News and Blogs

A look at recent events and member projects

Denver Mini Maker Faire 2016 recap in pictures

SSD members turned out in force the the mini maker fair held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the crowd was fantastic.

Jim’s Drawbot was a huge draw — one girl adored it and was thrilled when he gave her the drawing it had just made!

DSC_7139 DSC_7140

Terry’s soccer scoring system got the most interest and kids loved rolling tennis balls through the goalposts and watching it mark their point.  Pictured behind is the mini version of John English’s Soundpuddle, set up by Tijlon.


Jennifer’s automatic dog play system also entertains kids pretty well!


Dan’s remote car had lots of kids mugging for its camera.


I had lots of fun walking around with my video T-shirt and explaining how it worked.  Mostly though, kids just stared at it, mesmerized.




Turnout was excellent for other booths, with the return of many popular exhibits and new ones, too.

One of my all-time favorites is a group that deconstructs old pinball machine mechanisms and explain how they work. Very hands-on, it’s much easier to see how a mechanical score counter works than an electronic one.

DSC_7126 DSC_7201

Denhac had a lockpicking workshop, where kids could try to escape from handcuffs. They also had some great lights in the darker area of the Faire

DSC_7142 DSC_7187

Zoe Doubleday’s Haptika series of therapy gloves were a hit —

DSC_7154 DSC_7184

I didn’t get the guy who made these beautiful electronic quilts — he was one of many participants who also did amazing things:

DSC_7162 DSC_7169

Human foosball, of course!


I fell in love with these hacked furby skeletons!


DSC_7197 DSC_7198

Looking forward to future Mini Maker Faires!

New lights for the high bay


The original fluorescent lights.



Our new snazzy LED lights

Fluorescent lights suck.  Aside from the minor mercury toxicity hazard if they’re broken and the mediocre light quality, the bigger problem for us is getting up to the ceiling to replace them.  At 8′ long, they’re a bit ungainly when at the top of a ladder that is barely stabilized.  Needless to say, between the standard laziness, and the instinct of self-preservation, we haven’t changed many of the burnt out tubes since we moved into this space.  In fact, we are finally down to 6 lit tubes, so we were getting to the limit of barely usable light.

LED lights are cool.  That’s the basic premise of switching our lighting out in our high bay lately.  Of course, you’re going to get that response from a bunch of self-proclaimed LED freaks 😉  We were getting to the end of the life on the remaining fluorescent tubes, and had to do something.  One of our long time members, Dan Julio, offered up some of the control boards from one of his lighting projects.  These boards, combined with LED strips make up our new lights.  Some of the main features include:

  • dimmable –  this allows us to set the light level for meetups or for work
  • Zone control – with this feature, we can keep the work lights on while dimming or turning off the lights over the wall that the projector shines against.
  • Color wash on the ceiling – Otherwise known as “party mode”.  This gives us the ability to change the mood of the space.
  • Control via mobile or web portals.
  • Control via panel mounted on the wall.

Several members joined with Dan on a Saturday to finish up the marathon of work he had already put in.

Way to go Dan for designing and building out the system, and thanks to the SSD members who helped install it!


Valentine’s Day Mode


Party Mode!