March Break Maker Camp Summary

Over the school holidays, YuKonstruct’s makerspace was teeming with a dozen pre-teens as we kicked off our March Break Maker Camp!

The 5 day camp consisted of lots of hands on activities and made use of the makerspace’s awesome equipment. The camp participants got to experience laser cutting, bottle rocket building and blast off, 3D design and printing, carpentry, stop animation, robotics and more!

Everyone went home each day with items that they’d built/designed/crafted/created.

 

This animation video is a project the kids created together as a group, our campers developed the story plot, designed the characters and made the sets themselves.

Other highlights included getting robots to navigate through a maze, building towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows, and laser cutting a variety of animals.

“Please bring a camp in the summer please I’m begging you please”
– Maker Camp participant feedback

“I think you guys nailed it. Robotics, stop animation, rockets, 3D printing, using the laser cutter… don’t think it gets better than that!”
– Maker Camp parent feedback

 

Up and Etsy: Tips on Overcoming the Road Blocks

I recently opened my Etsy shop Backyard Spruce, selling needle felted creations and laser cut shadow boxes. Currently I have 14 items up which cost me a grant total of $2.80 (at $0.20/listing). It took me roughly three months from conception to opening to get everything just (mostly) right.

What’s my biggest recommendation? Be a copy cat!

Recently I embraced being a copy cat as an unabashed way to learn, get inspired, and create. Today I’ll talk how being a copy cat helped me overcome my three biggest and most time consuming road blocks to opening my Etsy shop.

Overcoming Road Block #1: Photography

I spent hours looking at others’ photos on Etsy. How did they style their scenes, angles, and aperture? What did I like and what did I find appalling? I was able to get a rough idea of how I wanted my pictures to look, and through quite a lot of trial and error I found the settings that I felt best represented my creations.

There are lots of helpful hints available on Etsy as well, though I found it more helpful to see what various shops were doing with products similar to mine.

Shameless plug time: Yukonstruct now has a photography tent ready to use! I am excited to try it out with my future creations!

Nope.
Etsy photography take #1. It’s blurry, has terrible colouring, and is a poor representation of this cute little critter.
Nope x 2.
Etsy photography take #2. I’m experimenting with the background now, but the photo is still not professional and I don’t like the composition.
Bingo! Third time's a charm!
Etsy photography take #3. Third time’s a charm! I’m pleased with the composition, quality, and true-to-life colour.

Overcoming Road Block #2: Policies & Shipping

For policies I looked at numerous other Etsy shops for how much information was given, how they stated it, and which policies they put in place. I then created my own based on what I believed would be helpful from the initial opening of my shop. I’ve never shipped an item to a customer so it was great to think about what I will do in case of damage or the customer being unsatisfied with the product. I also joined a Whitehorse Etsy team to see what was being done locally.

Figuring out the price of shipping was an interesting challenge and I will simply have to learn by doing. Right now I have approximate fees that I found through Canada Post’s website for my packaging sizes, and I’d recommend anyone opening a shop do the same. There are still a lot of unknowns for me, including the cost to ship to what Etsy calls “everywhere” and grouped items, but I’ll cross those bridges when I get there!

Don’t let shipping scare you away from opening an Etsy shop! There may be a few dollars lost when a product costs more to ship than expected, but I’m going to consider this the cost of learning.

The guide I found most helpful is the Canada Post Shipping Guide of Glory. How can you go wrong with a name like that?

Overcoming Road Block #3: Pricing

Pricing was perhaps the most nerve wracking part. How much is my time worth? What price points are simply too high? Will anything actually sell?! Again, I searched through Etsy to get an idea of how similar products were being priced and found a way to justify my costs.

So, here’s how I did my pricing. Let’s take my needle felted ermine for example.

Materials = $5.80
Roving $3.00
Glass eyes $2.50
Pipe cleaner $0.20
Felting needles $0.10 / project

Labour = $150
$10/hr for 15+ hours

Expenses = $5.66
$0.20 Etsy listing
3.5% commission from Etsy (based on $156)

Total = $160

Consider your labour costs carefully. For me, this is a side project I enjoy with low material costs, but I would still rather keep my ermine than sell my time for less than $10/hr. Keeping in mind, too, this cost does not factor in the time it took for me to set up my Etsy shop (which in itself took 15 – 20 hours), or the time it will take to package and ship this little fellow. I have chosen to absorb these costs but you may decide to include them in your product pricing.

I hope this is helpful to your Etsy shop endeavors. It was a lot of fun to create Backyard Spruce and I will continue to learn and grow with it, and hopefully make some sales along the way!

Check out Backyard Spruce on Facebook to follow my shop updates!

 

Andrea at YuKonstruct
Backyard Spruce

 

Laser Cutter 101

If this training session is full, please sign up for the waitlist to be notified if a spot opens up in this session, or when another Laser Cutter 101 is scheduled.

Get started using the laser cutter! This hour-and-a-half-long session covers the basics of how to use YuKonstruct’s laser cutter including safety, ventilation, raster and vector design, print settings, and cutting and etching different materials.

Considered orientation and safety training for the Epilog Fusion laser cutter for YuKonstruct members.

About the instructor: Chris has been involved with YuKonstruct since before the grand opening and is eager to teach everyone how to use the laser cutter.

Please note this training is only available to YuKonstruct members. Not a member? Sign up now!

Maximum 3 participants

Burning Away the Winter Blues: Building and Burning the Yeti Effigy

Yukon Educational Theater approached YuKonstruct earlier this year to ask if the makerspace and Chris Lloyd, who designed the airplanes in the Winterval parade, would be interested in building the effigy for Burning Away the Winter Blues. Of course we jumped at the chance to build an epic effigy!

Chris designed a snow monster, the Yeti, to symbolize all our winter worries and blues. The 3D model was created in Autodesk’s MeshMixer and then 123D Make was used to turn it into a series of panels that could be cut out on the laser cutter. The model was exported to SketchUp where Chris drew the plans for an internal skeleton made of 2x2s to support the cardboard skin. All the software used is free and also available on YuKonstruct’s computers.

Icycle Sport donated 30 bicycle boxes which we cut down and used to make all 292 carboard pieces. Every piece had to be tied together with thin wire. We assembled all the pieces over 12 hours with the help of 15 awesome YuKonstruct volunteers.

The finished Yeti was handed over to Splintered Craft where the youth gave him a colourful paintjob.

Everyone was invited to write their worries and winter blues on the effigy before the torch-lit procession that carried the Yeti to his final resting place, a large bonfire in Robert Service Campground. The Yeti and all our winter blues were burned away in the fire.

SPRING BREAK – Laser Cut 3D Models (Youth 11-16 yrs)

Take a rocket ship from the computer screen into your very own hands!

This Spring Break workshop for youth 11 to 16 years old will teach you how to transform a 3D computer model into a real object with the help of Autodesk 123D Make and YuKonstruct’s Epilog laser cutter.

Participants will  choose a sample 3D model to bring to life and bring home with them at the end of the 3 hour course.

About the Instructor:  Chris Lloyd is a dedicated YuKonstruct volunteer and has a diploma in Architectural Technology and several years of professional experience with computer aided drafting and design programs.

Maximum 5 participants        Members $15  |  Non-Members  $20

 

Winterval Santa Clause Parade

This past weekend, YuKonstruct was a part of Yukon Educational Theater’s 7th annual Winterval Santa Clause Parade.

Inspired by Aidan Chopra’s cardboard Grumman F4F-4 costume, we decided to make laser-cut cardboard airplanes for some of our youngest members to wear in the parade.

The planes were designed by Chris Lloyd, one of our members, in SketchUp. Once the plans were finished, preparing the cardboard, cutting it on the laser and assembling the planes was a real team effort! You can read all about the step-by-step process of designing and building the planes on Instructables.

Air North donated the custom vinyl decals for the wings and tails, which really finished the look!

IMG_2809

The planes were a huge hit with the kids and everyone at the parade. If you’d like to make your own here at YuKonstruct all you need is cardboard and safety training on the Epilog laser.

 

CONTACT US

NORTHLIGHT INNOVATION
  2180, 2nd Avenue, Whitehorse
  (867) 457-0150
  info@yukonstruct.com

HOURS OF OPERATION
NorthLight Innovation
Mon – Fri: 9am to 5pm
Makespace
Wed – Sun: 1pm to 9pm
Cospace
Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm

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