#1 Fuzzy Makey

A Maker Faire in Ukraine, Record Making, Ryan Jenkins and Courtney Blum

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Photo by Katya Sheremet

Welcome to the first issue of Make Things, a weekly newsletter for the Maker community. We’ll share stories about people who are making things, their projects and tools, as well as the places where they make. We’ll also talk about why people make things today and we’d like to hear more about what things you are making. This newsletter lives on the web at makethings.make.co

Table of Contents

Our Makers in Ukraine

On Saturday, March 2, Maker Faire Ukraine was held in the library of the polytechnic university in Kyiv. Yuri Vlastak, the producer of the one-day event and founder of the Ukrainian Maker Association, had produced 18 Maker Faires in Ukraine prior to the war. Saturday’s event was the first since the two-year old war began, and it presented many challenges for its producer.

I spoke to Yuri the day after the event. First of all, he had to make sure that the space was safe, by which he meant the people who not be hurt during an air-raid.

The event attracted 60 makers who were spread out on three floors and 1000 people came to the event. A German NGO sponsored the event and a condition of sponsorship was that it not demonstrate defense-related military technology. Yuri also said that there were many makers in the military who could not come. There was also some people who said that they would not come as long as the war was going on.

Yuri said that for those who came, the feeling of being back together in person was so strong. “People were shaking hands, hugging each other. It was huge to meet offline,” said Yuri. One of the team members made a Fuzzy Makey, one that people could touch and hug.

Faire organizers Yuri with Fuzzy Makey at Maker Faire Ukraine (photo by Katya Sheremet)

A “feel and touch” exhibit at Maker Faire Kyiv (photo by Katya Sheremet)

Maker Exhibit (photo by Giedrius Kavaliauskas)

Robot at Maker Faire Kyiv (photo by Katya Sheremet)

Yuri believes that the Ukraine government wants to see more makerspaces in country and it wants its educational system to be able to produce makers. For a detailed look at what makers are doing in Ukraine, check out “Makers in Defense of Ukraine” that Yuri wrote about a year ago.

Record Maker

Joined by his father, Jeffrey, Daniel Bunting brought his “Razzy Records” project to Maker Faire Bay Area last October. Daniel, an 18-year-old high school senior, learned how to cut vinyl records and now he has a business making short-run vinyl records for special occasions.  I talked to Daniel about writing an article to explain how he learned the process and what equipment and materials he uses. Daniel turned his draft in last week and he did a great job. I feel a special joy when a maker demonstrates that they can write a good article, as Daniel did. I wrote to Jeffrey, his father, and told him that Daniel wrote a good article.  His father replied. 

I am super proud. I’ve been a subscriber with Make: magazine since nearly inception and am happy as can be for him. It’s been really hard for Dan to get through school given some of his attention-span issues, autism and (I hate to say) bullying. But this has been something he really has had a passion for and has made a big difference. I’m hoping he will be able to make a vocation of it. And having the article published will give him a boost right as he goes into graduation.

Jeffrey Bunting

Jeffrey sent a photo of Dan at MFBA 2013.  So here is Dan in 2013 and in 2023.  You’ll be able to read Dan’s article, “Vinyl Records”, in the next issue of Make Magazine (Vol. 89).

Daniel Bunting Then and Now (Photos by Jeffrey Bunting)

Jeffrey and Daniel at Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 with a Blue Ribbon from and Editor

Ryan Jenkins at Maker Faire Heilbronn

Ryan Jenkins of Wonderful Idea Company, and formerly of the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio, moved from the Bay Area to Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. He is currently finishing up his new book, Tinkering Workshop, which is arranged around broad themes for tinkering like constructions, light & shadow, mechanisms and wind & water.

On March 2, Ryan exhibited at Maker Faire Heilbronn, which took place at the Experimenta Science Center. I asked him about his experience.

Experimenta Science Center (photo by Ryan Jenkins)

After moving to a new area (and a new country) I have been looking for ways to connect with the local making and tinkering community. Researching and participating in the closest Maker Faire in Heilbronn provided a built-in way to tap into the existing world of makers, educators, artists and tinkerers near me.

The makerspace at Experimenta is a really inspiring environment for making and tinkering in a science center setting. I appreciate the mix of how the makerspace embodies the general welcoming attitude and educational approach that comes from being part of a museum while still being independent and able to create a unique community with relevant rules and working schedule.

Once again it was clear that the most magical part of Maker Faire isn’t just watching what others have made but to get involved in the experience by tinkering yourself. The event was full of kids and adults trying 3D fabric printing, learning to solder and experimenting with art machines and marble runs.

I had a hot glue gun plugged in on top of a high counter so that I could repair parts that broke during my workshop. After a little bit I looked over and saw a completely crowded glue gun station (with cardboard table cover and extra glue sticks) that organically developed around my spare tool. It was being used as an overflow station for other workshops, to repair things that people made and other creative purposes. It really demonstrates the maker mindset that can be seen over and over again at Maker Faire where every available tool will be utilized and shared by participants.

Ryan Jenkins

The Sound of Success

Make: Books editor Kevin Toyama, who like most of the Make: team works remotely, came into our Santa Rosa office recently to test some of the projects in our new Make: Radio book, written by Fredrik Jansson. He shared some thoughts about the experience

Kevin Toyama (photo by Juliann Brown)

My circuit-building experience consisted of helping my young son assemble Snap Circuits into a burglar alarm, and—during ye olden days my own childhood—using one of those Radio Shack kits with spring connectors to make a . . . burglar alarm. So when I saw the buffet line of components for the Radio projects, I admit I felt a pang of anxiety and thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” 

I had never even used a breadboard before, so I was quite anxious assembling my first circuit from scratch: the AM Radio Transmitter from Make: Radio: Hands-On Adventures in the Hidden Universe of Radio Waves, by Fredrik Jansson. I felt woefully behind as my coworkers finished their project, and I hurriedly pushed in my components to catch up. When I flipped the switch and nothing happened, I was crestfallen. Worse, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong as I checked and re-checked my work. 

But as I wallowed in my failure, I realized that circuit building, like any skill, isn’t a competition—it’s an opportunity to learn something new. And, more importantly, this is supposed to be fun. I had a puzzle in front of me, and I love figuring out puzzles. So I took a deep breath, recalibrated my focus and pace, and started over.

This time, I appreciated the precise placement of adding each component, and started to see the logic of the schematic. I double-checked my work as I built, which gave me confidence and eliminated second-guessing myself. And this time, when I connected the battery, the transmitter worked!

Sure, my transmitter just sent its signal a few inches away to the AM receiver, and my epiphany wasn’t exactly Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But as I turned the circuit off and on and the audio frequency followed suit, a genuine smile spread across my face. (I actually did a fist pump and yelled “In your face!” to an empty room, but I’m trying to sound like a grownup.)

I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone in quite a while, and also forgot that associated joy of accomplishment. It’s amazing how one little victory can help demystify a subject and create momentum to dive deeper. Now I’m looking forward to tackling the other Radio projects, and after that, maybe I’ll see how far burglar alarms have advanced.

Kevin Toyama

Courtney Blum, Filament Stories

Courntey Blum, who wrote the feature article on multicolor 3D printing, was one of the guests in an all-women panel on the Make Launch Party for Volume 88. She wrote: “The Rise of Color in 3D Printing - True multi-material machines are here and they’re good.” Courtney held up the magazine and said how much she enjoyed holding it in her hands. The creator of the YouTube channel, Filament Stories, Courtney talked about how multicolor 3D printing “has taken a huge step forward.”

I was particularly struck by Courtney’s story that she got into 3D printing because her daughter is blind and she wanted to help her by creating shapes that she could hold.

I’d love to hear from you if you have ideas, projects or news items about the maker community. Email me - [email protected].