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Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:09 am
by rigger
There have been a number of discussions about various ways to "dress up" our event dog and pony show (Our tables at Roller Derby, street fairs, etc.) These include building a trailer, elaborate interlocking "modules" that contain video screens, computers, etc and my notion that we need a couple of "Anvil" (road cases) and a bench top pre-loaded with our demo and promotional materials. Besides dressing up our appearance, it would be nice if preparing to take the show on the road--gathering, transporting and setting up--became less of a burden for our volunteers.

I think all of the ideas I've previously discussed with various interested parties have merit and are worth pursuing. In the meantime, I came across an instructables project that is worth considering:

An appropriately sized suitcase would store and transport business cards, stickers and fliers, an extension cord on a reel, a demo laptop (if we can assign one to the task) and a small selection of demo projects—i.e. MakerBot output (and a "poster" about the device), a small Arduino project, a small metal sculpture, etc. I really the idea of built-in speakers and it would be great if it run on batteries if necessary, but would also include an AC option. Maybe we add an LED sign panel? We should also throw in a small folding camp chair (similar to the one I plant myself in on Wednesdays).

Ideally, this case could be transported by a single person in a normal car—maybe even on a cargo bike. If we could engineer a way to add wheels, so much the better. The whole idea is to create a good looking example of our craft that is quick and easy to mobilize. Again, I don't see this as a replacement for any of the more complex ideas. It's a complementary setup that we can quickly implement (then add to) and, done correctly (with "assigned and allocated" demo materials) it would provide a "go bag" for our outreach efforts.

Let's keep our eyes out for an appropriate suitcase, legs (I'm seeing twisted iron, but the possibilities are endless) and other components.

Anyone else interested?

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:33 am
by wammie
We also have a suitcase PC donated by Uptownmaker which I'm going to configure for slideshows.

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:21 pm
by swinkdaddy
we saw something that was awesome in the Pittsburgh hacker space tent.
CNC cheese-whiz writer. Could be a great conversation starter, it was for them.

It wrote peoples names on crackers. double plus awesome...

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:45 pm
by Booka
I have seen the Commercial Chocolate CNC type writer in action ( and tasted the results).

A bakery in Olathe KS made custom cookies for a group that we were visiting, and we then went to the bakery to see it work.

The baker said that it does fantastic spiderwebs and creatures, and they can mark up the product by two to three times with custom orders.

But he did say the down side was that cleaning the machine once or sometimes twice a day was a challenge at first. They now use a steam gun, and lubricate with some food grade product. It had a bed of 4 feet by 3 something, so they could do large sheet cakes or just drop a pan of cookies and let the optical sensor pick the center of each.

But that is a bit more than this, Did this use a conveyor to feed it the crackers? It would be a fun project to learn on.

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:29 pm
by Orkraider
Totally behind this, Jeff.

It really needs to happen.

Let's get cracking.

If we can get one of the laptops I've get sitting around the space working for this, consider it donated to the cause permanently.

I want to see more talk on this, it's an awesome idea.

Having been to a "hot" event, I'd also like to see something with anchor points for fans, and maybe our own portable display structure, something along the lines of tent / yurt / geodesic dome.

Jeff, you've probably seen more different types of this than anyone, as I always see pictures of cool "shelters" at Burning Man.


Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:57 pm
by metis
jeff, you heading this up? we've been chattign about it for a long while, and no one's been willing to take point.

on the ez cheese, there are a LOT of restrictions on food in msp, so that sort of giveaways is less ideal, but what about something like a stupid simple xy cnc with a battery powered engraver on it? show a camera a picture, or select stock files, and the engraver will trace it on your celphone, or a block of wood, or a event program?

battery power is crucial, and the ability to "operate" for up to 8 hours is pretty standard for "fair" type events.

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:31 am
by cgallaty
I know a few of the Mpls city council members. :D I dropped question on what the barriers would be to doing something edible at a booth. We'll see what they come back with. (They seemed to think the idea was pretty cool.) I would think there are likely some formalities like using gloves, making sure the unit has plex over it (not open air where you can sneeze on it, etc) After that its likely just talking to the right people. We aren't selling it, so its not likely to require any kind on vendor licence, etc. We'll see what comes back. We've run popcorn and snowcone machines as well as grilled at neighborhood events, this is not really any different. It's not undoable.

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:41 am
by cgallaty
I was going to say, re power, its less portable, but it would be fun to have a bicycle/generator. If you did it right, you could get folks to recharge the batteries for you. :D

Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:38 am
by rigger
Bicycle generators, hexayurts and popcorn makers all have their place BUT my proposal here was for a "quick and dirty", yet elegant and exemplary (of the maker movement) , solution for a booth at "smaller" events.

So what we need to get started is:

An appropriate suitcase.
4 appropriate legs. (Could come from the woodpile).
Hardware to attach the legs and allow them to fold into the case.
A can of varnish.

Biggest challenge is the suitcase. I don't have one and haven't come across one. Ideally it looks "old" (canvas cover, brass and leather trim), opens flat, and is the right size to hold our mini roadshow yet allow easy transport.

Once the table is done we need to stock it with:
Our "book". (see thread on this topic)
Cards, brochures, stickers (in a display holder?)
Portable samples--3d prints, cnc'd objects, small wood, metal and electronic projects.)
A comfortable, portable chair. (Bonus if this too is oldy-timey.)

Down the road we "could" add:
Amplified speakers (per the Instructable picnic table)
A laptop w/ slideshow/video/local copy of site, etc)
A bar blender so I can MAKE tiki drinks.

I'm willing to work on building the "case-table" but first we need the case. I'm not much of a scrounger so I need help on that. Once we have the suitcase, the rest should fall in place.

Re: Event Table worthy of TC Maker

Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:18 am
by orion
One thought would be an oldy trunk, still portable in most vehicles but better way to keep everything together.