Maker Spotlight: FIRST Robotics Teams – Screaming Chickens and Steel Stallions

FIRST‘s Mission…

…is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Screaming Chickens, FRC team 3997


Who are you, and what do you make?
We’re the Screaming Chickens, FRC Team 3997, and we make robots…..BIG ROBOTS!

How did you get started making robots?
I found the right group of people to learn how to build robots and compete with them.
What is your favorite part about making robots?

The entire process of designing, building, wiring,and programming the robot to complete a specific task.

What is the most difficult part about making robots?
Finding sponsorships to fund these expensive robotics parts.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in learning how to make robots?
Do your research and find a good group to work with.


Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?

To see the amazing things people have made, including our awesome 7 barrel t-shirt cannon and our other robots!

Steel Stallions, FRC team 4412 and FTC team 4416


Who are you, and what do you make?

We are the The Steel Stallions Robotics Club of the School of Science and Technology San Antonio. As a team, we are responsible for designing, building and programing robots used in FIRST Robotics Competitions. The team is responsible for manufacturing robots for two divisions of competitions, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC). Although both robots for both competitions require an equal amount of dedication and complexity in planning and execution, FTC handles a much smaller robot in comparison to the massive FRC robot.

How did you get started making robots?

The team officially began in the fall of 2012 with a roster of only four confused, but dedicated students. Equipped with the most basic set of tools, supplies, and a limited scope of Robotics knowledge the Steel Stallions went on to achieve victory is many regional competitions. The team achieved a ranking within the top 15% of competing teams for both FTC and FRC divisions with the first two years of competing. Currently, the team has flourished and expanded to a roster of 17 members with a new vision of mentoring those interested in Robotics, the foundations of manufacturing and programming.

What is your favorite thing about making robots?
Excellence, dedication, discipline. These are the crucial qualities needed to achieve success at any level. The greatest benefit of being a Steel Stallion is cultivating these qualities, providing an invaluable advantage in this competitive world. Furthermore, the Steel Stallions provides members with a sense of comradery and the opportunity to mentor and learn from each other, encouraging cooperative problem solving.


What is the most difficult part of making robots?
As a young Robotics team with a flood of new members, one of our greatest challenges is funding. With the influx of new members, more safety equipment and tools are required to maintain efficient productivity. Funding is also needed to cover registration for competitions which cost $300 for FTC, and $6000 dollars for FRC. Fundraising is done to cover the cost, along with solicitations to local businesses for any form of support in return for advertisement. Although funding is what is greatly needed, any form of help is always appreciated and welcomed.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in making robots?
To those interested in coaching or creating a Robotics team, be forewarned; it will consume a copious amount of time and dedication, yet the satisfaction of competing and the most prestigious Robotics competing is immense. To the captains of a Robotics team; always have a meticulous plan of what objectives or goals need to be achieved and never be afraid to ask for help. Lastly, to a every Robotics member; always maintain a degree of professionalism with other members and those outside the team. It will leave a lasting impression.

Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?
If you are interested in any field of technology, the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire is an excellent event to visit. With a plethora of booths by different groups, individuals, and organizations, there is a guaranteed chance something will captivate your mind. Whether it be the complexity of the language of 1’s and 0’s, or the awesome power of 3D printing. Even if you are a luddite, you should still check out the Faire. There will surely be something there that will call your curiosity and capture your attention.

Maker Spotlight: 10BitWorks

Who are you, and what do you make?10bitworks-hacker-maker-space-san-antonio-store-front-1024x576

10BitWorks is a non-profit, membership-supported project coworking space and learning center concept known as a hackerspace or maker space. 10BitWorks is located in San Antonio, Texas as a garage-lab environment where hobbyists get together to make their own creations whether practical, experimental, or just for fun. Those hobbyists mentor each other and others in the domains of engineering, science, design, and art.
How did you get started making the thing that you make?

10BitWorks was organized to help support, sponsor, and execute training and education. To complement this effort, 10BitWorks maintains a collaborative workspace for various engineering, science, art, and trade-craft disciplines and as a location to hold training, education, and community building events.
What is your favorite part about making the thing that you make?

Seeing the spark in someone’s eyes as they learn something new. Whether it’s a kid learning how to use a CAD program to design and create something on a 3-D printer, or  grown professional trying something different, the satisfaction of sharing, teaching, and learning is what motivates everyone at 10bitworks hackerspace.
What is the most difficult part about making the thing that you make?

Time & money. As an all volunteer organization it’s a challenge to do what we do with very limited resources.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in learning how to make the thing that you make?

“Come and Make It!” . That’s our slogan. Stop sitting on the couch wondering if you can do something; get up and give it a try. Come to 10bitworks open house any Saturday and see what we do, what YOU can do. You will find friendly faces, ready willing and able to help you learn something new.
Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?

Because you can’t see the elephant if you don’t go to the circus!

Interested in 10BitWorks? Here’s a look at what some of the members are working on for the Faire:

Call for Volunteers

The Faire is fast approaching, and we still need some volunteers. All volunteering will happen on the day of the Faire, October 17. Here’s an idea of what we need:

Setup/Breakdown – From 8-10 am, our Makers will need help getting their equipment from their vehicles to their booths and setting up their booths. From 4-6 pm, they will need help breaking down their booths and transporting equipment back to vehicles.

Registration/Checkin (multiple shifts) – From 11-4, friendly volunteers will take tickets from attendees and assist those who do not have tickets to register. These volunteers will be attendees first Faire face, so they may do a bit of explaining what the Faire is and directional assistance.

Runners (multiple shifts) – From 12-4, runners will check on Makers, provide breaks and other assistance as needed, and pass along communication between Makers and Faire organizers. These volunteers may also be called upon to assist with directions for Faire attendees.

Workshop Help (multiple shifts) – Three hour-long workshops will take place during the Faire. Two volunteers are needed to help with a marbling workshop, and one will be needed to help at the DoSeum’s spy workshop.

Photo/Video (multiple shifts) – These volunteers will travel throughout the Faire from 11-4, documenting the day with photographs and video footage. They may also conduct interviews with Makers and attendees. We are hoping to mobilize a teen documentary force at this event and edit the material into cohesive A/V showcase of the first annual San Antonio Mini Maker Faire.


Maker Spotlight: OCTA-TETRA Museum

Octa-Tetra 1

I am Dan Suttin.  I make 3-D geometrical “models.” Artists call them “sculptures,” but mathematicians call them “models;” they are all based on “polyhedra” (whatever they are)—- OCTA-TETRA models (whatever that means), Gyroscope and Electra Modular Origami models, Curved-Fold Papercraft Models, Swirlie Models (Huh?)……..

I am a retired math teacher —  my “day job”, my “retirement job,” is as a math tutor at San Antonio College.


My real passion is my “OCTA-TETRA Museum” at 1100 Broadway (#305), where you can see the things I make, OR you can make them too.  It’s a learning space where students come to learn about art, architecture, engineering, science, and mathematics all at the same time.  I can accommodate groups up to 12 for a presentation and a hand-on activity.  OR, I can pack it up and bring it to you; so here I am at the “San Antonio Mini Maker Faire”.  Come and See!

Find the OCTA-TETRA Museum on Facebook!  

For more information about the OCTA-TETRA Museum, check out these stories:

San Antonio College “Ranger” video 

KSAT News video

Express News

Maker Spotlight: Ponytrap


Who are you, and what do you make?
We are Ponytrap! (Quentin and Hilary Thomas-Oliver) and we make NOISE! We’re musicians who play classical instruments along with our very own home-made robot drummers.

How did you get started making robot drummers?
Necessity. The music we play strays pretty far off the beaten path. We tried for years to find the right drummer(s) and it just never quite worked. So we decided to build one instead.

What is your favorite part about making robot drummers?
Our machines allow us to make exactly the kind of music when, where, and how we want to make it.

What is the most difficult part about making robot drummers?
Things break! Sometimes it’s all explodey fun, but often it’s just wicked frustrating. We try to remember that, either way, it’s a learning process.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in learning how to make a robot drummer?
Patience. Begin with a clear idea of your goals and be flexible when the process demands a change of plans. Also… check out the article we wrote for MakeZine 🙂

Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?
Because we’re all makers! Come for inspiration and community.

Maker Spotlight: Geekbus

Geekbus, a mobile makerspace dedicated to providing STEM educational opportunities to the students of South Texas.

Who are you, and what do you make?

We are the Geekbus and through our programs we make Makers!

We teach programs such as 3D Printing, Robotics, Hardware Engineering, Software programming, circuitry, rockets and much more to students all over South Texas.

How did you get started making the thing that you make?

SASTEMIC has operated the Geekbus as a mobile makerspace since November 2013.  We were gifted the Geekbus from Rackspace and Geekdom, and outfitted it with everything you could need for a mini, mobile, makerspace and have toured the South Texas region ever since, reaching over 20,000 students and community members.

What is your favorite part about making the thing that you make?

When students have their “ah-ha” moments in class and realize they can be makers and create amazing technology right now.

What is the most difficult part about making the thing that you make?

There are more students in San Antonio than we can see in a year, and every student should know they can be makers too.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in learning how to make the thing that you make?

Find something that interests you and do not feel ashamed if you get bored or find another interest; there is so much that you can do.

Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?

Everyone should come to the SA Mini Maker Faire because it is great for introductory making experiences or finding new ideas.

Spread the Word! One month until the Faire!

Want to print a copy of our poster or flyer? Spread the word on social media? Find our graphics here! Be sure to tag us in your post – @samakerfaire and San Antonio Mini Maker Faire on Facebook!SAMMF_2000x2589

Update: San Antonio Makers are awesome!


The Call for Makers is closed, and the San Antonio community has really stepped up! Keep an eye out for a series of posts showcasing some of the Makers you’ll see at the Faire – from robotics and 3D printing to handweaving and spycraft, there’s sure to be something for everyone at the first annual San Antonio Mini Maker Faire.

What is a Mini Maker Faire, anyway?

What is a Mini Maker Faire?

“Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, and students. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned… It is a community-based learning event that inspires everyone to become a maker, and connect with people and projects in their local community. Yet, Maker Faire is a “fair” — fun, engaging, and exciting.” –

What is there to do at a Mini Maker Faire?

All kinds of things! Of course, there’s plenty to see. Maybe you’ll check out an art car, watch an aerial acrobatic performance, listen to a speaker session about organic gardening, or catch a musical act. You could also learn to weave, solder a simple circuit, or make a marshmallow shooter out of PVC pipe. 

Who comes to a Mini Maker Faire?

Everyone! Mini Maker Faires are for all ages – children and families, teens, and adults. There’s something for everyone, and everyone is welcome.

Who exhibits at a Mini Maker Faire?

Makers. All kinds of makers. If you make something, you can answer our Call For Makers – knitters, robot builders, bicycle mechanics, computer programmers, painters, poets, homesteaders, scientists, engineers, paper artists, educators, and cooks are all welcome to exhibit.

Why is the library hosting a Mini Maker Faire?

Libraries have historically been places for making and learning, from storytime to teen craft and technology programming to author lectures. Hosting a Mini Maker Faire is simply an extension of this practice. San Antonio has a large and diverse creative community, and this will be an excellent opportunity for residents to learn from and connect with members of that community. The library’s role as community gathering place and our commitment to providing educational opportunities make us an ideal host for a Mini Maker Faire. Plus, we love to make stuff!

Call for Makers now open!

The San Antonio Mini Maker Faire will be a vibrant showcase of the projects and talents of all types and ages of local makers – that is, anyone in San Antonio who likes to make stuff and wants to share it with an interested audience.

If you are interested in having a Maker booth at the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire, please fill out this form.

Everyone is welcome to apply! Notification of acceptance will occur on a rolling basis over the next 8 weeks. Participation is not guaranteed.

We are especially interested in these types of projects:

    • student projects
    • Arduino projects
    • Raspberry Pi
    • rocketry and RC toys
    • fixing things or taking things apart
    • textile arts and crafts
    • robotics
    • new or traditional handicrafts
    • 3D printing or CNC
    • interactive art projects
    • food makers
    • electronics
    • participatory projects (ex. silkscreening, stamping, “make and takes” where participants leave with something they’ve made)