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.
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!
Here’s a video of the Carolina Combat Robots and a round of bot hockey:
Learning to Solder, always a big hit:
Here’s a video of the Aerodrome in action:
(You can purchase this Flying Wing Kit at the Maker Shed.)
Here’s a video of the chess machine in action, capturing an enemy piece:
And lastly one more look at the Whomping Willow:
Whoah is right! That pumpkin didn’t stand a chance against maker creativity.
See you next year Maker Faire North Carolina!