Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interesting Things At The Cedar Rapids Mini Maker Faire

This past weekend I was asked once again by the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Science Center to show some of the projects that I have been working at their third annual Mini Maker Fair. I  attended the maker fair last year and was thrilled to be asked by Nora Hammond and Jim Jacobmeyer who run the Science Center to come back again this year to show some of my 3D printed projects that I have blogged about over the past couple of years.   This year the maker fair was bigger and better than last year as the Science Center now has their own building complete with their own maker space.  A beautiful building which puts the old location they had in a shopping mall to shame in a big way.  So while I had a little time I was able to get just a few photos of the maker fair to show you today.

I was able to only get a few photos from the maker fair and am sorry to say did not get the names of the owners of these creations.  So if you own what I have pictured in this post please contact me and I will be more than happy to pass along any information that you can give me about your amazing items.  This clock being one of those items. To say amazing is an understatement.  

This item was done by the same person as the clock and was hand cut using a jig saw.  Nice detail work in this piece as well. The sign was 12 - 15 inches tall to give you and idea of scale.

 This portrait of Robert E. Lee was very impressive and a novel idea to bring woodworking to portraits.  Again the artist that had created this had also made a portrait of General Grant but did not have it at the show.  I would have liked to have seen that portrait as well.  Lots of time and effort was put into these creations and it looks to be worth the effort. 

The photo of the upside down bicycle looked interesting with the shape of the frame.  The owner was working on the bike before the show and so I had to take a closer look.  Believe it or not the frame was made like the second photo using only cardboard!  I could not believe my eyes when the owner took the bike out for a spin after make some routine adjustments to the  bike.  Another amazing thing to see at the maker fair. 

The gentleman that you see in the top photo designed and built his own 3D printer.  This printer was big compared to my Makerbot Replicator.  It had to be one and a half times larger in size than the Makerbot.  He was printing parts during the fair to show everyone there what a 3D printer was and how it looked when it was making parts.  I did not take my Makerbot to the fair simply because of the distance I have to travel to even show up.  So I bring what I can and let someone else print who can make that happen easier than I can.

This creation was very near my booth at the fair and I just could not resist getting a photo of it.  It was created by one of the members of the QC-CoLab maker space in Davenport Iowa.  I was a member of this space for a couple of years and so it was nice to be able to meet up with distant friends that were also at the fair.  This skeleton was made completely out of aluminum and is the height of a full sized man.  The plan for the project is to have him (the skeleton) be fully animated.  I hope I will get a chance to see this project once it has been completed.  Way to go Co-Lab!

These two photos were taken just minutes before the maker fair started.  The room we were showing in is the Science Center's maker space.  It as you can see is very well lit up and all of the coils near the ceiling are electrical power for anyone working in the space anywhere in the room.  I could park a dozen cars in the room along and that is only a small portion of the Science Center.  

This was my table at the maker fair set up on a large work bench.  Again this photo was taken just before the fair started.  It would have been impossible to get this photo while the fair was running as I had many many visitors that kept me talking for six hours straight during the day.  Everyone from toddlers to senior citizens had a million questions about the projects that I was displaying.

 On the table were many 3D printed projects such as my Lego gyrocopter and pilot, a walking machine, a Lego jet pack man, a three foot long semi-tractor and trailer hauling a 50's style flying saucer, a 1/6th scale electric car model with working suspension, rack and pinon steering, disc brakes and fold down seats just to name a few of the items that I took to the maker fair.

  The big black draped item on a camera tripod was my 3D printed video teleprompter.  I had this running using my IPad to reverse the display so it could be read correctly and also a lap top showing my progress with my velomobile human powered vehicle. 
  With the velomobile not being completed yet I was not able to take it to the maker fair.  I plan on having it finished in the next couple of months and the organizers of the maker fair and the people that run the Science Center want me to bring it to next years fair and give a presentation about how it was built.  So I have next year to plan and get ready for already. 

  The maker fair was a huge success with over 50 different makers showing off their creations and over 1500 visitors to the fair showing up during the day.  If you are in the Cedar Rapids area next year around this time come to the fair and you will have a great day seeing what other builders and tinkers like myself are making.   Also for more information about the Cedar Rapids Science Center here is a link to their site.


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