Youth Maker Group Meeting

Some of the younger kids at the kickoff meeting looking at possible projects we could make.

Thanks to all that made it Monday night at Crown Equipment to the meeting on creating a Putnam County maker group for youth. Seemed like a fairly good turnout for a first time meeting. We had 21 people there by my count – enough to get something going!

We briefly covered what the maker movement is, categories of possible projects, the making process, and some ideas for projects groups could do. There were also some Arduino boards & shields, a small hand built catapult, various magazines full of possible projects, a 3D printed chess set, and lots of pictures of maker groups and built projects. Several people indicated they wanted to come, had conflicts, and to count them in – I’ll get you the info presented. If you’re reading this and interested, drop me an email and I can also send you a copy of the presentation.

People afterwards filling out interest forms.
People afterwards filling out interest forms.

We also gave out some forms to the kids with a listing of possible project categories and a form for possible mentors to list their knowledge/expertise areas. I’ve now got a stack that is apparently bigger than the attendance – some families only were able to send one parent and several people there were representing other families too. It’s going to take me a few days to get through these and compile the list. If you were there at the meeting please be patient until I can read through & summarize the results. If you weren’t there, here’s a copy of the youth interest form and the mentor form. You’ll have to print these out and email them back – or heck maybe in true maker fashion maybe someone can make an online form!!

Greencastle Maker Meeting

IMG_8517_1Mark your calendar for Monday, May 19th to learn more about Castlemakers and what we hope to do in Putnam County. Crown Equipment has been generous enough to let use the Tiger conference room at the plant for us to discuss a maker group for kids 9-14 years old and their parents. And you’re invited!

I’ve described what is a makerspace is in a previous post, but you certainly don’t need one to make something. We need to unleash some of the creativity, innovation, and passion here – especially in our youth. So let’s meet to create a larger group that actually makes things!!

What: Public meeting on Castlemakers for youth-oriented makers and their families.
Where: Crown Equipment, Tiger Conference Room @ 7pm on Monday, May 19th.
Who: Parents and kids wanting to create & build things, along with anyone wanting to help create a local makerspace/fab lab.

At the meeting we’ll briefly go over the Maker movement, describe what we’re doing here in Greencastle, share some ideas of possible projects, and then ask folks to let us know their interests. I’m interested in 3D printers & laser cutters for example, there are others interested in robotics, drones, and hydroponics… well the list could go on and on. The goal is being a community-based group, the get-together is about sharing interests to determine where we can pool resources and share ideas and skills. An open-source model of building and creating things.

Can’t make it to the meeting? Sign up for our email list by sending a note to We’ll send you updates and put you on our list.

Not sure if you want to participate yet or maybe just curious what’s it’s about? Maybe even not sure that you can contribute? That’s fine – just come – Listen, Learn, and leave. Although, our real hope is that you’ll become so excited that you’ll participate. Because that’s what it is really about, creating something with others for enjoyment – and maybe learning a new skill or sharing an old one with other people.

Dayton Hamvention

Dayton Hamvention Slow Scan Video Transmission from Balloon at 1000 feet
Dayton Hamvention Slow Scan Video Transmission from Balloon at 1000 feet.

Next weekend (5/16-18) in Dayton Ohio will be the annual Dayton Hamvention. With about 25,000 people attending that are interested in building ‘stuff’ and over 2000 outside flea market spaces (never mind all the indoor commercial vendors there) it is truly an amazing event for makers. This year’s theme even reflects that – “Makers… the future of Ham Radio.”

Many people when they hear about Amateur Radio (or Ham Radio) Operator imagine an elderly guy with a green visor hunched over a telegraph key. Matter of fact several years ago Jay Leno pitted teenagers using a cellphone against some amateur radio operators using morse code to see who was fastest at sending a message (the ham radio operators won).

Amateur radio these days is far from that doing everything from building and launching satellites, providing emergency communications during catastrophic and public events, bouncing signals off the moon to talk with other ham radio operators and much, much more. Many of our astronauts are ham operators and use the amateur radio station in the International Space Station to talk to classrooms. There was a group when I was in Terre Haute that was trying to put together a classroom broadcast to the space station -I’ve often thought that it would be a good educational experience for kids in Putnam county to talk live to an astronaut in space.

If you’re interested in finding out more about amateur radio in Putnam County, George Edenfield (KB9RZK) would be a good person to contact. He’s the IT person at Putnam County Public Library & you can reach him at 765.653.5327. I’m not longer ‘radio-active’ but still have my license and use the skills in electronics/home-brew projects/fabricating things that I learned as an amateur radio operator. Or head over to Dayton next weekend and gawk to learn more. If you’ve never been you’ll definitely be impressed. – Chris (N9VFD)