This Friday February 18th at Republic Coffee we’ll have members showing off their Arduino projects and answering questions about the Arduino platform. We’ve had a lot of interest in getting started with various Arduino boards so come learn more about the great things you can do with an open source platform.
What is an Arduino? Arduino is a physical computing platform and a software development environment for controlling various things like motors, sensors and even entire devices. The hardware and development environment are open source and there is a very large community of developers and hardware hackers out there working on projects. The hardware is also quite inexpensive. There are also “Getting Started” kits that are a package of items to help you hit the ground running with your Arduino.
This Friday Feb 11th 7pm @ the space come check out what we’ve been working on with 3d printers. We’ll have 3 Mendel printers in various stages of assembly. Come by and ask questions, hang out, and see the progress. Dan and Claudio will be working on early stages of assembly and Sonny will be working on later stages of assembly of his Mendel. Nick’s Makerbot will also be at the space to show off differences between it and the Mendels.
If 3d Printers aren’t your thing then feel free to ask for a tour around the space. Our Friday meetings are open to the public. Come by and see what we’re all about and of course, feel free to sign up for a membership!
A couple of weeks ago I was looking at making my own wedding favors. I stumbled onto two thing. 1: homemade soaps, 2: homemade bath salts.
I found some information from a few places and found that for soap making, there are 4 methods: Melt and pour-the easiest (but it’s compared to baking a cake using boxed ingredients versus cooking from scratch); cold process- mixing up your items from scratch, the lye, oils, ect; hot process- a similar variation of cold process; and rebatching- grinding up premade soap bars and adding in your own extra ingredients. For the beginning of a new project I’d like to start with something a bit simpler, so I went with the melt and pour bases. I found an inexpensive source for soap making supplies that had beginner kits (kits with small quantities of multiple items). Within a week I received the supplies. I got a few different types of soap. I got a few different oils for scent, and a few other items I thought might be a good idea. I’ve always loved strawberry scented things, so I got some strawberry oil, seeds, and some pink soap dye to play with.
So on the next Friday, I was off work, thanks to pulling a 22 hour shift the night before. I started with making the strawberry soap.
First: I cut up a pound of Shea butter soap. (A pound is a bit less than I thought it would be. The mold I purchased holds exactly 2 pounds of soap and makes 8 total bars. For my first batch I improvised with a Ziploc container lined with wax paper)
Second: I heated up my solid aluminum double boiler to melt the soap. After the soap melted, I put a few drops of the strawberry oil in, I played with the amount until the smell was just right. Then I used the soap dye and added it until the soap was a desirable color. I also used strawberry seeds to add exfoliants to the soap. Lesson learned: strawberry seeds float; they all ended up on what was to be the bottom of my soap.
Next I decided to make some lemony soap. I used the goats milk soap and the honey soap. Honey soap is a clear base, and goats milk is a solid base. I melted the honey soap and used one scent on it – listea cubea. After the first layer had formed a shell on top, I melted down the milk soap and mixed a little yellow food color and verbena scent. I am much more pleased with this attempt.
When looking online for small gifts I can use as favors at the wedding I found homemade bath salts… To make them it’s surprisingly easy. Pour in the salt of your choice- Epsom salt is the suggested. Then you mix in your color- just 2-3 drops of food coloring. Then mix in 2 tablespoons baking soda and the scent of your choice. that’s it. Simple.
I also accidentally found a body scrub that is only slightly more complicated. It takes a whole 15 minutes to make a batch. 3 table spoons of: white sugar, turbinado sugar, 1 table spoon of glycerin, baking soda, and salt of your choice. Then you add olive or almond oil to it until it’s about the consistency of a slushy. Last you add your scent, about 1-2 ml works perfect. That’s it, and it works great!
The goal of this project was a cheap and easy design of a do it yourself raised flower bed. The benefits of a raised flower bed are better soil drainage so that the plant’s roots aren’t in compacted, water logged soil, better control of soil mixture, and extended growing seasons since raised beds warm up sooner in the spring, and stay warmer longer in the fall than traditional flower beds. This was a very quick project to set up, I think we spent more time wandering around Lowe’s than we did actually putting the container together. You can easily go buy a prefab raised flower bed for about $100. The frame itself, plus the landscape fabric to put under it to keep weeds out, cost us less than $60. We haven’t bought any soil or plants to put in it yet, those are coming in a few weeks. This was much more of a spontaneous idea.
You can see the rest of the pictures from the meeting on Flickr and Facebook
We look forward to seeing everyone Friday @ CBU!