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Survey Says…


It’s almost been a month, but the Faire feels so long ago! We just recently got our survey results back from MAKE, and the results were that this year’s Faire was fantastic! Exceptional! Stupendous! We also received a good amount of feedback on how we can improve next year. Parking was the #1 issue, after that was directional signage, and following that was having a better way to advertise/announce when and where workshops and presentations started. And there were some complaints from Makers about the load-out. Oh, and you guys want some food trucks next year.

Duly noted!

One other comment was that people were uncomfortable with, or just downright don’t like, the term “Mini” as in “Atlanta Mini Maker Faire.” Well, let me tell you what this actually means. Any Faire you attend that has “Mini” in its title means that it was organized by local volunteers rather than MAKE Magazine itself. That’s right, everyone that put forth some effort this year whether it be the main organizers or the people handing out water to thirsty Makers did so on a volunteer basis – no one here is paid. And that means that while we might be spread a little thin at times, we love what we do.

And speaking of money, all of our expenses – absolutely everything – were paid for by our sponsors and anyone that was kind enough to give a donation. You guys are our lifeblood, and there’s absolutely no way we could have done it without you.

So what’s next? Well, first we need to plan a date for AMMF 2013. The plan is to have it on Georgia Tech’s campus again, and that means we have to find a weekend when they are away. And the only only way game we can find on their 2013 schedule is on 10/12 of next year. So we can make this the most tentative of tentative dates. And there’s talk of trying to turn this into a 2 day event. And adding a whole mess of other speakers and workshops! So spread the word, talk up some hype, and keep an eye on our blog!

We plan on starting the planning process on January 1st of next year, so if you’d like to get involved, please email us using the “Contact” link on the right sidebar.

Thanks again to all of the Makers, Volunteers, and Attendees. With about 5,000 in attendance, this year was the most incredible AMMF yet. Let’s continue building the quality and quantity!

How Many Different Workshops? NINE! Count ‘em!

And how many total sessions? TWENTY! Oh my goodness you’re gonna make SO MANY THINGS!!!

Here’s our workshop list- if you head to the PARTICIPATE page, you’ll find the rest of the specifics (starting times, durations, etc) as well as links to sign up for these workshops.

Workshop Tent #1
Squishy Circuits
Explore circuitry basics with homemade dough, LEDs, switches, and batteries. Visitors will get to make their own squishy circuits and will get a kit so that they can continue making more electronic experiments at home.

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2012 AMMF Speakers and Presenters

We’ve got it! We’ve got the schedule of speakers! And what a great variety they are! Here we go, in very particular order, the 2012 Atlanta Mini Maker Faire Speakers:

Chad Ramey :: Making Nuclear Reactors at 17
Chad, from Newnan, GA, will be talking about his experiences designing and building his own inertial electrostatic confinement fusion reactor before he even graduated high school.

David Greelish :: History of Computing and Retro Computing Kits
David Greelish, Founder of the Atlanta Historical Computing Society, will give a presentation on the history of computers, and especially show how the modern Make movement parallels the early “homebrew” computing hobbyists. Plus, a look at retrocomputing electronic kits and accessories.

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Can you imagine drawing with a sharp knife? That’s what Amanda Mattison does in her original artwork housed in her shop Sharing Snips Scherenschnitte. She uses a finger mounted blade (that makes her sound like a superhero!) as other artists would use a pen. She might have some pieces of inspiration around her, but when she puts the knife to the paper, there is no design or pattern there – she just carves what she thinks looks best.

And not only will she be at the Faire, she’ll be bringing supplies so you can make your own cut paper artwork!

Timmy O’Brien and the Movies

Timmy O’Brien of Whatever Unique, another one of our speakers, will be talking about making and the movies. Want to know a bit about him?

With an early start as a magician, and a degree in Technical Theatre and Design, Timmy O’Brien has developed a career out of hacking and making to build props, scenery, and special effects. Finding new materials, tools, and processes, as well as how to use all of those for unintended purposes has been both work and hobby. Timmy has worked on feature film and television projects for over a decade including Zombieland, The Vampire Diaries, and Gangster Squad.

And what ever will he talk about, you ask? Well we can answer that question too:

“Why you should let your kids play with tools and other ‘dangerous’ things, and how hacking and making from a young age has lead to a career in the television and film industry building props, scenery and special effects. “

His presentation is going to round out our day, starting at 4:00, so be sure to come check him out!

What Do You Know About Nuclear Physics?

Credit: Chad Ramey

Well, when Chad Ramey was 17 years old, he knew enough to build an inertial electrostatic confinement fusion reactor. A Georgia Tech student now, he’s made the world’s smallest IEC fusion reactor. He’ll be the inaugural speaker on Saturday, starting about 10:00 in the auditorium of the CULC Building, so be sure to get to the Faire first thing!

Matt Gilbert :: Selection from the New England Primer

One of our 2012 Makers, Matt Gilbert, has a collaborative sound installation up at a gallery called whitespace. Here’s the artist statement to give you an idea of what it’s about:

Selections from The New England Primer, an interactive sound installation by Matt Gilbert in collaboration with Ryan Peoples, investigates American approaches to childhood education as evidenced in The New England Primer, the first school textbook used in the American colonies. It taught the fundamentals of spelling and grammar through rhymes, prayers, Bible stories and cathecisms to be memorized by the students.

The exhibit includes several homemade sound controllers. Visitors are invited to interact with them, triggering samples from recordings of the Primer’s lessons and manipulating the ambient sound in the room. Also included are schoolyard recordings and samples from the 1953 instructional film for children, “How Quiet Helps Us at School”.

Selections from the New England Primer takes the lessons from the Primer—based on rote memorization, strict discipline, and Puritan values—and turns them into material for free self-directed play and investigation.

The show is up until September 29, so you’ve got about a week to check it out.

How to Make a Robot

This year Tim Manasterski, roboticist, will host a 45 minute session on how to make a robot. The robot will be a simple line following bot consisting of two gearhead motors, drive and micro-controller. An infrared LED sensor array will provide the feedback for the line following and although the robot kit will come fully programmed, it will have a USB port for future modifications and customization. A line following robot was chosen for the workshop because they embody a host of robot technologies and are just plain fun to build and watch!

This workshop will cost $85, but you get to walk away with an assembled, fully functional line follower! For the workshop we only have 15 spaces, so please email us at if you would like to get your name on that list!

What’s All This Talk About Hackerspaces?

Credit: Jeoff Davis recently wrote a great article describing what a hackerspace is and why you should join one:

How to Find and Get Involved with A Hackerspace In Your Community

Did you know that we had (or will very soon have) four different hacker/makerspaces around Atlanta? They all have different emphases, but making is still at their core:

Freeside Atlanta
My Inventor Club
MASS Collective
Geekspace Gwinnett

They will all be present at the Faire this year so you’ll be able to get to know all of them and figure out where your interests might fit in best. The Atlanta area spaces will also be joined at the Faire by a number of other spaces around the Southeast:

Knox Makers - Knoxville, Tennessee
Hackerspace Charlotte - Charlotte, North Carolina
Chatt*lab Makerspace - Chattanooga, Tennessee
Makers Local 256 - Huntsville, Alabama

So be sure to check them all out to see what these Maker communities have created!

Do you like scavenger hunts, and getting art for free?

Credit: @the_la_l5p

Free Art Friday Atlanta wants to give you both.  Local artists create small pieces of art and hide them around Atlanta on the first Friday of every month.  Using twitter they leave clues about where the treasure is,  if you recognize where it is, and make a mad dash it can be yours.  Some of the artists will be at the Faire showing off their work, talking paint and magnets, and working a station where you can make free some free art yourself.  The hard part is deciding whether to keep your new creation, or to leave it somewhere special for somebody else to find.