Jeff The Maker's blog

CUCFL Youth Council Meeting


CUCFL Youth Council

Saturday April 20th, 9:30 AM





  • Contact email for the youth council (for example CUCFLYouthCouncil(at)

  • Google group for announcements

  • Webpage

Earth Day Open Lab for Youth

The CUCFL Youth Council is sponsoring an open lab for youth, 10-16 years old, on Saturday April 20th from 10 until Noon. Come to the lab and start your Earth Day celebrations early. You can make cards, stickers, or engravings and then take a plant home with you when you leave.

You can also see a Raspberry Pi in action. The Raspberry Pi is a 25-35 dollar computer built around an ARM processor. It is a great tool for learning to program and has been inspiring people all around the world to make lots of fun stuff. Here is a chance to try one out before deciding if it is something you would be interested in.

Saturday for Young People

The CUCFL Youth Council is sponsoring another open lab for people between the ages of 10 and 16 on Saturday the 16th from 10 until noon. If you misses our soldering day, we still have badges available for soldering at 3 dollars a piece. If you don't have a project you want to work on, come in anyway and we will help you think of something to make. If you are able to make it please let me know at as soon as you can.

Saturday Fablab for February

Do you know what thermoplastics, edible materials, metal and titanium alloys, ceramic powders, plaster, paper, metal foil, plastic film, photopolymers, and liquid resins all have in common? They can all be used to print 3D objects. While the printers at the Champaign Urbana Community Fablab and the Urbana Free Library can only print using ABS plastic, there are commercial printers that can use all of the materials listed above. There are even companies that will print what you want, in whatever material you want. All you have to do is provide them with a 3D file of the object you would like to have printed.

Laser Engraver

When I was first told about the laser engraver I was told that I should always bring a PDF document to print. While looking through the epilogue website I see that you are supposed to be able to print in any format. Has anyone ever printed anything besides a PDF document? Would we have to set up the computer to do something different if we want to use a different file format? I am interested in printing some things that were drawn in autocad but am having a lot of trouble converting them to PDFs. I have scaling issues, and sometimes the drawings are just messed up once converted. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



Open Lab for people 10-16 years old

In her TED Talk, Ayah Bdeir (the creator of littleBits)  said "We want to encourage a world of creators, of inventors, of contributors. Because this world that we live in, this interactive world, is ours."

Kids to Invade the Fab Lab

In a recent blog post Maggie Thrash wrote "A common misconception is that hacking=accessing other people's computers (see: any movie or news story about "hacking"). But the true meaning of hacking is much broader-- it's about problem-solving, rejecting limits set by outside forces, curiousity, and a true DIY spirit.

Open lab for people 10 to 16 years old

Ken Denmead wrote the following about raising geeks, though I think it applies to raising and teaching all kids: "...It means teaching them an empowering worldview. It means showing them how things work and that with a little research, determinations and trial and error, they can bend the world to their will. It means raising them with the maker call to arms echoing in their ears: 'If you can't open it, you don't own it!' It means getting them to approach problems technically and solve them with imagination, which makes anything possible.

Circuit Boards

I am looking for some information on where to start with making circuit boards. I have a simple amplifier circuit that I would like to create a small board for on the Modela. On Sunday I was told the names of some software to start with, but I think I am going to need more of a tutorial or something to follow. I appreciate any advice or direction you may have to offer. 

Mendocino Motor

I was very excited to see that the new Up 3D printer was set up and running when my daughter and I came to the lab today. A month or so ago my son asked to make the Mendocino Motor that was featured in Volume 31 of Make Magazine. It requires making several parts using a 3D printer. We tried making the rotor using the cupcake printer, but it broke loose from the platform when it was about 75% complete. We decided to wait until the new printer was in before trying again, and now it is here.

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