Author: Danianne Mizzy

Fall 2016 Native Bee Nest Project

Forrest C. Greenslade, biologist and nature-inspired artist, will lead a design build project to create nests for native bees in this Fall 2016 Maker-in-Residence project. Undergraduate participants will learn about bees native to the Carolinas and the critical role they play in pollination and thereby food availability. Students will work in the UNC makerspaces to design and build native bee nesting units using wood, metal, and other materials. The nests will artfully adorn a variety of garden environments at Carolina. Students will learn a variety of design and building skills in the completion of their individual sculptural pieces. The capstone event will be hosted by the NC Botanical Garden.

More about the project:

http://whybeecause.blogspot.com/

MIR Official Blog

Last Sunday, a number of MakNet members joined me in attending a musical circuits workshop hosted by BeAM (Be A Maker) and EMSG (Experimental Music Study Group) in by the Kenan Science Library at UNC. I walked into the room with my friend Drew, who was visiting for the weekend, and was immediately struck by the diversity in age of the audience. Many of the participants were undergrads, sure, but only about half; the rest looked like graduate students, with some older professors and members of the surrounding community interspersed.

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In front of each person was a suspicious brown paper bag. We were informed that inside the bag were the rudiments of musical synthesis, and that in just a few minutes we’d have assembled our own take-home instrument. After a simple introduction, we were set to work building our circuits. Before long, the chirping of piezo-speakers rose up like a chorus of tireless crickets. The instruments were operated via a button (to supply power) and a potentiometer (for tuning). The fundamental pitch of the instrument could be changed by altering the value of a capacitor.
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Things really got interesting when we swapped our potentiometers out for photoresistors; by casting a shadow on the circuit, we could now change the pitch! The piezo-crickets transformed into whistling birds.

For his final trick, our presenter handed out some pencils and wire. By attaching the wire to the graphite lead, we could generate pitches based on the resistivity of shapes drawn on paper.

Who knew you could do so much with a coupla cheap electronics parts and a pencil?
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Skywatching on South Campus

Posted by Kaja Coraor

This weekend, members of MakNet set up the Starry Night Telescope between the Koury and Ehringhaus dorms on the South Campus of the university. After quickly aligning the telescope using our handy guide, we were able to fix and focus it on the moon.

(The moon as seen through our 25mm eyepiece)

(The moon as seen through our 25mm eyepiece)

Between hailing students on their way to Franklin street and pretending our green laser was a lightsaber, we directed our telescope to a particularly bright ‘star’ rising over the eastern treetops. After wondering why our ‘star’ had stripes and moons, though, we realized we had located Jupiter! We could clearly see four moons revolving around a yellow and orange banded sphere.

(please excuse the poor photo, too many people wanted to look through the telescope for proper photography to take place.)

(please excuse the poor photo, too many people wanted to look through the telescope for proper photography to take place.)

Following this discovery, we spent the rest of the night alternating between Orion’s nebula, Betelgeuse, the moon, and the biggest planet in our solar system. Many of the students who stopped by were impressed by the clarity of the images they could see through our scope, and several even learned how to operate it! s3

Although several students were disappointed when we finally closed up shop at midnight, they were assured that the UNC telescope (and Jupiter) will be available once again on March 3rd at 8pm at Morehead planetarium. Even if you missed us on Saturday, come by for a free star show and a skywatching session, or stop by the Kenan Science Library to check out the telescope yourself!

Telescope Build – Blog Post 5 Capstone Event and Beyond

Kaja Coraor

After a semester of hard work, we were finally able to point the Starry Night Telescope at the skies! During our first skywatching session at the Morehead Planetarium, hundreds of people stopped by the sundial to see gorgeous views of the moon and stars. The telescope functioned perfectly despite the cold weather before heading off to its new home in the Kenan Science Library.
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Students gather around the telescope as Jim Pressley points out the Andromeda Galaxy

Soon, any UNC affiliate will be able to check out the telescope from the Kenan Science Library! One great place to use it is at Morehead’s monthly skywatching sessions at Jordan Lake. During the January event, the Starry Night Telescope was brought out by two UNC students. Amongst dozens of spectacular scopes, ours stood out and was used by so many people! During the night, we looked at the Andromeda Galaxy, the double cluster, and Orion’s nebula.
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Jewell Brey sets up the telescope before the sun sets

During the upcoming months, our telescope will continue to be available to the UNC community. On the evening of March 3rd, our telescope will be out at the Morehead sundial- join us for a free planetarium show and to look at the skies yourself!

To keep up with the UNC telescope or to be part of BEAM’s future projects, keep reading MakNet’s blog and check out BeAM’s website. Through the UNC makerspaces, you can be a maker too!

Telescope Build – Blog Post 4

BEAM Telescope Build
Kaja Coraor

The fourth telescope build day was productive. Our marketing team designed a logo for shirts and laptop stickers. A case for the lenses was manufactured. Our phenomenal artists finished the last touches on the Starry Night tube design. Teflon was placed on the telescope base to reduce friction when moving the telescope. The laser cutter team etched the last of the base boards.

Smooth strokes coating the tube

Smooth strokes coating the tube

To protect our telescope from wear and tear we put a couple coats of polyurethane on the outside. This keeps the paint from peeling off over time while the scope gets aimed as well as protecting it from water and other elements during a viewing session.

#ActionShot #ProtectedFromDanger

#ActionShot #ProtectedFromDanger

Our build team for this week assembled a tension clamp for the telescope holder to keep it from sliding. We also added teflon to the tilt mechanism to keep it from rotating too easy. A little hot glue and trimming later and we gave it a “good buttery smooth feeling” in the words of our mentor. Afterwards, we celebrated coming close to completing all of the mechanisms.

So excited for the capstone event!

So excited for the capstone event!

Build team part 2 worked on assembling a case for all of our eyepieces, our tracker, and some star maps and booklets for any of the aspiring astronomers that use our telescope down the road. Using pull-apart construction foam, some knives, and a little creativity we created a functional and fashionable case for all to enjoy.

 I wish someone would organize my sock drawer this well

I wish someone would organize my sock drawer this well

Telescope Build – Blog Post 3

Authors: Michaela, Shawn, Aashka
Posted: Kaja Coraor

The third day of the Telescope Build Session encompassed three main goals: etching the signatures onto one of the sides of the base, painting the telescope tube, and the beginnings of setting up the Capstone Event.

Victory!

Victory!


Training on the laser cutter

Training on the laser cutter

To etch the signatures, a group of builders had to be trained in the art of laser cutting. This began with scanning the original paper full of signatures into a computer program. Using this program, the builders were able to give the laser cutter the information it needed to begin the cut. Though there was one false start, the cut went off with almost no problems, and the side panel looked beautiful with its creator’s names on its brow.

Amazed at our own talent!

Amazed at our own talent!


Some more painting

Some more painting

We were able to start the actual painting of the telescope. The paint team decided on painting Van Gogh’s Starry Night on the tube with a Carolina twist: the belltower is featured on the side. With the paint grabbed from a Michael’s trip from the last session, the team started getting their hands messy with beautiful strokes of blue, white, yellow, and brown. By the end of the session, the tube was almost done, but needed to be worked on a little before the next session (which we successfully finished!).

Brainstorming sesh

Brainstorming sesh


Our original (never before seen) design

Our original (never before seen) design

To set up the Capstone Event, we got together a team of our best t-shirt designing experts and brainstormed ideas. They decided to plaster the event all over social media, make t-shirts to hand out the first handful of people, and one of our members began to design the logo that would be branded on to our t-shirts. On top of all this, we still had time to design stickers and buttons that may be making an appearance at the event, too.

Jim teaching makers about the computer program Stellarium

Jim teaching makers about the computer program Stellarium


Last week’s bloggers working hard

Last week’s bloggers working hard

The final product feat. Dream Team

The final product feat. Dream Team

Telescope Build – Blog Post 2

Posted by Kaja Coraor

For our second build day, we had four objectives: First, to drill all the holes to attach mirrors and eyepiece for the telescope. Then, we had to design the outer decoration for telescope tube. Third, we had to cut out David’s new design for telescope tube carriage. And finally, we needed to begin work on the design to be etched with our groups’ signatures onto the telescope chassis.

David and the ShopBot looking majestic

David and the ShopBot looking majestic


David designed a new, more ergonomic handle

David designed a new, more ergonomic handle

The chassis for the telescope carriage. We’ll eventually have our names engraved on the side, as well as a personalized logo.

The chassis for the telescope carriage. We’ll eventually have our names engraved on the side, as well as a personalized logo.

Our maker-in-residence Jim Presley made precise calculations to measure how far apart the mirrors of our telescope should be.

Our maker-in-residence Jim Presley made precise calculations to measure how far apart the mirrors of our telescope should be.


Jim shows off the “spider,” the holding device for the smaller secondary mirror which deflects light into the eyepiece.

Jim shows off the “spider,” the holding device for the smaller secondary mirror which deflects light into the eyepiece.


Wesley works on the primary mirror holding device.

Wesley works on the primary mirror holding device.

Telescope Build – Blog Post 1

Authors: Alexis, Andrew, Jonathan
Posted by Kaja Coraor

On a stormy Monday evening in mid-October, twenty makers convened at the bottom of Hanes Art Center. They gathered for one purpose and one purpose only: to make a telescope. With safety goggles on eyes and drills in hands, the makers, under the direction of Jim Pressley, started learning the fundamentals of telescope building. After a riveting hour of direction, the makers split up into three equally exciting groups: sanding, drilling, and watching of the ShopBot.

Several makers discovered their hidden talent for sanding. We learned about proper sanding techniques, such as dampening the wood to raise the grains for further sanding. While some took up sanding, others decided to engage in the art of drilling. For some, it was their first time using a drill. Others had experience, but still were able to refine their technique.

While there was a lot of work to do, makers still had time to socialize and have fun. Makers left with one question: would there be another snack break? Towards the end of the night, the makers went outside for some moon watching. After being disappointed with false hopes of hot chocolate, the makers were very surprised when hot chocolate was delivered to them outside. What a wonderful way to end the first build session!

Shawn discovers a new career path in professional sanding

Shawn discovers a new career path in professional sanding


The makers hard at work sanding the pieces.

The makers hard at work sanding the pieces.


Rishaan practices his drilling skills.

Rishaan practices his drilling skills.


Jim teaches novice Jonathan how to properly screw pilot holes.

Jim teaches novice Jonathan how to properly screw pilot holes.


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