Makers of all kinds — sellers, nonprofits, hobbyists — gather at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for what has become an annual Portland tradition, the Mini Maker Faire.
The showcase of creativity and cool DIY technology takes place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16. More than 120 makers are expected to be in attendance.
"Maker Faire truly embraces the heart of what makes Portland unique — a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do," says Melony Beaird, interim events manager at OMSI. "From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these talented and creative makers to showcase hobbies, experiments and projects and share their passion with others."
There are about 200 Maker Faires around the world. The flagship events are the Bay Area Maker Faire in California and the World Maker Faire in New York.
Among the highlights here:
• A lightning simulator that will repeat strikes up to 100 times per second.
• University of Oregon telling the story of UO alumni Bill Bowerman and his creation of Nike by showcasing the waffle outsole of the first Nikes made with waffle irons. Kids will have a chance to make their own rubber waffle outsoles as well as mix rubber compounds and mold rubber waffle parts.
• Portland Printer Alliance using a steam roller to screen print T-shirts.
• A new fabric/sewing area featuring fashion DIY stations where visitors can try their hand at sewing, tie-dying or creating a new look.
• Returning favorites such as da Vinci Days, 3D printing and more.
• Hands-on activities are popular, as are exhibits, talks, demonstrations and performances that bridge arts, crafts, science and engineering.
Among other notable makers are:
Nexgarden and its aeroponic farming prototype for 300 plants has gone from incubator to a funded project; RealWare does industry wearable computing, and it's basically a head-mounted computer, akin to Google glasses; Adopt A Hand will be there, showing how they make prosthetics by 3D printing;
Hearing-impaired musician Myles deBastion has worked with makers to create interactive light sculptures that transform sound and music into a visual and tactile experience to make it accessible for people like him; The R2-D2 Builders Club provides realistic replicas of astromech droids from "Star Wars."
Making pipe organs, Orgelkids USA is an all-volunteer nonprofit serving as a pilot program for Orgelkids in the country; it originally began in The Netherlands. There are 133 handcrafted pieces assembled and woven into a two-octave working pipe organ, and they're made locally in Eugene. The local contingent will be at the Mini Maker Faire.
"Our family has been a big fan of the Portland Maker Faire for years, long before we had anything to share as vendors," says Erin Scheessele, Orgelkids USA executive director.
"Maker faires stir the imagination and serve as jumping off points for other would-be makers and inventors. And, yes, they are incubators and hubs for idea exchange."
Maker Clara Mason is giving a talk on Sunday about motivating people to put their projects out there for public consumption.
"Contributing to the community, making new friends, inspiring likeminded people, the list goes on," she says, of reasons to share your makes and DIY projects. "It is a great time to get into making, but a lot of people are intimidated.
"There is also a factor of feeling like your projects aren't good enough to put out there, which was very central to my experience. I'm mostly trying to encourage people to create and share. The larger variety we have of people making, the more inclusive a narrative making can become. And I think that is pretty cool."
The Mini Maker Faire takes place 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16, at OMSI, 1945 S.E. Water Ave. Admission is $16 for adults, $10 for youth ages 3 through 13 and seniors 63 and up. For more: www.omsi.edu.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)