Monday, July 1, 2013

Awesome Things Seen at the Kansas City Maker Faire

Welcome to the Kansas City Maker Faire! I took my younger daughter, the Gingercat, to the pre-show party Friday night before the show and the first day of the show. These are a few of the things we saw. A larger collection is located on my Google+ stream at

As is typical in geek events, cosplay characters roamed the show. The Iron Man entourage was a big hit! The female Iron Man was a little scary.

Gingercat was wielding my old Sony NEX-3. She now has a weapon to shoot back when she catches me aiming a lens her way!

Last year, I posted about a great IBM Selectric conversion. It has been updated and no longer needs a laptop to drive it. See version one at

Behold the little Raspberry Pi processor that now drives this beast.

The creator had fun wandering around is costume as well. The Hammerspace makerspace and the Cowtown Computer Congress shared space and projects at the show.

And in the fun and weird category, here is a creation from one of guys at Hammerspace. He built this contraption in two weeks out of scraps laying around the shop. Children fish for babies to feed to the mother. No worries; new babies come along just as quickly.

Inky goodness! The lino cut print goes in my office. The best part about Maker Faire is getting to meet and talk with people about their projects.

This sculptor does large scale bronze. His pantograph device is pretty amazing!

Maker Faire wouldn't be complete without PowerWheels racing! This is what you get when you mix adults, battery powered kiddie cars and a whole bunch of modifications. They staged racing heats and endurance runs over the two day show.

We were happy to see Super Awesome Sylvia and her Dad, the Tech Ninja. Sylvia was showing her home brew WaterColorBot. She earned a spot at the White House Science Fair and got the run of the house while the parental units chilled.

This one is for Richard P on the current state of 3D printing. I reread his comment from last year regarding 3D printing. It was everywhere and is barely a novelty among the maker crowd today. Later this year, Staples will carry a household printer for less than $800. Kinkos may start printing services in stores. People are using Google Hangouts to collaborate on countless useful projects including mechanical hands, artificial limbs, machine parts and casts. Auto parts are made out of sintered, printed metal and MIT is experimenting with printing entire buildings.

Kansas City even has its own R2D2 builders club. These are not your run-of-the-mill models. Note the machined joints. Gorgeous!

Members of the Airship Noir group ran a little experimental station. I think this guest is being reprogrammed. Be sure to read the sign on the Jacob's ladder.

With almost 300 makers in the house, Union Station is getting pretty crowded with overflow in the parking lot and most of Science City. We almost didn't stop in one of the side rooms. Good thing we dropped in or we would have missed this cool device. What a great way to use unloved analog technology!

The photos here and on Google+ don't even scratch the surface. The show is a phenomenal success. The maker movement is strong in Kansas City with abandoned buildings being turned into maker hives. There is a reason why Google chose Kansas City for its first fiber Internet project. For more technology and artistic greatness, checkout #makerfairekc on Twitter.

I'll leave you with one of the headliners taking one of Nikola Tesla's inventions to the next level.

 Yet another Copyright notice *sigh* Yep, the words and images are Copyright DwayneF of Vintage Technology Obsessions. Having tired of vague threats, I will simply remind the reader that all content creators deserve their due. Please like, share, post, Google +1, etc. and share the social love. Follow and I will likely follow you back. Commercial use requires prior written authorization from the Copyright holder. And so on...


  1. Sounds like it was a fun outing, Dwayne. I'm taking the family to ComicCon this weekend, so I'm expecting to see quite a few people in costume. Should be cool!

  2. This looks like so much fun!

    Thanks for the 3D printing update. I predict that at some point we'll be able to print all the parts for a typewriter (well, maybe not the springs ... and we can just buy standard screws). Then we can assemble it at home.

  3. wow that's an amazing fair! nothing like it near me.

  4. So cool!! I really got excited reading your post and watching the pictures. That WaterColorBot is amazing! Too bad I didn't have time this year to visit the Dutch MakerFair, but when I have some time left on OHM2013 I will definitely see much more like it.

    And yes, the 3D-printers are also very common in our hacking and making scene (and apparently easy to make yourself).

  5. teeritz: Have a blast at ComicCon! I need to go and experience proper cosplay in action.

    Richard: Having watched 3D printer trends since the emergence of Makerbot, I am thoroughly impressed at how far and fast adoption has progressed. Sure, starting out many people print totally useless and interesting geegaws and gimcracks; but it is a gateway drug to bigger and better things. Like whole buildings. I'm stupid excited about that concept! Maybe, just maybe, this will be a defining and disruptive technology. The irony is that it takes us back to distributed manufacturing like in the first industrial revolution.

    notagain: Mini Maker Faires are popping up all over the country and spreading around the world. This is only the third year of the Kansas City event and it started at the same time as Detroit. That Faire has gotten incredibly large. They all start with a few makers and table top displays. It is a grassroots movement with catalysts. Make Magazine started it and the Kauffman Foundation helped it along in KC.

    spiderwebz: Be sure to check out Super Awesome Sylvia on YouTube! Her web persona and real life are different things entirely. She is very mellow hanging out with her Dad at the Faire. I'm glad the movement has spread to Europe. It's amazing just how much is flowing out of the Bay Area to the rest of the world. As for the printers, between official sponsors, individual makers and maker spaces there had to be at least 50 3D printers at the show. I'll have to post photos of one that is built like a pick and place robot. Really neat stuff.

  6. I did! It's fun. Also send it to the children animation team for our next event (late July).


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