Detroit Makers Faire

The Detroit Makers Faire was the main reason we came over to this side of the state, and it didn’t disappoint.

What is it? 

Boy, hard to describe.  Let me just rattle off a bunch of words that all have an aspect at a Makers Faire.

Electronics. Mechanics. Hydraulics. Pneumatics. Art. Sculpture. Movement. Wonder. Exploration. Mad Scientists. Inventors. Hackers. Imagination. Bootstrapped. Contraptions. Tinkering. Homegrown. Steampunk. Alternative Culture. Alternative Energy. Engineering. Math. Competition. Fun.

I’m not quite sure of the mix - but once you have all of these ingredients in a bowl and have cooked them together you pour the mixture into a shell that’s labelled “Do It Yourself”.  Build it. Design it. Change it. Pull it apart. Build it again.  But don’t, whatever you do, just go buy it.

In short, Make it.

This event appealed to me on so many levels.  As a kid I grew up in a house that could be described as a Maker house.  My mom was (and still is) a craftsperson skilled in knitting and sewing.  My dad is a DIY’r through to the core.  The man built his own house, assembled his TV’s from Heathkit’s , built his dune buggy, restored cars, and assembled a “ham shack” in the basement with enough radios & computers to rival a commercial radio station.

I ended up as a bit of a mix of the two - enjoying working on Jeeps, building custom tandem bikes and quadricycles but also more artistic endeavors like junkyard sculpture. I suppose even my career in web development has aspects of both the mathematical/engineering and creative/craft.

I’m not sure I could design a more interesting event than the Makers Faire if I had the chance to try.  We enjoyed riding a group bike, and the large two-wheelers where you are suspended in the middle of parallel wheels and steer by braking one or the other. We watched the life-size Mousetrap game. We listened to the Great American Horn Machine. Watched modified Power Wheels Races. Listened to live music. Played life-size Operation. Picked up an Arduino kit.  Learned about hackerspaces.

In short, we had a very full and completely enjoyable day at the Detroit Makers Faire.  It’s definitely an event that I’d return to.

Lots of video with this entry - it’s that type of event!

Plymouth Valiant Art Car

Plymouth Valiant Art Car

My First Car!  A 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger. I actually owned 3 of them.

My First Car! A 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger. I actually owned 3 of them.

MsBoyink @ Storybird on the Group Bike

MsBoyink @ Storybird on the Group Bike

Yea, didn't get any further than this.

Yea, didn't get any further than this.

They got it going - see video. Experience pays off!

They got it going - see video. Experience pays off!

Storybird on the big bike.

Storybird on the big bike.

Boyink on the big bike.

Boyink on the big bike.

Harrison coming back on the big bike.

Harrison coming back on the big bike.

Harrison's ride is done.

Harrison's ride is done.

Another art car.

Another art car.

Lifesize Mousetrap owner hyping the crowd.

Lifesize Mousetrap owner hyping the crowd.

The mice and uh, one-woman band?

The mice and uh, one-woman band?

Success!

Success!

Kids learning to solder in the Maker Shed..

Kids learning to solder in the Maker Shed..

Believe it!

Believe it!

Great American Horn Machine.

Great American Horn Machine.

Lunchtime tailgating - trying to save money.

Lunchtime tailgating - trying to save money.

Power Wheels racers qualifying

Power Wheels racers qualifying

Yet another Jeep racing group finds the need to lengthen the wheelbase.

Yet another Jeep racing group finds the need to lengthen the wheelbase.

Local engineering school promo vehicle.

Local engineering school promo vehicle.

Playing life-size Operation

Playing life-size Operation

Using brainwaves to trigger a flamethrower.

Using brainwaves to trigger a flamethrower.

One of our best fridge magnets yet!

One of our best fridge magnets yet!

Group Bike

Mini Tandem

Storybird big bike

Harrison big bike

Boyink big bike

Time machine

Lifesize Mousetrap

Motorized Cupcake

Useless box

Robot Spider

PowerWheels Racers

3 Comments Detroit Makers Faire

  1. Picture of HarrisonHarrisonJuly 31, 2012

    This place was amazing. There was so much to see. The Great American Horn Machine was one of my favorites. I still have slight ringing in my ears from when it went off while we were at the power wheels races…. which was my favorite thing there. It was just awesome to see what people had done with these things. A semi starter motor as the power? Talk about fast! The entire place was fun and I hope we can find another sometime soon. Now, where did I put those spare parts…

  2. Picture of StorybirdStorybirdJuly 31, 2012

    Yes, the Maker’s fair was awesome. I especially liked riding in the big bikes. I wonder where they’d found wheels that big? I loved watching the power wheels. It’s just something my family likes to do.

  3. Picture of salguodsalguodAugust 12, 2012

    In design school, one of our projects was to design a car powered by a mouse trap.  The most successful designs were one axle cars like the bikes in your pictures.  The mouse trap hung from the axle and when the trap swung, it pulled a string wrapped around the axle.  As it unwound, it made the car go.  Some built large diameter wheels which got a slow start but a lot of distance per revolution while others use small wheels that went fast and relied on coasting to get a great distance.

    Pretty cool to see life size versions.

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