Weather Balloon in the Works

Unfortunately the weather balloon has been put on hold as the end of the year and summer activities have kept us busier than normal. We hope to get back to it before the end of the summer. Also hope to catch up with the blog and post some more of the cool stuff the kids have been working on.

payload rings

payload rings

We just finished cutting out the body of the balloon using foam and nichrome wire.  First the inside was cut out and then the outside, making rings that we will glue together to have an Orion shaped Capsule.

hollowing out the body

hollowing out the body

Balloon Capsule (hollow)

Balloon Capsule (hollow)


Our latest project is building a weather balloon.  We are still in the early stages of planning and ordering parts but will add more information as progress is made.


Coloring Marker Bot

We finally made a simple Coloring Marker Bot with our youngest, and it was all joy!  We originally saw this idea at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire and had to try it at home.

Materials: Plastic cup, duct tape, some markers, a motor, 1 AA battery, some wires to connect the motor and battery, and a hot glue stick.

Marker BotHow to make a Coloring Marker Bot:

1. Connect wires to your motor (ours was an up cycled motor that already had wires attached).

2. Cut about 1/3 of a hot glue stick and push it firmly onto the motor shaft, so it is off center–this is what causes the vibration that moves the bot.

3. Tape your motor to the bottom of the cup (top of Marker Bot), using duct tape.

4. Arrange and tape desired markers around the outside of the cup making sure not to interfere with hot glue stick as the motor turns. Also be sure the marker tips are evenly aligned so all colors actually mark the paper as the bot moves.

5. Tape the battery to the cup anywhere it won’t interfere with the motor, but so it can be connected properly.

6. Tape one wire from the motor to one end of the battery.  If you connect both it will start running, so be sure you are ready for that.

7. Connect the second wire to the battery once you are ready to see the bot in action.  Make sure your fingers are not near the motor.  We used duct tape but made it so the connection could easily be removed to stop the bot.

8. Put your bot on some paper and watch it go!  We used an old drawer from our pantry to help contain the bot from going off the paper.

9. Experiment with taping different things to weight the bot in certain ways and observe its movement.  Can you get it to go straight or in circles?

10. Have fun!



NoCo Mini Maker Faire: Oct. 5th

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 1.56.28 PMOur family will be traveling to the NoCo Mini Maker Faire in a couple of weeks and we are so excited!  We actually will have a table there displaying family fun–MAKER STYLE!

GOES-R_SPACECRAFTOur 11 year old daughter will be displaying a model of the GOES-Rsatellite she is building for a school project and our other kids will have cool stuff to show off as well.  We are in the process of thinking of what we will bring, show and make that day–it has been a real inspiration to us as a family.

What IF… Festival: Saturday, Sept. 7th 10am-4pm

We are so thrilled that the What IF… Festival is only a week away.  We have been patiently waiting and are now counting down!  Here is list of the festival experiences along with a map. 6-city blocks and100 exhibits…how to choose???

We looked through the booths and exhibits and are now trying to narrow things down.  Top on our list are the 3D printers, Artful Robotic Contraptions, Giant Bubbles, Water Balloon Sling Shot, Tinker Station, Clayfest, and others.

What IF... Festival Guide Cover

If you are a runner, or not, there is a Fun Run with costumes and all.  Definitely worth checking out.

Easy Humming Bird Feeder

Our family has always been a big fan of humming birds.  Our wonderful local Starsmore Discovery Center has programs that teach children and adults all about these amazing birds.  I have to say we’ve attended these programs at least ten or so times over the many years we’ve been going there with our kiddos and every time we have fun!

One of the cool things we learned in these classes is how to make our own humming bird feeder.  All you need is a clean baby food jar (glass works best) , a hammer and nail, some red spray paint, red yarn and a little wire.  First take the lid of the baby food jar and spray paint it red on the outside.  Once the paint has dried, take a large nail and hammer a hole in the center of the lid.  Next, flip the lid over and hammer the edges of the hole flat (on the inside of lid) so the hummers don’t cut their tiny tongues.  Twist some wire (safety wire works) around the neck of the baby food jar and twist to make a loop for hanging.  Add red yarn to help the humming birds find your feeder, and decorate as desired.


To make humming bird food simply mix 1 part white sugar with 4 parts water.  Stir the mixture to get the sugar to dissolve and fill your feeder.  NEVER add red food coloring, this can harm the birds.  Don’t use raw, brown or turbinado sugar or sucanat, these less processed sugars have too much iron for the little birds.  Also be sure to change your feeder every 3 days or so.  There’s nothing like discouraging them from visiting with old, moldy or syrupy food.  Keep the extra food in the fridge for about a week to make refilling easy.  Note: If you have bears in your area please take your feeders inside at night so not to attract the bears.  They love the sweet food and will learn bad habits even if they only find one feeder.