April 2014 - IDIYA

Archive for April, 2014

There was, last weekend, a fantastically fun and phenomenally successful gathering of People Who Dearly Love Making Cool Things. More formally, it was the Inaugural New Orleans Mini Maker Faire. Yes, it has come and gone, and we really hope you didn’t miss it. If you did, well, here are some highlights, and if you’re lucky, you can make it to next year’s event.

The plethora of fascinating stuff was a bit bewildering, because there was so much of it, and the whole place kind of resembled a magical bazaar out of fantasy book. There were multiple electric racing motorcycles, small flying machines, several 3D printers and CNC milling machines capable of fabricating pretty much any shape you can imagine, and several massive drums pounded relentlessly for seven hours by packs of gleeful children. (We’re being literal here: there were Cub Scout packs present. They were cute. There was a pinewood derby (great nostalgia for anyone over 21); pinball machines lovingly restored, blinged, and hot-rodded (more nostalgia); low-cost DIY spectrophotometers and DIY high-altitude mapping kits and demos; several tables filled with electronics parts, blinkenlights, and soldering irons — even circuitboards were being made from scratch, on the spot; impromptu bands playing instruments homemade out of household recycling. And there were sculptures. So very many. And so much creativity.

But the most truly remarkable thing about the Inaugural New Orleans Mini Maker Faire was this: why, in the long and colorful and stunningly creative history of New Orleans, is this the first such event? Honestly, we have no idea. We cannot explain it. But we hope it will not be the last.

We have many people to thank for this event, not the least of which are the planners, organizers, and hosts. We should also thank the makers:

  • Matt Candler of Night Shift Bikes, and Kody Najarian of Advanced Magnetic Propulsions were behind the electric racing bikes.
  • Kody also showed us a SeeMeCNC Rostock delta-style 3D printer.
  • Propeller and Wiley Cousins showed off their 3D printers, too.
  • Both IDIYA and the Mystic Krewe of the Silver Ball presented live CNC milling.
  • The Mystic Krew of the Silver Ball gave us the nostalgic pinball.
  • The Noisition Coalition provided the massive homemade drums, and many other homemade musical instruments. And seven hours of gleeful children loudly whacking things.
  • Public Lab demonstrated their DIY spectrophotometers and mapping kits; and these are, in fact, used for some serious science here in Louisiana, for environmental exploration and investigation.

This is not, of course, an exhaustive list. These are just the ones we got to see. We thank them!

We also thank the hundreds of visitors. The children, the parents, the artists, the hobbyists, the engineers, the scientists, the teachers, the students; you. Thank you. Your enthusiasm was deeply appreciated.

If you’d like to more about some of the makers present, or the folks who organized the event, please visit the NOLA Maker Faire website at http://nolamakerfaire.com/.

Given the energy, enthusiasm, skill, knowledge, and creativity on display, we think there’s plenty more making to come, and we’re looking forward to it.