Grandforks Fall Fair.

Fun at the Grand Forks Fall fair.

theSTEAMtruck was a welcome addition to the fall fair in the child entertainment section.


The hit for day 1 was the 3D printing where we ran off-grid the 3D printers to create dinosaurs, mini-cars and the usual Makers Making Change assistive devices.

Day 2 was spent playing with squishy circuits and watching the drawbot doing its thing.

Alongside the truck were two AMAZING kids activities:

  • The amazing squash racetrack - kids decorate enormous donated zucchinis and race them down a sloped 4-lane track
  • The test your skill meandering wire ring to follow a wire structure with car horn buzzer. Both these ideal additions to our upcoming Salmo Valley Fall Fest.

Calls to bring back the ‘scream-o-meter’ were also heard!


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How NOT to fix a chopsaw switch.

Another great repair job.

As part of theSTEAMtruck activities recently we were called upon to fix a well used chopsaw with a reported ‘iffy’ power switch.

Well! What a discovery after opening the housing to find apiece of wood jammed in by a prior “hacker” to fix the broken switch lever supports.


The idea was good but the remedy was anything but good. As can be seen in the picture the wood shim eventually cracked and provided no support at all.

The real fix was to mill out the old broken support and add a new screw and solid plastic insert to ensure a rigid, solid structure.

Sad that good money was spent on such a hack job by persons unknown in the past.

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..and the Tools keep Coming!

The Tool Collection for theSTEAMbus continues to grow.

The week after the bus arrived a welcome delivery of a package to test for Canadian Tire was collected from the Purolator Depot in Trail. WOW! A marvelous set of 200+ socket-set and wrenches in its own worktop drawer style toolbox. A video and user feedback comment to follow soon.

Additional to this we have now received a useful donation of a full set of screw drivers and ring wrenches

Now located in the bus we also have the tools that were donated in 2017 including the following items:

  • an Oscilloscope
  • radial arm saw - (assortment of blades required)
  • chop saw
  • pottery wheel (motor speed control pedal under development)
  • vacuum cleaner
  • filter coffee machine
  • weller soldering station
  • Singer sewing machine
  • 100W soldering/cutting gun
  • several small items


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theSTEAMbus arrives

theSTEAMtruck has a partner at home - Welcome home to theSTEAMbus!

theSTEAMbus arrived yesterday at 4721 Eerie Ross Spur Road to be converted into the first local open MakerSpace. _config.yml

Having served its life out as the South Columbia Search and Rescue Mobile Command center its been saved from the recyclers to be converted into a local MakerSpace.

Shortly a work party will be arranged to clean/paint, redecal, plan, strip and start the installation of several donated tools and equipment. While the vehicle is no longer licensed for road use it will be here to stay unless/until and more suitable venue is identified.

Initially the facility will be open to anyone that has demonstrated safe use of the tools and equipment. Access will be by a secure combination code lock on the access door. Some very basic rules of use will be established and all/any users will be required to accept and complete a waiver form.

Open public days/evenings will be set up in due course.

Note the facility is Off-grid and powered by solar energy and batteries. Limited washroom facilities in the form of an outhouse is available in the vicinity.

Here are the ONLY two Kootenay MakerSpaces on wheels alongside each other.


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Latest tool for theSTEAMtruck

It may be a small addition but it looks great!

Besides the magnifying headset and great spot-lighting in the truck this USB connected 1000x microscope is a great addition to our toolset.

Now crystal clear images can be viewed of the smallest components and further enhancing the ability to ensure quality work as with soldering etc.

The application software is loaded on all the laptops in the truck.

Images can further be saved for use in documentation or for other purposes.


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Scridgets NiteLite Workshop at SVYCC


theSTEAMtruck Teamed up with SVYCC to run workshops this Summer

Although only a single applicant enrolled in the program we successfully went thru the production process.

Following the tradition used in theSTEAMtruck workshops the participant selected a famous inventors name for use in the workshop. The name selected was George Washington Carver - The botanist who introduced crop rotation to the cotton farmers in North America.

Starting from the beginning we learnt how to solder by first practicing on copper wires by building a tree structure soldering ‘braches to a main stem.

Following the ability to recognize good vs bad solder joints we progressed to solder the components and Arduino to the custom interface pcb. during this process we learnt how to use jigs to ensure component alignment while soldering.

Then came the discussion about addressable LEDs and understanding of the process of having serially controlled devices on a LED strip. Again use was made of a custom 3D printed jig to cut, strip and align the LED wires to their appropriate terminals on the pcb connector.

Now it was time to start the mechanical assembly which was proceeded by learning how to use a counter-sink drill bit and drill press. The identification of the mechanical parts was described and the use of the Laser Cutter to produce them was discussed. After accidentally drilling holes on the incorrect side a small washer was manufactured to fix the height alignment. These projects are true DIY and while we could prevent accidental errors the program is intended to teach participants to be acquainted with the production process and thus not do it for them.

Finally the LED strip, laser-cut panels, screws and stand-offs were carefully assembled

Hey! Presto - First time powered up and it worked perfectly.


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Tiny Nights Festival

Tiny Lights Festival - Ymir, BC


theSTEAMtruck lit up the entrance to the Tiny Lights Festival Vendors area for the weekend. Sadly the weather provided rain for most of the event but being inside the truck enabled us to keep going non-stop till 11:30pm on Friday, 8:00am Sat. till 2:30am (Sun) and again 8:00am till 6:00pm Sunday


Setup the truck and started 3D printing a new designed 2320 battery, LED and card holder with badge pin. The card holder was included to allow a cutout to be made to light-up from behind. Future use could be for table/exhibit applications. Typically takes just under 15min to print. Rain storm started at closing time (11:30pm). Cycled back to Ross Spur in the dark and rain - arrived soaked!!




Great day with lots of folks learning a)About S.T.E.A.M. and b)About Maker Spaces and the facilities in theSTEAMtruck. Kept the printers busy most of the day creating several 3D devices designed by Makers Making Change for disabled folks. Distributed several TinyLight modules for night time way-finding as no area lighting existed in and around the Vendor Gate and Camping field. On demand, designed and built a curtian wire rail end clamp for local campers in a campervan. Decided to deploy a hammock and sleep in the truck due to consistent rain at the 2:30am Sunday closing time.


Facilitated many young kids who played with the Squishy Circuits and built ‘robots’ from the bits and pieces bin. Played with several block puzzles and printed parts for a rubber band powered car.


Many more wonderful contacts made and future bookings in line for theSTEAMtruck. Great amazing musicians and performers providied the backdrop for this wonderful festival.

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Building Pyramids - continuation of previous week

theSTEAMtruck carried on the construction of Structures

We explored the strength of the triangle and with the use of plastic straw connectors developed by the folks from MakerMobile - Sierpinski pyramids were constructed.

Despite the desire to destroy the built pyramids- always lots of fun!! - the decision was to save them for a future add-on session.


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Tech Club at Salmo Library


theSTEAMtruck played with strong structures and 3D printers

How would you support a weight off the edge of a table given only a sheet of paper? In the Library various designs and structures were considered. The optimum design tested with a plastic cup (without liquid!!) was a folded triangular beam. The runner up was a rolled tube of paper.

Using the 3D printers in theSTEAMtruck we produced several of the assistive devices as promoted by Neil Squire Society At this event we identified the need of those with disabilities and gave attendees the opportunity to try out some of the devices.


Flooding Alert in Salmo

Due to the welcome but early warm weather following the massive winter snowfall the village of Salmo went onto Flood Alert with 100’s of sandbags deployed in the event the already full Salmo River breached its banks. Glad to report the peak was slightly below the level at which major damage occurred.


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Where have all the T-Shirts gone??

theSTEAMtruck saves the planert from plastic shopping bags

To celebrate Mothers’ Day we got down to work in Salmo’s KP Park to convert old T-Shirts into useable shopping bags/totes. Kids and edults alike tooled up with fabric scissors and the ‘STEAM’ Brother sewing machine to make the conversions.


One of the conversions here. Process used prefered the sewed seam rather than the optional tied bottom of the bag.

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theSTEAMtruck is making things for Mothers' Day

theSTEAMtruck will be at the SALMO Valley Farmers Market Mothers’ Day event


Lets all ‘spring up’ at KP Park in SALMO, BC to make things for mom’s. The project planned is to convert a well used t-shirt into a useful re-usable shopping tote bag.

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To Bomb or not to Bomb

TheSTEAMTruck is participating in Earth Day 22nd April by building Bombs

Yes its true but is it appropriate?

What can be more exciting than giving a kid the materials to build a bomb? Lets first start by describing a seed bomb. The “bomb” consists of generally 3 components.

  • 1 Clay or other moisture absorbing material
  • 2 Compost or potting soil suitable for germination of seeds
  • 3 Flower, grass, vegetable seeds
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TheSTEAMTruck takes part in World Create Day

SALMO Valley Youth Community Centre participates in WCD

On Saturday March 17th the truck facilitated the WCD event at SVYCC. Several youth dropped by to check out the facilities in the truck. Three Blinky pins arrived in the mail and were assembled by some budding youth who learned the basics and challenges of small outline surface mount manual soldering.


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What can you do in theSTEAMtruck?

The STEAM projects are diverse and cover many disciplines.

Equipment available in the STEAM truck:

  • Seating and workbench tables for up to 15 attendees and 2 presenter/instructors
  • Variety of hand tools located at each bench
  • 5 Temperature controlled Soldering stations
  • 3 Digital Multi-meters
  • Powered electronic breadboard
  • 10 Heated Glue guns
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