Prize: The Port Hack Interactive Clock.

This was very cool. A combination art and technology project using a lot of older bare circuit boards purely for aesthetics and the display using a set of RGB LED's in an infinity mirror. LED's around the edge of the mirror indicated the position of the hour, minute and second hands projected into what looks like an infinite tube.

2nd Prize: The Stellarduino

Another cool idea - an Arduino controlled Telescope positioning and tracking system. Commercial systems cost around $1000 so doing a homebrew version is far more cost effective (not to mention interesting). I hope the maker behind puts the code up - there would be a lot of interesting math behind it.

3rd Prize: Yours truly. As they say, 'I'm just happy to be a contender'.

I wish I had had the opportunity to take more photos of the various projects, unfortunately a lot of my time was spent talking to people. You can see the photos I did manage to get here and hopefully the HSBNE site will put up a collection of photos soon as well.

I'd like to thank everyone at HSBNE involved in putting the day together - you have all done a great job and the results were astounding. I'm really looking forward to the next event. Anyone who is in the Brisbane (AU) area that has an interest in making, designing and building things should really check out the HSBNE space - they are open to visitors every Tuesday night and it's well worth dropping in and seeing what they do there.