Events

Over 20 Exhibits Confirmed for Hamilton Maker Faire

This free event will take place at the Museum of Steam & Technology on Sunday June 21, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Food trucks, water stations, picnic areas, and washroom facilities will be provided so visitors can stay all day.

By Brendan Simons
Published June 16, 2015

this article has been updated

Twenty of Hamilton's most creative, educational and surprising "Makers" will join the Hamilton Maker Faire next Sunday, June 21.

A student-built robot serves coffee and treats at the 2015 Hamilton Maker Faire media launch
A student-built robot serves coffee and treats at the 2015 Hamilton Maker Faire media launch

Maker Faires, called "The greatest show and tell on earth," are festivals of arts, craft, and invention. Although they have been held in major cities all around the world, this is the first year Hamilton has hosted its own Maker Faire.

The confirmed list of exhibitors showcases our city's exciting mix of industrial heritage, emerging arts scene, and tech-savvy future.

The hardest part of hosting Hamilton's first Maker Faire has been explaining what exactly is a Maker Faire. Though they have been held in major cities all over the world, most Hamiltonians have not yet experienced the eclectic mix of street festival, art show, craft fair and learning workshop that makes Maker Faires different than anything else.

So before I try to explain what the upcoming Hamilton Maker Faire is, let me start with why.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a high school robotics team. Every January, our students are given a brand new invented sport, and tasked with designing and building a 120 lb robot within just 6 weeks, to compete against 3000 other schools from around the world.

Most of these teenagers start without any experience or training. By the end of a few seasons, they're teaching their peers the finer points of drive train design, and control software, and planning how to make a robot that will beat their international rivals.

I can't help but be optimistic for the future when I see what these kids can build.

That's the power of "Maker Culture" in my view. Most of us have a spark of creativity inside us, but obstacles like a lack of money, training, tools, shop space, time, and motivation often prevent us from exploring our potential. The goal of the Maker movement is to knock down those barriers.

You can find instructions for everything from Amigurumi knitting to Arduino programming on websites like YouTube, Instructables and StackExchange. Maker Spaces like think|haus, the Hamilton Tool Library, and Needlework offer low-cost access to tools and work space.

Our goal for the Maker Faire is to connect people to these resources and to showcase Hamilton's creative community, so everyone can see how making things can be accessible, empowering and fun!

To that end, the first Hamilton Maker Faire will be held at the Museum of Steam & Technology, next Sunday June 21, and will host Twenty of Hamilton's most creative, educational and surprising "Makers". The confirmed list of exhibitors showcases our city's exciting mix of industrial heritage, emerging arts scene, and tech-savvy future.

Site 3 Fire Arts' giant interactive fire-shooting contraptions have appeared at Burning Man and other events all over North America. For the Hamilton Maker Faire, they will bring their fire-breathing oracle "Francis the Fantastic!" to tell the fortunes of visitors of the Museum of Steam & Technology.

Also on the grounds of the Museum, teams will face off in a continuous match of robot soccer played on a basketball court-sized field outside. These 150 lb machines, built by high school students, are sure to offer high speed thrills and spills.

Families visiting the Faire can participate in a boat-building workshop, led by the Hamilton Confederation of Marine Modelers, and test their creations on an outdoor pool.

Nearby, an art workshop will let parents and kids explore their creative drive by covering a car with chalk drawings.

2015 Hamilton Makers Faire media launch at the 1913 Pumphouse
2015 Hamilton Makers Faire media launch at the 1913 Pumphouse

Below the huge arched windows of the gorgeous 1913 Pumphouse, display booths will exhibit some of the most exciting maker projects in Hamilton.

This eclectic group includes artists such as Lab Monkey Number 9, who specialize in home-made and hand-painted art toy sculptures; [Stereo Cowboy](http://stereocowboy.com/0, who will play 3D movies in their desktop stereoscope; and Roger Wood of Klockwerks, who will display his whimsical, one-of-a-kind mechanical clocks.

Other exhibitors will show off technical marvels like Roboteurs' Print-A-Bot toy kits, Redtree's Hydra controllers for electronic projects, and Creative Clockworkery's laser cut arcade cabinets.

Hamilton's growing stable of "Maker Spaces" will also be represented. These organizations offer access to shared tools, a place to build, and a community to share knowledge and inspiration with.

They range from the membership-supported clubs like Kwartzlab from Kitchener and local group think|haus, to educational institutions like the newly formed Maker Spaces in the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, and the Hamilton Public Library.

On the Wood Shed Stage, special guests will present short seminars on a variety of topics related to Hamilton and Maker Culture.

Julie Ponesse and Mike Barneveld from Square Peg Designs will talk about the process they use to create beautiful reclaimed furnishings. David Hoekstra will talk about his career as a master props builder, and ray gun creator. Finally, special guest Robert Gerritsen will share details about Mohawk College's exciting new Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) resource center.

The event will take place from 11 am to 5pm. Food trucks, water stations, picnic areas, and washroom facilities will be provided so visitors can stay all day. Free parking, bike parking, and HSR bus service are available. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Please visit our website to find out more about the event, and to pre-register. Bring the whole family this Fathers Day to the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology.

Please visit our website to find out more about the event and to pre-resgister. Bring the whole family this Fathers Day, Sunday June 21, to the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology.


Update: we originally published an early draft of this essay but have now have replaced it with the final version.

Brendan Simons is a member of Hammer City Makers, a mentor for “Celt-X”, Bishop Ryan Robotics Team 5406, an engineer at a Hamilton firm, and a hopeless idealist. He is lucky to have a generous wife who supports an excess of volunteer commitments.

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