OMSI’s Mini Maker Faire Kicks DIY Up a Notch

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Portland’s Mini Maker Faire at OMSI just might be the coolest show (and tell) on the planet. The Faire is a celebration of the Maker movement, aka do it yourselfers willing to share their crazy-cool inventions and art. Portland’s third annual faire this weekend will feature more than 100 local crafters, tinkerers, artists, science clubs, students and educators and plenty of hands-on activities for kids. Read on to find out more, then prepare to be amazed.


Photo credit: OMSI

See It
R2D2: Got a Star Wars fanboy or girl? The R2D2 Builders Club makes replicas of droids from the Star Wars films that are so realistic, they are often used by Lucasfilms for official events, movie premieres and commercials.

Drop Tower Impact Test: Back in college we called this “roof testing.” But Portland State University’s welding research department will be demonstrating methods used to “verify fracture properties” – that sounds a whole lot more research-y for sure.

Lagerbot: This one’s for you, parents! Lagerbot is a beverage dispensing device/and friend that tracks and records who’s drinking from the keg by controlling the flow of the cold tasty beverage. (No more trying to figure out who killed the keg!)

Tesla Coil: Ask your budding scientist what this is, all we know is that it’s going to produce one million-volts of blue corona and arc discharges spanning five to six feet.

Portland Mini Maker Faire 2012 | Gia Goodrich

Photo credit: OMSI

Make It
As cool as it is to look at all of these incredible inventions, we know you want to make things. The Faire’s got some seriously cool stuff for your fab-ricators to get their crafty on.

Tinker Camp: Why buy new stuff when you can transform the old? It’s so Portlandia, right? But it works!  Check out the work areas Tinker Camp has provided where your Builder Bob or Betsy can make creations from all kinds of cool, inexpensive materials.

Maple XO: Still on the “reuse” theme, this company makes jewelry and accessories from recycled skateboards. They will have colorful scraps available for your Skater Boi or Girl to make key chains and magnets.

Mad Science: Two words: Stomp rockets. Your little one can make a DIY stomp rocket and next time you feel a little aggression coming on, send your stomper off to let it fly.

Light Me Up: This interactive light experience mixes flame and LED light. You control the LEDs and flame effects. Just remember, the more energy you add to the system, the more you get back. (Sounds a little like a life lesson, doesn’t it?)

But, wait, there’s more! From mask-making to jewelry to upcycled art projects to chocolate, there’s no end to the goods your little artistes/investigators/creative types can get their hands on at Maker Faire.


Photo credit: OMSI

Bring It
Yep, you’re bringing wipes, a water bottle and a granola bar just in case, though food carts will be on-site, if your kiddos get famished. It’s crowded so a backpack or holding a hand is better than a stroller if that works for your family.

Where: OMSI, 1945 SE Water Ave., 800-955-6674

When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sept. 13-14th

Cost: $15 adults, $10 youth (3-17) and seniors (63+). Two-day passes are available. Members get $5 off all tickets.


What are you most looking forward to at the Mini-Maker Faire? Let us know in the Comments section below!

– Cathie Ericson


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