Saturday, December 17, 2016

AAAS/PD Scientific Maker event June 2017 Waimea, Big Island, Hawaii

Share your expertise, creativity, and devices at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division’s Second Annual SCIENTIFIC MAKER EXHIBIT at the Pacific Division’s annual meeting, Waimea (on the Big Island of Hawaii) June 19-23, 2017
It is more feasible to create your own lab equipment than ever before with the advent of 3D printing, low-cost Arduino sensors and other “maker” technologies.

It is also possible to have citizen scientist collaborators who cannot only take data for you, but follow open-source plans to create their own equipment. Are you one of the pathfinders that has actually done this? If so, please consider bringing your creation to Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii for the AAAS Pacific Division’s second Scientific Maker Exhibit. Group exhibits are welcome. Objects that are the subject of work in progress or recent crowdfunding campaigns or equivalent open-source projects are encouraged.

This exhibit area is a “third type” of presentation – not a poster, not a talk, but a chance to show off 3D prints, equipment, etc. There is no provision for hanging a poster at the exhibit – just plan on flat table space and anything you want to put up on a table.

There is no charge for space in this exhibit, but all participants must register for the meeting. Note that display space is limited and acceptance of objects for display will be determined solely by the staff and/or representatives of AAAS, Pacific Division based on quality and scientific merit of the proposed display. Participants take sole responsibility for the safety of their displays, and waivers may be required as detailed in the PDF linked below.

The deadline for submission of an application is 23 April, 2017.

More info about the maker exhibit:…/Flyers/MakerExhibit-Newest.pdf

To apply, fill out the google form at

To apply for a separate poster or oral presentation, to register, or to read about student awards, see the conference's main page at

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blog post in Scientific American

Our blog post for Scientific American about 3D printing for the visually impaired came out today.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Busy weekend Nov 5-6

Next weekend I'll be at So Cal Makercon and at the Hackaday Superconference. Lots of excitement- looking forward to meeting some old and new friends.

At So Cal Makercon I'll be at the Apress booth in the morning of Saturday Nov. 5 to hang out with our friends and Practical Fashion Tech coauthor Lyn Hoge to talk about our books.

Then it will be off to the Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena, which runs Saturday and Sunday, Nov 5/6, in Pasadena. Rich and I will both be there to see how things turn out for the Hackaday Prize and see others' awesome builds!  (I gather that the Hackaday event is sold out now.)

Friday, October 7, 2016

2017 3D printing and maker tech classes

Joan and Rich at Apress boothWe now have our schedule for 2017 classes set. The classes are all online, 4 weeks long.

They are offered through LERN Network, which provides outsourced classes to many community colleges and other organizations (through their "UGotClass" portal.)

In 2017 we are scheduled to teach three classes, each offered four times during the year.


The classes: 

Intro to 3D Printing- Feb, Apr, Jun, Sept

NEW! 3D Printed Science and Math: Visualizations and Experiments (about how to create good 3D printable science and math models to help visualize or to use to do experiments) - Mar, May, July, Oct

UPDATED class- tentative title - signups available mid-November: Prototyping with Maker Electronics (In 2016 was Intro to Maker Tech: The New Shop Class) - April, June, Aug, Nov

If your local college doesn't have our classes in their portal, we have them linked here and on our site at

Or if online isn't your thing and you are nearby, we are always happy to arrange custom training in Southern California locations!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Practical Fashion Tech (new book) now broadly available

Animation of the Mod 60s dress from Practical Fashion Tech
Our new book, Practical Fashion Tech, is now broadly available. It's intended to let you learn how to use sewable circuits to make interactive garments for fun, theater, or cosplay.  It covers basics of sewing, costuming and pattern-making, and then moves on from there to show how to add sewable microprocessors, sensors, and light-up effects.

The GIF is the 60s homage mod dress, with electroluminescent (EL) ribbon. We had this setup in the Apress booth at New York Makerfaire Oct 1-2.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Our last online class of 2016 starts 10/3- Intro to Maker Tech

We'll be running our last online class of 2016 - an introduction to all things maker. If you want to learn what all this is about this is a great and convenient way to do it! Four weeks, all online, starts Oct. 3. More info and to register:

And... coming in 2017 - a brand new class, 3D Printed Science and Math: Visualizations and Experiments. It will get into how to create science and math models. We'll be posting more about it soon; it will run for the first time in March 2017.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Google group for 3D models for the visually impaired is up.

Photo of pouring water from one model into another to show they are the same volumeWe have now put up our 3D printable model files exchange to benefit teachers of the visually impaired as part of our #HackadayPrize2016 entry.!forum/3dp_edu_models

Here is how it works:

- Teachers of the visually impaired put up requests. We have posted several we had in hand, and created one set of design files as our volunteer seeding of the process. 

- Schools who want to have their students do some #3dprinting service learning for their students reply to the request and go off and create the designs, and post them to the design repository of their choice. We have more details in the group. Group registrants should be over 18.

That's it! Please post comments on our Hackaday Prize entry,…/11312-3d-prints-for-teachers-of-the-v…


Saturday, August 27, 2016

More Hackaday Prize updates.

cones cylinders and pyramids of same volumeWe've just put up a new log entry about our Hackaday Prize project.  In this one, we add lids to our hollow volume-comparison objects, and show a bit of the math behind them. (Oh, and prove that the volumes are equal!)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Book - Practical Fashion Tech

Cover, Practical Fashion TechOur latest book, Practical Fashion Tech: Wearable Technologies for Costuming, Cosplay and Everyday is now up for preorder. It gives a pragmatic view of the overall design issues that come up when creating interactive garments or accessories, combining the sewing, electronics, and coding aspects.

We added a third author this time- Lyn Hoge, who has been a teacher for over 30 years. The book is intended to be a teacher's guide for high school or college classes in the subject.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hackaday Prize

We are getting serious now about our entry into the #2016HackadayPrize - we are going in under their Assistive Technology category, which opens for entries Monday. We have started building out now so that we can get as many comments and collaborators as possible. The basic idea is that we think there are two communities that need to meet each other:

1. Teachers of the visually impaired often have access to a 3D printer, but rarely have time to design their own models.

2. Mainstream schools who have just gotten 3D printers often are wondering what do to with them.

So we are developing a set of guidelines, instructions for readable Braille, and open-source models that follow the guidelines. Next up we are figuring out how have some sort of minimalist open source sharing exchange so that groups 1 and 2 can find each other. The development period (during which community participation and comments are encouraged!) runs through October 3. Please check us out, comment, and give us a Hackaday Skull if you are a site member!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fall online classes - 3D printing, maker tech

If you missed our summer online classes, you can still have the opportunity in the fall.  Each class is four weeks long, entirely online/

Starting September 6 we will be teaching "Intro to 3D Printing." We do not focus on any particular 3D printer, but aim to give good advice that will apply broadly. More info and registration here.
3D printed science models
 If you want a broader-brush intro to a variety of aspects of maker technologies (including electronics and broader design issues) you might want our Intro to Maker Tech class, which starts October 3. More info on that one, and registration, is here.

 Hope to meet some of you there!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Design for 3D Printing -- for Kids

Many people have asked us about classes for kids whose parents have bought them a 3D printer. We are pleased to team up with San Marino's Coding for Treasure ( which teaches kids how to write computer code. We are going to work with them to create kids' classes on how to use some common design software packages for 3D printing.

To kick things off we are going to be giving a talk about "3D Printing your next Science Fair Project" at Coding For Treasure in San Marino on Wednesday, September 7, at 6 PM. Talk is free, but registration is required:

Coding for Treasure will post classes on their website once plans firm up; they plan to begin offering their 3D printing design classes in October.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer online classes

If you wanted to learn 3D printing this summer but there are no classes near you, no worries!  We are teaching two classes through LERN network. The classes are all online and four weeks long.

The first class, Intro to 3D Printing, does not require that you have a printer (but if you do, we can help you get squared away with it.)  The next one starts June 5, and you can still sign up at this link:

If anyone is interested, we'll be happy to throw in some pointers about the models in our new book, "3D Printed Science Projects." (One of the models from the chapter about botany is shown here.) 

The other class, Intro to Maker Tech, is more focused on learning to use Arduinos and similar electronics, with one week also dedicated to 3D printing and other topics. That one starts July 5, and you can sign up at this link:

We hope to meet some new friends! If you can't make either of those, 3D printing will run again in September and Maker Tech in October.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Arduino based student wind tunnel

Can #scientificmakers get started in high school? Read about an Arduino-based wind tunnel at Windward School in West LA. If you want to see the wind tunnel- and many more school projects- come to Windward's second annual Design and Maker Class Colloquium, to be held at their campus on Monday and Tuesday, August 8 and 9. We'll be there teaching some of the hands-on events!  #DMCC2016

Register and info:

Say hello at Bay Area Makerfaire!

Joan and Rich are going to be hanging out at the MatterHackers booth (zone 2, the Expo building, booth 2123) at Bay Area Makerfaire in San Mateo. We will be there for sure at noon and 3 PM on both Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22nd, to talk about our new book  ("3D Printed Science Projects.") Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"3D Printed Science Projects" is now available

book cover, 3d printed science projects
Our new book, "3D Printed Science Projects," is now available. We are very excited about this book, which as far as we know is the first book to bridge the gap between some fun and educational science content and 3D models that are easy to print. Rather than just having a set of models you can only print as-is, these are designed to be altered based on the physics or botany of the model. Available from many booksellers -- here is the publisher's page:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

AAAS Pacific Division Scientific Maker Symposium and Exhibit

June 16th at University of San Diego

Rich Cameron and I are the co-organizers of the first American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division Scientific Maker Symposium and Exhibit. We invited scientists who are using maker tech like 3D printing and Arduinos to present their work and how that turned out for them. We got a very interesting response across a spread of disciplines, and expect a dozen exhibits and a long afternoon of papers.

The program will be held as part of the AAAS/PD annual meeting. The overall meeting runs Tuesday, June 14 through Friday, June 17; our program is on Thursday the 16th. It will be held at the campus of University of San Diego.

To see the list of talks in the symposium, click here.
For general information about the conference, and for a link for registration, click here.
Hope to see a lot of you in San Diego! Be a #scientificmaker

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"3D Printed Science Projects" book now available for pre-order

Our new book, 3D Printed Science Projects: Ideas for your classroom, science fair or home, (coauthored with Rich Cameron) is now available for preorder.

This book shows parents and teachers how to use the models inside as starting points for 3D printable explorations. Students can start with these models and vary them for their own explorations. Unlike other sets of models that can just be scaled, these models have the science built-in.

A busy teacher can just print a model for her class to pass around, or an ambitious student trying to do a great science far project can build on them. We have a "Learning Like a Maker" section in each chapter about what we, the authors, learned by making the models. We found that almost all textbooks have variations of the same 2D sketch for 3D (or more) concepts, and when you go to 3D you have to think differently and you learn a lot.

The book cover image is from our plants and ecosystems models, where we allow you to "design" a  plant or flower.

Topics covered:
  • 3D Math Functions
  • Light and Other Waves
  • Gravity
  • Airfoils
  • Simple Machines
  • Plants and their Ecosystems
  • Molecules
  • Trusses
We thank our friends at MatterHackers for letting us use MatterControl in the 3D printing screenshot examples.

So far it is just available at Apress and through Apress' parent, Springer-Nature, but between now and the planned May release it will propagate to other places computer books are sold.


To create the models, we pestered a lot of scientist friends as well as dusting off my textbooks and spending a lot of time in libraries. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, and is helping us with the last pieces as we scurry to meet our deadlines!

We will be posting more about it as we get closer to the full release.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Two calls for participation: scientific makers and educators

We are helping out with two different events this summer to showcase makers in the scientific and educational spheres.

The first one is June 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division. This year the meeting is at San Diego University. Exhibits and presentations are being sought in the area of using "maker" tech (like 3D printing, Arduinos, low-cost open-source sensors, etc) for professional-level science, or to enable citizen science.

If you are interested in giving a talk, proposals are due April 1. If you just want to exhibit a piece of equipment, proposals for that are due April 22.  To apply (and get links for the details) go to the form at

 The second one is August 8-9 at the Windward School in West Los Angeles. Are you an educator using maker technologies in your classroom or other projects? If so, please consider suggesting a talk or hands-on workshop.  Proposals are due March 15. More information here:

Hope to see you at one of these events!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

First preliminary announcement- Scientific Maker event in June

We are putting together a Scientific Maker event at the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division meeting in  San Diego June 16.  Scientific makers tend to be sort of thinly spread in regular maker events, and poster sessions just aren't suited for showing DIY science and citizen science. So this will be something between a maker table and a poster session at a traditional scientific conference. There is also a symposium for papers on the topic.

The preliminary call for participation is now up as part of their newsletter, on page 15:

Space is pretty limited so jump on it soon! Participation is free but requires registering for the meeting, which is $70 for presenters and cheaper for some other constituencies.  Instructions for applying are in the newsletter, or you can contact me via the Nonscriptum page. 
The details are still a little dynamic and subject to change, but we are looking forward to seeing who is interested.