President Obama has proclaimed that June 18, 2014, is the National Day of Making. He is calling upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills.
The White House will be celebrating the National Day of Making by hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire. It will feature students who are learning STEM skills, entrepreneurs that are launching new businesses, and innovators that are involved in American manufacturing. You can tune in to watch the first-ever White House Maker Faire live from the official website.
The inspiration behind the National Day of Making comes from America’s history of innovators who have created inventions that transformed the world. The National Day of Making is intended to encourage people to carry forward with that tradition. It also acknowledges the Maker Movement that students, families, and entrepreneurs have gotten involved in.
The White House is also starting #NationOfMakers on Twitter. Everyone is encouraged to use the hashtag to post photos of the maker project that they are currently working on, or to share plans for their next project. The White House website about the first ever White House Maker Faire has a map that shows where all the tweets that include #NationOfMakers are coming from. Click on any tweet that is featured in the list, and you can read the tweet and view the photo attached to it.
Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.
The Maker Faire “is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.” I attended the Mini Maker Faire in San Luis Obispo, California this weekend. It certainly lived up to its description!
There were plenty of robots to be seen. Many of them were accessible to the people who attended the Faire and who wanted to control them for a little while. Adults and children were handed controllers and given brief instructions on what to do.
There were two robots that had been designed to shoot flying discs into the air. The one in the photo was created by the Arroyo Grande High School Eagle Robotics FRC Team 1388. Students controlled the robot and fired off flying discs to a small crowd of boys and men who hoped to catch them.
The Maker Faire had a 3D printer that was on display as it created plastic lizards. A second 3D printer, at a different booth, was set up to offer people the opportunity to have their head and shoulders scanned. That 3D printer would then create a bust of the person. There also was a demonstration set up by a man who had figured out how to use solar power to cook bacon!
I had a lot of fun at the Maker Faire in San Luis Obispo, California. It was the first time I attended one of these, and I would like to see more. You can find out if there will be a Maker Faire near you by checking the list on the Maker Faire website.
One of the best gifts you can give a child or young adult are gifts that encourage them to explore and think. When I was younger one of the best Christmas gift our family received was a book of craft making. That book got used so often that the binding broke and it was held together by duct tap. You could tell what our favorite projects were by the amount of stains on the page. The magazine Make is the modern equivalent of that craft book, only cooler. The magazine comes out quarterly and is available in both paper and electronic form. Each magazine is filled with projects both simple and complex. There are projects that involve robotics, electronics, woodworking just to name a few. There are projects that are right for everyone from kids to adults. The magazine also contains articles by other makers, their tips and tricks.
The magazine is only a small part of the maker community. It also includes the Make web site. The Web site includes videos of various projects people have made and how they made them. There are also audio and video podcast available from the site. You also get to meet various members of the community, who they are what they do and how they got started. There is a great community forum where ideas can be exchanged and problems can be solved. Plus there is the Maker Shed Store which allows you to buy what you need for your projects.
If they really get into the community and making things. They might want to participate in a local Maker Faire. Maker Faire is where the Maker community gets together and shows off their projects to the general community. These aren’t all small projects either, some are quite large. There was the attempt to build a 50 ft mechanical snake or perhaps you would like to help build the world’s largest tesla coil instead. These are just two of the projects that were shown off at various Maker faire around the U.S. and Canada in 2011 In 2011 there were major Maker Faires in the Bay area, Detroit and New York. However throughout the year there are a lot of smaller more local faires around the country.
Make magazine and the Make community isn’t for everyone, but if your kid is starting to take things apart or asking you how something works, it might be a great place to start. The paper and digital edition of the magazine is $34.95 a year and the digital edition alone is $19.95. Well worth the price considering how much someone likes to tinker can learn from them.