I recently published my sister Marie's blog post about the Austin Mini Maker Faire, and now here is mine . . .
My sister Marie and I collaborated on a booth for the Austin Mini Maker Faire, dedicated to tinkering with bubbles. We had all sorts of everyday, familiar materials to make bubbles with, ranging from lengths of chain and pipe clamps to potato mashers and placemats. I was inspired to make a bubble machine after seeing these wonderful contraptions. It turns out there are a lot of ways to blow bubbles, but I decided to try making a bubble machine based on this awesome instructable. I've been trying to brush up on my programming skills, so this was a great project to tackle. Even working from an instructable, it definitly took some noodling around to get the code working.
This was my first test run with all the parts . . .
It has an arm that dips the wand into the bubble solution, and then rotates to hold the wand in front of a fan (a hobby motor with a toy plane propellor). In order to create that pan and tilt motion, it uses two hobby servos that are hot glued together. It works brilliantly!
Because this machine had to travel to Austin, I built it so that it could come apart easily. Everything fits into the base, which becomes a carrying case. Luckily airport security was not very interested in my unusual carry-on luggage . . . The police strolling around Maker Faire were pretty interested, though!
I think people really liked the high-low tech aspect of this machine, the surprising use of familiar materials, and I really loved the way that it engaged people's curiosity. It certainly seemed to draw in adults, ones who might normally be intimidated by programming and also ones who might normally think that bubbles were just for kids. I heard a lot of people trying to figure out how it worked, and talking about things they would like to build. I had some nice conversations with kiddos, too, one maker to another.