I love wood. I love warm sunsets. I love being near water. And it’s all better when in a beautiful heritage building with glittering live classical guitar.

I’m sitting in the Chinese Bunkhouse at the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, about to listen to a PechaKucha talk about the Wonders of Wood. I found out about it from a tweet by @Richmond_BC. I have no idea what PechaKucha is beyond the introductory paragraph in the invitation article which described it as a series of speakers presenting 20 slides for no more than 20 seconds.

I’ve spent some time this week learning about Amazon’s Associate (affiliates) program. There’s a lot of information scattered around the internet covering strategies to maximize revenues, or how to integrate it into various blogging engines, but I couldn’t find much that gave an overview of how it all works, especially when considering the different regional Amazon stores.

Here’s my attempt at explaining it.

One of the things being a Maker has taught me is how to improvise. Accidents happen, tools break, materials don’t work, and you have to learn to find other routes to achieve your goal. Here is one example. My mother was turning 70 and the boys and I wanted to make her a Whopper Cake, based on this book.

Xavier wanted a Minion Piñata for his 4th Birthday party. I did check the local stores, but none were to be had, so I set about making one. My brother and I always made our own Pinatas for our birhtdays each year, so I have some experience in this area. I didn’t even know they could be purchased until I was an adult.

I took two balloons and connected them with a tube shape of poster board. I then made a simple paper mache of flour and water and did several layers of newspaper on it all. The final touches were some tissue paper and printed eyes and mouth. And then my creation was smashed to pieces with glee by a pack of candy crazed four year olds.

Liam was studying mining as part of a unit on the Gold Rush. When given a choice on how he wanted to present his learning, of course he chose to make something. With plaster of Paris and plasticine, this is what he came up with.

Here is some stuff we will most likely be bringing to Maker Faire.

The benefit of moding Nerf guns is that they shoot further, are easier to use and it is often fun to mod them.

This is a modified electronic Nerf flywheel blaster. Modifications done to this blaster include: Motors replaced, wiring redone with solid core wiring, all locks were removed and the firing mechanism was lubricated.

If you look around the internet you can find videos and articles describing various ways of making 3d printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, and other computer controlled devices make sounds.

On the weekend we made a HAMP (High Air-flow/Manual Pump) home-made Nerf gun.

This is a term that comes up a lot in 3D printing. Non-manifold models cause a lot of problems and lead to failed prints.

You often hear it being described in terms of “water tightness”, but that hasn’t helped me to understand it.