Insane art cars, colossal kinetic sculptures, lock picking, Kinect hacking, soldering, sewing, and skinning and dissecting a Furby are just a few of the memorable exhibits from last year’s Denver Mini Maker Faire, and based on what I’ve seen so far, I have no reason to think this 2016 is going to be any less incredible.
This year’s theme is “Building the Future,” and with standout local organizations Bitsbox, SparkFun, and Serenity Forge participating, we are sure to see some exciting cutting edge innovations and technologies. While I love the amazing things the big names bring to the show, the real allure of the Maker Faire are the dozens of everyday folks who take the time to share their passions with like-minded hackers, inventors, and tinkerers.
I, myself, have taken part in the madness that is the Denver Mini Maker Faire. Last year, in what can only be described as a momentary lapse of reason, I volunteered to man a table of papercraft. For two days, my wife, two boys, and I helped everyone from toddlers to grandmas create CubeeCraft and magic wands. At the end, we sent home nearly 1,000 crafts and hopefully helped more than a few find a passion for making that would continue the rest of their lives.
For those unfamiliar with the Maker Faire, imagine Adam Savage meets Wilbur Robinsons, with a bit of Bob Ross and Martha Stewart thrown in for good measure, and you’ll have an idea of the imagination and creativity that will be on display. This year, in addition to the exhibitors, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is not only hosting the event but is also getting in on the fun. Visitors to the Maker Faire will have the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of the Gates Planetarium command center and bend the galaxies to your will as you control the planetarium. Other activities include:
Mac in the Box
Channel your inner MacGyver! See if you can solve this engineering and creative problem-solving challenge whereby a standard Jack in the Box is placed in a fixed location on a table along with a small flag resting on a Lego platform (also stationary). Participants are given a bag of random stuff – office supplies, toys, cooking utensils, a shoestring, etc. – and they have to use the stuff to “MacGyver” together a Rube Goldberg sequence that will ultimately knock over the flag, and the sequence must begin by simply turning the knob on the Jack in the Box.
Denhac Interactive Experience
Play a laser harp and power the Enterprise! Denhac, Colorado’s oldest hackerspace, will be showcasing two Colorado Maker Hub sponsored hands-on demonstrations – the “Artemis” starship bridge simulator and a laser harp, along with their usual menagerie of all things hacker.
Art Car Nation
Where else do get a chance to express your creativity on a car? Come help create an art car – kooky conveyances, artfully embellished vehicles created by “cartists” young and old. Some vehicles are rolling sculptures that took years to construct while others are cool but temporary creations. Not many rules in the “Art Car Nation”. Creativity is the name of the game.
The Denver Mini Maker Faire is Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12 from 9am – 5pm at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Tickets are available at the Maker Faire website. If you plan to attend both days, you should look into buying a museum membership as members get in for only $5. Actually, you should look into picking up a membership regardless. The DMNS is one of, if not the best, museums in the city.
Come see how the maker community is Building the Future.