The Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), for 100 years at the heart of cultural and science learning experience in Denver, is hosting the 2nd annual Denver Mini Maker Faire. To celebrate this partnership, this Faire will showcase a number of special first-time exhibits from all over the state of Colorado including:
- Cartists from Trinidad’s Artocade, bringing one of their art cars to show and another one to build with Faire-goers
- A Synth Petting zoo led by the Boulder Synth Meet-up where visitors can get hands on with homemade electronic instruments and the Science of Music where you can build your own!
- A Lego engineering club is bringing their SUV-sized mechanical sculpture they call a TrotBot
The Trot Bot is the culmination of a 3 year journey of a group of teens and one geek-dad to design a new walking mechanism and scale it up to a mini-van sized monstrosity. Inspired by the Maker Movement and the Chris Anderson book Makers, Wade Vagle decided to develop a significant design challenge for his Lego engineering afterschool club. He discovered the Strandbeests by Theo Jansen and proposed building a walking sculpture to the kids and their parents, without sugar-coating what it would take. “Building walkers is not easy. We would not be building a kit with instructions. Instead, we would be figuring out how to go about it, and the students would inevitably make a lot of mistakes along the way which will require repetition of steps or rebuilds. Of course, I would be supporting them to increase their odds of ultimate success, but the motivational burden would fall largely on them, and they will require a mindset to handle frustration and soldier on. If you think your child is up for such a challenge, then I would love to play the role of coach/teacher to help them succeed.” Come see the working results of their labors!
- The Fort Collins Drone meet-up will be guiding a Drone Obstacle Course — see how good your flying skills are!
- The Loveland Creator space led by inventor Ed VanDyne has created the first fully 3D printed Nerdy Derby track, with electronic starting gate and laser finish.
With help from Woodcraft, Uncle Benny’s Building Supplies, and Aleph Objects, you can create your own car and race it.
VanDyne can’t stop making things for the Faire. Since 2013 he’s created a human foosball table, a fire breathing dragon, and the Nerdy Derby, all of which will be at the Denver Faire.
“The Denver Mini Maker Faire aligns with our educational outreach and focus on hands-on science education and innovation,” said George Sparks, Denver Museum of Nature & Science president and CEO. “We are pleased to partner with Colorado Maker Hub, producer of the Denver Mini Maker Faire, in furthering our goal to spark curiosity in our visitors.”
And of course the event will have the over 100 makers that we’ve come to expect, including Sparkfun’s Paint with Code, Epilog’s laser cutting, Liteseed’s LED stickers, and Makers such as Mark Gibson, creator of Fun with Pinball.
Fun with Pinball is always one of the most popular hands-on exhibits at the Denver and NoCo Mini Maker Faires. Mark Gibson, who developed his skills restoring pinball machines as a hobby, branched out into creating mechanical models and games using old pinball machine parts. People of all ages love pushing the buttons and making noise, but beyond that there is a fascination with seeing how the mechanical pieces work. As Gibson comments, “These days you have no idea what is going on inside your iPhone, but with these you can mechanically see what is going on and you can see how to repair it. It is a lost art.
The first Maker Faire we put on in Colorado was the catalyst for Gibson’s creations. A friend suggested that he bring one of his restored pinball games to the Faire and Gibson thought “well, just bringing a machine isn’t very Maker.” And so he gave it some thought and came up with the idea of building game boards. Part of the design challenge, he’s discovered, is to create something intuitive, where visitors can figure out in a visual and tactile way what is going on with the mechanics of the game. “Through these games I’m celebrating the ingenuity of the original designers who retired long ago. They designed most of the parts and assemblies; I’m just wiring them up in new ways so others can appreciate or learn something from their work”
In addition to all the amazing Makers at the Faire, we are also hosting three days of presentations and workshops designed to help teachers hack their classroom, bringing making into education. Featuring speakers such as Nathan Seidle of Sparkfun, Ross Ingram of Sphero, Zach Nies of Techstars, and more, this Colorado Maker Initiative will launch a cohort of innovation educators to share best practices, resources, and information at the Faire and throughout the year.
Join us for this extraordinary gathering of the best and brightest Makers, tech stars, and educators in the Rocky Mountains! For more information and tickets, visit www.denvermakerfaire.org
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