Featured Maker: WNYBAC

WNYBACWe got the chance to catch up with Melissa Ellis, Exhibitions and Retail Manager, at WNYBAC to answer questions about the business and provide insight to future makers leading up to Buffalo Mini Maker Faire, Saturday, May 20th. 

     1. Tell us about yourself and how you got started as an                      inventor/maker?

WNYBAC started in 2008/2009 as a educational nonprofit dedicated twnybac2o printmaking and preserving the book arts in Buffalo. Our storefront space at 468 Washington Street in downtown Buffalo is home to our letterpress and screenprint studios, a gallery, and a retail shop. Throughout the year we offer workshops for all ages and skill levels in book arts; paper making, bookbinding, lino/etching/letterpress/and screen printing, hand lettering and more! We also hold field trips and professional developments for groups of all ages. Currently, WNYBAC is run by three employees: Gail Nicholson; Executive Director, Rosemary Williams; Program Director, and Melissa Ellis; Exhibitions & Retail Manager. 

  1. What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider?

The first thing a new maker should consider is what their motivation is and grow from there.

  1. Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place?

WNYBAC sells a plethora of hand printed goods! Our store and online shops feature hand made posters, prints, notebooks, paper, coaster, postcards, stationery, greeting cards as well as consignment items from local and regional artists. 

  1. What has been your greatest success in business?

I think our greatest success throughout the years has been our community outreach and being able to bring educational programming to underprivileged youths throughout Western New York. We are able to show kids that they can be creative and learn the skills to make something that is both beautiful and meaningful. 

  1. What advice would you offer fellow inventors/makers who are in the beginning stages of development?

Don’t be afraid to take risks! Sometimes the most unusual ideas are the most successful. 

Want to know more about WNYBAC! Go visit the store at 468 Washington Street in Buffalo, or visit their Website, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page to find out more!

Pill Bug Composting with featured makers, Brianna Gore and Tegan Ohlson

Featured Makers, Brianna Gore and Tegan Ohlson, are making special bins to create a habitat for pill bugs that will allow them to compost food scrap wastes. Brianna was kind enough to discuss with us the duos work and share advice for future makers.

1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got started as an inventor/maker?

In fourth grade both I and Tegan were inspired by our enrichment teacher, Mrs. Honeck, to start thinking more creatively and out of the box. Then we had a Creation Fair where we made a huge art project where we drew cats in the style of Minecraft.

2. What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider?

They should consider changing how they think.  Think up as many ideas as you can and don’t be afraid to use them.  If you put it on paper follow through and make it a reality.

3. Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place?

Not at the moment, but we are working on it.

4. What has been your greatest success in business?

My greatest success in business was raising over $1000 at school for Spanish Club.

5. What advice would you offer other inventors/makers developing or wanting to develop products?

Don’t just think of your ideas and create.  Make sure you have people, a team, who support you.  People who won’t put you down, but will encourage you and your creativity in life and business.

Don’t forget to check them out at Buffalo Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, May 20th where they will have a display about pill bugs: what they really are, why they are good for our gardens and what it means when we find them in our homes!

LightForFitness with featured maker, Alan Haungs

Featured Maker, Alan Haungs, has presently available a patent pendingalan haungs light bulb filtering for circadian health. He was nice enough to answer some questions regarding himself, his product, and advice for future makers leading up to Buffalo Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, May 20th.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got started as an inventor/maker?

I decided to back to school once my youngest left the house for college. I acquired a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering at UB in 2011 in my early 50s. I primarily was interested in LED fabrication and PHOTONICS. My master’s thesis tile is Improved Design and Fabrication of Light Toxicity Chamber used for Light Induced Retinal Degeneration in Mice. It can be read online here.

  1. What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider?

They must absolutely believe in what that are about to engage in, otherwise they need to discover what that is.

  1. Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place?

Click here (and soon here) to see examples of my patent pending invention I am selling. More variants of this invention will be added to the website. Also, I am working on another light-hygiene invention that I will not discuss until the patent pending process is in place, and am presently collaborating with other light-hygiene business interests. Hopefully I will have my next invention ready to display at the Maker Fair.

And I sell light-hygiene products focused on the elderly, night workers, typical day workers, and persons suffering migraine.

  1. What has been your greatest success(es) in business?

Few people follow their own advice, but I am following my own advice. I employ gained knowledge to change my own habits, (my Master’s Thesis, my light toxicity chamber- see my online testimonial). IN SHORT, I fixed my own health concern with the same knowledge acquired through my degree that is integrated into my light hygiene business/inventions.

Also my success is with befriending and collaborating with other light-hygiene inventors. The following invention is the result of many hours of consultation I gave to the manufacturer. I NOW sell that product.

  1. What advice would you offer other inventors/makers developing or wanting to develop products?

It has to be something you absolutely believe in. That belief is what makes the struggle possible.

Go check out more of LightForFitness on their WebsiteFacebookInstagram or their Brick and Mortar store located at 219 Brigham Road, Dunkirk, NY, 14048. Don’t miss Alan’s radio interview on Sunday, April 9th after 4pm on 93.1 FM WBNY

Featured Maker: Richard Porter- Accessibility Hacks

As a repeat Maker for the Faire, Richard Porter is back again to demonstrate a voice-richard porter- maker faireoperated, 3D printed wheelchair control and a wheelchair power take-off created from an off-the-shelf USB car adapter. He is also planning to port the voice-command code to Android and will be able to discuss his experiences with that process.

Tell me a little about yourself and how you got started as an inventor/maker?

From childhood, I have always had an interest in making things. My father was an electrical engineer and built our television and stereo system from kits. He taught me how to solder and as I grew older allowed me to work on projects independently. Lately, I have been working with my daughter to create devices that allow my wife (whose mobility has been affected by MS) to maintain some degree of independence.

What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider?

A new inventor/maker should consider making something that is practical and useful and then find someone who has created something similar and has published directions. The quickest and easiest way to learn is by following in the footsteps of those who have blazed the trail before us. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have all of the parts and equipment on hand. Think of things that you do have that can substitute, or find out who does have the necessary parts/equipment and make a plan to borrow or purchase your own.

Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place?

I am not selling any of my creations at this time.

What has been your greatest success in business?

In the early 00’s I was a member of a team that developed and sold more than a hundred Linux-based servers for small to medium size businesses.

What advice would you offer other inventors/makers developing or wanting to develop products? 

If you want to sell a lot of product you need to have someone with good business and marketing skills on your team. Don’t be overly concerned about intellectual property rights when just getting started. A patent is useless if you don’t have the resources to defend it.

Want to know more about Richard and his Accessibility Hacks, check out his blog. And be sure to check him out at the Buffalo Mini Maker Faire on May 20th.

Call for Makers at 2017 Buffalo Mini Maker !

We are now accepting applications for creative makers of all kinds to be part of our fourth annual event! We are looking to showcase a diverse mix of makers, ranging from tech enthusiasts to crafters, homesteaders, scientists, garage tinkerers and inventors.

Makers include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • Scientists
  • Robotics, builders & clubs
  • 3D printing enthusiasts
  • Woodworkers, machinists & welders
  • App designers
  • Food makers, growers & foragers
  • Drone enthusiasts & builders
  • Knitters, weavers & yarn bombers
  • Engineers
  • Artists & sculptors
  • Fashion designers, costume makers
  • Automotive, motorcycle and bicycle designer/builders
  • Musical instrument makers
  • Lego, K’Nex & other builders
  • Puppeteers
  • Inventors & tinkerers
  • Cosplayers
  • Musicians
  • Performers, actors, comedians

There is no minimum age restriction – young makers are encouraged to apply. APPLY NOW!

Meet Romibo: Making & Social Robot Enhanced Learning

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Romibo is a social therapy robot developed by Carnegie Mellon University and utilized by Fine Art Miracles (FAM) – a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization offering art and music therapy and social robot enhanced learning. Using emerging technology, Romibo can move, speak and ask questions, and even track the eye movements of whomever is engaging with him. Finding that challenged and neuro-typical children have an easier time focusing for long periods of time when engaged with a robot, he has proven to be a valuable aid in the classroom, especially for children on the autism spectrum who have difficulty feeling comfortable interacting with people. Great improvements in social behavior have been attributed to interactions with this furry and friendly robot.

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Pre-Sale Tickets are Now Available!

Save time in line the day of the event by purchasing your tickets in advance! Entry to Buffalo Mini Maker Faire is included with Museum admission and free for BMS members. Buy Now!

To ensure that sufficient general admission tickets are available at the door the day of the event, pre-purchase tickets are limited. Member discounts on admission will be applied at checkout once you login using the email address associated with your member record. While Buffalo Mini Maker Faire is included with Museum admission and free for members, members are still required to order tickets to benefit from using the pre-sale ticket only line at the event however no fee will be applied. Learn more about attending Buffalo Mini Maker Faire.

Not a Museum member? Add a membership to your cart before checkout and receive free event admission for everyone covered under your membership level.

Museum Exhibits: Roofing Nails, Improvised Mounts

Recently the museum opened Biodiversity, a new science studio highlighting the museum’s animal specimens.  With such a diverse cast of characters we needed an effective way to inform our guests of what they were looking at.  The answer was a tried-and-true numbering system.  The challenge we faced was how do we mount hexagonal numbers in a cost effective way?  We needed a wire like material with a broad mounting surface.  After some brainstorming we decided on roofing nails.


We went with roofing nails for a few reasons.  First, they have large heads which gave us a nice surface area to mount the numbers to.  Second, they’re really easy to bend.  Lastly, they’re quite inexpensive.

The process was pretty straight forward.

We clamped the nails down in a vice, resting them on scrap bar stock for a uniform height where the bend would be.

Then, using a piece of pipe we had lying around, bent the nails to a ninety degree angle.  The leverage created from the length of pipe made the bending a piece of cake.  We repeated this step a whole bunch of times.


Once we had all our nails bent we arranged them in foam blocks for mass priming and a coat of paint to match the exhibit space.

Next we marked the locations of where the heads would sit on the hexagons and attached them.

All that was left do was install them.

A simple solution and all told the mounts cost us under forty dollars.

Carmine’s Throne

The other day, we happened upon a young Maker in the midst of creating right here at the Museum. According to dad, four (and 3/4) year-old Carmine set out to build what was originally going to be a huge castle.

As he started telling me where the blocks should go, he saw a perfect spot to put a king’s chair – a “throne”. And Carmine’s throne became reality, complete with a moat in front! Everything had to be perfectly balanced and we had to use EVERY block in the room or the project wouldn’t be complete.

Of course dad helped with some of the heavy lifting, but Carmine was the brains and Maker behind the project!

Dissecting Visual Art with featured Maker, Mark Snyder

Mark Snyder is a visual artist whose work investigates themes of danger and masculinity. Frequently Snyder dissects icons from the world of auto-racing, such as sports cars and dragsters, and reconstructs them into sculptural objects that challenge our understanding of the machine, its inner workings, and its effects on the social psyche. Continue reading