As part of our outreach efforts, our goal is to open the eyes of young minds to the world of software development and in a broader perspective, the general world of science and technology. This year, we returned to the STEM Maker Faire hosted at Hickman Charter.
In past years, we had kids build Minecraft figures based on the online show Dig Build Live, a show we helped produce. This year we taught kids and adults the workings of the basic LED and exposed a little bit of the magic of the 3D printer. Before the event, our chief artist David Steele designed a 3D printable housing for a basic LED throwie. A LED throwie consists of an LED, battery (in our case the CR2032) and if required a resistor, Instead of using magnets or tape to connect them together, David’s design allowed throwies to snap together to form chains easily.
We’ve also made this model available on Github for those who want to print them at home or their local makerspace: https://github.com/StickmanVentures/led-throwie
We spent a day printing plates of the 3D model, purchased LEDs and batteries in bulk from Amazon and then hauled a great deal of gear to the event. Walter Kuppens and I, both junior software engineers at Stickman Ventures, helped teach crowds of curious minds, enlightening the kids to just how cool a simple set of items can be when it comes to creating very bright light in a very throwable form.
We provided them with a casing that held the diode firmly to the battery, so they could do as they please with their nifty new invention. Every participant at the booth was rewarded with their own throwie or two to take home and we had a wonderful time teaching.
On the side of the demonstration, our booth held an array of 3D models designed and created by David and other 3D artists. Also running on the sidelines was one of our 3D printers printing throwie housings and one which was taken apart for people to learn about the inner workings of 3D printers.
The last surprise we pulled out of our office was our Plywood Connected cornholes games, complete with lasers, NeoPixels and sound. Kids were able to enjoy a simple game and experience cool lighting patterns and sound effects while learning about what makes the boxes work. Our goal with doing events like this is to teach and inspire future scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. The world will always change and we want to provide a fun and educational way to introduce, attract, and encourage new minds into the into the many amazing fields of technology as we can.