Author Archives: lauren

OPEN Technology

Mark and James

James and Marc are two neighbors and friends who run a small business in Columbus, GA called S&T GeoTronics LLC. Together they’ve worked on electric car conversions, arduino-based Segway’s, and a number of geocaching projects. This April they successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign for The Open Enigma Project. Their projects and products can be found at www.stgeotronics.com.

Q: For Maker Faire Atlanta, what are you planning to showcase?

A: This is S&T Geotronic’s third year at the Maker Faire and second year having a booth. We will demo our Open Enigma Mark 4, our electric car drive, and our geocaching location based entertainment devices. Hopefully we will be in the middle our second Kickstarter showcasing your intelligent display devices

Q: Why did you decide to release the Open Enigma Project on Kickstarter?

A: The Open Enigma Project was an accident.  We were planning a Georgia Geocaching mega event and thought it would be cool if you encrypted a message with an enigma machine. However, we couldn’t find one so we made one. Using it at the mega event wasn’t a success, but we published an instructable.  Soon after publishing, people began asking us to build the device. We set the price at $1000.00 thinking only a few people would want one, but we kept getting orders. So we launched a Kickstarter project to collect a large number of orders at once and get volume discounts. We aren’t cryptologist or WWII fans. Our real intent isn’t to sell a product but enable people to do things.

Q: Tell me about your gas to electric car conversion?

A: In 2010 as gas was approaching $4.00 per gallon, We made a bet that James couldn’t adapt a 3 phase induction motor to power a vehicle. After a year of R&D failures James built a working electric drive unit. It took a couple weeks to scale to size and we presented it via our EV Maker Tumblr. Our electric drive unit is a core any one can build an electric drive around. It’s just like any other motor drive except it’s open source and running on an Arduino.

Q: How did you guys start working together?

A: James is lifelong tinkerer and Marc is a network engineer. We’ve been neighbor’s just three doors down from each other for close to a decade. We began to become closer as friends four years ago. Just this spring we started a company together. The Maker movement is growing we want to be apart of it.

If you’re interested in James and Marc’s projects, you can follow their progress at

 

*This MakerMonday Blog Post was written for your reading pleasure by AMF volunteer Matthew Carson.

Maker Joe

Maker Joe

An Interview with Joe Gilmore, a.k.a. “Maker Joe”. More of his work can be found at: www.makerjoe.com. By clicking the image above, you can view a short video by William Murray about Maker Joe’s Kinetic Sculptures.

A little about Maker Joe:

I explain to people that I am what happens when an engineer gets an art degree because he can’t do four years of math classes.

On a grand scale I did have trouble with breaking down a complex situation, and seeing it through to completion, but the other side is where the art work comes from – I don’t see the face value – this gear that came out of a typewriter can go with this lever that came from a sewing machine. Things go together – this applies to machinery, words, people, psychology, spirituality.

What got you started on doing this?

I’ve always had the drive toward self-awareness, and the times I’ve been most disconnected, it was because I was trying to be something I’m not, trying to live up to someone’s expectations.

What is real, what is always with me, whether I am being paid for it or not, what appeals to me – if I see a machine opened up, the inner workings, I have to go look at it, its a compulsion.

These urges I’ve had all my life to take things apart, and explore, that’s something central to what I am. I need to embrace it. My big lesson lately is that I get many more ideas, than I can bring to fruition. So for everything you see here, there are hundreds of projects that didn’t make it. My workshop is a mess.

To get machinery to be organic is challenging. What my work is philosophically about is taking things that don’t belong together and making them work harmoniously together.

Is there an audience or market that you are targeting?

The people I like to target are – like me, both sides of my personality that see both the artistic and technical. I like engaging with those people, on a personal level, talking shop.

There are museums that have really bad art in them. That’s because they are about who you know, or when you were in the right place where people can see you. There’s a large social aspect to popularity. I like to joke that I’m a flaming introvert. I will occasionally turn it on to do these shows, but if I’m not in the basement, I’m reading a book, or seeing one friend at a time.

The Maker Faire is good because it makes me get out of the workshop, and get in front of people.

*This post was written for your reading pleasure by Atlanta MakerFaire Volunteer William Murray (william.atl@gmail.com)