Maker Faire Austin: A Celebration of Good People Keepin’ It Weird

Maker News
Maker Faire Austin: A Celebration of Good People Keepin’ It Weird

We can safely say that there’s only one Maker Faire out of the 200+ globally that has bats in its logo: none other than the famed Maker Faire Austin. One of the longest-running Faires in the world, Maker Faire Austin enters its ninth incarnation this weekend, May 5 and 6, and things are definitely about to get weird (in the most awesome way). Join the good people of Austin.

There will be roughly 120 maker exhibits with 600 makers at this year’s Maker Faire Austin. Interestingly, last year, though there were 200 exhibits, there were only 300 makers behind them. This year, groups have taken over in the application process. The 2017 Faire drew 6,000 attendees from 27 different states and four countries. Eunny, the maker and educator who traveled to Maker Faires across the world last year, shot some great videos, like this one of the indoor exhibits:

What’s New?

We caught up with long-time organizing team member and Maker Faire Austin director Joey Ficklin to get the scoop on what to expect this year:
We’re doing our first ever Regional Maker Education Summit. Meetings and breakouts in the morning and then right out onto the show floor to see maker projects executed, followed by student projects and presentations to the teachers. The Summit qualifies as official professional development, and is supported by a generous contribution by Google. We’re quite proud of the student project area. It’s an area where folks can cooperatively display without having to make the commitment to manning a booth for two days.
We’re doing our first ever Disaster Relief Hackathon at the Faire, as well as a fab-a-thon. Anyone who has a 3D printer at the Faire has been given open source files. These files are from a sculpture the City of Austin is installing in June, and the mockup of that project will be on display with presentations and workshops by the artists and the City of Austin. These groups are encouraged to print these, and find the booth to take them to.
We’ve gone from drone race, to fly a drone, to a new build then fly a drone zone. We now have almost 30,000 square feet devoted to drones! Take that, flagship. It only makes sense — we’re third on the list of cities with Part 107 licenses.
Zombie marching band Dead Music Capital Band.
We have expanded from not one, but now two darkened rooms. The second is the Interactive Darkroom of all interactive large art, the site of our Think by Making Party, benefiting a local STEAM group. This party will be off the hook, including our new interactive fire garden and a full suite of projection-based immersive computing experiences presented by Argodesign, exclusive at the party. [Here’s a glimpse at last year’s:]
One for sure is an oldie but goodie is BooshBeats. Tim Deagan collaborated with Ponytrap to create an MIDI-powered, robot/fire collaboration.

Steve Wolf‘s “Stunt Science” will be our headliner.

And ReMake Runway is returning. Our upcycled fashion contest that has applicants fabricating from donated items all day and then showing on the fashion show stage later the same day for prizes and honor!

With no last mention, Audio Body is making a well-anticipated return.

I also want to congratulate both the State of Texas, represented by the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and the City of Austin with the Austin Resource Recovery, Cultural Arts Division, Capitol Area Metro, and others both pledging dollars and exhibits.

Maker-Made in Texas

Geolume by Jon Imeson

Maker and artist Jon Imeson got started on the laser cutter and learned the fundamentals of design at ATX Hackerspace. Then he started his company Geolume and makes laser-cut, nature-inspired lamps that cast amazing shadows.

Central Texas Droids

Central Texas Droids is a robotics fan club whose members create detailed replica robots from the Star Wars universe, including R2-D2, BB-8, C-3PO, and many others. The club is comprised of over 20 men and women from Austin, San Antonio, and central Texas area who love to take their robots out to charity, education, and pop culture events.


Paint by RGB Wall by Joey and Jared Ficklin

Walk up and paint with light. Paint by RGB is 2,500 RGB LEDs in a crowd-sized wall, individually controlled by an infrared brush in your hand. This is a low res prototype of a future world where we can have walls of living, glowing wall paper.

Austin Area Quilt Guild

The Austin Area Quilt Guild (AAQG) was founded in 1978 and is dedicated to preserving the heritage of quilting and promoting excellence and education in the art of quilt-making. Membership in is open to anyone interested in quilts.

Tarotron 3000

The Tarotron 3000 is a fortune telling machine by Mickey Delp that combines a centuries-old divination technique, fine woodworking, pinball machine artwork, and modern technology. Draw four cards from the tarot deck and the robotic mystic will tell you your fortune.

Austin Powertool Raceway Seth Johnson

Design, build and race power-tool dragsters at the Austin Maker Faire Power Tool Raceway. Skill saws, angle grinders, drills, etc. can be assembled into race cars to compete on a 60-foot track for the fastest time of the weekend.

For all the information you need to join the fun at Maker Faire Austin, head to the website!

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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 or via @snowgoli.

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