Cincinnati Maker Faire Report

11954709_710383639091756_527265153513815601_nLast weekend marked the occasion of the third annual Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire. Described as “the regions largest show-and-tell” it was hosted by the Cincinnati Museum Center, which probably one of the the largest in sheer space occupied, of any Maker Faire in the country.

Mini Maker Faires are a growing phenomena across the globe. The “mini” part of the title doesn’t denote size, but rather whether or not it’s an official event of Make Magazine, who first started the events. Mini maker faires are organized under Make standards, but hosted independently of the Make organization.

This year’s Maker Faire featured exhibits by the many local makers, artists, and craftsfolk. The Manufactury, a local make space providing community access to large, expensive machines such as mills, lathes, and laser etchers, had a large display recruiting new members and showing off some of their resources. There were several 3D printers displaying models of everything from miniature TARDISes (Tardii?) to 6′ rocket models.

There were robots on display from Lakota 1038, a FIRST Robotics team, as well as members of Astromech, the local R2D2 builders club, and the Ohio Garrison of the 501st Legion. Outdoor exhibits included a ping pong ball explosion, power tool racing, the largest display of coke-and-mentos you’ve ever encountered, and a replica jeep from Jurassic Park.

The Ping-Pong Ball Explosion

The Ping-Pong Ball Explosion

So why should you care? There’s a great deal of crossover between Makers and Steampunks. Anyone who constructs a steampunk costume or prop is, by default, part of the Making community. While Makers may seem to focus on new and futuristic technology such as smart appliances and 3D printer, whereas steampunks look to the past, the truth is that we use the tools of the future to recreate the past that never was, and there’s a great deal of benefit to be gleaned from mixing the two together. The steampunk archetype of engineers and tinkers emobody the same DIY principles that the Maker community holds dear. While there was very little steampunk represented at this particular maker faire it isn’t unusual to see exhibits from groups such as the Apparition Abolishers who regularly appear at the Nashville Mini Maker Faire, and conventions such as GMX and DragonCon.

Sad that you missed the awesomeness last week? Never fear! The Louisville Mini Maker Faire is happening on September 19th. Louisville is making a name for themselves in ideas and innovation and annually host the Idea Festival, a five day event featuring TED-like talks from speakers from around the world on a variety of topics. The Mini Maker Faire is usually held in conjunction with NuLu, the after-party or, sometimes, the pre-party to the Idea Fest. NuLu is a street festival full of arts and crafts and food and drink. The entire party is taking place this year on Museum Row, closing off several city blocks.

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So round up the kids, brush up on your geek-speak, find that droid you’re looking for, and let’s all go the faire!


Katie Lynn Daniels is the author of Supervillain of the Day, and the mastermind behind Vaguely Circular. She blogs about science and things that are peripherally related to science. You can read all her posts here.


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