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Omaha's Greatest Show (And Tell)
September 18 3:26 PM

"I'm gonna go home and make that!"

 

If you were a guest at the first-annual Omaha Mini Maker Faire this past Saturday at Omaha Children's Museum, there is a good chance that the thought above crossed your mind at least once.  Or maybe you even uttered those words aloud.  Omaha Maker Group and Omaha Children's Museum, together with Make: Magazine, UNO, and Google, brought around 30 of the community's finest makers together for a 1-day show that educated, entertained, and inspired.

 

What is a maker? A maker is a tinkerer, artist, scientist, crafter, or anyone else who creates and then collaborates and shares their creations with others.  And, therefore, a Maker Faire is a festival to bring those makers together to collaborate and share with other makers and with our community.

 

You may have heard about Maker Faires in San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and even Kansas City.  You may have never thoughts Omaha would be someplace where a Maker Faire could take place.  Up until about 14 months ago, that was true.  But then a bunch of folks got together around a dinner table and decided that Omaha could, in fact, showcase the amazing talents that are within the Maker community.

 

And boy did we!  Saturday's Makers included projects such as steam wood bending, jewelry and art from pull tabs and cardboard tubes, do-it-yourself book binding, a bicycle-powered generator, screen printing, a musical banana piano, Chinese art, polymer clay jewelry, insanely-detailed Lego creations, fermented food, biofuels, make-your-own stop motion animation, 3D printing, youth coding, a self-designed greenhouse "in the snow", food sustainability, puppets galore, and much, much more!

 

The soon-to-open UNL Student Maker Lab showcased their 3D printer, applications for microprocessor circuits, and all the plans and designs for their new Makerspace, now under construction in Lincoln.

 

Omaha's own Makerspace, and one of the presenters of Saturday's Maker Faire, Omaha Maker Group, brought out a huge amount of their favorite projects.  Guests got to see video presentations on an up-cycled pay phone, witness a Cool Neon logo powered by solar power, play with a magnetic marble run made from low-cost hardware store material, and see all kinds of projects made with the space's laser cutter, 3D printer, forge, and more.  Several members brought their RC projects, such as the popular quad-copter drones and "Street Thing" - a hybrid airboat/car that is as much fun to drive as it is to look at.  And everyone caught a glimpse of KITT, the Maker Group's entry in the popular PPPRS Power Racing Series. KITT scored a 2nd-place win and 3rd-place overall at a recent race weekend in Kansas City.  Even better, guests got a chance to build and take their own bristle bot, a creation that utilized a custom 3D-printed part to bring together a toothbrush head, battery, and small pager motor to create an insect-like robot that readily buzzes around the table, floor, or racetrack!

 

And, of course, the Omaha Children's Museum provided the perfect venue to show off all of these great Makers! Their Maker-Space exhibit was the focal point of a museum full of exciting hands-on activities for kids of all ages, and their staff went the extra mile to guarantee that guests, Makers, and volunteers had a perfect experience. 

 

Omaha's first Mini Maker Faire exceeded our expectations! If you were a part of it, then you totally understand.  And we thank you for your attendance and participation.  If you weren't there on Saturday, have no fear - the Omaha Maker Faire Production team is already starting their work on the 2015 Omaha Mini Maker Faire!  You won't want to miss it!

 

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Guest post by:

Eric J. Kaplan 

Executive Event Producer

Omaha Maker Faire 

www.omahamakerfaire.com

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