A Weekend of Celebrating New Mexico’s Makers

A Weekend of Celebrating New Mexico’s Makers

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The second annual Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire takes place this weekend, August 24 and 25, from 10a.m. to 6p.m. at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park, and it looks like it’s going to be a great show. One of our favorite New Mexico-based artists, Christian Ristow, will be there with his awesome 26-foot-long hydraulically actuated Hand of Man (pictured above).

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The Faire will feature a healthy array of projects covering everything from 3D printers to milking goats. We touched base with event organizer Charel Morris for an inside scoop.

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Wendy Tremayne and Mikey Sklar will be giving a presentation about their new book, Good Life Lab, part DIY manual for sustainable living, part inspirational memoir. (Check out an excerpt on Building with Papercrete for a taste.)

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The creative minds at Knight Blue Designs will be sharing their art of costuming. (Also at the Faire will be a booth to learn how to make chainmail.)

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Ralph Shrine, aka Mr. Shrine, is bringing a car to collaboratively make an art car on-site. He’ll also be offering mini workshops for folks to decorate their own mini cars to take home.

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Charel continues:

We have the Hacker Scouts Guild #005 from Las Vegas, N.M. coming in to show what they’ve been up to in 3D printing and will be making 3D prints of some of our attendees. This group has been awesome and I think will get a lot of interest. We forget that Microsoft basically started in a garage in Albuquerque.

There are three disparate projects and three tables that fall under the same umbrella organizations. Firstly, Start Up Studio makerspace, in conjunction with a Natural History Museum exhibit named “Start Up” (about Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and the rise of the personal computer’s start in Albuquerque), will be doing hands-on activities related to creative circuitry and either wearable electronics or creating paper speakers and synths.

The second project, “The Celestial Tapestry,” showcases the work done by Stan Cohen, Ph.D. and volunteers at the New Mexico Natural History and Science Museum. The tapestry is a 26ft sheet that uses 500 LEDs and 10 Arduinos with custom-built shields to represent the visible night sky. It’s currently installed in the museum and is a magnificently calming experience. Stan used different-color LEDs that are all individually PWM (pulse-width modulation) addressable.

The third project is an Arduino-based pneumatic tube system that allows users to pass notes/objects to each other from one station to another with air power. The system uses shop vacuums, Arduinos, and a whole lotta tubing. The project is the mobile version of a larger pneumatic tube system that was created by Highlands University professors and students at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum.

Tara Wheeler is an extrodinary maker who is bringing a full-sized home-built TARDIS prop from Doctor Who, along with the TRV, her heavily customized Toyota Tacoma that she uses to pull the TARDIS to events (both are featured in this month’s Albuquerque Magazine. [Tara wrote the StickStand tablet monopod project in MAKE Volume 30.]

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The makers of the Babbletron will have their interactive device on display. Here’s how they describe it:

An interactive exhibit where participants first attempt to work out their name or other phrase phonetically (using a phoneme set) on a worksheet, and then program it into the Babbletron for playback. The Babbletron is currently under construction but consists of an Arduino, GinSing voice synthesizer shield, and tabletop control panel of arcade style buttons that, when pressed, play one of the 63 available phonemes and can record a sequence for playback. The display will feature a poster-sized phoneme table, worksheets, the Babbletron device, and a small 10W amplifier.

And that is just a sampling. Head to the Faire site for more info and come on out to support the community and get inspired!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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