Last weekend I made a last-minute trip to Kansas City for their 4th annual Maker Faire and brought back lots of pictures and videos to share! While there I got to check out every booth and have great conversations with new Makers, as well as friends from last year. All around a very inspiring and refreshing trip!
I actually only decided to take the trip on Friday when I heard that Eric Kaplan from the Omaha Maker Group had a spare seat in his truck on the drive up there. I thought about it for a couple seconds, then realized that there is just no way I can miss out on a Maker Faire, even if that means scrambling to make it all work. So I hopped onto Eric’s truck and booked a sweet AirBNB place on the way up to Kansas City. So huge thanks to Eric for being kind enough to offer his extra seat! I couldn’t have gotten there without it!
Highlights from the Faire
The Faire is an incredible experience, and I couldn’t possibly distill it all into a block of text here. I can, however, recount some of the things that stood out to me!
- Getting a bag of dirt from the Dinolab – a staff member at Union Station’s Dinolab noticed me taking photos and video of their beautiful bones and the work they were doing, so he took me behind the scenes to chat. We geeked out over mold-making and casting techniques, and I asked if I could buy a bag of dirt from him the next time he took a trip somewhere to hunt for bones. He did me one better and actually filled up a bag on the spot with dirt from the dig site of a camarasaurus they were restoring! We swapped cards and promised to stay in touch, as I would definitely be interested in bags of dirt in the future for my own hobby of micropaleontology and photomicroscopy.
- Small hobby-level SLA printers and prints – I saw two great little SLA printers at the Faire that have given me some hope that the prices of these machines is dropped to an affordable rate. Projectors are still pricey, but these machines are very attractive to me and offer a bit more material flexibility than traditional FDM printers. Keeping an eye on these!
- QU-BD’s new $199 3D printer – perhaps the most impressive 3D printer I found at the Faire to me was QU-BD’s new OneUp printer, which they will be selling for only $199 starting in July! These things are extremely well-designed, are beautiful to look at and come in many different colors and types of acrylic. Best of all, it ships will all electronics included, with a Printrboard and the highly-acclaimed QU-BD Anubis hot end. May need to grab one myself!
- Omaha Maker Group fixes the Power Wheels pace car and wins some awards – the guys and girls from the OMG brought out two great cars for the Power Wheels Racing Circuit and had a great showing this year. They won 3rd place in a couple of the races and 2nd place in “moxy” points! Not only was the team able to keep both of their cars running all weekend, but they even did an impromptu repair of the race’s pace car just in time for the Endurance Race! Awesome job!
The OMG also had a booth inside Union Station showcasing a couple of the projects, which I volunteered at for a few hours. A surprising number of people from Omaha dropped by the booth and learned about the group, and the Mini Maker Faire that will be coming in September!
- MakeICT’s booth – one of my two favorite booths at the Faire was that of Wichita-based hackerspace MakeICT, which focuses on the intersection between art and technology and making. Two of the group’s prominent members came out in full-force with three awesome projects that caught my eye. A large wall plotter with intriguing firmware and software, a foam-cutting machine with beautifully simple mechanical solutions and a wild kinetic drum machine sculpture. I will definitely be getting in touch with these guys soon, and will try my best to take a road trip to Wichita to get to know them some more!
- Hammerspace’s ARTEMIS spaceship bridge simulator – my other favorite exhibit was this incredible spaceship bridge simulator created by Kansas City’s Hammerspace Community Workshop made entirely mostly out of cardboard! They allowed small “crews” of guests into the simulator throughout the day, locking them in until they completed (or failed) a random mission. Each crew member is in charge of one or two simple tasks, which all come together into a really amazing experience.
In addition to all of the photos below, I also recorded a few videos, including a guided tour of Hammerspace’s spaceship bridge simulator led by Hammerspace President Dave Dalton. All of these are available in the following playlist:
If you want to see all of the photos that I took, please hop over to the Flickr album using the following link, or just check out the partial listing below.