SF/North Bay February 23, 2013

Theme — Prototyping and Documentation


  • 10am-11:30am: Workshops
  • 11:30am-12:00pm: Clean-up & Lunch
  • 12:00pm-12:20pm: Plussing Session #1 (assigned when you arrive)
  • 12:20pm - 12:40pm: Plussing Session #2 (assigned when you arrive)
  • 12:45pm-2:00pm: Featured Maker Talks & Special Demonstration

Featured Makers (12:45-2pm)

Carley Jacobson, Instructables

Carley Jacobson is the Business Development Manager at the DIY project sharing website Instructables.com. She earned her BS in Computer Science and Visual Arts from Union College where she enjoyed building physical computing sculptures, welding steel, and carving rocks. She has authored over 100 Instructables. She also writes a weekly newsletter Makers Snapshot about maker and do-it-yourself events, classes, and workshops in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Mark Harrison, Pixar

Mark Harrison is a drone hobbyist who has been designing and flying fixed wing and multirotor autonomous vehicles for the past several years. His work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, and NPR. He writes about his work at eastbay-rc.blogspot.com and diydrones.com. By day, he works at Pixar.

Workshop activities (10am-11:30)

One of the keys to a successful project is the ability to quickly prototype your ideas in some physical form. Prototypes let you explore various design possibilities until you arrive at one that is likely to succeed. Documenting your project is also important because it gives you a lasting record of your accomplishments, and it helps get more attention for your work, both in the build up to Maker Faire and beyond. Most program veterans have found that the project itself doesn’t last very long, but the documentation does!

The February workshop will have several “stations” where you can practice your prototyping and documenting skills. Each station will be manned by facilitators to help you understand the materials and principles necessary to master that form of prototyping. You can spend as much or as little time at each station as you like. The stations are:

  • The city of the future: At this station you’ll work with others to prototype a city of the future using card stock, tape, and pencils.
  • Documenting: You’ll have a chance to learn how to document your project on Instructables, the highest profile site on the internet for telling people about do-it-yourself projects.
  • Simple circuits: At this station you’ll learn how to use materials such as conductive tape, conductive thread, cell phone batteries, and LEDs to create simple (yet fashionable) circuits.
  • Intermediate electronics: At this station you’ll learn how to prototype more sophisticated electronics using solderless breadboards along with common components such as batteries, motors, switches, LEDs, resistors, and timer chips.

An electronic prototyping kit will be available for $15. The kit contains everything you’ll need for the simple circuits and intermediate electronics stations. If you already have electronics components that you’d like to learn more about, you’re more than welcome to bring them.

Lunch (11:30-noon)

Be sure to bring a sack lunch and a beverage.

Plussing session (noon-12:40)

Plussing sessions are an opportunity to share your in-progress work with other project teams. Read more about plussing sessions and why we have them.

Be sure to bring as much of your work so far as possible. Lists of project ideas, sketches, early prototypes, etc., are all appropriate. Be prepared to answer questions like: what is your project idea, how did you come up with it, what materials will be required, what do you expect with be the most difficult or challenging part, etc.

We’d like everyone to participate in the plussing session. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot to show yet — that’s normal.