Tag Archives: DIY

Make your own portable handphone microscope

Next in line, the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 would like to introduce another workshop “Make your own portable handphone microscope”.

In this workshop, participants will be presented with a number of simple and cheap lens-bearing tools such as door-viewers and loupe, as well as small mirrors, LED torch lights, etc. Some of these could be taken apart and put together to create a new optical toy. According to the workshop facilitators, the main goal of this workshop is to create a microscope that could be easily fixed to your handphone. There will be handphones and webcams for use at the workshop but participants are strongly encouraged to bring your own camera phones that you would like to transform as you will be able to take your device home.

Food for thought: – How much can we enlarge our image? How good is the image? How do we use light? If the magnification is big, how do we hold the microscope?

Camera microscope

So, who are the brains behind this workshop?

There are a total of three persons behind this workshop:- Isabelle Desjeux, Marlou Jasmin Madrio and Leonardus Adi Prasetya Suherlan. Interestingly, the three of them got to know each other only during the briefing session for the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 and the idea to conduct this combined workshop came out of this session! Leonardus even shared a pretty animated (though short) account of how it happened. :P

About Isabelle Desjeux

Isabelle Desjeux: artist (Masters in Fine Arts), scientist (PhD in Molecular Biology) and arts educator (Isadora’s Workshop).

Isabelle is a full-time artist whose art deals with the reality of working in a lab, blurring the boundary between the two fields. In her spare time, Isabelle also runs an art workshop that teaches kids to draw realistically, and observe the world around them. Her ultimate goal is to make children naturally enquire and ask questions.  

What inspired her?

Isabelle was exploring making portable microscopes for her new “Art and Science” space (L ‘Observatoire) and found that there are many things that one could learn from playing with lenses and cheap cameras. Hence, she thought it would be fun for children to have a go at making their own microscopes too! Besides making microscopes, she is also exploring projecting the images for participants to be able to share what they see down the microscope, in a simple and affordable manner. With the recent craze about the transit of Venus, she also started playing around with lucida-type of camera devices to explore better way of seeing and recording the world around us.

Her word of advice

For makers, Isabelle advised that it is good to be ready to adapt any “recipe” you find according to what you have. She found it useful to seek resources from the internet, to find other people who might have the solution to your question, and improvise from there.

For “teachers”, Isabelle felt that one need not give specific instructions. On the other hand, she felt that it would be better to present your “students” with an open problem, some materials and tools. She highlighted the importance to be open about the outcome, and not to be fixated at getting a specific end-product. That way, people have the necessary “play space” and “play time” to come up with interesting stuffs!

On the maker scene in Singapore, Isabelle encourages everyone to keep an open eye on what people throw away as there is always a way to transform what other people do not want!

What’s next?

Isabelle shared that this workshop will probably be incorporated into the activities for her new “Art and Science” space, where tinkering will happen once a month.

About Marlou Jasmin Madrio

Marlou (better known as Marl) is a Systems Engineer working for NCS Pte Ltd, and had a myriad of career experience before moving to Singapore.

What inspired him?

Marl’s account of his life is a testimonial to his in-born maker spirit. Like Ken, the previous maker we introduced, Marl attributed his building passion to the encouragement of his father, whom he proudly shared was a talented automotive mechanic.

Marl reminisced fondly about his High School days when he built things when he couldn’t afford one. In Secondary School, Marl was already an electronics hobbyist. It was then when he already built his first Stereo Audio Power Amplifier which gave him and his family years of enjoyment. He also recalled his College days when he had the time of his life building a Jalopy of a Race Car which was a thrill to drive in. It also brought him fond memories of his late father building this car with him and attending races with him.

Making things in Singapore

In Singapore, he is avidly pursuing IT and open source.

Last year, he built a Lab Bench Power Supply for the Arduino, Phidgets and Beaglebone microcontroller platform. He also has an Arduino Mega microcontroller which he intended to use to build a trans esterification system for converting waste vegetable oil to bio-diesel because he love working on cars.

Marl also shared that he would like to start a “HomeBrew Club” in Singapore one day.

However, Marl said he had recently sidetracked to IT innovations both for his personal pursuits and for his work. For example, he is keen on Internet of Things (IoT) where everyday devices meet internet connectivity. He cited the example of modifying a washing machine to recover grey water which could then be used for flushing the toilet and to make the machine tweet you “your wash is done, Sir”. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

However, because he is pursuing these as a hobby, finances would be a hindrance. Marl wish to eventually own his own lab or workshop, which I guess would be the dream of most Makers.

His word of advice

Marl’s sense is that there is not much Maker culture here in Singapore. He is saddened by the fact that youths he met have no interest in making (including those who were taking Design & Technology programme) despite having access to tools and machineries.

Marl would like to advise all budding Makers to pursue their hobby with passion and a purpose. He felt that if a hobby can help to make this world a better place, it would be good for everyone.

Read more about Marl here.

About Leonardus Adi Prasetya Suherlan

Leo is an NUS Electrical Engineering student from Indonesia. His favourite tools are penknives and cellotapes (which he said can fix half of the problems around the block :P).

What inspired him?

Leo mentioned that he was inspired to do DIY work from his frequent trips to his Uncle’s place where he would be invited to build stuffs, from a telescope to a wooden gun to a clock that ran backwards. He grew up with the belief that one can make anything that one can imagine.

Leo joined the Mini Maker Faire with the intention to meet other Makers. He felt that since he shifted to Singapore, he had not been making. Hence, he seemed pleased to share that NUS has now started a Tinkering Club for student makers to meet, discuss and help each other with their projects.

Leo felt that there are many creative people in Singapore but there are not much platforms for these people to showcase their work. He felt there could be more competitions or Maker Faires to facilitate the Maker movement.

His word of advice

Leo’s word of advice to other budding Makers is to just start making. He suggested the website http://www.instructables.com for those with less confidence.

Isabelle, Marl and Leo are all looking forward to see the first Singapore Mini Maker Faire and meet other Makers.You may also check out Isabelle’s blog which also talked about the workshop. The workshop is chargeable at a fee of $5 per participant, payable on the spot as you register for the workshop. There are limited places for up to 10 participants for each day, so do register early when you are there!

Are you up to her Challenge?

Evon Tay, a graphic designer who has just graduated from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Art, Design and Media started a DIY Lifestyle Challenge as her final year project. But even after graduation, Evon has not put the project to rest. Find out why.

Evon Tay

About DIY Lifestyle Challenge

DIY Lifestyle Challenge is a project looking at a series of alternative and sustainable lifestyle choices that urban dwellers can do on a daily basis.

Evon hopes to encourage people to be mindful and take responsibility about the way we live, and to cultivate a culture of self-reliance and creativity, so that our city can become greener, more vibrant and awesome.

She shared that she observed how Singaporeans live in a capitalistic and consumption-driven city, where people slog long hours to earn money, but eventually splurge them away by buying stuffs (that they might not necessarily need) in the name of “retail therapy”. To Evon, this is a vicious cycle which is both wasteful and depressing. Hence, she wanted to introduce an alternative way of living.

She started this project about a year ago and she hopes to be able to continue doing it for as long as she can, and that more Singaporeans can join in the fun and be part of a growing DIY community in Singapore.

The project has a website and a Facebook page.

More about Evon

Evon shared that she started making things purely because she did not have much money to buy things. She shared that whenever her best friends had their birthdays, she would jokingly make a paper mache version of whatever expensive items on their wishlist. The habit had since grown on her and she realised she enjoyed doing it as there is a satisfaction of seeing simple everyday materials being transformed into something cool/weird/funny.

Her view on the Maker scene in Singapore

Evon felt that there is a recent revival of appreciation for artisanal handcrafted work in general but she was not sure if that translates to an increase in the trend to make things. She felt that Singaporeans are practical people who would not like to waste time on things which they deemed to be not “productive” or useful. Making things from scratch is unfortunately one of them. She felt that in Singapore, the focus in life had always been on academic success, so making things or other creative activity would only be counted as a hobby. She felt this should be relooked at.

Her advice

To budding Makers, her word of advice is to keep learning and experimenting with new techniques and materials, and if the by-products turn out wrong, they could always be given away in the next Secret Santa gift exchange. Hohoho…

[Evon invites contributions and collaborations from anyone who wants their stuffs to be seen in the next issue of her zine, Adventures in DIY #2. If you are interested, email to hello@DIY-lifestyle.org. Do not forget to catch Evon at her Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 booth on 4 & 5 August and her presentation on 5 August. She would be showcasing her zines, hand-printed linocut stickers, hand-sewn and silkscreened bags and more!]

Do you know what is IKEA hacking?

Jules Ikeahacker – Yes, you are right. This is someone who hacks IKEA stuffs.

Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 is proud to introduce this exciting presentation that will take place on 4 Aug 2012. This is also her first live presentation on the topic of IKEA hacking.

Who is Jules Ikeahacker?

We were quite amused that she goes by Jules. Jules is the name of one of IKEA’s chair series. She said she chose it on a whim, when browsing through an IKEA catalogue and visualising herself sitting on an IKEA Jules Chair blogging (though she apparently didn’t have one!).

Jules Ikeahacker

 On a more serious note, we learnt that Jules is a copywriter from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As per our request, she sent us a photo for this blog. [What a contrast. I actually had a visual of Mr Phua Chu Kang (well-known local sitcom character – a building contractor with bright yellow boots) before this. Oh well, I blame the influence of local television programmes.]

How did she get started and what inspired her?

Jules started IKEAHackers.net (http://www.ikeahackers.net) in 2006, an act inspired from her internet finds of a few IKEA hacks while surfing for ideas for her apartment. She was intrigued and elated to be able to find these resources and decided to create a portal to gather all these ideas together. To date, she has posted over 3,000 hacks! Do check out the photos at her website.

 About the Maker Culture

Jules is of the opinion that there are still room to grow for the Maker culture in her country, but observed that there had been growth in the interest and trend among some Makers towards modifying their IKEA buys. She was excited to be part of the Singapore Mini Maker Faire to meet other Makers and IKEA Hackers, to get the word out and to inspire people to see the potential in their Billy bookshelves and Pax wardrobes and not settle for the same-as-everyone-else-IKEA.

Jules joked that one way to encourage people to make things would be to give people less money, but she felt there is a shade of truth in it because necessity is the mother of invention. She felt that the Faire would be a good start to encourage the Maker culture, or there could be regular small Maker groups to brainstorm and share stuffs they have made to keep the fire going. She pondered over possibilities of having common spaces at residential areas so that they could bring their stuffs over to tinker and DIY.

How about you? What do you think could improve the Maker culture in your country?

Making Animated Paper-craft with Wireless Inductive Power Transmission

“Support our friend, Zhu Kening, presenting his techno paper craft at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire!”, someone tweeted.

So, who is Zhu Kening, and what is this techno paper craft his friend/supporter mentioned?

We interview Zhu Kening and feature him as our next Maker of the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012.

I thought it was a joke about a dancing paper initially but it turned out that I was wrong. It is really a dancing paper. To be more precise, the project is on paper-crafts such as origami or pop-up that can move through wireless inductive power transmission. I was totally awed by the description alone, and I was looking forward to meet up with the Maker for an interview, and to witness how this would be done.

About Zhu Ke Ning (also known as Ken)

Through my earlier email correspondences with Ken, Ken had shared that as a kid, he liked to dismantle things like radio sets, lamps, toys and re-assemble them together, build models and customise Tamiya racing cars. Ken gave credit to his father for cultivating his interest in DIY, by being a role model for him. Currently, Ken is a fourth year PhD student at the National University of Singapore and the “dancing paper-craft” is his research project this year. Ken enjoys working on exciting and crazy scientific ideas. As he enjoys building paper models and folding origami, he decided to incorporate them into his PhD research topic and try to make them move by itself like robots.

The Meeting

Maker Ken with his prototypes

William (Our in-house maker!) and I met up with Zhu Ke Ning, also known as Ken, at Keio-NUS CUTE Centre where he showed us his prototypes.

Ken showed us how the paper craft and inch worm can move, with the help of shape memory-alloys and an inductive power system that can power up the specific moving part of the paper-craft to generate movements. Check out his YouTube video of the moving paper craft and inch worm.When asked about his plans for this project, Ken shared that he would like to make this an open-source project. He would like to further improve on his prototype such that the power system could be made into a printed circuit board (PCB) that could be downloaded and used by others eventually.

Paper crane with shape-memory alloys

Inductive Power System underneath the glass table

 

 

 

 

The Presentation and Workshop

Ken would share the details in his presentation during the Singapore Mini Maker Faire and also conduct a workshop where participants can learn how to attach their shape-memory materials to paper-crafts and make them move. The attendees will learn how to make moving paper structure, such as crane, dog, inchworm, without any battery or direct power supply connection. More details about the moving paper craft and inchworm can also be found on Ken’s website at http://www.tech-ken.com/

Ken’s workshop is fully booked, but do come down for his presentation on Saturday 4 August, 3 pm!

Ken’s view on the Maker Scene in Singapore

Ken felt that the Maker/ DIY culture in Singapore is quite good, not only in high-tech areas but also in daily life. He sometimes see people making their own furniture, or fixing their house by themselves. He also saw children making their own cards when they want to play card games. He see it as a part of the Maker Culture.

According to Ken, to popularise the culture in Singapore, people have to switch their mentality, to have the desire to turn their ideas into reality, to want to solve their problem in a smart way, to dare to try and to learn to work with limited resources. Maker culture should be integrated into day to day life.

Ken also shared that there are many colleagues in his lab in NUS who are into DIY activities, and it is facilitated by the equipments available in the lab such as laser cutter and 3D printer because they can quickly prototype their ideas.

He felt that the Singapore Mini Maker Faire will be a good opportunity for interactions between Makers.

If you are keen to attend Ken’s workshop and hear his presentation, come for the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 on 4 & 5 August 2012! If you have your own paper craft which you would like to use for the workshop, Ken also welcome you to bring it along!

[Note: Target age group for the workshop would be 20 years old and above.]