If you are considering joining Alamance Makers Guild, thank you!
Memberships are how we are able to host so many public facing STEM events including Maker Faire Burlington. Alamance Makers Guild is a 501 (c) 3 and your membership should be tax deductible.
We're currently in the process of upgrading our membership sign-up process to help improve the member experience. Please excuse our in-progress site while we are updating.
Some new benefits will include being able to have a Maker Profile with your own profile page and ability to interact with other members. This will also allow you to interact via Interest Groups, such as the Micro-Controller, 3D Printing, Aerial & Drone Photography groups.
All past, current and new members can expect a custom laser cut key fob or name badge in the near future too!
What to do now?
Please sign up as a Maker Supporter. We are still under construction, but will stay in touch with updates.
Alamance Makers Guild, based in Burlington, North Carolina is a 21st century organization focused on fostering community through a shared joy of making (technical to artistic, traditional to digitally fabricated, solid to virtual), learning and teaching, and creating opportunities for people from youth to retirees.
The guild promotes STEM education and skills with the addition of the 'A' for Arts to make STEAM.
STEAMinfluences in the community (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math):
Alamance Makers Guild works to help people start small maker businesses and supports creating an environment attractive to new manufacturing jobs for Alamance County.
Monthly open meetings are free and open to the public and include a speaker, demonstration, or activity. Maker Faire Burlington is the guild's signature annual event that promotes the community of making and STEAM activities. The upcoming event will be held April 28, 2018. It is produced by members and volunteers, in addition to help from sponsors and the community. Set your calendar to exhibit, volunteer or attend!
Founded in 2011, Alamance Makers Guild is a membership organization and is funded with dues paying members.
Monthly open meetings and events are mostly free, to serve the community. Your voluntary membership helps to generate funds that can be used to pay for expenses associated with outward facing events, internet outreach and to reach back to the community in order to increase awareness of STEAM related skills and education in Alamance County.
Sign up today as a free subscriber or a Maker Supporter to support Making and STEM education in the community.
Guest blogger Josh Lane is a teacher, musician, and tinkerer with the drive to learn as much as he can about as much as he can. If you’re looking for Josh, you can find him wherever there are books, tools, or good food.
This month’s open meeting was a wonderful opportunity to get together with fellow makers and learn about Preserve Burlington, a new organization dedicated to the upkeep and revitalization of Burlington’s historic district.
Bennett Harris, director of Alamance Makers Guild, started things off with a number of announcements including information regarding upcoming Maker events, Maker Faire Burlington updates, and the guild’s open board member position.
Show and Tell
Show and Tell had a number of interesting contributions: 3D printed masks, hand-cut scroll saw work from our very own Artisan Pirate, and an ornate (but quite heavy!) blown glass pumpkin from the recent STEAM Junction glassblowing workshop. If you missed the last workshop, don’t worry—we’ll be doing it again soon!
Most of the night was dedicated to a presentation by Faith Grant and Molly Whitlatch of Preservation Burlington, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to building community and preserving historic properties. Preservation Burlington focuses on structures with architectural and cultural significance, empowering homeowners and DIYers to explore alternatives to demolition by offering workshops and a selection of resources for those who are interested in revitalizing their homes.
Preservation Burlington embodies the spirit of the Maker movement by bringing people together and instilling the confidence required to take on new projects. Faith and Molly discussed recent workshops the organization has held, such as window replacements and preventative maintenance, and they showed pictures from the ongoing Cates-Cobb renovation. Additionally, we learned about community projects such as the large-scale neighborhood yard sale and their upcoming holiday tour of historic homes.
Faith and Molly shared many more interesting ideas, ranging from the stories of local homes to replication of old-style components using modern technology such as 3D printing and CNC machining, and we got a little preview of some of the houses in downtown Burlington--the Henderson-May house, for example, is a combination of two different properties--a massive undertaking that required one home to be transported and attached to another!
Every house has a story. Every maker has a story. Come to our next meeting, 7 p.m. December 14th, and tell us yours!
Second annual School Maker Faire hosted by Graham STEAM Middle School. We hosted the first ever School Maker Faire in Alamance County last year and look forward to continuing providing a space for students and community members to show us what they are currently working on.
This fall brings lots of maker activities to North Carolina. The Greensboro Mini Maker Faire, Charlotte Mini Maker Faire, Burlington's Maker Takeover, and the grand opening of STEAM Junction Makerspace are happening thru October. Get out there and do something Fun, Educational and Inspirational!
Guest blogger Brett King is an award-winning steampunk artist, maker, and costumer, as well as a frequent attendee of the Alamance Makers Guild meetups. He loves to develop new skills and share his knowledge at maker faires and steampunk conventions across the country. You can follow his projects and appearances on his Facebook page.
As a steampunk artist and maker, I really love Victorian-era technology. Earlier this year I acquired a semi-functional Edison Fireside Phonograph from 1905, with the hopes of taking it to steampunk conventions and maker faires. These spring-wound phonographs played wax cylinder records through an amplifying horn. After learning about how phonographs worked and what additional parts I needed by leveraging sites like Interique, the Edison Shop, the Online Edison Phonograph Discussion Board, and eBay, I was able to restore the phonograph to at least a functional state.
After the restoration, I went looking for some records to play on my phonograph. I found the perfect song, perhaps the first "steampunk" song ever recorded - "Come Take a Trip in My Airship" (1904). It tells the story of a woman in love with an airship sailor who takes her to the moon and beyond. It had been released by Edison on wax cylinder, but I was having trouble finding a surviving copy. Many of the old wax cylinders develop a mold that ruins the recording, so finding a particular title can be challenging.
So, I decided to see if I could get a new version of the song made and put on to a wax cylinder. For the song, I reached out to one of my favorite steampunk musicians, the fantastic Unwoman, who does original music as well as covers. She graciously agreed to record the song if she could also release it through her Patreon and Bandcamp pages.
For the wax cylinder, I contacted the Victrola Guy, who has an incredible YouTube channel on old music players. He creates new wax cylinders by shaving the wax off of old moldy cylinders. He then plays MP3s through a speaker into an original Edison recording device which cuts the grooves in the record.
The result is one of the few new recordings done for a 2-minute Edison wax cylinder in the last hundred years. Unwoman is looking to create additional cylinders through a KickStarter campaign, so follow her Facebook page if you would like one of these records for your own.
The video above shows the record playing on my phonograph, with the setting being an interactive airship bridge I created for steampunk events.
One thing to note is that the record should sound louder and more clear than it does in my video. On these phonographs, most of the sound quality comes from the reproducer, which is a metal shell containing a copper diaphragm connected to a sapphire stylus (needle) by a wire. These mechanisms typically need to be rebuilt every 100 years or so, and mine was not at the time I created the video. I have since rebuilt the reproducer and the sound has improved. The pre-wax version of the song on Unwoman's Patreon page sounds much better, obviously.
The film playing during the video is from Fleischer Studios, best known for creating Betty Boop. This particular film is from “Dancing on the Moon (1935)”. There is actually a video for Come Take a Trip in My Airship that was done in 1924 and 1930 that has some historical significance. It was the first fully synchronized music video, and the second video to feature the iconic “Follow the Bouncing Ball.” Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the video that I can edit to get it to line up with the song, but I will keep searching!