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From kids endlessly upcycling crafty bits into art, to an autonomous robot with multi-channel video playback who talks to the crowd as it moves through it – “Hi Photon!” – this past weekend’s Maker Faire North Carolina in Raleigh was an absolute success. While some projects such as Learning to Solder appear at almost every Maker Faire regardless of location, others at this year’s 4th annual North Carolina event were distinctly Carolinian.

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Click the panorama above for a super-zoom enabled version on our G+ page.

Such as the Whomping Willow Trebuchet, seen above in the panoramic image. Located front and center as you walked into the main hall of the Kerr Scott Building on the NC State Fairgrounds, many people stopped in their tracks, pointed, and let out a pacific, “Whoah.” Made by a group of Chapel Hill-based high school students, the Whomping Willow currently holds the pumpkin chunkin youth trebuchet record from 2012 for hurling a 4lb. pumpkin an astounding 1526 feet!

There were also backpack-framed wearable ten foot tall Sock ‘Em Robots that are an iconic representation of the Triangle’s annual “potluck creative conference” SPARKcon. The Triangle is the geographic region between multiple counties connecting Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but it’s also the conceptual “Creative Hub of the South” as SPARKcon refer to it.

That creativity was regionally represented by everything from SplatSpace and the Alamance Makers Guild to craft projects StringThing and Scrap Exchange, from NC State University’s Open Hardware Makerspace to commercial products like the firefly and longtime friends and sponsor of Maker Faire ShopBot Tools.

Also of note the Fale Association of Locksport Enthusiasts traveled from Winston-Salem in support of The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers aka TOOOL; Hackerspace Charlotte had a wide array of projects from chess machines hacked from a 3D printer to easy-to-follow Feltronics for learning simple circuits; along with greater regional groups like NC’s FIRST robotics groups, woodturners, LEGO Users Group, and homebrewers.

In all over 70 maker projects and 300 makers were in attendance, offering a glimpse into the growing trend of uniquely local Mini Maker Faires around the globe. Perhaps there is one near you. If not, perhaps you should start one!

Finally, below is a collection of images showing the smorgasbord of maker projects from the 4th annual Maker Faire North Carolina. I definitely plan on working this event into my annual travels and I can’t wait to see what Carolina makers have in store for the future!

This STEM Bus was parked outside. Part of North Carolina's BioNetwork, the bus travels to all 100 counties of the state, focusing on areas that are too far away from a science museum to make the trip - so the science comes to them!

This STEM Bus was parked outside. Part of North Carolina’s BioNetwork, the bus travels to all 100 counties of the state, focusing on areas that are too far away from a science museum to make the trip – so the science comes to them!

People of all ages were learning about looms.

People of all ages were learning about looms.

Homemade popsicle stick looms.

Homemade popsicle stick looms.

SPARKcon's Sock 'Em Robots

SPARKcon’s Sock ‘Em Robots

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Here’s a video of the Carolina Combat Robots and a round of bot hockey:

Learning to Solder, always a big hit:


Learning to Solder

Outside people were hacking t-shirts with pre-made stencils and tape.

Outside people were hacking t-shirts with pre-made stencils, tape, and some light chemistry.

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The Woodturners Guild were conducting live demos, using a camera and projector setup similar to how they teach classes.

The Woodturners Guild were conducting live demos, using a camera and projector setup similar to how they teach classes.

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Leatherworking and the specialty tools used in the craft.

Leatherworking and the specialty tools used in the craft.

Breck Baldwin brought his project the Brooklyn Aerodrome down from that namesake borough for the day.

Breck Baldwin brought his project the Brooklyn Aerodrome down from that namesake borough for the day.

Flying the Aerodrome high in the skies, as far as 300 feet away!

Flying the Aerodrome high in the skies, as far as 300 feet away!

Coming in for the landing.

Coming in for the landing.

Here’s a video of the Aerodrome in action:


(You can purchase this Flying Wing Kit at the Maker Shed.)

Making duct tape bow ties and other craft-wearables.

Making duct tape bow ties and other craft-wearables.

This automata was voice-interactive and could report back on the weather from anywhere around the globe.

This automata was voice-interactive and could report back on the weather from anywhere around the globe.

Playstation MAME cabinet got a lot of attention from a lot of kids!

This Playstation MAME cabinet got a lot of attention from a lot of kids!

And next to it was a homemade Raspberry Pi Arcade Machine by tinkernut.

Next to it was a homemade Raspberry Pi Arcade Machine by tinkernut.

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This magnetically-operated chess board was hacked from a DeltaBot 3D printer, Arduino, and pieces printed from the printer itself.

This magnetically-operated chess board was hacked from a DeltaBot 3D printer, Arduino, and pieces printed from the printer itself.

Here’s a video of the chess machine in action, capturing an enemy piece:

And lastly one more look at the Whomping Willow:

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Whoah is right! That pumpkin didn’t stand a chance against maker creativity.

See you next year Maker Faire North Carolina!

Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!


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