What a Faire! Maker Faire Silver Spring 2015 Recap

Last Sunday’s 3rd Annual Maker Faire Silver Spring featured over 80 inventors and innovators from around the region. Makers showcased their creations and gave the community the chance to interact with their exhibits. The Faire took place at the Veterans Plaza and Civic Building, right in heart of Silver Spring; set to a beautiful end-of-summer day and lively musical performances, Maker Faire Silver Spring attracted 15,000 visitors, making it KID Museum’s largest Maker Faire yet.  See our highlights video and photos from 2015 Maker Faire Silver Spring.

Maker_Faire-293Exhibits ranged from woodcrafters and mapmakers to high-tech developers and NASA specialists. Kids and families tried their hands at 3-D printers, circuit boards, robots, virtual reality, woodworking, and wide variety of arts and crafts. KID Museum ran workshops on soldering, DIY Pachinko/woodshop, coding, wind tubes, hula-hoop weaving, and Pi-Bots. Participants were encouraged to interact and play with the exhibits, with the intention of inspiring the next generation of makers.

This year’s Featured Young Maker was 17-year old Sophia Sanchez-Maes, whose work with algae-biofuel has been recognized by the international science community and won numerous awards. Sophia beautifully summarized the goal of the event during her speech: “At today’s Maker Faire we’re making the makers of tomorrow.” See a clip of Sophia’s speech.

KID Museum, along with PDK International, hosted the first-ever Educators’ Roundtable on Expanding Opportunities for Learning through Making. Presenters included Pam Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia, a leader in integrating learning through making in public schools, and Stephanie Santoso, the Senior Advisor on Making at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. See Albemarle County Public Schools’ inspirational video.

Maker_Faire-173Another highlight of this year’s Faire was the Toy 2.0 Challenge. Back in April, KID Museum and the makers of HEXBUGS asked kids ages 10 to 18 to design the “next hot toy.” The kid inventors of the top ten designs spent the past five months creating prototypes of their designs, guided by KID Museum mentors. These prototypes were on display at Maker Faire Silver Spring, and were presented by the designers on-stage. Faire-goers were able to vote for their favorites, while official judges made their selections for the finalists. Congratulations to first-place winners, Stephanie (13) & Elizabeth (15) Vicarte, second place winner, Chandler Wimmer (11), and third place, Sebastien Sviatyi (10). Miranda McMillen (17) won the popular vote. For more about Toy 2.0, click here.

Thank you to all who came out to this year’s Maker Faire Silver Spring and a special thank you to all of the organizations and Young Makers who helped make this our most successful Maker Faire yet: WHS Competition Robots, STEM Afterschool Academy, We the Builders Sculptures & 3D Jewelry, eCYBERMISSION, Rockville Science Center, Chaotron Kinetic Sculptures, Gearbox 4H Club Robotics, Catylator Makerspace, Science Naturally, Glenelg Country School Makers, The Pi-Bot, Cutey, FutureMakers, Team America Rocketry Challenge, Strikey Sensors, Little Code Ninja, Arduino Quiz Game & Bluetooth Car, Robots and Music with Woods Academy, RM Environmental Club, Robots with St. Elizabeth’s School, FTC 5421 RM’d and Dangerous, RMageddon, Mindstorm Masterminds, Rockville Robotics, RM Robotics, VEX, Recycled Boat and more!

Win a 3D Printer at Maker Faire!


Thanks to Make Magazine, you can win a 3D Printer at Maker Faire Silver Spring! It’s a Metal Printrbot Simple, valued at $599.99.  See the flyer here: 3D Printer giveaway

Sign up to win here!Eventbrite - Raffle Drawing for Maker Faire Silver Spring 2015

Kedar Teaches Coding


Little Code Ninja is a mom-and-son team that aims to make coding accessible to young kids. Uma and her six-year-old son, Kedar began their organization when they discovered Scratch programming and Kedar found a passion.  Scratch is a programming language where children can program and share their creations with people from all over the world.  Little Code Ninja wants to teach both kids and parents how to have fun with code.  They create many fun-filled videos and activities which tell a story with coding weaved right in. Kids are mastering tablets and smart phones very quickly, and are gaining logistical and tactile skills by playing games on these devices.  Uma believes this can be a great base for expanding and tuning these skills, making coding a fun activity for many kids.

At the Maker Faire Silver Spring, Uma wants to let kids explore the world or coding and perhaps find a passion like her own son did.  At previous faires, some kids wanted to try their own code and modified characters while others enjoyed following along with a lesson they provided.  Kedar loves to teach coding, so don’t be surprised if he is the one showing you the ropes this September 20th.


Building Robot Paddles to Collect Balls

Robotics is much more than just screwing together nuts and bolts; it requires programming, designing, and lots and lots of planning before even getting to the build stage. That’s exactly what RM Robotics does year after year in the FIRST Tech Challenge competition. Each year, a group of about 10-15 high school students collaborate to construct a robot to accomplish a challenge laid out by FIRST, an international organization that promotes changing youth culture so becoming a scientist or engineer is as desirable as being an actor or athlete. This year, after a build period of roughly 6 months, our robot FeRMi was created. He can collect and lift wiffle balls up to four feet into the air, as well as precisely deposit them into tubes. image 0

FeRMi is made from multiple materials, each of which had to be considered by the team. In order to move quickly around the field, FeRMi has green Mecanum wheels which allow him to strafe side to side. FeRMi also wears polycarbonate guards that protect him from other robots during competition. One interesting piece of FeRMi that required a surprising amount of engineering and science is the harvester in the front that has green silicone paddles to help collect balls for our competition. To illustrate the complexity of engineering every part in our robot, we’d like to share the steps we went through to create just that one aspect of FeRMi. You can make this too, just follow our steps using this product.

1: Carefully pour out equal parts yellow and green silicone liquid, and remove all air bubbles. This can be done by lightly moving the cup in a circle and gently tapping on the corners. Be sure to weigh the containers to verify you are using equal parts of both components.

2: Carefully pour both liquids into a cooled container. We placed a smaller container inside a larger one filled with ice water.

3: After pouring, combine the two liquids into one bright green color, then remove all air bubbles (again) from the mixture. This picture demonstrates the mixing, not what the final product should be; the mixture here still has two distinct colors.

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4: Prepare paddles with holes cut out in them. The holes are required so that the silicon rubber can solidify through and not slide off the paddle. image 2

5: Dip your paddles in the silicone rubber mixture and then use a heat gun on the paddles to remove excess silicone rubber and harden the silicone. Make sure to place newspapers (or another table cover) below your workspace to ensure it’s kept clean.

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6: You’re finished! Now you’re ready to build the rest of the robot! image 4

Come see RM Robotics, an award-winning robotics team from Richard Montgomery High School, demo their robot, FeRMi, at the Silver Spring Maker Faire. For more information, visit the team’s website at rmrobotics.com.

A special thanks to our sponsors!

Maker Faire Silver Spring is free to attend and so are all our activities!  We are able to accomplish this with the generous help of our sponsors.

Maker Faire Silver Spring is being presented by KID Museum, a new children’s museum in Montgomery County, along with lead sponsor, Discovery Communications.  Additional sponsors include Make Magazine; Hess Construction; IFI, HEXBUG and VEX Robotics; Montgomery County; Google; Catylator  Makerspace; Maker Bot; Tech Shop ;Montgomery College; Shirley Brandman and Howard Shapiro; Capital One; Kiddovate; US Patent and Trade Office, ABC7/WJLA-TV; News Channel 8; WTOP; Activity Rocket; and The Washington Post.

Thank you!

We are looking for volunteers!

Interested in volunteering for Maker Faire Silver Spring?  We have several shifts of opportunities for teenagers and adults.  Just visit our volunteer page for more information!

The Art and Science of Felting with Wool

Wet felting is an ancient textile technique in which natural fibers such as wool are matted, condensed and pressed together through friction and soapy water to create a piece of fabric. The fabric can be made thick or thin, and is used to make garments, hats, handbags, blankets, rugs, home decor items, and even jewelry. Felt is used in the parts of many musical instruments, such as the piano, and has many uses in manufacturing.

Artist and Maker Barbara Liedahl will be returning for her third year to teach the Silver Spring Maker Faire participants how to felt.

Anyone who visits her booth will be invited to make their own felt sample and learn about the different processes used to make felt today and throughout history. Everyone will have an opportunity to create a simple piece of felt to keep.  The simplified process involves layering small amounts of wool roving inside a plastic sandwich bag, adding some soapy water, sealing the bag and massaging the bag for about five minutes to compress and entangle the fibers. A quick rinse in cool water and flattening under a rolling pin will produce a 4″ x 4″ piece of felted fabric that can be used as the base for an illuminated LED pin or book light or simply as a coaster, framed as an art piece, or used to embellish a handmade greeting card.

Make a Flashlight with Rustom Meyer

Rustom Meyer, creator of Yeti Solar, first became interested in solar energy while researching improved solar box cooker designs as an undergraduate at Cornell University. He graduated Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science Cum Laude, and a Masters of Engineering in Biological and Environmental Engineering. He holds a Professional Engineer’s license in Environmental Engineering. Rustom has been researching, designing, prototyping, and directing manufacture of high efficiency, well designed indoor solar lighting and LED systems since 2009. His driving passion is to make these systems so affordable, adaptable, reliable, and user friendly that solar lighting becomes the obvious choice for everyone.

Yeti Solar recently donated a solar lighting system to a clinic in Nepal, which they are using as emergency lighting for their Operating Room. Although the clinic has access to grid power, it’s quite unreliable, and sometimes cuts out in the middle of surgeries. Prior to installing solar powered backup, their Plan B for lighting in the Operating Room was hand held flashlights

Not that Yeti Solar has anything against flashlights.  Yeti Solar has designed a simple DIY flashlight project that makes it easy to build a unique and powerful flashlight. At the Maker Faire Rustom Meyer will have a dozen or so of these flashlights on display and interested audience members can purchase a kit to make one. Walk-up participants can easily build and decorate one in about 15 minutes with supervision.

His flashlight project teaches participants about circuits and LEDs, as well as how to solder and some basic assembly techniques. The participant gets to choose their LED color, the light diffusing texture of the lense, and also how they want to decorate the flashlight body. The switch mechanism is a socket screw; tighten it to complete the circuit and loosen it to break the circuit. After the flashlight is complete, Rustom seals all the decorations in place with heavy duty adhesive lined clear heatshrink. This also gives the flashlight a ergonomic, ‘grippy’ surface, and diffuses the LED light such that the whole head of the flashlight glows when it is on.

Check out this blog by Rustom Meyer, which describes how to make his flashlight project!


Kid Maker Challenge: Water Purification

Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids and gases from contaminated water. 

Your challenge is to take muddy water and build a water purification system to clean it.  When you are finished, post about your results!


KID Maker Challenge: Kinetic Art

Over the next few months leading up to the Silver Spring Maker Faire we will be challenging all young makers to stretch their minds.  These challenges give kids who operate under a “maker” mindset the chance to create new projects by applying scientific, technological, math, artistic and engineering design concepts.

Kinetic Art Challenge:

Kinetic art is art that moves. The most common examples are three-dimensional sculptures and figures such as mobiles that move naturally or are machine operated. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer.

Your challenge is to make a piece of artwork that incorporates movement to make the piece visually interesting.  When you are finished, post about your results on our Facebook page!