Waterloo Mini Maker Faire rocked!

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Last Saturday, the first ever Waterloo Mini Maker Faire at Kitchener City Hall was a smash hit, drawing a crowd of 4000!  Makers of all stripes contributed to the event, which was organized by Jaymis Goertz and an army of volunteers from kwartzlab, my very favourite makerspace.

makebright busted out Project Loud Monkey for a new incarnation we called Son of a Monkey that involved hooking toys up to large amplifiers.  Being *in* the event means fewer pics, but a lot of smiles as we engaged a steady stream of visitors to our outdoor booth the whole day long.

Here’s my pal Agnes Niewiadomski, maker of extraordinary props, plants, and art.  Click through for a semi-reasonable number of pics from my brief run around the event.

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Big high-five to the City of Kitchener for the fantastic venue and the support for this event.  In addition to donating the great space, the City also kicked in…

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free tables, chairs, and tents!  Here’s my main man, Cdub, getting our booth set up.  It was interesting to hear a bit about the different levels of support and reception that the event got from various cities and venues during the planning and investigation phase.  I really like Kitchener’s long-run perspective of investing in these type of gigs.  It’s a clear and coherent vision.

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There was a lot of pre-event work done to convince the keepers of the Maker Faire brand that this would be a viable event in our region.  I ended up writing two letters of support to Maker Media, saying yes! we makers will most definitely show up and yes! there is a great audience here.  Other local makers and makerspaces weighed in with their support and it was especially satisfying to see the size of the crowd that did end up attending the show on such a beautiful Saturday.

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Ah, the eponymous monkey.

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I’m going to thank the City of Kitchener again for the use of this awesome tent, without which we would have baked.

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Robot boat from Clearpath Robotics, I think.

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Son of a Monkey’s Hulk gloves were once again a top favourite of our booth.

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Dragonsmith Armoury doing some whitesmithing of metal over a form covered in warm pitch.  Very cool.

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One of our players rocking the Wacky Sound Generator, built by makebright and designed by Ray Smith.  You can buy his kits here and they look and work much better than the one I cobbled together on a breadboard.  This circuit is a great way to learn more about electronics and is something you can build in an afternoon.  Every time I bust out this device in a crowd, it keeps people coming back to the table to play some more.

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James Arlen, sporting a laser cut plastic clip-on moustache that was all the rage at the faire, came out with his whole posse from Hamilton’s makerspace, Think|Haus.  James is a great and long-time enabler of kids as makers.  I recall back at the first SoOnCon, a gathering of southern Ontario makerspaces first hosted at Think|Haus, that James had kids involved in everything.  Exciting to learn that James is doing the electronic badge for DefCon for Kids in Vegas this summer.

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Looks like a laser guitar to me.

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Great to see Eric Boyd of Sensebridge there with other makers from hacklab.to.  So cool how Eric’s designs have become miniaturized, when I think back to seeing the prototypes.  It doesn’t show well in this photo, but these necklaces are potted in a clear resin that protects the device, but delightfully leaves it exposed for viewing.

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The half-face LED creation of Mr. Bernie Rohde at the kwartzlab booth.  This potentially wearable mask had a really cool shimmering effect to the LEDs that you really have to see in person to appreciate.

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Volunteers, sponsors, and makers make it possible.

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Another super-Hulkster at the Son of a Monkey booth.  Got his game face on.

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More robotic goodness from Clearpath Robotics.

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Cdub had a morning inspiration and came up with this smile generator that went along with the toy “Steve” on the table.

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Best $4 I ever spent at a second-hand store.

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Note to self: there is no project in the world that fits on one table.  Always order two tables.  Thanks to James Bastow for helping me snag an extra in real-time.

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Noisy toys: fun for the whole family.

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Sean with Dragonsmith Armoury captivates Cdub for hours.

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Inside the Rotunda was jammed with maker goodness.

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Here’s one of the things I love about the make-o-sphere: you’ve got knitters right next to…

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some wicked electronics hackers.  Here’s a classic snake game built by Geordie from hacklab.to and what is particularly interesting to me is the display.  Each one of these pixels is a little disk: black on one side and bright yellow on the other.  The pixel is changed by reversing a current through a coil causing the disk to flip over.  For *each* pixel.  A few years back I recall seeing such a display for sale in Active Surplus on Queen West in Toronto, only a few blocks from hacklab.to.  I loved the physical nature of the display but didn’t buy it because of the requirement for some serious h-bridge action.  I was happy to learn from Eric at this booth that Geordie had taken up the challenge, reverse engineered the display, and designed and built his own driver circuit that you see at the bottom of the display.  Well done!

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Hey, the Guelph makers from diyode were out in full force.  Great to see Simon and David after so long.  Thanks for stopping by Son of a Monkey, guys.

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I could have played all day with these intriguing marble machines.

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Some live painting in progress.

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Team Dave and their FIRST Robotics disk thrower.  I’m a huge FIRST fan.  I go every year to watch the regional competition at UW.

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Rob’s synth gear was there, near the…

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kwartzlab table.  It was so great catching up with my old friends in their new space, later on Saturday night.  Most encouraging was that I didn’t know half the members hanging out, which reaffirms the awesomely dynamic and resilient nature of that community.

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Looking forward to next year already.

Happy making,

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5 Responses to Waterloo Mini Maker Faire rocked!

  1. Wow! What a hoot that looks like. Congratulations on helping to pull such a fabulous event together.

  2. Agnes says:

    Darin, nice post! I am honored to be in the first photo 🙂 I think we made Maker Media proud.

  3. Thanks very much for the pictures, Darin! Somehow I missed out on hearing about this, and I’m sorry I did. Looks like people had a blast.

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