Maker Faire Miami


I was fortunate enough to be invited to Maker Faire Miami by Mario the Maker, who I’ve followed online for quite a while, and had met previously at Maker Faire Orlando.

I’ll admit, when he invited me, and told me it was at Miami Dade College (which I had been to before) I assumed it would be indoors. When he told me it was 84 degrees there a few weeks before the Faire, I hoped it would be indoors. I got there and found out it was all outdoors. When people asked me how Miami was, I say “Hot!” (I’m from the Midwest, I don’t handle heat well.)


Besides that darn heat, Maker Faire Miami was pretty awesome. Every Faire in every city has a different flavor, and while I know a little about the Maker community in Miami, it was great to see more of it. Most of my time there was spent assisting where I could, and a lot of that involved helping with the Power Racing Series.

This was the first year for Power Racing in Miami, and the Orlando Crew pretty much took care of everything. We had a few issues with water, and power, and magic smoke, but in the end things worked out pretty good, especially for a first attempt.


Orlando (well, MakerFX Makerspace) also brought along their “Print a Shirt” station, where you can pay $5 to screen print your own t-shirt. (Or $10 if you buy one already printed.) Now that’s how you incentivize making!


As usual, Florida favorites included Hedgeclipper and the work from Moonlighter Makerspace. They had a giant tent filled with awesome things.


One of the more interesting exhibits I came across was this little CNC lathe made for engraving drumsticks. I was interested in it because it looked like the little CNC machine I built from a kit a few years ago. Indeed, I talked to the Maker and that’s what it was, a heavily modified version of the same kit. We talked a bit about the Grbl firmware and I gave him a few tips on saving the settings. (Check out a video of it in action.)


I met a lot of great people in Miami. I talked with John Edgar Park and I think we bonded a little over our love of documenting and sharing work. I met Abby K. (VEX iCutie) who was super enthusiastic about what she made, and spent time explaining her robot to me. I also got to meet Esteffanie (YouTube, Instagram) who gave an inspiring talk about making and failing, and continuing to try new things.

Overall, Maker Faire Miami was a great event, and I’m really glad I got to be involved with it. If you’re in the Miami area, check it out next year, as I’m sure it will only get better with age!

Want more photos? There’s a bunch in my Maker Faire Miami album.


Faves of Maker Faire Orlando


As mentioned in my previous post, I got to help out at Maker Faire Orlando and while I spent most of the Faire working, I did get a chance to check out some of the makers and exhibits that were there. Here’s my report!


The folks from Moonlighter helped organize the Miami Makers Pavilion and showed a lot of fun projects. (I got to visit Moonlighter back in January, so it was nice to see them again.)


I really liked these CNC’d words offset with some nuts and bolts to make a simple 3D piece. I can see making some of these on the large CNC we have in our shop.


This cute lil BMO from Adventure Time housed a video game system. I didn’t get a look inside, but I’m guessing it might have been a Raspberry Pi-based RetroPie.

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

My favorite piece from the Miami Makers was this super-simple demo that served as a visualization of sound waves. It was a pan of water on top of a cabinet with a speaker below that played sounds. Here’s a short video showing how it worked.


Jeremy S. Cook was there with his ClearWalker. I’ve been a fan of Jeremy’s posts for quite a while, and if you haven’t see his YouTube channel, check it out! One of the things I love about Maker Faires is being able to meet makers I’ve known online for years.


Marbelous Bells was a lot of fun. It was inspired by Wintergatan, and built by a father/daughter team called Just for Fun. I remember reading about this online and I didn’t quite get how it worked, but as soon as I saw it, it all made sense. I then spent about five minutes closely examining it. :)


I came across this Cardboard Arcade while I was putting up all the signage for the Faire, and I wanted to come back and meet the maker who made it. For some reason I assumed some young maker(s) were behind it, but it turned out to be a maker called “DanBot 5k1”. He told me he loves building things with cardboard, and that as kids were checking it out they’d get excited because they realized they too could build things with cardboard. It’s pretty much free, and all you need is some tape, glue, some markers, and a few other things. Cardboard!!!


The Fire Breathing Daisy was a really nice sculpture that also gently shot fire into the air. I believe this was the first fire exhibit that Orlando ever had, and oddly enough, it wasn’t the only one this year…


Kathy brought her new exhibit Game of Fire all the way down to Orlando! (It debuted at Maker Faire Milwaukee just last month.) It was quite the spectacle and since it wasn’t hot and humid enough in Orlando (kidding!) having five fire poofers going off made us even warmer. ;)


Kathy doesn’t like to do just one thing, so she also brought the Wienermobile down to Orlando for the final race of the season for the Power Racing Series. (And yes, the Wienermobile brought home the Tesla Cup, as the overall winner of the 2017 season!) Kyle and Kathy make a great (and hilarious) team.


We also had a lot of other great teams & cars for the PPPRS race. ACME and Donatello from Michigan/Texas/parts unknown came to have some fun and lay down some laps. They were joined by Orlando’s (2016 winner) Driftie Monster for podium of the Endurance Race on Sunday.


Finally, one of my favorite exhibits was a drawing machine named Botsy. If you know me well, you may know that I’ve got a thing for drawing machines, and I used to design and build them. Botsy is a well designed machine. It’s similar to a concept I had three years ago, but never actually built. That might have been part of my fascination with it, that it’s the realization of something I dreamed about.

Liza Kholodkova is the maker behind Botsy, and it was great to talk to her about the development. One of the things I really liked about Botsy was that it looked like a finished product, not just a loose collection of wires and wood and an Arduino (which, oddly enough, describes many of my own projects!) Botsy is meant as an aid for mural artists to assist in creating the outline of the artwork fast. It’s definitely faster than any of the string & gondola polarbots I’ve seen in past years. You can check out a few articles about Botsy if you want to find out more.

So that’s my recap of Maker Faire Orlando… I hope I can make it back next year and lend a hand in making it happen again.

Update: Lots of great photos!




I was in Orlando, Florida last week and got to stop by FamiLAB for a quick tour. They moved into their current location in 2015, and there was a full build-out, and they’ve got a space that appears to be what they wanted. I snapped a few photos along they way, so enjoy!

LED Lamps

The lobby/lounge area had some couches and lots of video game systems, and this awesome set of LED lamps that a member made. They feature laser-cut wood and rice paper along with RGB LEDs and a microcontoller.

stained glass logo

FamiLAB has a stained glass workbench, and this is a piece a member made (their first piece ever!) which features the FamiLAB logo. I had though it was just one big piece of glass cut to that shape, but I was told each individual section is a piece of glass, and they all get attached together. Impressive!

3D Printer

Hey, it’s a 3D Printer! It looks like an older CubeX that is being ripped apart to install some open source electronics. (I’m speculating here…) There’s also a local 3D Printer company called DeltaMaker that some of the members are involved with. (I did see some DeltaMaker machines while at the Orlando Science Center.)

Film in the Darkroom

This makerspace has an actual darkroom… for film, and it works, and it’s functional. This is somewhat rare, from what I’ve seen.

Vending Machine

There’s a vending machine where you can buy electronic parts and other things. There was mention of trying to stock it with items some of the members make, including fine chocolates and some amazing jerky.

Haas Mill

There’s a Haas Milling Machine that took some time to get up and running, but cost almost nothing to acquire and repair.


An old lathe is a good lathe… Solid construction, heavy as hell. Supposedly there was talk of cleaning it up real nice but how can you disturb a machine with so much character and history?

CNC Router

There’s a big CNC Router for cutting large sheets of wood or other materials…


The classroom, and the office-type rooms were all brightly lit and had white (well, very light grey) walls. It felt much different than so many of the Midwest makerspaces that are in dingy old industrial buildings. Granted, they did to a lot of the build-out of the space, and made conscious decisions about the way it should look.

When I looked up at the tall ceilings I asked about building a mezzanine or second floor, and that’s when I was reminded that in Florida it probably gets to 120° F at the top of the building in the summer. They’ve got some big AC units, but not enough to combat that sort of heat! They also have no furnace, which again, sounds weird to me being a Wisconsin resident.

One more Florida thing, there’s actually a swamp next to the building, which is handy, because that’s where they vent their laser cutter exhaust. Oh, and their laser cutter & 3D printing room has a super-seal on the door to ensure all fumes get sucked out of the building, and none of them leak back into the rest of the space.

Overall, FamiLAB looks like a pretty cool space with some cool people. A bunch of them are also heavily involved in Maker Faire Orlando, which is also excellent.

Oh, I also made a very brief visit to Skycraft Parts & Surplus, which is pretty much the equivalent of American Science & Surplus if you live in Milwaukee, or Ax-Man Surplus if you live in Minneapolis. Does every city have these kinds of stores?