Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire – Saturday, June 4, 2016


I’m excited to share that I will be presenting at the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 4, 2016! This time around, I will be making several projects live, and shooting videos of the entire process, as well as showing examples of past projects and videos. 

This year, the A2 Mini Maker Faire has changed locations to the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown branch. Come see how this process of shooting and editing video of maker projects can work! 

DIY Custom Pedalboard from Reclaimed Wood

maker, music

Check out my latest project video, in which I built a custom pedalboard for my guitar rig using reclaimed wood. The main body is made from two reclaimed bed rails, which appear to be maple. The shelves are from several pieces of reclaimed plywood. I tried making a bowtie (aka butterfly or Dutchman key) for the first time, and also used David Picciuto’s splined miter jig for the first time as well.

Guest Interview on MakerCast, the Podcast for Makers


I recently had a great conversation with Jon Berard, the host of the MakerCast podcast. If you’re interested, take a listen to my MakerCast Interview.

To say that Bill Van Loo is multi-talented would be underselling things. Though Bill has switched careers several times over, he is coming up on a decade of teaching. Bill works as a technology and engineering teacher at A2STEAM, a public K-8 school in Ann Arbor, MI. In his personal life, Bill is a photographer, musician, lifetime learner, and maker. This interview with Bill covers a range of topics, including:

– STEM/STEAM programs and their role in eliminating the Skills Gap

– Integrating different domains, especially engineering and the arts

– Learning from failure (and being willing to fail)

– Taking pleasure from small successes

– The evolution of technology, education, and technology education

– The role of community in the learning process

MakerCast Interview with Bill Van Loo

Working through some audio tests


I spent a little time tonight running audio tests with my new Audio-Technica wired lavalier mic plugged into my camera. I’m using a Canon T3i with the ATR3350 lavalier mic.

After listening to the recordings of the AT lav mic and testing iMovie’s noise reduction, it doesn’t bode that well for the little, inexpensive lav (it’s about $25, so no harm done).

While the lav mic sounds more full, it’s got a really high noise floor (lots of background hiss). Since I don’t care much for how iMovie handles its “reduce background noise” feature (it introduces a lot of weird artifacts; full of pumping audio, garbled sounds, and generally underwater-sounding audio), that’s not good. I may do a more full set of audio tests in the future; I’m not sure if this little mic is going to make the cut for my audio/video production needs.

New videos: GEMMA, NeoPixels, and PiFace!

maker, teaching

Reflection on my teaching and the tools I use has long been a part of my teaching practice, and I have a few new videos to share.

The first is from a project I did at the end of winter break, when we got lucky with an extra snow day. This gave me an opportunity to play with the Adafruit GEMMA, a small microcontroller designed for wearables. Here’s the video:


Also, I’ve been teaching a new afterschool Scratch workshop this winter, and I got a new tool for the Raspberry Pi that is perfect for introducing physical computing and interaction. It’s called the PiFace Digital, and the video below gives a quick tour of this exciting new add-on.