Creative ideas displayed at OMSI ‘Mini Maker Faire’

From all over the Pacific Northwest, including outer East Portland, see some of the many ‘Makers” at this year’s Faire …

Thousands of visitors browse among the 125 exhibitors at this year’s “OMSI Mini Maker Faire”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) closed off its north parking lot as it hosted its seventh annual “Portland Mini Maker Faire”, a family-friendly showcase of sometimes-peculiar creativity and fascinating technology for two days, September 15 and 16.

“Maker Faire is at the heart of what makes Portland unique; that is, it’s a gathering of out-of-the-ordinary, inquisitive folks who enjoy learning and then sharing what they can do,” smiled OMSI Interim Events Manager Melony Beaird, as visitors swirled around, visiting one exhibit after another.

After making an art-linoleum print, using a road roller (sometimes called a steamroller) as the press, members of the Independent Resource Center, headquartered in Central Southeast Portland, inspect the new print.

Standing among the passing participants at the Maker Faire are OMSI Event Planner Sonali Shivdasani, and Interim Events Manager Melony Beaird.

“Who our visitors will find exhibiting here are craft enthusiasts, artists, and engineers – part of what’s called the ‘Maker movement’ – that enjoy showing off their ‘passion projects’, and like to help others learn how to experiment,” Beaird told East Portland News.

Exhibitors were showing off their robots, 3-D printers, and a lightning simulator. “But, most-popular are the hands-on activities. Here, you can learn how to embroider, make electric circuits, or go very low-tech and learn how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together,” observed Beaird.

Building electronic circuits together are Brentwood-Darlington residents Thomas Schoenborn and budding engineer Laurel Schoenborn.

Learning the more energetic trade of metalworking is Liam Sanchez-Mejia.

This ‘Maker’ of Northwest Elixirs hot sauces, Andrew Garrett, hails from Montavilla.

Along the rows of canopies were 125 exhibitors, featuring 140 makers – explaining their exhibits, and giving talks, demonstrations, and performances bridging many fields – arts, crafts, science, engineering, and even pirate life!

“Our ‘Maker Faire’ fulfills the mission of OMSI because it gets people learning about, and working at, do-it-yourself projects and new technologies – while interesting them in STEM education,” Beaird explained.

Showing off their competition-winning robot are FIRST Robotics Team 1432 “Metal Beavers” members Nathaniel Lyons and JR Surban. They’re headquartered in Lents.

For those wondering about the legality of OMSI using the Maker name: “The Portland Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.,” acknowledged Beaird. So, yes, it’s all upright and legal.

>> On our Front Page: Bob Durst with Graand Kinetic Challenge shows off his original, and unusual self-powered vehicle.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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