Maker Faire Detroit 2010

Maker Faire Detroit 2010
MakerFaire THF Logo FINAL.jpg

Last summer, after our Maker Faire in the Bay Area, I had a couple of speaking engagements in the Detroit area. One was at a Go Tech meeting in Ann Arbor, at the A2 MechShop. I had many people asking about a Maker Faire in Detroit and insisting that it would mean a lot to a region that was going through hard times. On the same trip, I met with curators at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn and they too were interested in seeing a Maker Faire happen. Walking through the museum, I saw not just the creations of American makers, but the workshops of people like Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers, not to mention Henry Ford. I couldn’t help but think what inspiration today’s makers would find in the 100-year old legacy of the Model T, along with so many other important examples of how technology has changed our lives.

I’m happy to announce today that we have partnered with The Henry Ford Museum to create a Maker Faire in 2010 in the Detroit area. The dates will be July 31-August 1, 2010.

I look at it as a wonderful opportunity to showcase the technical and creative talent of the region, which was once the most productive city in America. Detroit needs to retool and rethink its opportunities, and quite frankly, I find this an exciting opportunity to be part of. If the manufacturing skills and design prowess of Detroit can be married to the tools for communication and expression that the Internet provides, something big will come of it. Already today, you can see the seeds growing. There’s the emergence of hackerspaces like I3 Detroit and All Hands Active, co-working spaces like A2 MechShop and the Tech Brewery, and a thriving craft scene around Handmade Detroit. Add to that initiatives such as the tech incubator known as TechTown at Wayne State University and the excellent higher education system in Michigan.

We have come up with a tagline for Maker Faire Detroit — From Motor City to Maker City. (Thanks, Diana). We hope as part of this process of organizing Maker Faire to create a Maker City that is a year-round guide to the amazing resources and talents to be found in this region. In short, stay tuned for more.

To keep track of developments for Maker Faire Detroit, check out You can send mail to to be added to our mailing list and to receive notices about our Call for Makers and other event details. Please let me know if you have suggestions and ideas for Maker Faire Detroit (dale at oreilly dot com). We’ll need lots of help and support but I’m sure that makers across the Midwest will participate and we’ll be able to create an amazing event.

Whether you live in Detroit or not, Detroit’s problems are our problems and Detroit’s opportunities are ours as well.

Update: The Call for Makers is now open for the 1st Annual Maker Faire Detroit 2010! We are now accepting entries for Maker Faire Detroit, July 31st and August 1st, 2010 at the Henry Ford.

38 thoughts on “Maker Faire Detroit 2010

  1. Jake of All Trades says:

    I am so happy about this! I always thought my hometown would be a perfect place for a Maker Faire, but I really didn’t think it would ever happen. Darn, now I have to come up with something cool to do ;)

  2. Myself says:

    Detroit *IS* the perfect place for a Maker Faire. It’s in our genes; innovators have always lived here.

    I’m gonna serve up some copypasta from a comment I made on the Henry Ford’s PR blog, since I think this is a good place for it too:

    For too long, mainstream America has been caught up in the notions that tinkering is childish, math is hard, things are made by other people, and serious folks have desk jobs. The white-collar dark-ages have discouraged hands-on experience with the inner workings of modern life.

    A lot of us in Michigan have always known otherwise. It’s sometimes baffling to us that museums in other places don’t have steam engines, looms, or glassworks. What do those people do for fun? They don’t even change their own oil? But wait! Humans have opposable thumbs!

    Celebrating the creative spirit is sometimes controversial. Whether you’re a kid modifying your toys, a hacker circumventing a limitation in software, or an adult thinking outside the box at work, people aren’t always comfortable with changes in what seemed static.

    The people I met at the “mini Maker Faire” in Ann Arbor back in August were my kind of people, though, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with lots more at i3Detroit’s workshop in Royal Oak. Being in the company of folks who appreciate a good hack and a bad pun is invigorating, and I can only imagine what the grounds of the Henry Ford will feel like, packed with thousands upon thousands of us.

    1. Toko Buku Online says:

      I want to very much lived in the area like this

  3. Stunmonkey says:

    Makes sense, I guess Detroit IS a makers paradise of sorts.

    Any place where you have to make everything yourself and have miles of ruins to scavenge for parts does sort of sound like a makers paradise in a way. The place is a fair bit like Mad Max’s apocalyptic wasteland – Detroit’s a bit scarier perhaps, but still very similar in that regard.

    Will the Makers Faire have any seminars on body armor construction before heading out into the urban plain?

    1. packrat says:

      Have you even been to Detroit?
      While its a struggling town, and the population is thinning, it is FAR from some dilapidated post-apocalyptic wasteland with poor acting.
      Don’t believe what the media tells you. They want to paint Detroit as some pitiable charity case which, for mere pennies a day, you can help feed some child. Carefully manipulated images of vast empty lots of leveled properties and partially burned down homes is what sells the papers.

    2. Jake of All Trades says:

      Umm, Detroit’s nothing like that… There are plenty of depressing bits, sure, but it’s not a wasteland in any way–apocalyptic or otherwise.

      Unfortunately, you’re incorrect about scavenging too. Anything worth anything (especially that which is made of metal) gets grabbed by very serious (and often desperate) professional scrappers :(

      1. Stunmonkey says:

        That’s a shame about the professional scrappers. It’s been years since I’ve been there, I hear a lot the abandoned neighborhoods have been bulldozed now to clear them. My friends house was among them, one of the last half dozen or so to leave his area. There was a lot of stuff still hanging around back then to scavenge. The media certainly blows stuff out of proportion but it was pretty surreal.
        I know a lot of people have left, but the thing that scared me wasn’t the people that left, it was some of the ones that were still hanging around…

  4. Ross Hershberger says:

    Detroit has a long tradition of inventors and builders. My wife is a tooling designer who works with dozens of individuals and shops who do custom manufacture. The level of skill and experience is amazing.
    My primary area of DIY is audio equipment. I wrote the Econowave speakers article in Make #20. Detroit has a thriving community of builders, experimenters, analog hackers and circuit benders making their own audio systems. I plan to round up a few examples of maker-built audio and put together a good representation of local talent for Maker Faire Detroit. can’t wait!

  5. Ross Hershberger says:

    This town once had a huge middle class made comfortable and prosperous by manufacturing jobs. Wealth was spread much more evenly across cultural and ethnic boundaries. Prosperous people buy nice things, build good houses and invest in quality. Consequently as the population ages, moves out, upgrades, retires, etc., the estate sales are treasure troves of quality mid century products. As I write this I’m sitting at a 400 lb walnut desk from a Director’s office in the original General Motors world headquarters and overhead is an Italian Arco lamp, both gleaned from Detroit sources.
    I work primarily with ‘vintage’ audio gear, primarily with tubes. It’s fun and rewarding to restore, upgrade, modify and repurpose a previous generation’s stereos for new uses. A lot of what I restore gets sold to make room for more projects. Overwhelmingly, the market for the quality tube audio gear of the ’50s and ’60s is in Southeast Asia.
    It’s ironic (in the modern sense) that the cultures whose automobile manufacturing prowess challenge and threaten the Big 3 place a high value on American audio equipment from the golden age of tubes. Every time I ship off a Scott, Fisher, Dynaco or other nice tube audio piece from Detroit to Tokyo I think about that.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why were only select people let known that there was a Maker Faire meeting in Detroit tonight?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree, I am an active craft member of Detroit and am on the mailing list and Facebook pages for the Maker Faire. Why was the public not invited to the meeting in Detroit this past weekend?

    Does this mean only those invited will be allowed to participate in the Faire when it comes to Detroit this summer?

  8. Dale Dougherty says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    We emailed people we knew and told them to invite others. If you’d like to be included in a future meeting, please just let me know. We’d love to have you involved.

    I have to say that we had twice as many people as we expected.
    Next time, I’ll put in on the blog in advance. OK?


    1. Dale Dougherty says:

      Anonymous 2

      Please just send me your info so we can include you next time. We’re still very early in the process and we’ll have open applications for Maker Faire Detroit beginning 3/15.
      It will be open and anyone can participate. The purpose of the meeting on Sunday was to invite people who can help us reach out to other people.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You emailed a very select few, I take it. Because they did not share the invitation to the rest of us, which leaves me pretty pissed off, as an artist myself. And as a big fan of Make and Craft. It SHOULD have been in the BLOG, and FACEBOOK.

    Do you understand that the people you did invite DID NOT invite others? If they had, you would have had 5 times as many people as you thought you would have.

    I was really happy to hear about this coming to Detroit, but I am wondering now, if the Faire itself will be exlcuded to only those members you “know.”

    1. Dale Dougherty says:

      Please …. let’s try to help each other.

      I don’t know who you are and you’re here anonymously so I won’t know who you are for future meetings. Clearly, you care and I’d like to get you involved.

      For this meeting, I emailed people I’ve met on previous trips. I really wasn’t expecting the turnout we had because we’re just in the early stages.

      We will have a meeting in the spring and we’ll make sure it’s on the blog and Facebook.

  10. craftycat says:

    I have to agree that you probably extended your invitation to members of Handmade Detroit who are a poor and self-serving excuse for a DIY community.

    1. Dale Dougherty says:


      I’m sorry you posted that here. I don’t see how that does you or the DIY movement any good.

  11. Drew says:

    Hello – is there word on what will be the official Faire hotel yet?


  12. redf0rd says:

    too cool that you’re going to be setting up a makers fare with ford. it’ll be awesome. what i’d love is for ford direct to start offering classics like the mustang and model t(for those with enough money), that would be great…

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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