Maker Faire Pittsburgh showcases DIY and new technologies
If you've ever wanted to shoot cupcakes out of a cannon, fly a plane powered by rubber bands or discover a new game for your next tailgate party, then Maker Faire Pittsburgh is for you.
The two-day happening Oct. 15 and 16 on the North Side is a community-based learning event that inspires everyone to become a maker.
The faire features technology, art, crafts, electronics and electric vehicles, including student projects, robotics, fashion, 3-D printers and computer numerical control mills, textile arts and crafts, home-energy monitoring, rockets and remote-control toys, sustainability, green tech, radios, vintage computers and game systems, biology/biotech and chemistry projects, puppets, kites, bicycles and unusual machines.
It showcases a broad spectrum of regional makers from local roboticists to hackers to kid inventors who applied to share, teach and demonstrate their inventions and products.
“The Maker Faire is a neat place to see other people's projects — things they have been tinkering with in their basements and garages,” says James Lomuscio of Highland Park, who created the 7 Birds game.
The game has two to four players on two teams and is hand-assembled on North Braddock Avenue. There are seven pins with a red end and a blue end. One team is red and the other blue. The key is to knock the pin over with a stone and turn your color upright. Every pin must be knocked over once. The team with its color on top the most, wins.
Projects were chosen based on their DIY features, new technologies, interactivity for kids and adults, innovation, creativity and “wow” factor.
Items include drones, power racing, autonomous vehicles, robots and robotics, indie crafts, electronics, special effects, hackers, workshops, gaming, raspberry pi (computers) and manufacturing.
“If you haven't been to Maker Faire you will get to see things you have never seen,” says Ben Saks of Wilkinsburg, who creates airplanes powered by rubber bands. “It's hard to put into words what you will see at Maker Faire. There is such an excitement and so much inspiration. If you come with an open mind you will leave wanting to make something. Coming to the Maker Faire is like coming into a real-life Wikipedia page.”
His inspiration for aviation came from his love of science at 13. He has been in competitions with his planes in other parts of the country and hopes to have Pittsburgh host one. He will be demonstrating how these planes work and present a workshop on how to build planes that participants will get to take home. The planes weigh about one gram, the same weight as a dollar bill, and can fly up to 60 minutes in the right conditions. In a world of energy efficiency and solar panels, Saks says, these planes are an interesting topic.
So is the ability to allow makers to remotely operate their next big idea through the Web, says Chris Quick, who with wife Kristin of the South Side have teamed with Jay Bierman of St. Louis to form the company RealBotics. The couple will demonstrate their software technology by showing a compressed air-powered cannon that people can remotely control and fire items from tennis balls to cupcakes at targets.
“I like to see cool things other people are doing,” Chris Quick says. “It's a perfect faire for us small-startup folks. You see some awesome stuff. Last year, we made lots of contacts and have developed partnerships.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.