I had a really great time at what was my first ever Maker Faire in Kansas City, Missouri, last weekend. Although we didn’t get an “official” CosmoQuest van like I’ve always wanted, we did rent a mini-van and take our science and creativity with us for a booth at the fair. By us, I mean our programmers Joe and Cory as well as Lindsey, better known as Tiny Intern.
I was quite excited even just at setup, already spotting a TARDIS, a Dalek, and some very lovely chain mail craft. It’s a good thing I got to look around at the beginning because the aisles were PACKED with visitors during the Faire itself. Some of the making was low tech, but a lot of it was very high tech, with all kinds of 3D printers, robots, arduinos, and learn-to-solder stations.
The week prior, I got my first chance to poke at the 3D printer in our STEM Resource Center as Colin Wilson helped me out in printing TWO model Vestas. I need to learn how to print without so much “support structure” but printing a second one upside-down allowed us to get a good view of the south pole.
We had some high tech and low tech things to show off at our own booth. Of course, at the heart of CosmoQuest is the citizen science projects where you help up map the surfaces of the Moon, Vesta, and Mercury. We got lots of new Mappers to try it out, especially from the younger set since this was a very family friendly event. We also had visitors make craters in flour and cocoa powder and I made comets out of dry ice, dirt, and water.
I have to brag. We did have a celebrity come to our booth so I had to get a picture. Yes, that’s right. The Twinkie is back and we got visited by… a giant Twinkie. What’s not to love about that?
I’ve been inspired by Maker Faire to continue to build bridges between makers and scientists and makers and educators as many of the speakers and panelists at the Faire are already doing. I’d like to try some more 3D printing while I have the chance, and I’ve even signed up for the mailing list at Arch Reactor, our local hackerspace in St. Louis!
In a world full of technical gadgets understood by very few, there is something satisfying in building and making your own gadgets and tools. I’d encourage everyone to check out a local maker or hacker space, or browse a site like Instructables to find interesting projects. The Maker Movement is rolling full steam ahead and you’ll want to do it yourself, too.