Category Archives: Uncategorized

2016 Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire Announced

The 8th annual Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire will be Saturday, June 4 at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Downtown Branch!

The AADL has organized and hosted a lot of makery things in the past few years including exhibiting at the A2 Mini Maker Faire year after year. Plus, if you haven’t heard yet because you are too busy practicing the theremin you checked out from their instrument collection, they ALSO have a makerspace, the Secret Lab!

Exhibitor applications and additional info will be out in the early Spring. So check back for updates.

And as always, the faire will be free for attendees and exhibitors. A huge thank you to our sponsors for making it accessible to everyone.

2015 Faire Success

The buzz of energy at the Morris Lawrence Building at WCC on Saturday was palpable. With record attendance (1600+), 46 exhibitors including businesses, schools, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, nonprofits, and artists, 3 food trucks, and raffle prizes given out throughout the day, this year’s 7th annual faire was truly outstanding.


Thank you to our sponsors for their generous donations: It keeps the faire free for exhibitors and free for attendees. A2Geeks, Make Media, the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum, Maker Works, Brain Monkeys, ShopBot Tools, Ann Arbor State Bank, Game Start, Robo Todd Industries and Sight Machine. And a special thank you to the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum for hosting our Exhibitor Pre-Party.


Thank you to our amazing exhibitors who provided the crowds of people with demos, projects, conversation and information. Thank you for staying up late finishing your displays and then getting up early to set them up, for driving in from all areas of southeast Michigan and the Toledo area, and for your hours of enthusiasm and energy in interacting with attendees. It was an exhausting day and you did great!

IMG_6337 IMG_6425 IMG_6295 IMG_6314

And finally thank you for attending. As volunteer organizers, we strive to bring new aspects to the faire year after year. The days leading up are always a little tense, with hope that on the day-of people will show up. And this year, you certainly did: Tons of families and people of all ages, which is a testament to the  curiosity and support found in our region.



So thank you for being part of the 7th annual Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire!

And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for lots of photos.

See you next year!

Final days before this Saturday’s Faire

This week is always a rush to the end, getting tickets and signage printed, tables cloths and snacks for our exhibitors purchased, and … uh-oh, what else are we forgetting!!?? Yet it always seems to come together by Saturday.

Thank you to the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum for hosting our Exhibitor Pre-Party tonight! Director Mel Drumm is a huge supporter of the faire year after year. John Bowditch and Ari Morris and their outreach/education teams put so much enthusiasm and effort in creating engaging demos utilizing both new and old technologies.

When you are at the faire, make sure to look down at the ground (or in front of you!) as you walk around. There will be a few robots moving through the crowds: Brad Jensen and his Super Cheat Robot Platform, Rocks and Robots’ Flying robots, and Lauro Ojeda’s Lego Drawing Robot.

Makers in the Arts bring another dimension to this year’s faire: We don’t want to forget about the ‘A’ in STEM= STEAM. EMU’s Digital Fabrication professors and students will have some 3D printers, arduinos doing crazy things and more featuring open source software and hardware. Fly Art Center is also joining us for the first time in a hands-on water-based project. And the Niji-Iro Japanese Immersion Elementary School is going to teach us a few traditional Japanese crafts such as fish-printing and origami.

REMINDER: Get your tickets NOW for the Faire! Though they aren’t required because the faire is free, it helps us keep track of each year’s attendance record.

Amazing group of Makers at the 2015 faire!

Looking down through the list of this year’s Makers has us organizers really excited! From 3D printers, to FIRST Robotics teams, to skill sharing, to the A2Hands on Museum’s various demos and projects, you are sure to find something that captivates you, teaches you something or impresses you with the amount of knowledge that is being nourished and shared in our region. This includes our youth makers as well! Here is a sneak preview—-

A2 STEAM’s 6th grade percussion group set to task on rebuilding a set of orchestra bells that were in horrible disrepair. They will be on hand to show us just how they tackled this project.

All Hands Active will be at the faire once again along with Maker Works, the Lansing Maker Network and the Grange Junior Makers. Year after year these groups bring something fresh and new with them to share. We are grateful for their continued support!

And we also have a bunch of new Makers joining us!

e-NABLE is an extensive network of makers with 3D printers who build and then assemble devices for those born without fingers. They will be here printing parts and you can learn how to assemble some of the devices yourself!

Coming in from Toledo is the University of Toledo’s Maker Society. They are a student organization aimed at providing tools, from 3D printers to hand tools to CNC machines, for all students to use no matter what discipline they may be studying.

Another great addition to this year’s faire is Ann Arbor’s favorite creative space for kids (and adults!): the SCRAP BOX! They will have some of the amazing and sometimes strange recycled materials they tend to have in stock.

Check back soon to learn more about this year’s Makers!

2015 Food carts & trucks!


At this year’s faire, the lunch options have expanded. THANK YOU to Sweetwaters Cafe, Ray’s Red Hots and El Manatial for joining us!


 Sweetwaters Cafe is one of Ann Arbor’s favorite coffeeshops.  Serving specialty coffees and teas (including their own amazing Ginger Lemon Tea now sold at various markets), they also have sweet and savory desserts and sandwiches. And they recently expanded to Ypsilanti!

Rays Red HotsRay’s Red Hots has both a storefront on E. University in Ann Arbor and two carts that are staples at U of M football games, school events, parties and more. They serve up gourmet hotdogs, sausages and burgers including vegetarian options. They love what they do!

El ManatialEl Manatial is one of the best food trucks located at Mark’s Carts in Ann Arbor. Owner and chef Mariano Rodriguez serves authentic Mexican recipes inspired by his family’s restaurant in Mexico, which has been in business for over 35 years. We welcome the opening of their 2nd food truck at the 2015 faire!

We hope that you will stay for lunch and sample the amazing food offered at this year’s faire!


2015 Call for Makers

CALLING AREA MAKERS OF ALL AGES! You can now apply to be a part of the 2015 Ann Arbor Mini Maker faire!

We are looking for:

  • Robotics, CNC
  • Green Tech (energy production/monitoring, electric vehicles, etc)
  • DIY Science
  • Participatory activities (e.g., participatory activities such as silk screening or learn to solder, “Make and Takes”, hand tools, skill sharing)
  • *Student projects
  • FIRST robotics teams
  • STEAM & STEM projects
  • Makerspaces/hackerspaces/collectives 
  • Radio
  • Rocketry/ballooning
  • Unusual tools, machines, techniques
  • Performative technologies and music
  • Fine art technologies/installations
  • Whimsical technical creations

*Youth makers from elementary school age on up to high school, including home and public school groups. 

New to this year’s faire is a separate ‘DEMO’ area featuring 1-time only demonstrations that are 10-minutes or less. Demonstrations that KAPOW! BANG! THROW SPARKS or CONFETTI! WHISTLE! Or just make sense that the demo would only happen 1-time during the faire. You do not need to have an exhibitor booth in order to participate in the DEMO section. But you still must fill out the Call for Makers form so that we can coordinate everyone. If you decide to do both an exhibitor booth and something in the DEMO section, your 1-time only demonstration should be different than what you display in your exhibitor booth.

Apply soon!!! 

Just click on the “Makers” tab at the top of this page, or go to the Makers page for more information.

The 2015 Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire Is Coming!

We’re excited to announce the seventh annual Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire!

The Faire will be held again at the Morris Lawrence Building on the campus of  Washtenaw Community College. This free, all-ages event features community members of all types who come together to display their ideas, projects, and inventions.

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

This year we’ve partnered with Brain Monkeys to focus especially on young makers across our schools and learning settings.

Soon we will be seeking applications from people and groups with engaging, inspiring, and just plain cool projects.

We’re seeking projects that focus on the process of creating, designing, and making – not just displaying a final product. Makers of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to submit applications. We will begin seeking applications for makers very soon.

You can stay in touch with us in a few different ways: on Twitter @a2makerfaire and on Facebook

2014 List of Makers

We had some great exhibitors this year. You’ll likely always recognize some friendly faces in the A2MMF maker crowd but we also always get new folks. This year we featured a lot of the area’s FIRST teams and had a whole corner of the faire dedicated to robots and robotics.

First, a huge thanks to all these folks: those who return each year and those who are new to the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire. You make our faire the success that it is each year.

Here’s the full list of the 2014 Ann Arbor Mini Makers!

Maker Works (sponsors, exhibitors, and organizers)
Amateur Radio
DIY Pick and Place
Minecraft Programming
The Magic of Magnets
Eggcellent EggBot Experience
Chelsea High School FIRST Robotics Team 1502
Open Source Furniture
Lansing Makers Network
Ann Arbor Upcycle Project
Michigan Robot Club
Cooperative Phonograph in outdoor inflatable dome
Grange Junior Makers
Steam Table and maritime tow tanks
AADL Presents: Tools At Your Library
An Efficient Solar House on the Grid
The Perfect Miter Joint
Michigan Helmet Go Kart
Atlas – FRC Team 830 RatPack
ATC (Appropriate Technology Collaborative)
Goals for Humanity
Brain Monkeys (a sponsor, volunteer, and maker!)
Jackson Inventor & Maker Groups
All Hands Active (and organizer of the learn to solder station)
PhotosynQ – Collaborative Plant Measurement Platform

and finally…

TOOOL Lock Pick Village

A2Geeks Annual Meeting at A2MMF

The annual meeting for A2Geeks, a local nonprofit that helps to organize the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire, will be held at 2:30 at the Faire. 

A2Geeks is about “supporting creative and innovative people in the Ann Arbor area by opening the tech culture to everyone” and hosts events like the Mini Maker Faire, Ignite Ann Arbor, and hackathons in SE Michigan. The nonprofit also partners with local groups to provide financial and other support to events and projects in the Ann Arbor area that fit this mission.

This meeting is open to the public and will be a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow geeks, creatives, or tech-minded folks. Representatives of local tech groups are especially encouraged to make a brief statement about their group’s activities.

We define a geek as anyone who combines knowledge with obsession in any field, whether in a machine shop, a kitchen, or an emacs terminal.

2014 Speaker Series

We have another great speaker series lined up for the 2014 faire. Here’s our full schedule with information about speakers below. (Please note: the schedule is subject to change.)

10:45 – 11:15 – Danny Ellis
11:30 – 12:00 – John Bowditch
12:15 – 12:45 – Ed Carlson
1:00 – 1:30 – John Hopkins
1:45 – 2:15 – Hung Truong

2:30 – 4:00 – A2Geeks annual board meeting (open to the public)

Danny Ellis: “Building commercial drones”

I am originally from Portage, Michigan. I am a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering in 2010 and a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering in 2013. In 2009, I founded the Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles team, a student competition team at the University to compete in international unmanned aerial vehicle competitions. I taught Introduction to Aerospace Engineering for 3 years at the University of Michigan. In 2012, I cofounded SkySpecs with two colleagues from U of M. I was recently awarded the Crain’s “20 in their 20’s” award.

John Bowditch: The Machine that Changed Everything

John Bowditch is currently Director of Exhibits Emeritus at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Previously he was Curator of Industry at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village where he was responsible for the care and maintenance of perhaps the greatest collection of steam engines in the world. Bowditch has worked with steam for over 40 years. In the early 1970s, he installed a fully operational historical steam engine at the Boston Museum of Science that ran on live steam every day for over 20 years and which weighed over 20 tons. In 1974 and 1975 he was an associate engineer at Scientific Energy Systems Corporation in Waltham. Massachusetts where he worked on the design and fabrication of steam generators for experimental steam powered automobiles. He has given many lectures on the history and operation of steam engines over the years. He is a licensed stationary engine in the City of Dearborn, Michigan.

Ed Carlson: “Prototyping and Testing for Product Development”

Ed owns Ann Arbor-based ENCarlson Enterprises, a consulting business that performs engineered-product design, project management and business renewal. He has more than 30 years of leading industry experience, primarily in the aerospace gas turbine engine industry for companies such as Pratt & Whitney, EG&G and Safran Group. Ed started his career as a project and manufacturing engineer for military jet engine programs, and later advanced to become the President and CEO of a major jet engine test cell engineering company, supplying engine testing facilities to global commercial and military aviation markets. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan with bachelors and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineer, and also earned an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Ed is a member of the Jackson Inventors Network, the Engineering Society of Detroit, and is active in MiQuest as an ambassador for the GLEQ business plan competition.

John Hopkins: If you believe it, it will come!  Creating a Maker Space in a small Michigan town

John D. Hopkins is the chairman and founder of the Jackson Inventors Network, active for 3 ½ years and helping many inventors from idea to market. He is also the chairmanof the Michigan Inventors Coalition, a group that is dedicated to help grow and sustain Michigan’s economy by facilitating education, collaboration, and cooperation amongMichigan inventors, inventor support groups, maker groups, and Local MichiganEconomic Development Groups. The winner of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce 2013 “Entrepreneur Vision” award he is very involved in the chamber, Jackson Area Manufactures Association (JAMA), Jackson 2020, Jackson Citizens for Economic Growth, the Microenterprise Network of Michigan, and the device committee for MichBio. John holds 3 patents for medical device, one is for a surgical instrument cleaning system that cleans 9.9 million more cells per cell left that the AAMI or the national standard, has a dozen or more products in the market, consulted more than a dozen companies into new markets, such as from auto & aerospace into medical. He has a BS Architecture, been NCARB intern, has a minor in Structural Engineering, & Urban Planning, held his residential builders license for 30 years, been a city of Lansing building inspector, designed over 100 medical facility projects from nursing units to doctors offices to surgical suites.

Hung Truong: “Home Automation and Security Recipes With The Internet of Things

Hung is an iOS designer and developer at FarmLogs, an Ann Arbor startup. In his spare time he buys and tinkers with gadgets in his quest to make the home of the future.