Sustainability, Open Source, and Social Good: Bilbao Makers Are Agents of Change

Maker News
Sustainability, Open Source, and Social Good: Bilbao Makers Are Agents of Change

Europe is lit up with the flurry of Maker Faires sprinkled across it, each Faire both similar in some respects (for example, 3D printers are fairly ubiquitous) and also a unique reflection of the community it represents. Maker Faire Bilbao, one Spain’s two annual Faires (the other is Galicia), presents its sixth incarnation this weekend, October 26–28, at Espacio Open in Bilbao’s Old Cookie Factory.

Last year’s Maker Faire Bilbao was a resounding success, drawing an estimated 12,000 attendees. New makers were definitely made there.

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The positive reverberations of hosting and encouraging a community of makers have certainly been felt in the area over the past few years. Here’s what organizer Karim Asry shared:

This year, the European Commission has doubled its presence in Maker Faire Bilbao, as well as in many other Faires in the European Union. The project Distributed Design aims to help makers go maker pro in the EU market by showcasing them at events like Maker Faire, celebrating also Maker to Market Bootcamps to improve their soft skills to survive in the market jungle. There’s also Open Maker, who is financing open source prototypes having makers collaborate with companies. We’re participating in both projects.

Among the wide variety of the 60 exhibits and 100 programmed activities on tap for the weekend, a healthy percentage are concerned with making a positive contribution to society and the planet. Information sharing is also a priority. Here are a few that demand applause.

Open Source Braille Printer: BrailleRAP-SP

IT engineer Godin Stephane and 3D printer manufacturer Philippe Pacotte have joined forces to invent a DIY open-source Braille embosser called BrailleRAP-SP. They also organize embosser assembling workshops.

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Crane WASP Architectural 3D Printer

Italian 3D printer manufacturer WASP’s Crane WASP (the Infinite Printer) large-scale architectural printer is a game-changer. Come see it in action. Their Shamballa project just finished phase one: printing a full house (Gaia) made from locally sourced adobe for around $1,000.

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Plastic Smoothie: DIY Plastic Recycling

Argentinian designer Agustin Flowalistik and his collaborators have devised a low-cost, accessible way to repurpose plastics using a blender and a toaster oven. It’s called Plastic Smoothie and a full Instructable is available.


Caleiduino Open Source Sound-Interactive Digital Kaleidoscope

The Caleiduino project a sound-interactive digital kaleidoscope based on Arduino. It functions as a game, an object of art, and a tool to understand electronics and programming in a creative and entertaining way. There’s a kit, or full instructions and design files online for anyone who wants to dive into the DIY.

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JetClay Dry Clay Extruder for Ceramics

The JetClay ceramics printer aims to help accelerate European innovation at the crossroads of digital fabrication and the ceramics sector, which accounts for EUR 27.8 billion in production value. Ceramics also has the benefit of being an eco-friendly natural material that is completely recyclable and fairly resistant to chemicals and high temperatures. The team behind the project includes engineers, ceramics material experts, designers, and tool machining specialists.

Be sure to check out the program guide for full schedule and head to the Maker Faire Bilbao site for all the information you need to attend. 


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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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