Tag Archives: Maker Faire

Celebrate the Day of Making

The White House is hosting its own Maker Faire today!  Follow the action at http://www.whitehouse.gov/maker-faire.  Or join in the fun from home by posting a picture of your own creation today, using #NationOfMakers.

day-of-making-badgeWe signed the “Building Maker Communities” Pledge on Makezine.com to show our support for the maker movement, and you can, too!  When you sign the pledge, you’ll also receive a free e-copy of the book, “Zero to Maker,” by David Lang.

The CNS Maker Team is headed to South Side Hackerspace this evening to start building the dice kit provided to us by Chicago Electronic Distributors. There will likely be making of other things, too–chainmaille from Blue Buddha Boutique, lockpicking from TOOOL, and possibly some of the gadgets we picked up from Maker Faire Bay area!  Follow us on Twitter @CNSmakerfaire for updates on our projects.  Or come join us tonight, starting at 7:30!

And just a reminder of the fun we had last month, here are some more pictures of the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire.  Thanks to ChiBots, the Schurz photography class, and Glowing Mood Flower for sharing!

ChiBots    IMG_9616 IMG_9406    2014MoodFlower

Thanks for Coming!

20140503_115024May 3rd, 2014 marked the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, and the largest Chicago Maker Faire yet! 80 exhibiting makers, many of them young makers, and 2,000 attendees made this an amazing event. Thanks to everyone who made this happen!

20140503_140409For those of you who joined the fun, here’s a recap of some of our favorites.  And for those of you couldn’t make it this year, here’s a taste of what you missed. Our veteran makers returned with some of the exhibits you’ve come to expect from Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire – lockpicking with TOOOL, soldering with Build-A-Blinkie, tinkering with hackerspaces, DIY projects from Chicago Children’s Museum, Build Your Own Chicago, FIRST Robotics presented by local high schools (Schurz, Lane Tech, Whitney Young), Blast the Nerds from the Schurz National Honors Society, and many more!20140503_134647

When you first entered Maker Faire, did you notice the aerial drones from Mad Lab Industries flying overhead? 14 - 7 20140503_120922-MOTION

Did you hitch a ride in a muffin baked by Oak Park Muffineering? 20140503_115440 20140503_115551-MOTION

Did you learn to use a drill from the Chicago Tinkering School and Chicago Children’s Museum?20140503_115749

Did you blast a nerd or explode some Coke with Mentos?20140503_115814

20140503_150926We grew so much this year that we needed to expand. For the first time, the stunning domed library was open for Maker Faire, housing a planetarium brought by the Adler Planetarium, all three major Chicagoland hackerspaces (Pumping Station: One, Southside Hackerspace, and Workshop 88), the Chicago Public Library, ChiBots, and Schurz’s own Anime Club.20140503_145836

The hallways were packed with student art, 3D printed designs, a Rube Goldberg device in action, a DIY photobooth, and a taste of the neat offerings of Chicago Electronic Distributors.

Of course, the cafeteria was a center of activity. We hope you also checked out the Electric Garden and Colossal Squid just across the hall, all the robots from the FIRST Robotics teams who presented in the Gym, and Schurz Digital Media making images and beats in the surrounding hall.2014Garden

Did you make a bouncy ball and learn more about supporting Comer’s Children Hospital from the Schurz IB students?20140503_144229Or were you too distracted by the adorable bunnies?20140503_142814Or maybe it was this guy?20140503_134952

Did you learn how to make a cool coin purse from a recycled chip bag?20140503_134709

Did you play a round of Giant Jenga?20140503_140644

Did you check out the Shapeoko 2 from Inventables?2014Inventables

Did you see the bionic hand made by UIC New Media Arts?2014Bionic

Did you make a giant mold, learn to solder, use a cyclic harmonograph, make pictures with fire, craft your own spa products, build your own Chicago, inflate a moon ball, fold some origami, etch an eraser stamp, needle felt a design, construct a hexbug, or build a kit from Brown Dog Gadgets?  Whew! We were overwhelmed, too!20140503_135155

Don’t worry, we’re coming back in May, 2015 – more makers, more attendees, more stuff to DIY. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to always be in the know. That’s all folks! Keep on making, and come back for more!

Meet the Maker: Drawn with Fire

tumblr_mj3p4zI5I01rcgo2vo1_500Ever considered making art with fire? Then you have to check out Steve Baltrukonis’s Drawn with Fire at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. Steve Baltrukonis creates art through pyrography, a form of decorating wood through fire. He got his start in pyrography in 2012 when he started experimenting with a wooden medicine cabinet and a soldering iron. Within a short period of time, he was hooked. In an interview, he explains, “As an art form I like how versatile it is. My work runs the gamut from very traditional stuff with a Wild West vibe to super weird psychedelic black light pieces and sci-fi illustrations.”

Steve finds a lot of his inspiration from books, especially science fiction. When he’s not taking commissions and working on other projects, he’s working on his big project to read the top 100 science fiction books and creating a piece to correspond with all of them. He also creates street art in Chicago. Several years ago, he started photographing the amazing street art in Chicago and blogs about it at StreetArtofChicago.com. He loves street art because “it’s ethereal…it’s incredibly dangerous. It’s the great leveler. Someone with no talent can grab a paint marker and scrawl a tag on a wall or someone can bolt a gorgeous piece of art that took hours to make to a stop sign.” After a while, he decided that he should create his own street art.


At Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside , Steve plans on demonstrating pyrography to demystify the process. He’ll be working on several pieces and fielding questions about the art form. He’ll conduct some presentations to discuss different tools and effects that can be achieved through burning on wood and leather.  So stop by Drawn with Fire and learn about using fire for art’s sake!

Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside Returns Saturday, May 3rd

Reserve your spot to the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire! Tickets are FREE to the public, but by reserving early you guarantee your spot. Now you can e-sign the media release on Eventbrite and skip the line! As always, your generous donations allow those who cannot otherwise afford Maker Faire to attend for free. Recommended donations are $10/adult, and $5/child under 12.


Are you or someone you know a maker of awesome things? Apply to be a maker here! There is no fee to set up an educational display to show your stuff! The deadline to apply is April 7th.


Did you miss Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside in 2013? Catch a sneak peek from our blogger Elisa Shoenberger:

Robots, sharks, and circus, oh my! Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside was a blast! The halls and front lawns of Carl Schurz High School were full of laughter and hard work as children and adults, alike, tried to learn wondrous things from our Makers. There was so much to see and so much to do. Human sized bubbles and spider robots greeted visitors outside. IMG_0627

Inside, there was a wonderful hallway of crowd-sourced painting and life sized cardboard people from the project “Make Your Mark.”  Everyone was encouraged to decorate the walls or play available musical instruments. Downstairs was a DIY photo booth by Maker Troy McLucas who originally created the machine for his own wedding. Makers and visitors alike could dress up in tiaras, glasses and funky lips to commemorate this wonderful day.IMG_0562

When you go to the second floor, you couldn’t help noticing the life size Great White Shark from Dee Hotchner’s Discover the Depths, the people behind Artology-the Colossal Squid.  The true to life organs of the Shark were on display, all made from recyclable materials.IMG_0570

 Inside the cafeteria, there was a flurry of activity as people learned lock picking, chainmail jewelry making, and so much more. Bookbinding Words showed people how to make flexagons with wonderful stories and drawings. The Blue Buddha Boutique had a table for people to make chainmail earrings and key chains. Build a Blinkie was immensely popular; the soldering tables were always humming with happy busy activity. Community Glue Workshop mended a variety of items, including the hem of pants and a ceramic doll. Museum of Science and Industry’s Wagner Family Fab Lab let people design stickers or scan themselves in three dimensions.IMG_0659

Visitors also had the opportunity to play. The Reptile Convention brought out various snakes and lizards for people to learn about and even touch! Larger than life Jenga pieces invited people to challenge one another or build up to the ceiling! Goats in the City stopped by with several goats and their kids. It was so delightful watching them munch on the front lawns. In the gymnasium, DIY Circus performed several thrilling acrobatic shows and taught kids how to stage fight and make puppets.

It was an excellent day of mischief, wonder, and learning. Can’t wait for the next Chicago Northside MiniMaker Faire!

Open Call for Makers 2014!

 Welcome back, Chicagoland Makers!

BubblesSchurz High School , the Urban School Foundation, and local maker Christina Pei return with the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, celebrating teaching and learning for all ages of makers, new and old!  For those of you who are new to Maker Faire, it is the largest celebration of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) in the world.  Maker Faire is a venue for inventors, technophiles, artists, crafters, mad scientists, hackers, musicians, and anyone who makes cool things and want to show others how it’s done.  If this describes you:


Reserve your maker table at Schurz High School on Saturday, May 3, 2014.  We will be accepting applications until April 7.  There is no cost to makers to present and it’s FREE for your friends to attend!  Makers will also be featured on our website and advertisements.

Questions? Contact us at ChicagoNorthsideMF@gmail.com

Year-Round Making for All Ages in Chicago

Calling all Chicagoland lovers of making, hacking, and tinkering!

Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire comes around but once a year, but making isn’t just a one-day thing.  Here are some activities for makers of all ages going on in Chicago RIGHT NOW:

Keep up with cool happenings in your city, and keep your imaginations active for Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside 2014!

Countdown to Maker Faire: 1 Day!


Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire is just around the corner!  Here are some reminders to plan your day accordingly:

  1. Download our FREE YAPP for your mobile device to guide you: my.yapp.us/CHINORTHMINI
  2. Or, check out the MAKERS tab on this website to see who’s coming!  And read the FAQs in the  ATTEND tab.
  3. Bring broken tschotske to be fixed by Community Glue.
  4. Bring stuff you’ve always wanted to solder.
  5. Bring cash, so you can pick up some kits to build on site!  (Remember that you can also donate to Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire at the door, and receive a free pin as a token of our appreciation.)
  6. Check the weather: It’s said to be mostly sunny, with a high of 78 degrees and 10% chance of rain.  Dress accordingly.
  7. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @CNSmakerfaire, and use #makerfairechicago during the event!

We’re incredibly excited to meet all the new and returning Makers this Saturday, as well as all the awesome attendees, who are also makers-in-training.

Meet the Maker: Community Glue Workshop


Community Glue Workshop wants to help you fix your stuff. Or better yet,
help you learn how to fix it and assist others with their broken items. The basic idea is this: people show up to monthly events, usually at Ally Brisbin’s café Kitchen Sink, with their broken items and they are paired up with volunteer “fixers” who help to repair the item. It turns the famous Brave New World axiom on its head: Mending, not Spending. The group tries to fix a wide range of items such as toys, clothes, lamps and guitars. They once even fixed a SuperSoaker.

Ally Brisbin and Carla Bruni founded the group about a year ago with the aim of building community and encouraging sustainability. Ally believes the group helps bring neighbors together and rely on each other. Moreover, people get in touch with their own skills and possessions. Carla focuses on the sustainability aspect of the group.  Too many people, even environmentally concerned ones, focus too much on disposal of old products and purchase of “green” products to deal with the greater environmental problem. Carla explains that we really can’t just spend our way out of the problem. That’s why repair is so critical.

Community Glue Workshop is excited to set up shop at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. Bring your broken stuff to get fixed at the Community Glue Workshop at Maker Faire:

  • busted jewelry
  • upset clothing
  • broken lamps and tools
  • musical instruments who have lost their voice
  • other interesting tchotchke to figure out and fix!

Call for Makers Extended until April 30th!


Have you always wanted to show people that awesome thing you made that time?  Or that cool thing you do?  If you’ve been thinking about being a maker at the second annual Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside, now is the time to act!  The Call for Makers has been extended for one more weekend, until April 30th!


Check out our list of last year’s makers for inspiration.  Or bring something Chicago hasn’t yet seen!

Questions? Contact us at ChicagoNorthsideMF@gmail.com

Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire Wrap Up

Catapulting into action at Schurz High School

The Chicago Northside Mini-Maker Faire that took place Saturday, April 21st was a frenzy of action. With over fifty makers or maker groups in attendance Schurz High School was overrun with action, robots, and plenty of discovery. Outside the weather was ideal for “blasting nerds” (National Honor Society students) with water balloons, flinging vegetables skyward or meeting makers from all over the city. Inside the hallways were ready for hoop-sinking robots, circuitry soldering, lock picking, and an afternoon of creation.

MSIs Fab Lab Yoda

Spanning the front yard, cafeteria, and gym at Schurz, the Faire was alive with action. In the cafeteria, the Wanger Family Fab Lab housed at the Museum of Science and Industry was up and running as people began to filter in. They brought plenty of gadgets with them from the Museum of Science and Industry – printers, 3-D scanners, a robot insect, and freshly 3-D printed bracelets. We talked about their programming which is ramping up for what is sure to be a busy summer season.

This is how a lock works.

Toward center of the cafeteria, the Lock Pick Village set up shop. They offered individual and group classes on the mechanics behind how locks work and how to pick them with some simple tools. Tables of students, families, and curious individuals sat down for lessons. They exchanged questions and answers, and quickly become experts on how locks work.

Gage Park High School Robot

Across the room, Marc Irwin of Gage Park High School, had a lot to say about the various robotics programs he would be offering on the south side. He also brought along an impressive collection of large, small, simple, and complex robots. The crowd was large and everyone wanted to try their hand at taking the robots for a walk. Marc welcomed the crowds, letting minds wander with the robots. He also made some clear connections between the importance of robotics programs and science classes at CPS schools.

Don't try to resist soldering

Meanwhile, down from the robots, Chris was in charge of the soldering table, representing Schurz with a quick wit and a sharp purple shirt. He commanded the table, explaining why soldering is significant, why it’s important to be safe while soldering, and how to do it. Between gel, fusing the resistor to the circuit, and putting up with my photo taking, Chris presented a clear, concise lesson on beginning soldering. I asked him to sum it up in a sentence for his internet audience. His response: “Anyone can do it.”

Hand made air guns from Andrew at Workshop 88

Down the hall from the cafeteria, Workshop 88 was present in large numbers at the Faire. They were featuring a table filled with air-guns. Andrew, a member at the Workshop, explained that he has been working on a cupcake (type of 3-D printer) for many months now. What will he make with it first, you may be wondering? Without hesitation he responded with more parts for his airguns – things he wouldn’t be able to buy or things that may not exist…yet. The beauty of the cupcake, he emphasized, is that “you can make more, to help you make even more. How cool is that?”

They are about to fly.

Outside, the Tinkering School of Chicago presented a catapult that delighted attendees, pedestrians, and drivers on Milwaukee Ave. Flinging things = popular. In addition to their popularity, there was a great of passion for everything that went into the catapult – how they built it, the physics behind it, and explaining how to target where your watermelon, orange, or other projectile will splatter. The clouds and sun were an ideal backdrop for towering launches all day long.

Making poetry at the Maker Faire

For the tech-weary there was a hands-on slam poetry table from Words Speak Louder, a Schurz student club. The students at the table were enthusiastic and eager to have passersby contribute some poetry about the day or anything else to their collection. It was a good reminder that making is more than just tinkering with technology.

Making the beats, tuning the melody.

Back inside, there was a lot of action around the iPads and Creativity table. More importantly, there was a lot of music coming from that corner of the building. The table leader advertised that you did not need any music experience to make a song. She waved crowds over and passed out headphones, iPads, and people got to work. Once a track was finished, if the author wanted, they would play the  track on the speakers and big screen for all to see.

LED Blinkie

One of the larger tables was for the creation of blinkies, LED pattern design kits, sponsored by 2DKits. Some expert instructors were on hand to field questions and keep the ball rolling until visitors had their very own blinkie to take home!

Chicago Knights present Parker

Upstairs sunlight filtered into the gym where robots dominated the court. The Chicago Knights, a FIRST Robotics team, presented two basketball-shooting robots. Some students explained that the two robots featured two very different shooting mechanisms, but over the course of the afternoon they demonstrated that both could sink a shot in their own ways.

Wiimote Interactive Board

After spending time with so many tables, I was shocked to see how fast the afternoon flew by. I returned to the cafeteria to stop at the Wiimote-smartboard table. The crew there had rigged a Wiimote to capture motion with a projector, much like a smartboard. Talking both to the teacher and student there, they revealed 1.) how easy the making process was, 2.) the great features the interactive board offered, and 3.) how straightforward it was to use.

3-D Printing MakerBot Industries

As nice as it was to hear this, those three statements were great summaries of everything I had seen during the Mini-Maker Faire that day. The range of interests, inventions, and re-creations was diverse and that was fantastic. Tables were teaching other tables about programming robots or making iPad apps. Younger attendees were eager to make flashlights, blinkies, or marvel at all the noise and excitement around them. High-school aged-attendees were free to dive into conversation with tinkerers, hobbyists, and some of the best advocates for DIY projects around the city. For all attendees it was an engaging environment with no shortage of idea exchange. The energy in and outside the walls of Schurz was undeniable.

Mini Maker Faire at Schurz

If you missed this Maker Faire, do not worry. Keep your eyes peeled because more will be coming to the city soon. If you need to scratch that itch sooner than later – GREAT! – check out the list of Makers on our site and get in touch with them. There is plenty happening all over the city (and country, world) every week of the year.

Will Kent is a CyberNavigator with the Chicago Public Library and a Retention Coach for the University of Illinois. This was his first Maker Faire and he is looking forward to more.