American Maker: The Winner “Airheads Air Drums”

American Maker: The Winner “Airheads Air Drums”

The debut of American Maker at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago was this past Saturday. American Maker is similar to a small Maker Faire, featuring approximately 20 Makers and their amazing projects. We had thousands of people come out and enjoy the Show & Tell, which was part of LabFest and Science Chicago.


In addition to the Makers, there were presentations from The Museum of Science and Technology, Inventables and a great talk by Mr. Jalopy at the conclusion of the event.


So the big question is, who won? The panelists narrowed it down to 3 finalists. They were Human-powered Submarines by Bruce Plazyk, DIY laser cutter Bilal Ghalib and Airheads Air Drums by John Folaron.


It was a very difficult decision, but in the end Airheads Air Drums came out as the overall winner of the event. The creator of Airheads Air Drums, John Folaron, was chosen based on a several different aspects of his project. First, John was incredibly passionate about sharing his work, as were all the other makers, and he encouraging others to make their own set of Airheads.


Also, the project was simple, and very well documented. John had lots of pictures of the build and a complete set of schematics. Finally, what I think really influenced the panel to choose Ariheads, was its ability to inspire so many people in attendance to try and make their own set. Almost everyone who tried Airheads walked away saying they were going to try and make a set.


All the Makers were fantastic, and I am lucky to have been part of this incredible event. I always enjoy speaking with people who are so passionate about their projects and the Maker scene. Hopefully we will see you at the next American Maker.


I would like to thank the Museum of Science and Industry for their support in making the debut of American Maker such a success. The staff was wonderful and the museum is absolutely amazing. We look forward to having more events at the museum in the future. If you are ever in the Chicago area you have to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. Just make sure to allow for plenty of time to explore the 35,000+ artifacts and nearly 14 acres of exhibits.


Until we upload the videos, check out my flickr photo set of the set-up of the event. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures during the event since I was kept very busy as a panelist.

10 thoughts on “American Maker: The Winner “Airheads Air Drums”

  1. Freddy says:

    Nice project, is there any info available online for the Airheads Air Drums?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      John does not have a website, but we will have Airheads Air Drums as an article in an upcoming issue of MAKE. I will see what we can do about getting more information online.

      We have some information about the project, including a link to some great videos up on flickr:

  2. says:

    How many more days is this article going to be stickied? I’m getting bored of scrolling through six screens of information before I get to the new stuff.

  3. Branda says:

    @Marc de Vinck: thx for the hint – looks good thats life :)

    great project, i hope there will be soon some new informations about it.


  4. American Maker: The Winner “Airheads Air Drums” Jim says:

    Is there a bug with the website? This story has been stuck at the top for days and it’s a hassle to keep strolling down through to get to current stories.

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