Create the Tiny Ecosystem of Your Dreams at the DIY Terrarium Workshop at Maker Faire!

When it comes to flora, I reckon it doesn’t get much cuter than the tiny, whimsical terrarium.  An entire ecosystem in a wee glass jar?  Yes please!  Wanna make your very own at Maker Faire?  You betcha!  Join Green with Envy at Got Craft? for a DIY workshop and create the little ecosystem your heart desires.

 

IMG_7434-2-570x570

 

Driven by a love for design and belief in the healing powers of plants, Jennifer Chu started Green with Envy three years ago after earning her florist certification.  Now she not only offers up her amazing arrangements to clients across the Lower Mainland, she also shares her talent by teaching in local schools and care facilities.  Lucky for us, she’s sharing her terrarium tips at Maker Faire and all you have to do is register here.

 

I asked Jennifer about starting Green with Envy, got the scoop on what’s in store for DIY workshop participants and found out how she creates such, ahem, enviable designs:

 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you started Green with Envy?

o
I have a passion for colours and textures. I believe plants promote emotional health and improve air quality. The West Coast and traveling abroad also fuels my love for nature and peeks my interest in local flora. So, three years ago I started Green With Envy and have had great experiences meeting new people. I pursued my certification as a florist and now enjoy teaching and participating in programs for local schools and care facilities. In additional to community involvement, I believe in promoting local crafters and small businesses. I am proud to be a part of Giving Gifts and Company, a local co-operative on Main Street and East 30th Avenue.  We learn about each others skills and products and share our resources and knowledge.
IMG_7370-2-570x570

 

Your creations – especially the air plants and succulent bouquets – are gorgeous.  Where do you find your inspiration?

o
I find my inspiration from our West Coast, specifically, Tofino/Ucluelet; Pacific Spirit Park and beaches.  I incorporate a natural/organic element to each of my pieces. I may include a bit of exotic as well. I’m  also inspired by travels abroad (i.e. South America, Australia and Africa). I’m very interested in flora native to specific countries. I can often be found with plant guides learning about medicinal plants.  I’m also fascinated by unusual and resiliant plants such as air plants (tillandsias) where no soil is required and there is enough moisture and nutrients in the air for them to thrive. I encourage people to touch and smell plants to get the full experience.  I usually bring a few plants as teaching specimens and enjoy answering questions.

 

gweterrarium

 

What can participants of your DIY terrarium workshop expect from their session with you?

o
Participants will have a hands on “green” experience.  These mini-eco systems will provide a great learning experience for children and adults.  Supplies will include vintage jars, individuals will select from a variety of succulents and a variety of embellishments to decorate and personalize their terrariums. A great opportunity to make new friends!
IMG_7486-3-912x570

In addition to the DIY workshop, what will you be exhibiting?

o
I’ll also bring a variety of air plants, they are a big hit at shows.

o

What drew you to join the lovely folks of Got Craft? at Maker Faire this year?

o
I’ve attended a few Got Craft? events and recently met Andrea and Robert.  They are awesome.  I’ve also been involved in school projects where succulents and air plants were used in Mother’s Day gifts.  So, the Maker Faire is a perfect match.  I like the concept of the Maker Faire and it’s a great way to involve kids of any age!

o

DIY Terrarium Building Workshop with Green with Envy
Register Here!

When: Saturday, June 1st & Sunday, June 2nd 2013
Time: 10:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 4pm Daily
Cost: $35 (includes terrarium and take-home tote bag)

Tip: bring your own trinkets to personalize your creation!

 o

 

Haven’t purchased your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet?

o

Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

o
Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

0

 







Cute and Cuddly DIY: Noortje de Keijzer’s Knitted Boyfriend

knitting post photo

-

Now here’s an appealing idea: Dutch artist Noortje de Keijzer took DIY to the next level and knit herself a life-sized man. Watch Noortje and “Arthur” spend a romantic day together:

-

-

MY KNITTED BOYFRIEND from Noortje de Keijzer on Vimeo.

-

Adorable, right?

-

De Keijzer talks about knitting a boyfriend to soothe her loneliness, and it makes perfect sense. We knit gloves to keep our hands warm and hats to keep our heads warm; why not knit a man to keep our hearts warm?

-

Noortje says that her knitted bf is the best because he likes to snuggle, makes her laugh, shares her interests, and more importantly, because he’ll never leave her. Man, this guy is a serious catch (even if he is inanimate).

-

Though her argument for a knitted man is a compelling one, sadly, this particular “relationship” just isn’t viable in the long run. Yes, it’s a great way to get some comfort after a break up, or for those stretches in between relationships, but in the end, we crave real, human contact. And unfortunately, a body pillow with a face won’t cut it when we need someone to really listen – and talk back – to us.

-

But hey, sometimes just the idea of something makes us feel better, so I admire her for using her DIY skills in such a thoughtful way.

-

If you’re interested developing your knitting skills, come on down to the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 1-2 and check out The Fraser Valley Knitters Guild who will demo the basics of knitting (including casting on, the knit stitch, and casting off) at their booth. Handy learn-to-knit kits for novices will be available as well.

-

Also, you can sit in on Caitlin ffrench’s talk on the art of dying wool, “Flax to Linen and other homespun projects”, on Saturday June 1 from 4-5pm.

-

Haven’t got your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet?

o

Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

o
Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

0

 

 







Meet Your Makers: Dan Royer, Makelangelo

o

On May 3rd, I brought my camera and visited Dan Royer, who will have a table again this year at Maker Faire. He will be displaying Makelangelo: an art robot you put together yourself that produces 2D renderings of any image using a single line.

o

Dan is a member at our local hackerspace, VHS, and he’s been diligently prototyping his kits all year. His dream is to see these being built by 6th graders.

o

In this video, Dan talks about making robots for a living, what he will be bringing to Maker Faire this year, his next big robot-making project. He also shares some advice for people who want to get started making things and building robots.

o

“It’s really easy to get started in robots these days. All you need is cardboard, hot glue, servos, Arduino, and a 9 volt battery, and you are off to the races.” – Dan Royer

o

Dan sells his Drawbot kits online. The kit includes a 3D printed pen holder, 2 stepper motors, a 12v2a power supply, 2 3D printed bobbins, an Adafruit Stepper shield, and (optionally), an Arduino UNO. The kit requires no soldering or wire cutting, and is perfect for use in a classroom.

o

Haven’t got your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet?

o

Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

o
Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

0







Meet Your Speakers: Wendy Tremayne, The Good Life Lab and Swap-O-Rama-Rama

Mikey and Wendy

Mikey and Wendy, photo (c) Wendy Tremayne

o

Wendy Tremayne is an Alpha Maker with multiple identities: forager, builder, herbalist, engineer, welder… just to name a few. She also former creative director of New York marketing firm Green Galactic, conceptual artist, yoga teacher, and fearless DIY homesteader in a former trailer park in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

o

But one of the most interesting things about Wendy is that she creates value out of garbage.

o

  • That old washing machine? A big colander for washing harvests.
  • Camp cooler? A fermenter.
  • Caution tape? A dress!

o

…say what?!

o

A strong voice in the maker community, Wendy will be speaking at this year’s Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, where she’ll share ideas on how to live a decommodified life while improving one’s connection to the self, the land, and to other people.

o

Wendy’s forthcoming book, The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands on Living lays out her inspiring principles and offbeat ideas. Part memoir, part DIY manual, the book tells story of how Wendy and her partner Mikey Kylar moved from NYC to Truth or Consequences, N.M., where they bought a one-acre abandoned RV park and remodelled a 40-year-old mobile home using mostly materials from the waste stream. You can read all about it on their blog Holy Scrap.

o

Her book offers tutorials on everything from making your own toothpaste to hacking your appliances, and is a must-read for anyone interested in developing their self-sufficiency.

o

In addition, Wendy created Swap-O-Rama-Rama: a community clothing swap where people get together, exchange used clothes and deconstruct them to make new duds using sewing machines and crafting tools. People are encouraged to explore their creativity, cover up branding, and make new works of art from the mix. These workshops based on her model now happen in one hundred cities across the continent, with one held here in February.

o

As an avid clothes swapper and alterer myself, I am really excited by this idea! In fact, a lot of Wendy’s ideas appeal to me. She’s interested in living less like a consumer and more like a creator, which is really inspiring – particularly for anyone who feels burdened by the never-ending quest for accumulating stuff.

o

Mikey and Wendy

Wendy and Mikey, photo (c) Wendy Tremayne

o

I caught up with Wendy over email about her book, her projects, and what she plans on bringing to Maker Faire, and here’s what she had to say:

o

What’s your book The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands on Living all about?

o

WT: The book is part memoir and part tutorials. It begins with my story and my partner Mikey’s, of leaving the career track in NYC by quitting our jobs and moving out to rural New Mexico to find a life that has less to do with money; a decommodified life as a maker of things instead of a buyer of things. We made pledges that lead the way. These include: to not make decisions based on money, to live from the waste stream and from nature, and to make everything ourselves. We share how we addressed fundamental things like the cost of living, how we created a cottage industry, home manufacturing, and rediscovering our connection to nature.

o

In your book, you teach the art of making biofuel, appliances, structures, gardens, food, and medicine. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you learned in the process of making all your own stuff?

o

WT: We tried to solve problems based on the best knowledge available in the moment, so our solutions were unusual. For months we towed a homemade mixer around the neighborhood. Each day we filled it with phone books and newspaper, and water. A blade inside the mixer chopped the paper into a pulp when it was pulled by our truck. We poured the mix into slabs and made a 300+ foot privacy wall that we then mortared with another paper mix. We learned that the local prickly pear cactus had been used by natives to make a water resistant finish, so we threw that in the mix too. Of course there was other experimentation as well: a paper couch, hundreds of blocks that when drying in the yard looked like a cemetery, a paper building. In no time our property was a kind of spectacle to tourists. I’ve found that once I begin making something I’m immediately captivated and everything else fades away. Once connected to a problem to solve, we are in the present moment and it’s exciting.

o

Wendy and the paper concrete mixer.

Wendy and the paper concrete mixer, photo (c) Holy Scrap, excerpted from The Good Life Lab (c) Wendy Jehanara Tremayne. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

o

Wendy - paper concrete wall - Holy Scrap

Wendy and the paper concrete wall, photo (c) Holy Scrap

o

You also present reasons for makers to share their innovations and ideas through open source and creative commons licenses. Why is it important to share knowledge?

o

WT: Copyrights, patents, the model of franchises are examples of ways that civilization promotes the idea that there is not enough to go around. Capitalism requires consumption and consumption is based on a belief in scarcity. If we believed there was enough of everything, we wouldn’t bother trying to possess things or ideas. These artificial modes of securing ideas have creative people believing in the concept of a last good idea. After all, if we believed we were full of great ideas we’d easily give them all away. If we buy into this model and horde ideas and knowledge, then we spend our lives defending and protecting ideas instead of having them. Alternatively, when we give our ideas away, we become evidence that there is enough to go around. When knowledge is set free, humanity becomes abundant. When it is hoarded, a few become wealthy.

o

Can you tell us what attending a Swap-O-Rama-Rama is like?

o

WT: Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a stunning bazaar of irregularity. At a swap there is fastening, unknitting, grommeting, zip tying, painting, sewing, silk screening and things you just can’t imagine. Glue guns, seam rippers, looms, and blow dryers mingle with board game pieces, shoes, snaps and feathers. It is a textile wonder world that produces beautiful hybridizations made from waste.

o

Swap-O-Rama-Rama also produces stories. What people make themselves contains memory, experience, a reminder of a friend made, echoes of laughter from a moment that led to a creation. For this reason what is made at Swap-O-Rama-Rama does not get kicked to the curb like the donated goods that are the foundation of the event. Little tricks embed in the structure of the event prod people in the right directions.

o

For example, there are no mirrors. This encourages everyone to turn one another and say, “how do I look?”  Swap-O-Rama-Rama’s are remarkably diverse. In the default world we have grown accustomed to being divided by brands which segregate us by socio economic status and lifestyle. People of all ages, both genders, and every ethnicity attend Swap-O-Rama-Rama where brands are covered over and everyone identifies by what we all have in common, our creativity.

o
What will you be discussing at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

o

WT: I’m excited to tell folks about my book The Good Life Lab coming out on June 5th. Our decommodified lifestyle has led our kitchen to be more like a lab, and so we thought we’d share that by making and sharing yummy popsicles made on a DIY anti-griddle that “cooks” using dry ice.

o

Mikey and I will also share stories, tell what we got right and did wrong, give tips, and also invite contemplative questions to be considered. For example, it’s time that we all ask questions like, “what is the cost of these jobs?” and “is there a life that can be lived without making money a priority?” We’ll also share our conclusions, and what we’ve learned from living seven years as full-time makers of things without standard jobs. Mikey won’t be on the whole tour, so this is a great opportunity to meet him. We hope to see you!

o

____________

o

So check out Wendy’s talk at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 1.

o

Also, her book The Good Life Lab will be available at Maker Faire, on Amazon, and in stores June 5th. It’s got a ton of valuable resources for the homesteader, builder, crafter and philosopher alike. Not only is it is the manual for life in a post-consumer age, it’s peppered throughout with the most beautiful artwork contributed by a community of artists and illustrators. Take a look for yourself:

 o

Last Good Idea, Illustration (c) Sasha Prood/Illustration Division

Illustration (c) Sasha Prood/Illustration Division, excerpted from The Good Life Lab (c) Wendy Jehanara Tremayne. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

o

o

Everything I Love, Illustration (c) Gina Triplett/Frank Sturges Reps

Illustration (c) Gina Triplett/Frank Sturges Reps, excerpted from The Good Life Lab (c) Wendy Jehanara Tremayne. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

o

o

GoodLifeLab_3D

o

The Good Life Lab

By Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

$22.95 CAN

Storey Publishing, June 2013

Distributed exclusively in Canada through Thomas Allen and Sons

0
o

With the advent of fast fashion more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles are disposed of per person per year in North America.  Let’s try to turn this around from the ground up by using creativity and innovation! Drop by Charcoal Couture at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire with an unwanted T-shirt or two from your closet for their donation box and receive 10% off a purchase from their up-cycled kids clothing, eclectic button and jewelry selection.

o

Haven’t got your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet?

o

Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

o
Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

0
o







Vancouver Maker Foundation connects Educators, Librarians, Makers and Enthusiasts

In line with the Vancouver Maker Foundation‘s mission to build a strong and vibrant community of makers in our city, we hosted a meet-up last Thursday the 9th- to connect families, leaders, educators, mentors and organizations in order to start a dialogue around the impact of integrating more of the Maker Ethos at the level of education and community programming.
 
The event was a great success! We have decided to turn this into a monthly thing. If you are interested in coming to future meet-ups, please sign up to our Meet-up group. A big thanks to Mozilla, who sponsored the evening, and future meet-ups to come!

20130509_VMMF_IMG_5467

20130509_VMMF_IMG_5479

20130509_VMMF_IMG_5390
20130509_VMMF_IMG_5465







Got Craft? brings the creme de la crafty to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire!

gotcraft

 

It’s a haven for handmade!  A casa for craft!  Got Craft? has gone bite sized for the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire with a specially curated section of the cutest, quirkiest and craftiest handmade goods you ever laid eyes on.

 

The toast of Vancouver’s indie craft scene, Got Craft? is a twist on your grandmother’s craft fair that aims to bring together a community that fosters handmade and DIY culture. Amongst the techies and tinker-ers at Maker Faire, the mini Got Craft? will feature a collection of 30 artists, crafters and foodies plus a DIY terrarium workshop hosted by Green with Envy (registration required).

 

greenwithenvy_terrarium2

 

Choose favourites?  I could never.  But here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the delights that await your visit…

 

Make Cheese

Handcrafted cheese kits for making cheese at home (Make Cheese Inc.)

Draw Me a Lion

Hand-drawn colouring activities for kids (Draw me a Lion)

little wren

Charming handmade rings (Little Wren Designs)

Forest and Waves

Hand-drawn city maps (Forest and Waves)

Hand and Sew

Hand-stitched leather wallets (Hand and Sew)

 

Excited yet?  I sure am.  Be sure to keep your eye on the blog this week as we introduce you to some of the loveliest (and sweetest) Got Craft? vendors from this talented local roster.  (Do you have your tickets yet?)

 

Roxypop | Firefly Notes | Make Cheese Inc. | Forest and Waves | Cowl & Company | Delish General Store | type B | District Dogs Design | Craftworks Society | Kohana Jewellery | Little Wren Designs | Hand and Sew | Sarah Mulder Art & Jewelry | Abeego | Raven’s Rest Studio | Draw Me a Lion | Element Botanicals | Frankenstrap | Blue Spoons Paper Products | Sassy Contessa | LanaBetty  | Sasha Eillenna Jewelry | Locomotive Clothing | Queen Bee Luxuries | Endure Upcycled Designs | [in the oven] | Urge Chocolates | My Secret Cravings | Green with Envy

 

About Got Craft?

Got Craft? is Vancouver’s largest indie craft fair, growing strong since 2007 with annual shows in May and December and an average attendance of almost 6000 people.  For more about Got Craft? check out our interview with Andrea, preview upcoming events on their website, follow their Facebook page and meet them at Maker Faire.

 







Breaker Faire – May 25th

Breaker Faire

Breaker Faire poster by Dallyn Rule – www.dallyn.ca

Like to BREAK things? Visit the Vancouver Community Laboratory for your chance to smash a car! For just a few dollars, you can take part in a scrumptious pancake BREAK-fast, WRECK a car, have your mind BLOWN by local art / creations, and PLAY a giant claw game! Wreckage form the car will be used by local artists for materials, and all proceeds benefit the Vancouver CoLab and Vancouver Mini Maker Faire.

All ages. Entrance by donation.

Saturday, May 25, 10 am – 5 pm

1907 Triumph St.

Click here for information & updates via Facebook

Submissions to show your work will be open until one week before the event (May 18th). Please contact ben@makerfaire.ca for more details.







Meet Your Makers: Colin Johnson, The Emperor’s Cabinet

Wooden AT-AT

o

If you’ve passed by 6th and Main recently, then you may have noticed the amazing Wooden AT-AT in the window of Hot Art Wet City Gallery & Shop. Woodbutcher Colin Johnson is the artist responsible for this eye-catching piece of wonder, and it’s coming to Maker Faire!

 

May LaForge Be With You: A tribute to Star Wars and Star Trek

o

It’s also being featured at an art show called May LaForge Be With You, dubbed “an epic art battle between two sci-fi favourites: Star Wars and Star Trek.” The opening reception is tonight from 7-11 pm (details below).

o

I haven’t even gotten to the best part—it’s a fully functional liquor cabinet! Booze and Star Wars: two things that make me the life of the party. I asked Colin a few questions about the liquor cabinet that I would happily sell a kidney to own.

o

atat-DY

o

ATAT 032

o

DY: You must be a huge Star Wars fan. What made you decide to turn it into a liquor cabinet or was that your idea all along?

o

CJ: Yes, I am a huge SW fan. I didn’t know it was going to be a wet bar when I started, but I did know I wanted it to contain something. (I was toying with the idea of a diorama of some kind.) I would like to say I had a lofty reason for making it, but I made it for notoriety.

o

DY: How long did it take you?

o

CJ: It took about 600 hours (give or take 100).

o

IMAG0213-1

o

DY: You describe yourself as a Woodbutcher. Has this always been your preferred medium?

o

CJ: I started making things with Lego. When I found Lego to be too limiting I started using paper. Now I mostly work in wood. It is my preferred medium but have dabbled in plastics and some metal.

o

DY: When I was at the gallery today, everyone who was waiting for the bus was totally into it. What kind of reactions have you gotten from people?

o

CJ: People love it! Some of the reactions have been very animated.

o

IMAG0212-1

o

Colin Johnson will be at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 1 and 2, but catch him tonight at Hot Art Wet City for the opening of May LaForge Be With You.

o

Hot Art Wet City, 2206 Main Street, Vancouver
Thursday May 9 – Saturday June 1, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION TONIGHT: Friday, May 10 from 7-11pm

0

 

 







Meet The Crafters: Heidi Liao, My Secret Cravings

ih_vector_pattern

-

After searching high and low for the perfect cake topper for her wedding cake and coming up empty, Heidi Liao decided to make her own using the clay molding skills she learned in pottery class. It was such a hit with family and friends that she decided to try her hand at making clay jewelry. Now Heidi specializes in handcrafting tiny food in jewelry form. I contacted her for a Q&A before her very first experience in the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. Here’s what she had to say about her craft.

-

SV: First off, why food? Are you a big foodie and wanted to bring that into your crafting?

-

HL: I was never a foodie growing up so it’s ironic that I decided to make food-themed jewelry. But I thought food is appealing to everybody, and it can be made to look so delicious! Making non-edible food is almost as good as making real food!

-

SV: Where do you get your inspiration?

-

HL: I get my inspiration mostly from bakery shops and Pinterest.

-

SV:  Once you decide on the treat, how long does it typically take you to make a piece? What’s your process?

-

HL: Initially, it takes me around 15-20 minutes to make each item. As I get more familiar with the colour and texture of the piece, it takes less time. I start each piece by mixing the colour of the clay. Then I start molding the clay to the shape I want and continue working at it until I get the proportion right. Once I’m happy with it, I send it to the toaster oven to bake. After baking, I let it cool and then put on toppings, if any, and then let it dry. Lastly, I finish with a glaze to seal the colour and apply any findings (if it’s a pair of earrings). Once that’s done, it’s packaged and then ready to be shipped to the customer.

 –

SV: What’s your favourite piece in your collection?

-

HL: The mint chocolate ice cream cone stud earrings (below). I love the way the colour really stands out and I think they’re perfect for summer!

ice cream earrings

SV: Of course I have to ask — what’s your favourite secret craving?

 

HL: Even though I’m not a huge foodie, I really do love ice cream. My favourite ice cream flavours are matcha green tea and black sesame. And I also love anything potato, especially sour cream & onion chips and fries, of course!

***

 

Make sure you visit Heidi’s booth June 1-2 to check out all her adorable wares. You can also find her sweet treats on Etsy. Oh and don’t forget to get your tickets for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire!

-

*photos courtesy of Heidi Liao






MADE IN VANCOUVER: Meet a Sponsor, Zaber Technologies

Zaber L-R: left to right: Andrew "Bruce" Lau, Rob Steves, and Jesse Schuhlein.

o

In 1997, Andrew “Bruce” Lau (left, above) and a group of friends from engineering school dreamed of starting their own business. With diverse interests and knowledge of electro-mechanical systems, programming, and physics, the group formed Zaber Technologies. The company designed and manufactured a variety of products (a rowing machine and a 3D scanner to name a few) before settling on precision robotics.

o

In the late nineties, precision linear actuators used DC motors with gearbox and encoders. They required complicated motion control cards, bulky controllers, separate driver amplifiers and special power supplies.

0

In short: precision motion control was:
•    expensive
•    difficult to set up
•    and cumbersome to use.

o

So the group recognized the need for an inexpensive, integrated solution for motion control. They wanted to make motion control products that were easy to set up and ready to use right out of the box, so they created the world’s first precision linear actuator with a built-in controller. It was based on a stepper motor instead of a DC motor, gearbox, and encoder combination.

o

Now with more than 30 employees, Zaber Technologies manufactures motion-control products for a variety of uses, including bio-technology, optics, physics and industrial applications.

o

I sat down with Andrew to find out more about Zaber, what makes it an inspiring local company, and why they’re a strong supporter of the Maker community.

o

Who uses your products?

o

ABL: They’ve been used to find cures for cancer, for space-bound instrumentation, drug discovery, lab automation, a space elevator… even for tracking worms! Basically it’s a tool for people to use, like a very elaborate screwdriver.

o

Zaber - row of products on a shelf

o

You’re a Vancouver-owned and operated company. Can you tell us what this means and why it’s important to you?

o

ABL: We are fully employee owned, which means that all our shareholders are current or former employees, and all our employees get stock options. If you ask me, a business exists to support the people who work there — not the other way around. At Zaber, we treat everybody the same. Though we’re a growing company, we still have that small company feel, and in order to create this you need to care about the culture and the people.

o

Also, I think it’s really important to think locally when manufacturing products. Our customers are based all around the world, but the electronics we manufacture are created right here in Vancouver.  We don’t want to outsource overseas just because it’s cheaper. For example, when we work with a local supplier to manufacture circuit boards, we visited their shop to make sure they have high work-place standards. We understand every aspect of our process, and this includes the environmental impact.

o

Speaking of the environment, how important is sustainability to Zaber Technologies?

o

ABL: Very important. We do our own composting. We recycle everything. We have a secure bike shed. We’ve even won Bike to Work week for the past four years!

o

I think as a Maker it’s really important to understand the upstream and downstream of your products. You can’t ignore the fact that after you’re done making something, it will end up somewhere, so this is why all of our parts are replaceable. This means that a customer can return a product that was made 10 years ago and we will repair it and send it back to them. In fact, this just happened the other day.

o

Why did Zaber choose to sponsor Maker Faire?

o

ABL: The culture at Zaber is rooted in making things from scratch instead of accepting the status quo. Everyone here makes things in their spare time, and we all believe in DIY culture. We think it’s important to understand how things are made.

o

Also, at Zaber we think that Makers are really good employees. People who make things with their hands, they fit in well with the culture here. Vancouver Mini Maker Faire is a really good organization benefitting a lot of really smart, motivated and passionate people, so it means a lot to us to give back to this community. And we hope that in turn, Maker Faire will help us grow our community.

o

Zaber - Dave working with product
__________________________

o

So visit Zaber’s booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 1 and 2 to learn more about the work they do and the company they’re creating. Oh, by the way Zaber is always looking for passionate makers. If you want a job, don’t forget to tell them what you make!