Category Archives: Uncategorized

Maker: Emily Smith

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What excites me most, is building from scratch. Whether it’s an event, a program or a toque, I  practice active engagement with all steps of a process. I started knitting after I graduated from design school because I felt starved for some sort of tangible, creative outlet. Spending countless hours and late nights on the computer, I realized that although I’m excited about communication design and graphics, it is necessary for me to physically engage with the world in a way that’s meaningful and tactile. I don’t always make things from scratch (It’s really not all that realistic always), but the experience and time taken to understand the process, is one that I find extremely valuable- and my favourite approach to learning about the world.

Shortly after I picked up my knitting needles again, I became curious about the fibres my yarn was made from and started spinning, felting, and playing with natural dyes. My mind is continually blown by how flexible and malleable these raw materials are. Through engaging with fibre and spending time at  Vancouver Hack Space, I have felt a stronger connection to the people around me and have even discovered a new found appreciation of chemistry, physics, electronics and mathematics and how they work together.

Through my work and play with the maker community, I’ve discovered that this project and experience-based approach to learning really isn’t all that unique. There’s an entire movement of people advocating for STEM-based curriculum – an arts-based approach to learning about engineering, technology and science, told through the language of mathematics. I believe in this teaching model because I believe that it prepares students for the real world, in a meaningful and engaged way. Also. Learning can be (and is) fun and cool.

After 3 years of serving as Director for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, I am now a board member for Vancouver Maker Foundation (The non-profit behind Vancouver Mini Maker Faire that I co-founded). Read more about my experience spearheading a Maker Faire on MAKE Magazine.

I am also currently working as Educational Coordinator at VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Needle Felting by Emily Smith

You can see some of the projects I’ve been involved with here… yarnbombing, needle felting, glow bike tutorial, arduino patch, Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra and more.

Maker: Pat Walker and Chuck the Electric Truck

“Chuck” is a 1991 Toyota Extended Cab Pickup that has been converted to electric through the ingenuity and efforts of owner Pat Walker in Roberts Creek, BC.


To look at Chuck you would never guess that inside lurks an Advanced DC9 Series wound DC dual shaft, with rev-limiter magnet and pickup mounted on the front shaft. And that’s just for starters! (pun intended).

The drivetrain is a 5 speed manual transmission with clutch. 1st gear cuts out at 42kmh, 2nd at 72kmh.

It uses a controller mounted on an aluminum heat sink behind the grill with thermostatic cooling fan, and runs on 48 Sinopoly 200, 3.20 volt lithium iron phosphate batteries. The packs average about 21,000 kms and provides a system voltage of 154 volts.


The DC/DC converter is an Iota GPC 45, 45amp 144 volt converter. Ist one failed after 4 years in 2009, the 2nd is still working well in 2016.

Chuck has a top speed of 70mph (122kmh) with standard acceleration for merging into traffic and can seat 2 average size adults and 2-3 passengers (depends on age/size). The extended cab is used almost every day and the vehicle has a curb weight of 3600 lbs (1,636 kg).

You can see this information and other technical specs at, and you’ll meet Chuck at the Maker Faire on the 29th!


Sponsor: Polycount Video Game Artist Resource

We are delighted to announce Polycount as a Gold sponsor for the 2016 Sunshine Coast Mini Maker

Polycount was started by and is maintained by professional video game artists back in 1997 and is still going strong today. In addition to the popular forum at the heart of the site, Polycount was expanded to include ‘Polycount Updates’ – interviews, articles, and tutorials of interest to those in the game design industry.

There are now over 50,000 professional and hobbyist game artists participating on the site.  We’re stoked to have them aboard!


Welearn is designed to allow neighbours to teach neighbours in a community. Each person in every community has a knowledge, skill or ability that is valuable to others. The Welearn web site provides a platform where community members can come together around learning.

The WeLearn portal makes teaching and learning in a community easy and social. This service looks after the business, marketing and administration aspects of delivering a class, and allows you to focus on what you love most – learning, teaching, or both!

Maker: Blacksmith Kelly Backs

I am a blacksmith. My work is the Art of metal. I use age old blacksmithing techniques to create beautiful and functional objects.

A lot of the joy is in the doing, the actions involved in fashioning something lifeless into something that speaks to me about myself and the world. The sweat and force involved in shaping metal teaches me my limits, but at the same time, urges me to go beyond them and reach for new heights. The might and subtleties of the hammer demand my total attentiveness for us to work as one, and rewards me for my efforts. The magic of the fire draws me to it. Taming it as a tool is the challenge.

Photos courtesy of Jonathan H. Lee | Subtledream Photography

Maker: Toy Hacks with Thomas Smith

Nerf hacking is a new but growing hobby that has a very active international community. With 3D printing, modders are able to share ideas and have them built and tested by eager enthusiasts from around the world within days. At my maker faire booth, I’ll be showing off some highly modified Nerf blasters in various stages of completion, as well as provide tons of info about how you can easily get into this awesome hobby.

Sponsor: Coast Cable TV

“A thriving community makes all of us stronger. And it all begins with neighbours rolling up their sleeves and doing their part – so that’s what we do every day!”



Sponsor: Bigpacific Creative

aboutavatarI support the Maker Faire because I love taking do-it-yourself projects to the next level. Bigpacific Creative Digital Strategy & Web Design is all about recognizing and celebrating creativity, and my personal love in the maker space is the marrying of art and tech. Maker Faires bring people together to spark ideas, collaboration and next-generation problem-solving… plus they are a ton of fun.

Bigpacific Creative

Maker: BotFeeder 3D Printing

We will be exhibit the most advanced delta 3D printer & the most safe 3D printer filament. Along with many 3d printed items for visitors to pick up and see. We will also be giving away little cute BoFee Bear to kids just like when we are exhibiting in Maker Faire Ottawa last year November. Kids are extremely happy to bring little BoFee Bear home.

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Maker: Cigar Box Guitars with David Piasta

How did you ever get into making ‘cigar box guitars’, David?
I have been making CBGs for about 12 years…while recuperating from a hear attack I was cruising the internet and came across a site where this guy was talking about cigar box guitars. I had been building dulcimers for about 7 or 8 years already so it was an easy thing to try a CBG…I always wanted to build a 6 string guitar so I thought this would be a good starting point.

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