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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.

Extra Thanks to Brain Monkeys!

When we say that our community comes together to make the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire happen, we really mean it. One amazing example is Katie Tilton, founder of Brain Monkeys. Katie has been an exhibitor at the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire for several years. In addition to this, she is also a sponsor of the Faire. In addition to that, she is also a volunteer! This year she helped deliver thousands of flyers to elementary and middle schools across Ann Arbor and Saline to promote the Faire.

Here’s a little bit more about her organization and Katie herself:

Brain Monkeys was founded by Katie Tilton, a certified school teacher, artist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur who saw the need to increase the number programs that support discovery based learning.

An education company that teaches robotics, technology, engineering and creative arts to students throughout the Ann Arbor area. Brain Monkeys offers after school classes and individualized tutoring, weekend workshops and make-n-takes, home school and small group classes along with an extensive summer camp program!

Brain Monkeys has supported the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire for the past 5 years and enjoys participating and being a part of the maker community. We believe that discovery based learning is one important approach to education and that the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire inspires makers young and old to continue to learn and create! Check us out at

Thanks, Katie!

Share Our Poster!

Please print and share our poster where you work, eat, and hangout.


The file is
here, and is about 4 Mbytes.

If you want to print a bigger or higher resolution version, we have a 20 MB version here.


Join Us at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor!

Want to learn about why we love organizing the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire year after year? Join us for this week’s Nerd Nite at LIVE at 6:30 PM on Thursday (April 17). $5 at the door. Tickets available at the door or online.

I’ll be speaking about why I love organizing the Faire and what it’s meant to me personally. I’ll also be (briefly, quickly, broadly) talking about what it takes to organize a Mini Maker Faire and why we think ours is one of the best in the country.



Our 2014 poster artist: Michelle Baker!

We want to send a huge THANK YOU to Michelle Baker, of Elevated Press and Michelle Baker studio, for this year’s awesome poster design. She was asked to create this poster on short notice and came up with a beautiful robot, building on our themes of creation, technology, imagination, and fun.

We’ll be featuring these posters in the Ann Arbor area. If you want to help spread the word, sign up to volunteer to distribute posters to places you frequent.

We will also be printing t-shirts with this poster design that will be for sale at the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire. One more reason to attend or to showcase your work!


Call for Makers!

Submit your exhibit for the 2014 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”)
Student projects
Unusual tools, machines, techniques
Whimsical technical creations
Fixing and/or taking things apart

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

See you at the faire!

Save the Date! Sixth Annual Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire!

May 10, 2014 marks the second time the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire will be hosted by Washtenaw Community College. This free, all-ages event features community members of all types who come together to display their ideas, projects, and inventions.

Soon we will be seeking applications from people and groups with engaging, inspiring, and just plain cool projects. Projects should have a 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 in the next few weeks.

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

Congratulations to the prize winners!

Maker Media kindly provided prizes to be awarded at random among folks who registered for the faire at Eventbrite. Congratulations go to Karl, Chris, and Melinda, who each receive a year’s subscription to Make Magazine, and to Go, who receives a $50 gift certificate for the Maker Shed.

Thanks again to all who came out to the faire!

Tomorrow’s the Big Day

The momentum is really building for the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire.

We’ve had some great press lately, thanks to and MakerBridge. is our equivalent of a local newspaper and Jennifer did a great job capturing the history and spirit of the our Mini Maker Faire. The fine folks over at MakerBridge are also showing their support of us with an interview focusing on what folks can expect to experience at the Maker Faire on Saturday.

We also have over thirty volunteers who have signed up to help us greet participants, help Makers get set up, teach folks how to solder, and generally make the Faire happen.

A big thank you from us organizers to you speakers, volunteers, sponsors, makers, and participants. The Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire celebrates its fifth year because of you!

New This Year: Speakers Series

By partnering with Washtenaw Community College this year, we have access to a broader range of spaces for our Makers. Those spaces include classrooms, computers labs, and (next year) an auditorium. This means we can offer a broader range of educational opportunities for participants this year.

We’ve invited five groups to speak more in depth about their work with time for questions and answers (twenty minute presentations). You can come in, take a look at their work, listen to what they have to say, and possibly learn a bit more about what they do than you might if you were just passing by their booth.

We’ll have signs up at the Faire directing you to these fine folks’ talks. Many of them also have booths so you can follow up if you are particularly interested in their work.

We hope you’ll enjoy this new feature of the Mini Maker Faire! For a full list of speakers and their talks, check below the jump.

  1. 12:00 pm: Tom Root: Why to Start–or Support–Your Local Makespace
  2. 12:40 pm – Matthew Shlian: Paper Engineering
  3. 1:20 pm – Bound Edition: A New Book Arts Maker Space
  4. 2:00 pm – ATC: Creating Sustainable Technologies for Low Income People Worldwide
  5. 2:40 pm – Jason Ferguson: Rudimentary Precision

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