Two members from our first Eco Makers Meeting:  Doug Windham and Ellen Gerardis 

Eco Maker Cluster Group Met on Monday

July is filling up fast with volunteer activities for me here in Garland, Texas.  Two days ago on Monday we held our first get-acquainted Garland Area MakerSpace Cluster group at my home--Eco Makers. Although the material we will explore will not be limited to plastics, plastic will likely be a prominent feature among our materials that we use to make items.  In fact we plan to explore how recycled plastic might even become the product itself.  It's possible that recycled plastic could grow into the rate of exchange for membership fees in our Makerspace.

According to an Israeli study undertaken in 2012 known as the 5x2 initiative, there is a strategy that organizations can follow to multiply the impact of collaboration that includes the following factors that I’ve applied to our worldwide problem of plastic waste as follows.

  1. An external social problem, defined and recognized by the government/authorities  [Example:  Plastic Waste]
  2. Relatedness to the organization’s business value [Among many other results that the Garland Area Makerspace are expecting, we are also expecting an uplifting of our local economy as a result of job creation resulting from new and useful products designed by Garland Area MakerSpace makers.]
  3. An ability to contribute added value to the problem’s solution that goes beyond budget investment  [We can create our own local plastics recycling center that is positioned to meet the increasing need from manufacturers for recycled plastics.]
  4. An opportunity to leverage organizational capabilities [As a nonprofit we are eligible for grants to get this project off the ground and operating eventually as a job creation source for our community.]

Potential partner organizations that bring professionalism, and (internally) lacking capabilities  [We have access to many local organizations (private and commercial) to support us in building a successful plastics recycling center to meet the increasing market needs for recycled plastic.]

Some of our recycled plastics will of course be used as materials for local makers too.

Garland Area Makerspace might be able to capitalize on recycling plastic waste

It might be possible that recycled plastic becomes the currency to pay for our building, operating expenses and tools--thus making membership free.  The sale of our recycled plastics to third party customers would be the source of this capital.  Yes, like any new manufacturing business, it will take some time to get established but the possibility with all its potential is there.



Here I am holding two solar-powered ultrasonic repellent devices at the Garland Community Garden

Tuesday Additions to the Garden:  Supporting our "Send them Back to the Woods" Policy

In keeping with our garden policy as a national wildlife habitat we are already preparing for the fall when snakes and mice (food for snakes begin to seek refuge from the cold in compost and brush piles.  Yesterday (Tuesday July 10) Jane and I installed two solar-powered ultrasonic repellent devices at the Garland Community Garden. We will be inserting many other brands of these devices at the garden.  These devices are safe for use around pets and children.  They have no troublesome chemical or nuisance pesticides, no trap resulting in dead animals to deal with.  This particular device sends out vibrations and sounds every 30 seconds which are said to effectively repel snakes, mice, moles and raccoons.   We want to keep the critters in the riparian area that border the garden, in between us and the creek.


Artie Moskowitz of 3D Printer Farms demonstrates removal of supportive material from plastic prosthetic hand as Mark Busnell, Vice President of Garland Area Makerspace watches

Garland Area MakerSpace Monthly Meeting Tuesday July 10
Free Prosthetics for People all over the world!

I attended another great meeting of the Garland Area Makerspace and as usual, learned a lot.  Artie Moskowitz brought the parts of several prosthetic hands for us assemble.  In addition to building the hands we also learned about the nonprofit group E-NABLE who support efforts to build prosthetic hands for people all over the world.  Most of the people who are recipients of these prosthetic hands are children who otherwise would never have such a device.  This is true even for children in the USA.  Often insurance companies won't pay any part of the expense of a prosthetic for a child because they will outgrow it.  The beauty of these hands is the cost is nominal at no more than $15.  On the more inexpensive 3D printers, it takes about 8 hours to print out the part.  Once you get the hang of it, a prosthetic hand can be assembled in an hour.

Ivan, showing his metal hand in the foreground.

The story of N-EABLE is another story of the difference that one person can make in the lives of so many.  In 2011 Ivan Owen created a crazy metal functioning hand to wear to a steampunk convention.  Afterward, Ivan decided to make a you tube video of it.  That video led to an email to Ivan from a carpenter in South Africa who had lost his fingers.  That led to a collaboration across 10,000 miles for a year to create a replacement finger for him.  That then led to the mother of a 5-year old boy contacting them to see about the creation of a small version of a hand for a little boy named Liam who lives in South Africa who was born with no fingers on his right hand.

Instead of patenting the design for this new hand and making a profit, Ivan decided to publish the design files as open-source and public domain so that not only Liam could have a hand but so that people could download and print these devices for anyone that needed one too anywhere in the world.

E-NABLE started with about 100 people who were simply offering to print files on their 3D printers that were already in existence. Then designers started joining and innovating, collaborating and re-sharing the improved design back into the universe.  Within the first year e-Nable community grew to over 3,000 people who create over 750 hands for people around the world.  All these 3D printed hands and arms are free to the end-users thanks to volunteers.

Turns out you don't have to be a geek to make one of these hands.  In fact, teachers are teaching school children how to build these hands for other children.  

Artie mentioned last night that he would be happy to teach some teachers here in Garland how to do this.  He has plenty of experience.  Not only does he own his own 3D printer company, Artie has himself printed and assembled over 50 prosthetic devices for people all over the world in the past couple of years.

If you are interested, here is Artie's contact information:

Artie Moskowitz

3D printer farms . com




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