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Open Source PinBall

Christian built a pinball machine…  Well, he built a box with a ramp out of pegboard. The rest of our staff really helped turn it into a full-fledged pinball machine. We encouraged visitors to add their own obstacles, ramps, scoring systems, etc. This open-source pinball machine is my favorite new toy in MAKESHOP (sorry laser cutter). The additions to it are endless. The way the machine encourages trial and err
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More Magnets?

As usual we are always prototyping or experimenting with something new (or old) in MAKESHOP.  This particular day we decided to continue our exploration of magnets.  Magnets are something that really seems to intrigue the entire staff of MAKESHOP. I found some plastic tanks in the basement and decided to them to create some new magnetic prototypes.  We tried to create a circuit puzzle that required you to use a magne
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Meet a Maker!

At the beginning of June, MAKESHOP™ welcomed four Maker Corps Members. This summer, you can find them working at Children’s  Museum of Pittsburgh and bringing MAKESHOP™ experiences on the road.  Through theMaker Education Initiative, they will engage children and families in creative projects, while gaining experience serving as leaders in the community.  Meet Lauren, who will be entering her last year at CMU and ret
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Pirates, Catapults, and Pedal Carts!

We’re working on an exciting new project at MAKESHOP: A Catapult! Normally we don’t make war machines, but this one has been repurposed for FUN. Our design is based on the trebuchet, a sling-based counterweight-powered type of catapult originally invented in the 11th century. We’re building this crazy thing to throw the first pitch for the Pirates game on September 1st! Check out the Rookie of the G
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Field Trip: Shaler Elementary

Nick (one of our Maker Corps Members) and I got to spend a couple of hours at Shaler Elementary solving a lot of woodworking problems alongside amazing and diligent students.  The kids got the chance to experience all of the tools we had brought, along with safe techniques to use them properly.  After a lengthy orientation with the tools and processes, the kids were given the freedom to create whatever their hearts d
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Field Trip: Robinson Township Library

Derek and I had the privilege of using the Robinson Township Library’s extremely large activity space to teach woodworking.  We taught visitors how to use hammers, hand drills, saws, sand paper and screwdrivers. We planned to have the families experience and learn about the tools.  Some of the families asked if they could create something (a sculpture or a structure) using the tools and wood.  We would never st
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