A Two-Ton Turbo Diesel Hexapod Will Roam Maker Faire Hannover

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A Two-Ton Turbo Diesel Hexapod Will Roam Maker Faire Hannover

The beauty of Maker Faire is that you never know what or who you’ll see there. You could be walking along, checking out the sights, and be approached by the largest hexapod robot in the world. In fact, that could actually happen to you next weekend at the fifth annual Maker Faire Hannover, Germany’s oldest Faire of (now) many, organized by Heinz Heise, the German publishing company that produces a German-language version of Make: magazine.

On Friday, August 25, Maker Faire Hannover kicks off with a special education day for teachers and students, with free admission and a full lineup of presentations. Then, the Faire opens to the general public over the weekend, on August 26 and 27. It will featur 800 makers at 170 booths, plus 70 workshops and presentations. Last year’s Maker Faire Hannover attracted 16,350 enthusiastic attendees. This year’s promo video shares clips from last year’s celebration.

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Now back to that giant hydraulic robot. The brainchild of Matt Denton and his team at Micromagic Systems, the Mantis Hexapod Walking Machine has a 5-meter diameter in neutral standing position, weighs 1900 kilos, is powered by a 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine, took four years to design and build, and can either be piloted or controlled remotely. Check out the full technical specs and be in awe.

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So Much More to See

The Mantis will be in good company this weekend, with a wide variety of maker-made projects large and small. Here’s a sampling of vehicles, vessels, and flying objects for your viewing pleasure.

Lothar Bunscheit’s Matchstick R/C Boats

Lothar Bunscheit is one of those talented under-the-radar makers with no web presence. He has been quietly and skillfully making buoyant, remote-controlled model boats make from matches (and a little bit of plywood) since he built his first, a model of the Santa Maria, in 1955. His models have been known to employ roughy 15,000 matches, are coated in boat lacquer, and feature custom R/C systems. Come see his boats in the city park pond on the festival grounds.

UBoot Comet Submarine

From lead builder Lars Wienckowski comes the UBoot Comet Submarine. This maker-made vessel can carry two people, is 3.2 meters long, and can stay continuously submersed for three hours. See their full list of tech specs for more info. The sub has already spent 250 hours in the water.

Abacus Theater’s Spacecruiser

From the magical minds of the Abacus Theater art collective comes Spacecruiser, a nod to the colorful toys of old. In full costumes and the spirit of performance art street theater, their creations will have you dreaming of faraway lands. Watch Spacecruiser in action.

Ironcrafter Water Rockets

Ironcrafter Team Hannover are a group of water rocket makers who make simple rockets from one plastic bottle, to big rockets made from several bottles. They’ll provide tips on building your own water rockets. Plus, they’ll bring their missile launch base and mini rockets so that attendees can fill the rocket with water, connect it to the missile launching base, operate the racing compressor, and shoot the rocket.

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Silent_Runner Open Source Airships

The intrepid team at Silent_Runner is on a mission to share the joys of airships (blimps) through their accessible open source design. Their airship is extremely efficient and uses simple 3D-printed parts, a balloon, helium, and some basic electronics. Plus it can carry cameras and is easy to fly. In contrast to multicopters, the Silent_Runner is quiet and not prone to crashing. They’ll also have FPV glasses on hand to experience the flight.

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The company Stratoflights specializes in using stratospheric balloons to launch small objects to an altitude of 40,000 meters. With a camera on board, they film the journey and use the footage and images for unique marketing strategies.


At Maker Faire Hannover, the Makey robot mascot will be taking his first trip to the stratosphere!

All the information you need to join the maker celebration at Maker Faire Hannover is available on 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 snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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