What’s new in the maker community.

  • 3DVarius: Classical Meets Tomorrow January 5, 2018
    Over Coffee® is headed to Las Vegas for CES 2018!  Don’t miss our coverage, starting January 9th.  Meanwhile, here is one of our most popular podcast episodes, recorded at CES 2017’s Eureka Park® .
    Musican Laurent Bernadac displays his 3D printed "3DVarius" classical violin at CES 2017

    “This violin is for me.  So I love it!” says professional violinist, mechanical engineer and 3DVarius creator Laurent Bernadac.

    So do a lot of his fellow musicians, as they play his creation: the world’s first concert-quality 3D printed electric violin!

    We met and talked with Laurent during CES® 2017.    At the time, he was exhibiting–and allowing musicians to play–his 3DVarius at CES’ Eureka Park area.  And he had just made his first U.S. sale of the 3DVarius.  (His company is based in France.)

    With the arrival of 2018, Laurent is again preparing to bring 3DVarius to the U.S.  He ‘s headed back to the NAMM Show in Anaheim in late January, with both his 4- and 5-string 3DVarius violins, AND two new models, according to his Facebook page.

    As we explored Eureka Park® and CES® 2017, Laurent took the time to talk with us and share the story of creating the 3DVarius.

    In this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Laurent came to choose 3D printing for his new violin;
    • Some of the challenges involved in creating it;
    • Laurent’s experiences testing and showcasing his new instrument;
    • His advice to fellow makers and innovators;
    • Where to see and hear the “3DVarius” and meet Laurent!
    • (Want to hear something fun?  Here’s the link to Laurent’s YouTube channel, and his family “3DXmas” greeting!)

    See you at CES 2018, happening January 9-12, 2018 in Las Vegas!  This is the 51st edition of the show, and we expect to be going, “Whoa!” on a regular basis as we check out the newest developments in robotics, 3D printing, AR, VR and wearables.

  • LCFTRA: The Best Kind of “Panda-Monium” December 30, 2017

    LCFTRA panda heads await decoration and attachment to their Rose Parade float

    Creativity and project planning are a special challenge when you’re making something that weighs several tons.

    Throw into the mix: your finished product will move at about two miles per hour, make millions of people laugh and remain current for about a week.

    Pam Wiedenbeck stands near "Panda-Monium" float at La Canada Flintridge float barn

    That’s a challenge which Pam Wiedenbeck, and La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, relish.

    Pam is La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association’s treasurer.  And LCFTRA is one of six community organizations which designs and constructs its own Rose Parade® float noncommercially.

    LCFTRA float in progress

    (They’re also multiple award-winners!  According to their website, their Rose Parade® float entries have received twenty-six trophies since 1978.)

    LCFTRA volunteers glue dried green leaves on the snake's body

    As volunteers decorated their 2018 float, two days before its departure for the 129th Rose Parade®, Pam talked about this year’s float and how LCFTRA is already looking ahead to 2019!

    LCFTRA volunteers work with white roses

    (And–here’s an early heads-up.  If you didn’t get to decorate a Rose Float this year, and wanted to, keep LCFTRA’s information.  As a nonprofit organization, they won’t mind a bit if you’d like to support them or volunteer in the future!)

    In this special edition of Over Coffee®, you will hear:
    • The story of “Panda-Monium”, LCFTRA’s float in the 2018 Rose Parade;
    • How to enter LCFTRA’s float concept contest for the 2019 parade;
    • The three criteria behind LCFTRA’s choice for a winning concept (Anyone can enter!  Details are available at, and the deadline’s January 17th);
    • The process of creating the float;
    • How LCFTRA obtained a unique (and expensive) decorating material for “Panda-Monium”;
    • Some of the final decorating steps for the 2018 float;
    • What will happen on Sunday evening, as “Panda-Monium” prepares to travel to its parade lineup position;
    • One of Pam’s favorite stories, about creating this year’s Rose Parade® float.
      LCFTRA volunteer cuts wheatgrass to make a monkey's hair

    Don’t miss the 129th annual Rose® Parade, starting at 8 am, Pacific time, Monday, January 1, 2018!  Look for La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association’s “Panda-Monium” just after the Valley Hunt Club and “Forum” floats appear, according to the official parade program.

  • Flowers, Glue and Magic December 29, 2017
    by Dot CannonVolunteers on scaffolding glue white petal trim atop a ""Forum" float

    “There (will be) about 200,000 flowers, just on this float alone,” a guide told visitors.

    Doors had just opened at 11 on Friday morning, at Phoenix Decorating Company’s Rose Float Plaza South.   The Irwindale facility was hosting Day Two of “Decorating Places”.

    Visitors explore massive warehosue space with floats

    And the general public was getting to see the float decorating process, up close, during final preparations for the 129th Rose Parade®.

    Staffer glues materials on a bright red car with "2018" on it

    “The planning that’s involved takes almost all year long,” said Tournament of Roses® Decorating Places Chair Jason Melillo.

    “And the best part of the experience is when we open for business, and everything that we’ve planned…

    Red Forum Club float with white archway and volunteers working

    …comes to fruition and you get to see the smiles on people’s faces as they come through the facility, and see the ‘wow factor’ of the floats up close.

    Volunteers in yellow Petal Pushers T shirts with red roses surround a rabbit float

    “It’s just seeing people’s smiling faces, as they enjoy the work that we put in all year.”

    guests walk through center aisle surrounded by floats at Rose Plaza South

    Smiles and questions abounded, as visitors previewed of some of the 44 floats that will make their appearance on Monday morning.

    Volunteers work on carriage float with soda bottles

    “Every square inch, every bit of the float has to be covered with something organic,” one guide explained to a small group.

    seed chart with different types of dried materials for use on Rose Parade floats

    closeup of seed chart with dry materials for various colors and textures

    That meant that a lot of precision work needed to happen.  And the facility was bustling.

    Three young men sit on a green girder above a float to add dry materials

    Volunteers cut and glue flowers for Farmers Insurance float

    Volunteers at table gluing on dry materials

    “We have volunteers from all over the world doing this,” commented a Rose Parade® ambassador.

    Jason said Rose Float Plaza South, which is a new location for Phoenix Decorating Company this year, is a 120,000-square-foot facility.  During Day One of “Decorating Places”, a Phoenix staffer had mentioned that it housed 17 floats.

    And everyone we saw was justifiably proud of the activities in which they were involved.

    Ed Stelling near Lutheran Hour float in Phoenix Decorating Company's Irwindale float facility

    “This is the 65th year we’ve been doing (this),” said Lutheran Hour Float committee member Ed Stelling, as his group decorated their float, “Bringing Christ to the Nations”.

    “We’ll have seven Purple Heart recipients on our float.  One of them is a woman,” said one of the representatives of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float, “Sacrifice to Serve”.

    three young women prepare the "Rose Parade" banne float

    “We convoy (the floats) the night of the 31st,” a guide told visitors.  “They leave here between 5 and 6, and get to (their parade lineup locations) by midnight…

    Making a Difference Rose Parade theme banner awaits flowers

    “It’s kind of a party atmosphere.”



    “Decorating Places presented by Giti Tire” continues  Saturday, December 30, at both Phoenix Decorating Company’s Rosemont Pavilion and Rose Float Plaza South.  Tickets are also available (advance purchase only) for Sunday, December 31.  Here’s the link for informaiton.
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