Arduino-Controlled Butterfly Wings and More at Kansas City Maker Faire 2015

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Arduino-Controlled Butterfly Wings and More at Kansas City Maker Faire 2015


The handsome and stately Union Station yet again provided a fantastic venue for Kansas City’s Maker Faire this past weekend for its fifth annual event. Continuing its growth year after year, the 2015 Faire brought together an incredible number of Makers and attendees for a really fantastic and interactive two days of fun.

As with all Maker Faires, the Kansas City event showed off some of the finest projects and creations from local Makers, and we were thrilled to discover them all. Here are some that stood out to us. Looking forward to 2016.


By Friday evening, everything was set in place and awaiting the start of the show the next morning.


The Kansas City organizers and sponsors kicked off the party with a presentation in front of perhaps the largest screen yet used for Maker Faire.


SeeMeCNC’s 17′ tall delta-style 3D printer loomed over the show floor, alongside a life-size print of the 11 year old son of one of the founders.



Speaking of super-sized fun, this rubber band shooter is nearly 4 feet long.


The Pakistani Cargo Truck Initiative’s gorgeous machine, using traditional Pakistani designs melded with Missouri influences.


Another over-the-top giant exhibit, the Big Idaho Potato.


Two Bit Circus’ flaming dunk tank was a crowd favorite with its billowing flame and audience participation — not just to throw the ball at the target, but even to go inside and feel the heat.

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A handful of drones — while not as many as seen in other events — showed up looked high-tech and powerful.



Kansas City-based JE Dunn construction company taught attendees how to assemble birdhouses.


Maker Faire Kansas City also hosted one of the officially sanctioned Power Wheel Racing Series races. A few new teams participated in this event, pushing the design of the vehicles even further than before.

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Agriculture took a prominent spot at the Faire as well. Here, the Antioch Urban Growers explain the process and benefits of composting, alongside an aquaponic rig and a bin full of red wiggler worms.


Medieval warriors battled it out on the grassy area in front of Union Station.


Lowriders, stretch motorcycles, and classic cars.

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Lincoln Electric’s “Learn to Weld” truck once again showed attendees the ins and outs of various forms of welding using a virtual simulator. Note to the Lincoln Electric team: Please make this a video game that we can buy for home entertainment! Super fun.

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Representatives from the FIRST Robotics League stacked bins in the main lobby.


Children engaging with a Makey-Makey banana piano.


Hammerspace, the standout Kansas City Makerspace, showed off some of its incredible creations: a flapping set of Arduino-controlled dragonfly wings (above) and OSIRIS, the body-tracking sentry that scares off intruders with puffs of compressed air.

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One of Michael Overstreet’s 3D printable humanoid robots, under construction and with KC garb.


Maker Faire Kansas City also saw the launch of AddSub, Anderson Ta and Steve Kelly’s new open-source SLA printer.


St. Louis-based Makerspace Arch Reactor taught attendees of all ages to maneuver robotic vehicles through various obstacles.


R2D2s galore.


Kansas City has a burgeoning film industry, and alongside it, a number of talented prop and costume Makers.

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The side lot of Union Station contained an area specifically for Tesla coils.


Another crowd favorite from Two Bit Circus: life-sized foosball.

4 thoughts on “Arduino-Controlled Butterfly Wings and More at Kansas City Maker Faire 2015

  1. Arduino-Controlled Butterfly Wings and More at Kansas City Maker Faire 2015 Sherry Huss says:

    Thanks Mike – great piece on Maker Faire KC. Next best thing to being there!

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Mike Senese

Mike Senese is a content producer with a focus on technology, science, and engineering. He served as Executive Editor of Make: magazine for nearly a decade, and previously was a senior editor at Wired. Mike has also starred in engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, fixing cars, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza. You might spot him at his local skatepark in the SF Bay Area.

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