Thrift on Kent now open

thrift_on_kentI stopped by KW’s newest thrift store today. It’s “Thrift on Kent” and it’s another thrift store run by the Mennonite Central Committee. Its located at 50 Kent St. in Kitchener and the store clean and bright. I’m sure it will be a regular place for Kwartzlabbers, as this local maker space is directly across the street.

Drop by and check it out for yourself, but if you can’t make it, check out a few pictures I snapped.

One thing to note, from the street it looks like there is not any parking available, but in the back of the building there is a large parking lot with two access points from Kent (and it looked like one from Stirling). The parking lot also runs along the Iron Horse Trail if you happen to be walking or biking to the store.

A Motorino Milestone


This last week my Motorino Xpn e-bike passed the 6000 km mark. That’s roughly 100 commutes that I’ve made to and from the office. If you consider a (very) rough estimate of $10 a day for the gas I would use driving the family minivan on the same commute, I have saved approximately $1000. Not bad!

I’ve been riding this electric scooter for just under two seasons for my daily commute as often as the weather would allow. It’s my second e-bike, and it’s been treating me well. I know that I’m due for a new set of batteries with this many kilometres on it, but it’s still charging in about 8 hours, most times, so I’ll try to keep going until I don’t make it on a one-way trip before losing its charge. Buying a new set of batteries (I have eight 12 volt cells arranged to give 48v) will take a chunk out of the $1000 savings in gas, but it’s not all about saving money. It’s been a great way to keep us a one vehicle family, which is good for the environment, and good for the pocket book in more ways than just saving at the gas pumps.

Help me build my minion forces

minionsIn our area, a recent McDonald’s happy meal toy series has been the minions from the recent Descpicable Me 2 movie. Chances are, there are plenty of people out there that collected a few of these toys. If you’re like our family, these toys always end up in the garage sale “free basket” after be dug out from the bottom of the toy box years later.

What if, instead of leaving these things lying around houses all over the province, we could bring them all back together in one place? What would they all do when they’re together again? I’m not exactly sure, but I’d like to help these little guys out, but I need your help.

Here’s what we need to do. If you know me, bring your minions to me the next time you see me. If you know someone who knows me, drop the minions off at their place (and have a nice visit or chat while you’re there) and they can bring them to me the next time they see me. Once we get as many of these little guys together as we can, I’ll figure out something for them to do. It might be as simple as a cubicle display at work. It might be something more elaborate, or more sinister. I haven’t got any ideas yet, but I think it’s going to be wonderful. If you think of something, let me know.

What a loose connection will do


This is the breaker on my e-bike. Apparently I had a loose connection which caused arcing when I went over bumps. The breaker tripped a couple times while driving, and when I went to reset it, I realized that the wire and breaker were far too hot.

In the photo, I have pulled the connection out to show the melted insulation. The breaker is charred in places too. Luckily, the breaker is still functional, none of the circuitry is damaged and there isn’t much damage to the wiring. I cut back the wire and there was enough slack to tin a new connection and wire it back up.

It’s official, Cybernetimals are going to Maker Faire

Just got the word that my application for a table at the Waterloo Mini Maker Faire has been accepted. That means the Cybernetimals are going to meet the public. Yippee!

Since I want to have attendees be able to make their own Cybernetimal to take home, I’m looking for donations of gently used, clean and smoke-free stuffed animals and electronic waste parts (cables, small circuit boards, mechanisms, etc.). As well, I’m hoping to find an assortment of needles, stitch rippers and scissors… I have some, but the more I have the more people will be able to work at the same time.

If you have anything you would like to donate to the cause, let me know at

Thanks! Maker Faire is going to be monumental!

Easter egg creations

droid_egg The family tried some Easter egg creations this week. We were going to try some natural dyes, but opted for the quicker food colouring route, and we used some wax from a soy candle as a resist on some. It worked fairly well, but as you can see from my attempts, a finer brush and a steadier hand could have done better. We emptied the eggs of their contents first by using a push pin on either end to make holes, then blowing out the contents, filling with water and rinsing… not the easiest thing to do, but it worked. We sealed the openings with a bit of wax to hopefully keep any residue inside.smile_egg

Mini Maker Faire coming to the Region of Waterloo

wmmf It’s official. The Region of Waterloo is getting a Mini Maker Faire. June 15th, 2013 is the date. Kitchener city hall is the place.

Check out the official site at for updates. Follow them on twitter with @WaterlooMMF.

If you’re a maker and want to show off your creations, get in touch with them. If you’re a vendor that has stuff to sell to makers, get in touch with them. If you’re a speaker and want to talk to makers, get in touch with them. If you’re at all interested in what the maker movement is all about, then plan to attend.

It’s going to be great!