Be A Maker

is the hands-on, maker-based learning initiative of The Betty Brinn Children's Museum of Milwaukee. The activities are aimed at STEAM for young children and as a host of resources available as open source for educators and museums around the world.

Gooey-Pi, piDAR, and EasEE as pi



Just a simple GUI to setup a Raspberry PI's GPIO pins

Pair it with EasEE as Pi or PiDAR to control a Raspberry Pi for your IO needs

EasEE As Pi

A simple setup and boot script to make the Pi's GPIO pins more accessible. Even for experienced programmers it should make the time needed to setup a Pi for GPIO control much faster.

Set pins as timed or toggled, input pins can contol multiple output pins or multiple input pins can affect a single output pin.


Making the Raspberry Pi into a customizable Digital Audio Repeater

For pinouts on a raspberry pi goto

Note that everything is handled by the settings which the program looks for in the boot directory. You should expand the boot partition to as big as you need it to be. This can be done using tools like the MiniTool Partition Wizard

This is done to make changing audio files as painless as possible with piDAR

This script uses pygame for streaming audio and according to their documentation only handles ogg, wav, and has some mp3 functionality

Currently it supports only 1 stream, in the future multiple simultaneous streams will also be an option but I had problems trying to buffer that many songs and streaming 1 at a time was much more manageable.

Tiny Light Wand


A simple cheap light wand for time lapse photography

This is for controlling a strip of 50 neopixels or ws2812s with several preprogrammed animations. Using about 5$ in parts for the board and 20$ or so for the remaining materials.


Board Parts:

  • ATTiny85 ~$1
  • L7805 5V voltage regulator ~$.50
  • 9V Battery depends on the brand
  • 9V Battery connector ~$.50
  • momentary/toggle switch x2 ~$1

Wand Parts:

  • 20mm x 20mm 80/20 aluminum x profile extrusion ~$10 size will depend on led spacing etc...
  • neopixel/ws2812 strip ~$15

To program the ATTinys follow the tutroial written by the High-Low Tech guys over at MIT:

This program uses the bounce 2 libary found here:

I also slightly changed the adafruit neopixel library to give it an easy color structure to work with but the normal library will work as long as you change all the uses of the color structure

Snowflake Generator

Project Location:

A port of Evil Mad Scientist's snowflake maker.

This changes the processing code into openframeworks and adds in a few features like:

  • determining the polywinding mode
  • instead of exporting to a pdf it exports to an SVG.
  • Slider for number of sides

What is polywinding? This website has a pretty good explanation of the concept

Basically it determines holes in a shape based on how the lines overlap. There are more than just the ones this program has but since we are exporting to an svg they only have either even-odd or non-zero windings

BAM Plot

Project Location:

Repurposing an old HP Pen Plotter to create drawings using markers and other drawing utensils. The plotter's 25 pin interface was replaced with usb serial communications and the servo motors replaced with steppers. The redone plotter was slower but more compatible with newer computers and now had a joystick and buttons to play around with it freehand.

Sequence Synthesizer