Last night was the first makeshop at Metrix, and it was really fun! For those of you unaware, makeshops are like workshops but without teachers. Everyone has the same starting materials, has access to all the tools in the shop, and are set free to create as they wish. Last night’s theme was blinking LEDs, and while I didn’t get mine to blink, I made a really cute LED firefly. Everyone else seemed to be having fun and made some neat projects.
As this was the first makeshop things were a little hectic, in true Metrix style. Our host, Aimee, started by spreading LEDs on the tables and then explaining how the makeshops worked. When I arrived at Metrix, I had no idea what I was going to create, and it seemed like other people were in that boat too. You’d think that without instruction, people would flounder but the opposite seemed to happen! As soon as we were given the go-ahead to start creating people were connecting their LEDs to batteries, asking for wires and breadboards and asking the experts on hand questions about circuits.

My original idea was to make a little stuffed frog with a firefly stuck to its tongue. I asked to see Metrix’s fabric and was shown the box filled with mostly black. Not exactly what I was hoping for, and so I decided that I’d make it simple and only do the firefly. I thought it was going to be easy, as it was just some wire sculpted into the shape of wings stuck to a battery, but it ended up taking me longer than expected. It turns out that wire is very poke-y. I was able to get it done though, and I really liked the finished product.
I asked one of my fellow makers, Joshua Sacks what he thought of the evening. He had originally come in with the idea to add LEDs to a pair of goggles to allow him to see in the dark. Soon he realized that it might be a more long term goal. Without much electronics experience, he was learning from the beginning. Even though he wasn’t able to complete his original project, he was still having a lot of fun. He liked just playing around and learning, and said that he was hoping to use the knowledge he had gained for future projects.
Another person there, Oliver Lundt, was also having a great time. The first thing he learned (accidentally) was how to make an LED explode! Exciting, but stinky. After that came the answers to why he had just caused that to happen. He was learning about resistors, parallel vs. serial, and other basics of electrical engineering. He found that the things he was doing were more applicable to other projects than he had originally expected.

I left a little after that, but while I was gone, other people ended up finishing some neat projects. Here is a very lovely New Year’s hat:_DSC4311.JPG
A pretty string of lights:_DSC4308.JPG
And another:

All in all, I had a great time. The atmosphere in the store was even more creative than usual I think. About ten people showed up, so there was also a good sense of community. Come to the next one and create something unexpected!

If you have an interesting project that you’re working on at Metrix, and would like to be featured in the blog, email me-