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    The Birth of Project14


    To be honest with you, I have no idea who first pitched the idea of starting a monthly project competition on the community, outside of the fact that it all got started based on a conversation in the Top Members  section.  I'm closing in on my second full year as a moderator on the community,  the majority of my first year was spent on The Ben Heck Show, a big enough job all on its own.  Most of what I learned about the the community was influenced through my involvement with element14's The Ben Heck Show.


    I did other things during my first year, I was part of the Design Challenges team, although I mainly just listened, to learn as much as I could about how the program worked,  so I would be prepared when we did cross promotions between element14's The Ben Heck Show and Design Challenges  such as  Which Iconic but Obsolete Gadget Would You Upcycle to Relive Your Past?  poll and video announcement for the Upcycle It Design Challenge.  I also helped out behind the scenes on the community such as helping out with shipping for  RoadTests with element14Dave,  who was running the program at the time, similar to the role danzima plays with the work he does with rscasny .


    I got to know a lot of the community members a lot better, around the holidays last year, when I was asked to fill in for the  How Were You 'Bit by the Bug' of Engineering & Technology? holiday campaign when element14Dave announced he was moving onto his next opportunity. He made sure he was the first person to comment on the post,  this was the first really big campaign I was asked to run outside of The Ben Heck Show and he wanted to make sure the Top Members were aware of it, so they could provide their support.  As some of you on the community are aware, we lost some really talented people at the beginning of the year, and we're still a relatively young, but capable team. I haven't been around very long, so I can only hope I can be of as much help for the new people, as the people who were around before me when I got started. When the year started, I was working to revive the Arduino space, which had existed but had been mothballed, and I was working with design and development to launch subspaces for Arduino Projects and Arduino Tutorials.


    In addition to The Ben Heck Show  and Arduino , I was given some handover notes and pointed to discussion threads in the Top Members  section where they expressed a desire for smaller project competitions that did not require the same level of commitment as Design Challenges.  I can't say for sure that what would become Project14 was what was expected when the program got the green light, but I can say that it was heavily influenced by the programs I worked with, particularly The Ben Heck Show  and Arduino , and much of the initial planning was done with my former manager kellyhensen , and the ideas were fleshed out with my new manager e14mindi, who worked with both of us during the transition.


    Project14: Introducing Projects About You


    Having never started a community program before, I frequently turned to the community members, who after all were the ones that wanted to see this new program get started for feedback.  The following community members had as much to do with the success of the program, either behind the scenes with their help with judging, or through advice and/or project submissions:  DAB , mcb1 , balearicdynamics , shabaz , Workshopshed , and  dougw .  While there are other names that can be added to this list, these names stand out, especially during the beginning where it was a bit of a bumpy ride.  These members helped make the program work, and offered encouragement when the going got rough, and have my eternal gratitude for their help throughout this process.


    We tried to make it as much about what the community members wanted, while handling the logistics of a project competition that was always happening, and used the  Monthly Polls to make sure that the contest stayed true to what the community members wanted.  As a fan of video, I also saw the new program as a way to help encourage community member generated video content, as well as, a platform to showcase it.


    We already had great video content around projects with  The Ben Heck Show  and the new program could offer a fun way to add more "edutainment" videos on the community.  On March 3rd, shortly after being handed this assignment, I notified the top members that monthly project competitions on the community was still happening and worked with them to finalize a name.  The name most people seemed to like was Atomic14 but because it was used already we went with Project14.  We began with a soft launch announcing the program:  Project14: Introducing Monthly Project Competitions About You!  followed by the launch of Techno Toys.

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    Techno Toys: Sparky the Power Chick


    Launch Date:  April 4, 2017 (Soft Launch)


    Full Launch: April 14, 2017


    Expectations were high for the new program, and many people expressed enthusiasm for the idea when it was announced to the entire community. Looking back we had some really good earlier entries right out the gate such as Xylophonomatic by  tech_nut81  , Bob_007 by rsc  , and DollaS Dancer by Molham .    However, the most memorable project, at least to my mind's eye, was one that  dougw did with  Sparky the Power Chick .  It sort of set the tone for the new program and internally became a sort of mascot for new program:


    Sparky the Power Chick





    Inaugural Monthly Theme Doc: Give New Life to Old Toys by Turning Them Into Techno Toys!


    Inaugural Monthly Theme Poll: Monthly Theme Poll for June 2017


    Inaugural Winners Announcement: Winners Announcement: Techno Toys Project14 Competition!



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    Geeky Gadgets: Project Portfolio Badge


    Launch Date: May 14, 2017


    After receiving some feedback from some community members we extended the deadline for each of these project competitions to two months.  This move was intended to increase participation from everyone who wanted to submit a project but had outside commitments such as family or work that made it difficult to get their project submitted in time.  While participation for Techno Toys was good,  Geeky Gadgets was off to a slow start.  There was some concern whether or not there would be a winners announcement due to the lack of entries. Close to the deadline we received a flurry of activity from Geeked Out Business Cards by dougw , Build your own Torch/Flashlight! by shabaz , and at the buzzer we had Project Portfolio Badge by fvan .  Its the final entry that really stands out from the second competition.


    It was the first Project14 project to really get a lot of attention as far as visits go and really demonstrated the strength of the new format, a single blog post that contained a video and steps such as schematics and code.  This project inspired an Influencer badge on the community as it's a prime example, much like Sparky, of a project that influenced the new program.  To acknowledge the members who helped found the program we issued Founders badges.    To acknowledge the members who had helped with the judging, as well as, assisted members with their projects, we issued Mentor badges as well.


    Project Portfolio Badge




    Monthly Theme Doc: Celebrate Geek Pride with Your Own Geeky Gadgets!


    Monthly Theme Poll: Monthly Theme Poll for July 2017


    Winners Announcement: Project14 | Geeky Gadget Winners, Founders, and Mentor Badge Announcement!


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    Going Green: IoT Irrigation Valve


    Launch Date: June 14, 2017


    There were only two winners announced for this competition but they were both strong submissions:  IOT Irrigation valve by idanre1 and Chicken Coop Livestream by fvanidanre1 had submitted a great project for techno toys called This little bug has a bug and fvan had recently done what was at the time the most visited piece of content for the entire Project14  program, Project Portfolio Badge.  His weekend project, Chicken Coop Livestream gave the program a shot in the arm at a time when it was struggling and inspired the Influencer Badge, of which he was one of the first recipients.


    IOT Irrigation valve



    Monthly Theme Doc: Build Awesome Technology for the Garden or Backyard by Going Green!


    Monthly Theme Poll: Monthly Poll to Decide August 2017 Project Competition


    Winners Announcement: Project14 | Going Green Winners, Step Climbers, Finishers, Influencers, and Trophies!


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    DIY Test Equipment: Cyclops 1000


    Launch Date: July 14, 2017


    The first breakthrough competition for Project14 was DIY Test Equipment.  There was a bit of reflection going on internally after the last couple of project competitions failed to catch on the way we hoped.  So far we had been lucky that there had been enough quality projects to do a Winners Announcement around.  Before this competition began, we reached out to top members for advice on what we needed to do better with the program.


    One of the ideas that was floated was having one quality project ready when the competition began and  shabaz reached out to me to volunteer a project for the cause.  If you haven't visited the Winners Announcement, you're in for a treat.  This remains the most popular Project14 competition to date and Shabaz's project is featured here as it was the breakthrough project that got the ball rolling.  We again turned to the community members to do the voting, something that did not make sense with the last couple of competitions, which had fewer completed submissions than we had prizes available.  We also awarded a fourth $100 Shopping cart, with the prize money left on the table from the Going Green competition.


    Cyclops-1000: An Electronic Eye for Rotational Speed Measurement





    Monthly Theme Doc: Project14 | DIY Test Equipment Projects


    Monthly Theme Poll: September Monthly Poll


    Winners Announcement: Project14 | Winners Announcement: Inspiring DIY Test Equipment Projects!




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    Solar Powered Yard Gadgets: Building a Solar Charger


    Launch Date: August 14th, 2017


    DIY Test Equipment proved to be so popular,  that we cross promoted it with a Ben Heck Giveaway, Winners Announcement: Ben Heck's Raspberry Pi Bitscope Mod!  We hadn't done a Ben Heck giveaway in a while, after seeing how well the community responded to DIY Test Equipment we decided to keep the craziness going with a piece of DIY Test Equipment that Ben did.  At the same time,  we extended the DIY Test Equipment competition long enough to coincide with the Ben Heck giveaway.  While this did help produce some more DIY Test Equipment projects on the community, Solar Powered Yard Gadgets was perhaps forgotten about.


    Luckily, we got two great project submissions,  another gem from  shabaz and the first of two really great projects from carmelito who showed me pictures from his phone of his award winning Upcycled Clock when I got a chance to meet him at Makers Faire!  I was in San Mateo, working in a booth, alongside Ben and Karen from The Ben Heck Show when I got a chance to meet carmelito .  It made my day to not only see him participating on Project14, but he even took the time to add Project14 branding to his projects which was awesome!


    Building a Solar Charger





    Monthly Theme Doc: Project14 | Solar Powered Yard Gadget Projects


    Monthly Theme Poll: Monthly Poll to Decide October Competition


    Winners Announcement: Project14 | Solar Powered Yard Gadget Winners!



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    Wacky Automation Devices: Automated Tea Dunker


    Launch Date: September 14th 2017


    All three winners of this contest were great, in fact, the Wacky Automation Devices Winners Announcement recently surpassed the DIY Test Equipment Winners Announcement as the most visited piece of content since the Project14  program began!  carmelito automated tea dunker is one of my favorite Project14  projects and Workshopshed debuted, look out Ben Heck, Megan TV with his  Voice activated torch using a Rube Goldberg Machinedougw , who not only came up with the idea for Wacky Automation Devices, but also had a great project to go along with it in  Purple Panic Button.  To say dougw has been influential toward this new program is an understatement.  The idea for four project competitions were started by threads from  dougw .  Those ideas were put in the monthly poll and voted on as the competitions the community members wanted to do!


    Automated Tea Dunker




    Monthly Theme Doc: Project14 | Using Rube Goldberg Projects to Consider Design Engineering


    Monthly Theme Poll: Monthly Poll to Decide November 2017 Competition


    Winners Announcement: Project14 | Winners Announcement: Rube Goldberg Wacky Automation Devices!


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    Simple Electronic Repairs: Repair of Tone Circuit in Old Transistor Radio


    Launch Date: October 16th 2017


    The idea of Simple Electronic Repairs came from fvan ,  it was the first idea from a member other than dougw .  When you think of what makes this program special its the contributions that come from people like dougw fvan , shabaz , Workshopshed , balearicdynamics , mcb1 , DAB , carmelitojc2048 , etc.  You really get a feeling of this program belonging to the community members , which was the goal we started with when all this began.  Following The Holiday Specialshabaz  will be the third community member to have his project competition voted on when we launch Portable Electronics Kit.  dougw is credited with the idea for the following project competitions: DIY Test Equipment, Solar Powered Yard GadgetWacky Automation Devices , and Cool LED Display.  This program is awesome because dougw  is awesome!


    Repair of tone control circuit in old transistor radio




    Monthly Theme Doc: Project14 | Earn a $100 Shopping Cart for Your Simple Electronic Repairs!


    Monthly Theme Poll: Monthly Poll to Decide December Competition


    Winners Announcement: TBD





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    Cool LED Display: Infrared Thermometer


    Launch Date:  November 14th, 2017


    This competition got off to a hot start and is the most popular competition we've had since DIY Test Equipment.  It is timed to end at the same time as The Holiday Special competition and because of how prizes will be distributed, there are more than the usual 3 First place Winner Prizes up for grabs!



    Infrared thermometer




    Monthly Theme Doc: Project14 | Anything Goes with Cool LED Display Projects!


    Monthly Theme Poll: Project14 | The Holiday Special Poll


    Winners Announcement:  TBD





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    The Holiday Special: Introducing Holiday Projects About You


    Launch Date: December 1st, 2017


    This idea for a holiday theme came from us.  After a full year of running Project14 competitions it also gives a little break from the routine we've had here.  Many of us within the office will be on vacation as various points so having this start at the beginning of the month allows us to focus on other end of the year promotions.  It's also exciting to see how people will respond to the bigger prizes that are available,  something that's been a dream of this community moderator!  It's the holidays so we also wanted to make sure that there is a giving component to this.


    When we did the "Bit by the Bug" competition last year, one of the things that I thought was really nice was that we included a gift to give.  When I learned that Project14 would be included as part of the end of the year festivities this year, it was an opportunity the program could not afford to turn away from!  It will delay the launch of Portable Electronics Kit a little bit ,  but because this project competition would have taken place when most of us were gone, it will be better having this picked up after the break.


    As part of the Gift to Give for the upcoming Holiday Special:


    The Holiday Special


    Grand Prize: 3D Printer to Have Plus STEAM Kit to Gift to Give!
    Your Prize:  RBX01-BK-REFURBRBX01-BK-REFURB 3D Printer
    Your Gift to Give: SAM's STEAM Kit
    Value: approx. $600Value: approx. $600
    • Dual-nozzle system allows you to print in 2 materials at once.
    • Allows a mechanical design engineer to prototype injection mould design without the need to modify the design
    • Built by curriculum experts, includes curriculum-based STEAM Projects and lesson plans on data capture, programming logic, and more!
    • 40 + SAM software blocks, Easy integration with Lego, hands-on educator support, and easily adapts into homework



    First Place Winner: Shopping Carts to any of our Stores!

    Your Prize: $100 Shopping Cart (3) to any of our Stores!


    An additional $100 Shopping Cart (1) is available for a project that is deserving but doesn't win!

    Your Gift to Give: $100 Shopping Cart to any of our stores!



    Project14 was always meant to be an inclusive program.  Projects are done around themes so no matter what your skill set is you can participate.  Not everyone celebrates the Holidays the same way.  My holiday season will begin on December 14th when I go to see Star Wars:  The Last Jedi.    I imagine I will go and see it more than once with friends.  I'm watching it the first time alone, so I am not bothered by anyone.    I'm going to go straight from the office Holiday Party to the movie theater!


    If you haven't considered The Holiday Special competition before, please do so.  You can do a project around Star Wars or your favorite holiday tradition,  Christmas or Hanukkah if you are a traditionalist,  or even Festivus if you don't like all the commercial aspects of the holidays like Frank Constanza!



    Monthly Theme Doc: Project14 | Introducing Holiday Projects About You!


    Monthly Theme Poll: Poll to Decide February '18 Monthly Competition


    Winners Announcement: TBD


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    Finally, in closing I would like to thank my previous manager kellyhensen and my current manager e14mindi for their support for what at times was a challenging undertaking;  I'd like to thank your community manager e14megan for her help promoting the new program on the newsletter and also adding all those badges manually (a painstaking effort that did not go unnoticed);  danzima who helps us in so many areas from creating content (including some content on Project14), to analytics, to filling in for whatever is asked of him; I'd like to thank the social media team led by Sarribas (the social media lead for what has become a social media driven program) as well as the outstanding social support provided by cstanton and plowe (both of whom are true professionals on the greatest social team on earth),  pchan who is the designer for her painstaking and tireless effort on all aspects of design and  randogless whose had her back as her backup,  summerella for being my bridge to the development team and handling all those annoying hydra tickets when a new competition starts, dudley.nelson , mcollinge , and oadesida for all their hard work behind the scenes on development, Christy-Admin the dev team's fearless leader, and dkibbey the power behind the curtain that makes all things possible.


    Most importantly,  I'd like to thank you!  This program is all about you!