Author Archives: Nick

Here we go again!

We’re back for a fifth year of celebrating the makers that make Eugene great! Mark your calendars for the fifth-annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 11 at the Science Factory.

But you don’t have to wait until June to get your maker fix! Please join us for the second-annual Call for Makers Launch Party on Wednesday, March 16 at the Broadway Commerce Center in downtown Eugene. You’ll have the chance to meet a few of our favorite local makers, get your hands on some fun activities, tour the Eugene Public Library’s new Maker Hub areas, and find out how you can be a part of the big event in June.

Our special guest at the Launch Party will be Kelley Roy, owner and founder of ADX, Portland’s hub for collaboration where individuals and organizations make and learn.

Check out the full invitation and RSVP to join us on March 16. We look forward to seeing you downtown!

Wow! What a day!


From the first rocket launch to the last flying pineapple, the fourth annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire was a spectacular success! Thanks to everyone who attended, big thanks to the 100+ makers who showed off their work, huge thanks to our local sponsors, and GIANT thanks to the Science Factory staff and to the volunteer members of our planning committee who pitched in to make it happen! (If you’d like to contribute to next year’s effort, please e-mail me to get more information about joining our planning committee.)

We’ve got lots of great pictures on our Facebook page, and I’ve included links to other makers’ accounts below. In the meantime, if you can’t wait till next year to get into the fun of making, there’s lots of things you can do! Stop by the Science Factory every day during the summer and try out our new Build, Tinker, Make, Create exhibition. Or check out our summer camps on robotics, engineering, and lots of other great topics. Visit Eugene Maker Space during one of their Open Hack Nights every Tuesday and Friday. Follow the Eugene Public Library’s progress in creating their brand new Maker Hub. Most importantly, go out and make something! You’ve got just under one year to get your project ready to show off for the 2016 Eugene Mini Maker Faire!

The view from above

I think Google Maps is a pretty amazing tool. I’ve used it for years now. I remember being amazed at having such easy access to high-resolution satellite images. And as cool as it was to see the natural and manmade wonders of the world — The Great Wall of China! The Grand Canyon! The Pyramids of Giza! — in some ways, it was even cooler to stay local — There’s my house! There’s the school I used to go to! Is that my car at the supermarket?

With time, the novelty of Google Maps wore off. We inevitably get used to almost any new technology. But once in a while, it amazes me all over again.

This is the current satellite photo of the Science Factory that anyone using Google Maps to look for us will see. And I know exactly what day this photo was taken.


June 7, 2014. The day of our third annual Eugene Mini Maker Faire. You can see all the canopies along the north wall of the building, the food truck near the point of the covered patio, and of course, the giant slingshot on the north edge near the pond.

If you zoom all the way in, you can even make out the line of pennant flags strung between the trees along the pathway.


In a little over 24 hours, those pennant flags will be back up. The food truck will be out, the canopies will be up, and the giant slingshot will be back in place. But there will be so much more! Twice as many tables on the front lawn. Rocket launches from Eugene Rocketry. A beer garden, serving Agrarian Ales, operated by LagerBot. 3D printers, battle bots, woodland sprites, and alien habitats. And that’s just outside! Inside the museum you’ll find steampunk art, electronics, lasers, looms, and much, much more.

As much fun as the overhead satellite images are, they won’t really give a good sense of what makes a Maker Faire special. I think you have to see it up close to really understand the excitement.


Better yet, you have to get your hands on it. Don’t be afraid to break things.

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Don’t be afraid to try something new.


And most importantly, share your excitement about making new things. It’s contagious.


I hope you’ll be there for all the fun on Saturday! Get your tickets in advance or at the door.

Maker Hub at the Eugene Public Library


One of our sponsors, the Eugene Public Library, has some exciting news to share! Be sure to stop by their table at the Faire to meet library representatives and find out more.–NS

DIY’ers, innovators, inventors, and tinkerers have always been among the most active users of public libraries. And Eugene Public Library’s met that demand with free books, premium online resources, hands-on classes, and more.

This fall, the Library will expand opportunities for local creators of all ages by opening a Maker Hub at the Downtown Library. This new dedicated space will allow the Library to schedule more workshops using a wider variety of tools, including a 3D printer. The Maker Hub will also offer open-studio time for individual exploration and projects.

With financial support from community donors through the Eugene Public Library Foundation, Library staff are designing the Maker Hub to meet a range of community needs. Those include boosting STEM education for kids, providing a positive place for teens, and supporting adults’ career development and lifelong learning.

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But there’s no need to wait! Free activities coming up during the Library’s Summer Reading season include learning about electricity for kids; making felted sushi and Frankentoys for teens; and making wearable bike signals and printing your own book for adults.

Come talk to us at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire to get more info and share your ideas. For home-delivery of details about Eugene Public Library’s Maker Hub and events, sign up for the Library’s e-newsletter or connect via Facebook or Twitter.

Check out our makers!

We’re thrilled to announce our 2015 lineup of makers, representing all corners of Eugene’s maker universe! You’ll see returning favorites such as Steamworks R&D Labs and Eugene Weavers Guild, as well as new entries MECCA, BRING Recycling, and Contraption Maker. From lasers to looms, biotech to battlebots, and fire-starting to flying produce, we’ve got something for everyone! Stay tuned here for previews of some of our makers, and be sure to tell your friends about Eugene’s celebration of the DIY community.

Greetings from San Mateo


The tenth annual Bay Area Maker Faire is already underway! Your fearless educator and Maker Faire producer has made the trek south once again, this time with a few other members of our team, to learn from other makers and producers about what makes a great Faire. Best of all, we got to take a peek behind the scenes just as the big event was getting started. Our tour guide, Sabrina, is pictured above introducing us to one of her favorite exhibits (yes, it shoots flames). It’s been great fun meeting producers and aspiring producers from places as near as Corvallis and Fresno, and as far as Shenzhen and Paris. And the weekend is just getting started!

I’ve included some more photos below. Sadly, I can’t promise an event in Eugene quite as jam-packed as the 900+ makers of the Bay Area Maker Faire… But we’ve gotten more applications than ever this year, and I can’t wait to share some of their amazing projects with you when I’m back in town next week! If you think your project is good enough to show and tell, there’s still time to fill out our application! There’s no cost to be a non-commercial maker, and you’ll get to meet hundreds of visitors who are just as excited about making as you are. Applications are due by Friday, May 22.

Maker Faire features many art installations. This one has an astronomical twist.

Maker Faire features many art installations. This one has an astronomical twist.

Oh, my... What could be hidden back here?

Oh, my… What could be hidden back here?

It's the backstage area known as the Boneyard, where much of the heavy equipment gets stored. It takes a huge and complex infrastructure to produce an event of this size!

It’s the backstage area known as the Boneyard, where much of the heavy equipment gets stored. It takes a huge and complex infrastructure to produce an event of this size!

Drone battles have become a major attraction at the Faire.

Drone battles have become a major attraction at the Faire.

It's a Maker Faire tradition... The evening before the Faire is a giant maker party, featuring Gerard's awesome paella prepared in the largest pans I've ever seen!

It’s a Maker Faire tradition… The evening before the Faire is a giant maker party, featuring Gerard’s awesome paella prepared in the largest pans I’ve ever seen!

Get Your Tickets!


Our advance ticket sales are now open! Visit our Eventbrite page to purchase your tickets for our June 13th event online. And stay tuned here for more announcements about our maker lineup. With both new presenters and returning favorites, it’s shaping up to be our best year yet! If you’re a maker, it’s still not too late to join LagerBot, Eugene Maker Space, Oregon Electronics, Eugene Public Library, and Eugene Weavers Guild as exhibitors at this year’s Faire. Fill out our maker application before May 22 to sign up.

Makers Go National


There’s no doubt that the Maker Movement is an international phenomenon, with 130 Maker Faires in 25 countries last year. But we couldn’t help but think that this whole “making” thing was finally catching on when we found out that last year the White House hosted its own Maker Faire. Following the success of that event, this year the White House has declared June 12-18 a National Week of Making, including an expanded National Maker Faire on June 12-13.

We’re thrilled, of course, that our own Faire coincides with these dates, and we hope that the national attention will highlight Eugene’s place at the forefront of do-it-yourself science and technology. Eugene’s own Mini Maker Faire is not only a homegrown party, but now also our local contribution toward this nationwide celebration of making.

If you think that promoting learning and innovation through making is important to recognize on the national stage, we’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts below, or better yet, show us by signing up to be an exhibitor at our Faire!

SERT does it again!

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Update 4/10/15: SERT had a great showing in Washington last weekend, placing 34th out of 153 teams. This has earned them an invitation to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis! They are currently raising funds to cover travel and registration, and we wish them the best of luck as they compete against 600 teams from around the world.

(Original post below)

As this post goes live, our friends on the South Eugene Robotics Team are a few hundred miles from home, in Cheney, Washington for the 2015 FIRST Robotics Pacific Northwest District Championship. They will be competing against the best teams in Oregon and Washington in the culminating event of a very exciting and rewarding competition season.

This year’s competition is quite different from previous years — there are no balls or frisbees in play. Rather, “Recycle Rush” requires robots to collect and stack plastic recycling bins — the higher the stacks, the more points.

The team from South Eugene fared well in its two preliminary competitions. At the Oregon City competition on February 28, SERT placed fifth overall and also won the Creativity Award. One month later in Philomath, they placed 11th and received the Excellence in Engineering award.

Here’s a video of one of the Philomath matches. Look for SERT (2521) on the Blue Alliance.

Congratulations to SERT on a great season so far, and best of luck this weekend! If you’d like to see “Nessie” in action, be sure to join us on June 13 at the Science Factory! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the first notice of advance ticket sales, which will be available soon.

Woohoo! We’re off and running!

Our Launch Party on Wednesday night was a great success! Thanks to everyone who turned out, including Mayor Kitty Piercy for her remarks.

Of all places in this world that should be in front of the Maker Movement, it should be Eugene, Oregon.
— Mayor Kitty Piercy

Thanks also to Claim 52 Brewing and The Barn Light for their sponsorship of the Launch Party, and to the makers who brought just a small sample of what we expect to see at the Science Factory in June: Eugene Maker Space, Lumidax Electronics, LagerBot, South Eugene Robotics Team, and the eNABLE community.

If you were at the party, we hope you’ll share your feedback with us so that we can improve next year’s event. And we also hope you were inspired to submit your own project to display at the Science Factory on June 13!