The Call for Makers is Open!

On June 11/12 the third annual Denver Mini Maker Faire returns to the


Are you ready to join this exceptional tribe of makers and creators?

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Lumenexus Interactive Light and Sound Sculpture
Created by a team based in Solid State Depot including John English, Kevin McWilliams, Austin Glaser and Claire Lay.

Strut your stuff in front of 5000+ attendees over this two-day extravaganza of making. This unique, family-friendly event draws makers from across Colorado and over 13 states to celebrate their unbridled curiosity, engineering/building skills, and creativity. Our theme for 2016 is Building the Future – so we are developing exhibits that show the future of wearable tech, interactive gaming, biotech, fabrication technologies and more. The Denver Mini Maker Faire team is looking for a wide variety of eclectic, diverse and out-of-the-box ideas that highlight the tinkerer spirit.

“Inspiring people of all ages to actively create, invent, and problem solve is part of our mission,” said Nathan Seidle, Founder and CEO of SparkFun Electronics. “We are proud of our ongoing work with The Denver Mini Maker Faire–this event is not about a one-weekend experience, it is about connecting people to leading-edge technology and motivating them to innovate for the future.”

Show off something from the categories below – or make up your own!

Engineering and Building:
Last year we had the TrotBot created by a youth engineer club, a city built of cardboard and LEDs, metals arts and sculptures. What are you dreaming up this year?

Fashion Forward and Wearable Tech:
Tech fashion, RAFT’s recycled fashion creations, CosPlay, unique textiles

Inventors Fun & Games:
Inventors Design Studio, lifesized Interactive arcade games, Toy Hack

Rocket and Robots:
Robotics experiences, aerospace, rocket propulsion, Drones and things that Fly.

Tech tinkerers:
Electronics, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the amazing things you do with them!

STEAM Celebration:
Innovation in education and youth STEAM projects (STEM + A for Arts).

Mad Scientists:
Denver Mad Scientists, Colorado Labs – NIST, NCAR, CIRES…science exhibitors

Character Creators and Creative Arts:
R2D2s, Stormtroopers, Daleks, TARDIS, Urban arts and Art Cars

Design and Fabrication:
From 3D design to creating with tools such as metal working, woodcrafting, CNC milling, welding

This is a hands-on event, so please have your exhibit be something that demonstrates making. If you want to discuss your ideas to exhibit or already know what you are working on, hit the MAKE button and tell us all about your awesome project!

The Call for Makers is open from now through March 30. After this date we will accept projects on a space available basis up through May 15. Last year our maker spaces filled up early – don’t wait to let us know you are interested. Don’t be shy about putting your project in, we’ll give you a call and talk through your creative ideas before confirming your space at the Faire.

The Denver Mini Maker Faire is generously supported by Presenting Sponsors SparkFun Electronics, The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Make Magazine as well as builder sponsor Epilog Laser.  The Denver Mini Maker faire is independently produced by the Colorado Maker Hub 501(c)3 in collaboration with Maker Media.

Apply to Exhibit as a Maker:


A Maker Christmas!

What a Maker Christmas we are having!

Last night we visited a maker’s musical christmas light show – check it out here.

When we got home it was clear one of the cat’s had attacked the tree and my family stained glass ornament was broken.  Thanks to our handy dandy Sparkfun soldering iron that was quickly fixed and back on the tree.

IMG_0599This morning I woke up to a wonderful laser engraving of one of my favorite photos of my daughter.  Thanks to my husband Ed VanDyne with help from Joel at the Loveland Creator Space and Epilog Laser!  Wow, what a gift!

And this evening we are hosting a makers Christmas dinner with makers from around the Front Range.

However  you are spending this  holiday – we hope it is merry. We are grateful for our amazing maker community and look forward to seeing you soon!

You haven’t heard much from us this month because we’ve been working hard on a bunch of exciting things for 2016. Next week we’ll unveil it all!

Come up for Sunday Fun at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire!

Yesterday, October 10th, was Colorado Maker Day and the creators were out in force at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire.  Still going on today from 10-5!  Here is Dave Taylor’s Go Fatherhood blog on his day at the Faire.   Take a look at some of the cool things you can do today and the amazing speakers still to come!

Talk with Inventors and find out the Winner of the Inventor’s Showcase at 1pm! 

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Check out a B25 bomber simulation or fly a MESA ARC foam flyer!

Play life sized versions of your favorite arcade games or pilot the Starship Enterprise!

Come in costume and meet with Steamship captains, Tardis creators, R2D2 and more.  Check out a Jurassic park Jeep and a landspeeder!

Compete in the Rover Rally!

We are here from 10-5 today and the price for a day of fun is less than going to a movie. And much more interesting.  Come join us!!

Pluto, Patents, Physics and Play – Oh My!

Check out these workshops and presentations that will delight the curious, engage the philosophical, and amaze the scientific!

Pluto New Horizons Mission briefing in a joint presentation with Build your own SpaceBling workshop
Kimberly Ennico Smith, deputy Project Scientist on the New Horizons Pluto Fly-By with NASA/Southwest Research Institute has teamed up with Susanna Speier, space jewelry creator on Sunday October 11th.
Kim will answer questions and discuss the New Horizons Pluto mission while Susanna Speier leads the Build your own Space Bling Workshop.  During the Build your own SpaceBling workshops Susanna provides materials for kids who want to design their own necklaces and keychains using resin pendants built from the New Horizons spacecraft line drawings.

Every mad scientist needs a scope and heres how
you can get a free one
Eric Bogatin, Dean of Signal Integrity Academy

Craft Works: Stitching Together Digital and Analog Media with Free and Open Source Software
JR Nielsen is the co-creator of Dototot and co-producer of The Hello World Program.  He seeks to educate and empower young and old to make their own media and engage critically with contemporary advances in technology. As a proponent of open-source technology, most of his creative works are produced on Linux-based machines using free and open-source software.

Lazy Person’s Book Club
Sharon Glassman will be performing an episode and songs from her STEAM-powered romcom, Blame It On Hoboken, whose brainy, visionary main character, tour guide Caroline Cates, is using Euclid’s Proof of Perfect Numbers to find true love and happiness on a deadline. She’ll also answer questions on how/why mixing science, math and performing arts is such a powerfully fun combo…and why breaking the rules = making art.

Re-building the B25 Bomber
Scott McEwan and Young Aviators Club
Follow the experiences of Scott and the youth makers and their mentos that have built the forward third of a full-scale North American B25J “Mitchell” bomber from scratch. Through this project the young aviators (YAs) learned how to handle aluminum, measure, cut, drill, debur, rivet, and use power and hand powered tools, just like “Rosie the Riveter” did during WWII.     

It Doesn’t Matter
As a 13 year old maker, 
Katt Hendershott embodies her topic, It Doesn’t Matter. One of the great revolutions of the maker movement is that your age, size, gender, color or income level don’t matter.  What matters is your curiosity, creativity, and capabilities.  Come and be inspired on what you can do!    

Katt is in the gifted and talented program at school, and active member in Technology Student Association, and resident expert on the laser cutter at denhac. She is building a high tech cosplay for the upcoming Supernatural convention and hosted her own booth teaching visitors on glow science at the Denver Mini Maker Faire at the Denver Museum for Nature & Science.

Maker’ a Business: Taking Your Wares to Market
In this interactive talk, Ariana Friedlander shares the 6 counter-intuitive things she has learned about building and growing a viable business in the 21st century marketplace. Makers will walk away enlightened and enlivened, as they develop a deeper understanding of how to turn an idea into a business.

Ariana Friedlander, MPA is the Founder and Principal for Rosabella Consulting, LLC and has over 11 years of experience working with small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to create strategies for successful organizational growth.  Ariana specializes in translating complex ideas to simple, comprehensible points and finding connections when duality appears to be the norm. 

Confessions of a Fiber Addict
Lori Lynn Barker

This is just a sampling of the amazing workshops and presentations coming to the NoCo Mini Maker Faire.  Check out the full list and the schedule under Makers/Speakers on this website.

Purple Party Bus bringing Denver Friends to Makers After Dark!

We are running a FREE bus, courtesy of Purple Mountain Party Bus to Makers After Dark on October 9th from Denver for the first 15 people who sign up!

MakersAfterDark-Branding-Finaln case you haven’t heard yet what the amazing Makers After Dark is….

We have brought together 20+ Distillers from Colorado who are sampling their crafted spirits, a variety of creations that shine in the dark using fire, LEDs, sound and light, amazing local food like MouCo Cheese, Boar & Bull charcuterie, 34 Degrees Crackers and catering from Fresh Plate.  All this plus an inaugural event tasting glass AND a free party shuttle!

Departs from Downtown Denver near Union Station at 4:30pm & returns to Denver after the festival. We will email you the exact pickup location a day or two ahead of time (but most likely it will be next to the new King Soopers at 20th & Chestnut in LoDo).

Buy your ticket to this amazing festival of light, sound and taste and email to reserve your spot!

Makers at Start-Up Denver October 1

Join us for a special mini Makers After Dark at Start-Up Denver with inventors, craft distillers and cocktails!

Meet with local craft distillers Laws Whiskey House to talk about how they create their spirits.

Chat with Denver-based maker/artist and metalworker Ira Sherman, who will have a special sculpture on hand.

Talk with fellow makers, inventors and Colorado Maker Hub friends while enjoying craft spirits.

We look forward to seeing you at the Star Bar at 2137 Larimer St

Thursday 10/1  4:00pm — 5:30pm.  


Highlights of the 2015 DMMF in MAKE magazine

Experiencing a Maker Faire, even if you work for Maker Faire and have seen many, is a process of discovery. Indeed, surprise is the gift of any Maker Faire, and the 2nd annual Denver Mini Maker Faire did not disappoint. So in no particular order, here are 10 subjective highlights from the weekend:1. Nineteen (!!) beeping, pinging, winding, blinking “Inner Workings of the Pinball” displays by Mark Gibson.  Plus one new, not quite finished baseball game. A brilliantly interactive and educational lineup of all parts of old pinball machines, clearly labeled and explained.

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2. The Rocky Mountain Lace Guild‘s bobbin lace booth. President Jane Meier here also turns her own bobbins on her husbands’ pen lathe. Loved that they were placed directly across from awesome moment Number Three…


3. This teen-built, Theo Jansen-insired walking machine, TrotBot. Attendees could work the crank and turn all those linkages (it was up on blocks). Dad Wade Vagel led the charge with a set of kids who had worked their way through Wade’s alternative Lego Mindstorms curriculum. Interview here with TrotBot team member Alby Musaelian:

4. The Denver Faire had a full three days of Maker Education programming!  Big thanks and kudos to Gia Medeiros of Denver’s Makintosh Academy for organizing.  This outstanding Friday panel featured Denver MakerPros — rockstars Eric Schweikardt (ModRobotics), Nathan Seidle (Spark Fun), and Ross Ingram (Sphero) — where the three got into fun, sometimes scandalous tales about their individual paths through education towards Maker entrepreneurship.


5. Denver Sheet Metal Workers Local 9 booth where you could crimp, fold, and cut sheet metal into this toolbox. One of the Union leadership had visited the Faire last year and decided to push for a hands-on presence for 2015. A definite success! Attendees got to get experience with a whole set of pro sheet metal tools staffed adequately by Local 9 apprentices and journeymen.  Great work Local 9!


6. Human sized foosball.IMG_7330

7. Denver’s biggest makerspace, DenHac, received a seed grant from Denver Mini Maker Faire organizers Colorado Maker Hub and created this rad Star Wars command bridge for a Star Wars simulator game.


8. A Nerdy Derby track made from 3D printed parts. This “no-rules miniature car building and racing competition” began as a NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program student project for the 2012 World Maker Faire. A team from Loveland Creatorspace rehashed the ITP track design & worked with Aleph Objects, 3D Print Store, Idea2-Product to crowd-print the track in time for the Faire.


9. Maker Dad Casey Rohn’s installation of over 20–30 projects from his garage — bowls to go karts to cool games to this skateboard press. Brilliant exhibit design too, with homemade 2×4 + canvas canopy along with a chalkboard for calculations and future project visioning.


10. My new favorite hands-on making Maker Faire activity: TOY HACK! I work with Maker Faire organizers around the globe & this one (here done by the Denver Library) is reproducible everywhere! “Trash” toys + hacksaws & scissors + materials & glue guns. WIN!


OK just one more irresistable moment… 11. Makey pooped! Thanks so much to Elise and Karen and team from Colorado Maker Hub for all the work and time spent organizing. And to the Denver Nature and Science Museum for such a great venue. See you next year!!


Are you ready Denver?  ‘Cause we are set to celebrate 110+ of the most amazing makers, inventors, and crafters from across the Rocky Mountains!

Bring the family to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to tinker, play and be inspired:

  • Make music at the Science of Music exhibit, where you can build your own instruments and participate in a synthesizer petting zoo
  • Experiment and create electrifying art with Sparkfun’s Paint with Code electrically conductive paint and Liteseeds LED stickers
  • Build an Art Car with the “Cartists” from Trinidad’s ArtoCade and take a ride on Kinetic Sculptures
  • Become a mad scientist – participate in experiments with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Denver Mad Scientists
  • Create whatever you can imagine at the Cardboard Challenge or at Denver Public Library’s Toy Hack
  • Drive a robot or fly a quadcopter
  • Check out urban art, Steampunk creations, and more
  • Chat with Star Wars’ R2-D2 and Watch Out for Dr. Who’s mutant Daleks!
  • Try your hand at blacksmithing, welding and experiment with tools of all kinds

          and over 110 of the most creative maker, inventor, and artisan exhibits.  Plus we have presenters from around the community with How-tos and Creativity hacks from your community maker spaces, entrepreneurial leadership, and Colorado artists such as:

  • Ross Ingram of Sphero, Ryan Ward of Zometool
  • Panel on Innovations in Sound and Music Making
  • Rita Crompton and Ray Burrasca on Crowdfunding for Makers
  • STEAM and Young Makers
    and many more – check them all out on the Presenters tab or under the schedule for Maker Ed

We’ve got an amazing interactive experience lined up that you and your family will never forget!  Come play and learn and MAKE with us this weekend.

Inventors Arise!

Do you have a great idea and are wondering ….

“How do I take this from a prototype to manufacturing?”

“Do I need to patent this? or How do I protect my idea?”

“How can I crowdfund development of my product?”

Do we have the answers for you!

Come to the Denver Faire and look for:
Ask an IP lawyer booth.  On Saturday from 1-5 we’ll have patent attorneys from Polsinelli law answering your questions. You can sign up ahead of time at the booth with the link above or just drop by on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday the IP booth will have Rita, aka The Inventor Lady, answering all your idea to market questions.

Presentation Space.  Rita Crompton and Ray Burrasca will be talking on Sunday about Crowdfunding, The Game Changer.

We look forward to learning about what you are making!

Come join us.


The Story behind Fun With Pinball!

Pinball Wizardry by Mark Gibson at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire, photo by Alanna Brake

Pinball Wizardry by Mark Gibson at the NoCo Mini Maker Faire, photo by Alanna Brake

Fun with Pinball is always one of the most popular hands-on exhibits at the Denver and NoCo Mini Maker Faires. Mark Gibson, who developed his skills restoring pinball machines as a hobby, branched out into creating mechanical models and games using old pinball machine parts. People of all ages love pushing the buttons and making noise – but beyond that there is a fascination with seeing how the mechanical pieces work. As Mark comments, “These days you have no idea what is going on inside your iphone – but with these you can mechanically see what is going on and you can see how to repair it. It is a lost art.”

The first Maker Faire we put on in Colorado was the catalyst for Mark’s creations. A friend suggested that he bring one of his restored pinball games to the Faire and Mark thought “well, just bringing a machine isn’t very maker.” And so he gave it some thought and came up with the idea of building game boards. Inspired by the Kinematic models of design and the concept of creating visible pinball, he set out to create games that reflect the creativity and ingenuity of the old, low-tech games. Part of the design challenge, he’s discovered, is to create something intuitive – where visitors can figure out in a visual and tactile way what is going on with the mechanics of the game.

Mark and Faire visitors alike have great fun with the pinball inspired games. . This will be the fourth Faire in Colorado in which Mark has exhibited and his games get bigger and more elaborate each time. “I’m just highlighting and celebrating the ingenuity of the original designers who retired long ago.  They designed most of the parts and assemblies; I’m just wiring them up in new ways so others can appreciate or learn something from their work.”

This work takes a lot of time and care and the Faires are long days as well.  So of course I asked “are you thanking us or cursing us now for getting you going on this?”

Mark had a great answer, that really expresses for us all one of the reasons we love the Faire.  “By the end of the (event) weekend you are drained and worn out.  What I get out of it? Someone took a photo at the first one and Dad was down on one knee explaining something and the kid is completely wide-eyed and engaged.  A few times at each faire I get that look – someone who has lost the rest of the world and is staring and learning and truly wrapped up in it.”