Makerspace + Museum = Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013

Makerspace + Museum = Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013

photoTomorrow, Saturday, October 4th, is the second annual Orlando Mini Maker Faire in Florida. Orlando is probably most well-known worldwide for Disney World, but it might be true that for one day — tomorrow! — the Orlando Mini Maker Faire will eclipse the Mickey ears. The Faire will feature over 100 maker exhibits and the organizers hope and expect to welcome over 4,000 visitors to the Orlando Science Center venue.

This is the first year for the Science Center to host the Faire, and also to be so heavily involved in the event production. The primary Faire organizers are still the FamiLAB makerspace, but like a number of Mini Maker Faire cities (especially around the U.S.), the local science center has stepped up to collaborate with the makerspace and provide a venue as well as production support for the event.

The story of the evolution of the collaboration is probably the best example of what I’m seeing happen in many other Mini Maker Faire cities:

  1. The first Faire was initiated and organized by the makerspace at an independent venue.
  2. The museum showed at the 2012 Orlando Mini Maker Faire as an exhibitor.
  3. After the Faire was over, the FamiLAB team approached the museum about moving the event to their space for a bigger event in 2013. The museum agreed enthusiastically.
  4. To develop the mutual understanding between the makers and the institution before the crush of the event (smart!), the two organized a series of four “Maker Saturdays” at the museum, where they brought in three or four makers each time to teach workshops and hands-on making in the museum.
  5. The Science Center’s content manager, Brandon Lanman, joined the FamiLAB advisory board.
  6. Brandon, the Science Center’s events manager, Angella Van Gelder, and FamiLAB/Orlando Mini Maker Faire organizers Ian Cole and Dave Casey took a research trip together to a larger-scale Maker Faire (Kansas City) to network with other Faire organizers and Maker Media staff, and to get inspiration and identify production goals and challenges.
  7. Since then, the two teams met monthly until about five weeks ago, when they started meeting weekly.
  8. The museum team has taken on the operations management around the Faire, while FamiLAB members work on curation, run a big booth, and staff the very key volunteer Area Manager roles throughout the event.
  9. For the first time ever, the Orlando Science Center will open the doors of their exhibit development shop to the public for tours during the Faire.
  10. Not sure, but guessing this step will be a fantastic wrap party after a very successful event.

This portrait of a Mini Maker Fair collaboration is interesting to some, I’m sure. But of course, what matters to attendees is the content! And this team has manifested a pretty fantastic roster of makers for tomorrow’s event.  Here are a few to wet your whistle:

MaxAir Swim Fin
The concept was to create a fin which worked like an airplane wing worked — only in the water. Now at more than 60 prototypes, the concept has been proven to be up to 50% more efficient than any commercial recreational swim fin available. Come see the future in operation. The maker will have one of the most recent prototypes in a tank so you can play with it and see how it works.
20121229 03 FIN 56 Keepsake David

The Human-Powered Snow Cone Machine
The individual first loads their cup onto the conveyor. They then lower the ice grinder via a rope attached to some rings. They add ice by pulling on a belt attached to a pulley. They advance the cup under the ice grinder by cranking a handle attached to the conveyor. Next, they sound a train horn to announce that the wheel is about to get started. They then run or walk in the wheel to grind their ice. When the cup is full, they advance their cup via conveyor further down the line. Here, the student pulls a lever to activate a large plastic hand that smashes the crushed ice into the cup. They exit the wheel and move the cup to the next operation on the conveyor belt. At this location, they apply the flavorings to their ice by activating the shower heads, which pour the pressurized flavorings onto the ice.


Dog Powered Robot
Dog Powered Robot Labs is a super creative group of artists and engineers who give life to larger-than-life robots, characters, and props. They use a mix of low tech and high tech materials, mostly cardboard, to fabricate their upcycled creations. Instead of a stage show at the Faire, Dog Powered Robot makers are going to be sharing what goes into their production and props.

dogpoweredrobot_background (1)

Get to the Faire!  All details and tickets available at

10 thoughts on “Makerspace + Museum = Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013

  1. Goli Mohammadi says:

    That human-powered snow cone maker is top-notch! Love it!

  2. Jason Russell says:

    Pretty sure you meant Saturday, October 5th…

  3. chuck says:

    I participated in the fair today and it was wonderful. Maker Faires are like church revivals for me- I walked out of there on fire for making! The Familab folks really have their stuff together. Anyone looking to organize a fair, space or collective should look at their organization and take notes.
    The venue was really cool and staffed by very helpful people but two things bothered me. First of all, admission to the Orlando Science Center is $19 for adults and $13 for kids. While this is a fair price for a top notch science museum it seems a bit high for a maker fair. While not intentionally classist, this does widen the divide between the haves and the have-nots regarding access to the maker community.
    Also, while the museum displays were awesome and well designed, the space wasn’t intended for an event of this sort and sometimes booths didn’t fit in well with the existing displays or were tucked into odd corners. It was a little disorienting at times.
    Finally the event logo designed by cartoonist/illustrator Justin Peterson made for some snazzy tshirts and lanyards! You guys should feature the local logo art in your reports of the mini fairs to give the talented artists, who usually donate their work, a little exposure and appreciation.

    1. Sabrina Merlo says:

      Thanks for all the comments, Chuck! Sounds like the show was really fun. And I love the recommendation to reflect the local designs. Do you have a picture or URL of them?

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Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire's global licensing program for locally and independently produced Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.

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