Guest Post: a Cross-Country Makerspace Road Trip

Jesse Vincent and Kaia Dekker of Keyboardio are presently running a project called the Model 01, a hackable, ergonomic, heirloom-grade keyboard. But that's not all — in addition to managing this hugely successful project, they're also on a road trip across the United States, visiting makerspaces with the Model 1 so that people can try it out. When we heard about this month-long endeavor, we asked them to tell us more about the experience.

Technically, it's an international road trip (thanks Toronto and Vancouver!)
Technically, it's an international road trip (thanks Toronto and Vancouver!)

There's a lot of advice out there about how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign. Approximately none of it recommends that you spend the month of the campaign crisscrossing America. But that's what we decided to do. Part of it was convenient logistics: we needed to get our Honda Civic from Somerville, MA, where it's been hanging out for the past year-and-a-half, to our new house in Oakland, CA.

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Planning Your Rewards

The process of planning out your rewards is different for each project. Still, there are several recurring pieces of advice we keep hearing from creators who've gone through the experience — include what you're making as one of your rewards. Feature a range of rewards, including unique experiences backers can only get from backing the project. Consider your shipping costs. We could go on and on about this, but it's best to hear it directly from creators — so above, Lisa Lucas of Guernica, Alex Shvartsman of Unidentified Funny Objects, and Daniel José Older of Long Hidden break rewards down for you. And if you should be in the market for even more insight, scope out our playlist on rewards and reward fulfillment right here

The Process: Restoring Sixteenth-Century Illustrations

Adelheid Zimmerman is a freelance designer, artist, maker, fencer, gamer, and more, residing in Madison, Wisconsin. We first encountered her work last year when she ran a project for the restoration of sixteenth-century German longsword illustrations — a project that also caught the eye of 239 backers. She returned this year with a companion project, a restoration of Marozzo's side sword illustrations from 1536, which is currently live. We asked Zimmerman to talk to us about what exactly goes into restoration of this sort. 

I have taken on a project to restore and reproduce the illustrations from Achille Marozzo’s Opera Nova. There are two reasons that I find this project fascinating. I love that I am putting into the hands of historical European martial artists the images that the masters taught from in the form that they were intended. On a more personal level, I enjoy the artistic investigation of the restoration and visceral pleasure of producing that art in a historical manner.

When Marozzo needed illustrations for his fencing manual, he would have gone to an artist for sketches. When a final draft was approved, it was transferred to wood and carved by a highly skilled tradesman who would then remove the negative space from a specially prepared block of hardwood. These engravings and a manuscript of the text were taken to the printer who laid out the lead type and woodblocks, which were then printed onto pages that could be folded into signatures.

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How to Get Featured on Kickstarter

How can I become a Project We Love? How can I get my project featured by Kickstarter?

These are questions we hear often from our creator community. Our team is always on the lookout for exceptional projects, and when we find one, we share our enthusiasm by giving it a Projects We Love badge, and by showcasing select projects on our homepage and in our newsletters

What do we mean when we say “exceptional projects”? 

Every Kickstarter project starts with a creative idea. So when we look for standout projects to feature, we look for ideas that go the extra mile in their uniqueness and ambition — for example, projects that involve entirely new approaches to creating, amplify underrepresented voices, or bring creative communities together in unexpected ways.

Beyond having a unique idea, the way you tell your story through your project page also plays a role in which projects we decide to feature. There are a few extra steps you can take to build an eye-catching project page that will capture the attention of your backers — and the Kickstarter team. We’ve highlighted a few of our most important tips below.

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Tech Weekly: Different Angles

To be truly innovative requires a new perspective. And sometimes the best way to gain a whole new perspective is to approach things from an entirely different angle.

From a vertical record player to a five axis CNC mill, here are a few Technology projects that take that objective literally.

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Kickstarter Artists Offer a Peek Into Their Musical Brains

What's Music Month without actual music? For all of June, we've been hosting panels, record fairs, concerts, and interviews; we've been discussing music tech and documentaries about bands, and we've also been reaching out to musicians that have used Kickstarter to gain insight into their listening habits. From recent favorite songs, to playlists that inspired the creation of entire albums, think of these as a window into some of your favorite creative brains—or just a good way to discover (or re-discover) a new favorite song.

John Vanderslice's Curated Playlist

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The Process: Oscilloscope Music

An oscilloscope is a device used to measure the frequency of electrical signals and display waveforms of those signals against a graph. If that sounds boring, it's because you haven't considered the creative capacity of this kind of tool. Jerobeam Fenderson, the man behind the Oscilloscope Music project, realized the oscilloscope's potential years ago, and he's been incorporating it into his live performances ever since.

We asked Fenderson if he'd walk us through the process of turning sound into images. He did us one better and gave us a complete walkthrough, which you can follow at home using the open source software he suggested. Enjoy!

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