Cincinnati Maker Faire Feedback

Thought this thread might be a good way to give some feedback for those who have trouble making it to the Tues night meetings, like myself.

We had a blast on Saturday and were stunned by the big crowd on such a crappy weather day! Huge congrats to everyone involved!

I told several maker-minded coworkers about the Faire, and a couple of them attended on Saturday with their kids. They all said it was a ton of fun and the kids had a great time. However, none of them heard about or saw the badge soldering station and were bummed to find out about it after the fact from me today. I actually had no idea where it was until we bumped into Jon out in the park and he pointed us toward Memorial Hall. I don’t know if this was done to limit exposure and keep the lines small for the soldering, or just a bit of oversight on a crazy busy day. Once Lindsey and I had created our badges, we were asked about them by several people who had no idea that it was even available. I got a lot of funny looks and questions about mine at the Listermann’s Craft Beer Oktoberfest on Saturday evening, haha.

Marcus, assuming there are still plenty (or hundreds) left, I’d love to snag two kits for my coworkers who’s kids missed out. One already gave me a $5 donation for one. I’ll most likely be by tomorrow after work to pick up my pop-up canopy and could either meet you or just do the exchange myself if the kits are stored at the Hive.

Ian Mathews

Hey Marcus,
I would also love to get a badge! Had no idea where it was the day of.

Yeah, that whole area was very difficult to find. I walked around the faire for 45 minutes before I found it to set up.

It was still pretty busy. If we do this again next year, we will need a LOT of volunteers.

There are many boards left, somewhere between 375 and 450. We did more than 100, so I’m glad we chose to go for the larger amount, but won’t have to order more any time soon. Laen added 60 boards to our order but on the fifth and last panel that I busted out (24 to a panel) there were a bunch that had flaws and had holes cut out of the center. So now I’m not sure exactly how many we got, though I’m sure it was more than the 500 we paid for.

I didn’t end up buying exactly enough parts for all 500 boards. In the case of batteries and magnets, the price fluctuated from the time I originally priced them and when I was ready to order in quantity. There were 400 magnets and 400 batteries so as we get close using up half of the boards or so, we will want to acquire more. We also gave out a few extra magnets to people who lost theirs. On the other hand, when I went to order 400 more battery holders after my initial order of 100, I found that it would be cheaper to buy one lot of 500 than it would be to buy 4 lots of 400. So we ended up with 600 holders. tracks all the expenses. There was a jar put out that said “Suggested donation $2” that ended up with $184, so all the kits we gave out were paid for. I took that cash to reimburse myself for expenses I was originally going to be reimbursed by the hive for and have noted it on the spreadsheet. There are some things on that sheet that I don’t intend to be reimbursed for (like prototype orders, too small magnets, and the super cheap irons) so we are almost square.

I’ll do a complete inventory of what is left and stick it in the box and bring it to the hive to store. Anyone who wants a kit in the future could just update that inventory.

I wasn’t planning to get there before Monday or Tuesday, though if you want them before than Ian, I’ll be happy to arrange to meet up somewhere. You can email me off list at

I’ll post a separate message on how the event itself went. (positive!)

The hidden basement location was a mixed blessing. On the one hand being hidden away in the basement across an impassable street surely had a huge effect. Only a tiny fraction of the faire goers came in I’m sure. On the other hand, there was almost always someone being taught to solder the entire time from about 11am (we had some early birds) until 9pm. Most of the time there were people waiting behind them. Had we been out in the open Jessica, Michael and I would have been totally swamped, particularly since it was often just one of us at a time.

I know we benefited from the non-existent minecraft server event that kids dragged their parents down there to see, and then ended up with us instead.

On the other hand, had we been outside with huge lines I have no doubt at all that many of you would have jumped in to help, and I’m deeply appreciative of the red shirt brigade that showed up in the afternoon to expand our capacity. I was concentrating on not letting little kids burn themselves or (more immediately since I was holding the board for them) ME, to really pay attention to what else was going on, but I could hear shadox next to me giving a much better “this is how the electronics works” lessons that I was. And further down the table Dave B was teaching 3 year olds. My youngest that I thought to ask about was 6.

It was interesting to me to listen to how each of us had a different approach on how to teach this class.

As Jessica said, the next time we do this, we absolutely have to have more instructors. Had we been outside on a sunny day, I have no doubt we would have had a line even if we had all 6 (the number of irons we had) going at the same time.

ATX had advised me that you MUST have one instructor for each station and my brief experimentation with letting two adults who claimed to know what they were doing both work on once during a lull proved this to be true.

All in all I think it was a good initial run. Lots of fun was had, we had a lot of people expressing interest in the hive and not a single person was burnt!

On a personal note, every dream I had that night somehow ended up with me teaching someone how to solder.

Actually I took a few burns for the team teaching the kids… I don’t think we had any students burn themselves… I counted 3x 3 year olds that soldered badges along with a bunch of 4, 5 and 6 year olds. I’m going to be teaching my own 3 year old soon.

I wish I could have stayed longer and helped more. This was really cool and I think some of the kids were shocked to be able to put something together electronic that worked.

-Dave B.

That’s the most heartwarming part of this whole event for me, the interaction and inspiration/mindblowing for the youngins. And I don’t even really like children.

Given that this was our first year, I think we did amazingly well.

My table survived a stress test of amazing proportions, we advertized our space quite well with those learn to solder kits, and Ryan was on top of things enough to think about bringing out some fliers and a video. It may not have been optimal, but we had a bigger event than CIF appeared to, and we just need to build on it enough to bring more makers of all types into the field.

My Dad and Uncle were amazed with the 3d printing, and both of my parents praised the location, if not the weather, as being well chosen. They especially seemed to like how kids were getting involved. So I’d say that while improvement is desired, and even needed, we made our mark this year, so let’s aim higher next year!

As an outsider/visitor, I thought the faire was great. I just happened to see the signage to the basement while driving around the block to the garage, and we made our way down after checking out most of the outside booths I had 2 cold, tired, hungry, and overall cranky teenage girls with me. once we were inside and thawed a bit I convinced them to try soldering! and they both seemed to enjoy it? I've been interested in electronics for a while, but don't know much yet? After discovering the hive at the faire, I'm considering a membership once the wallet allows ... So you might see me at tomorrow's meeting. Also, tonight, I taught my youngest a bit about programming with the blink sketch on arduino, now she wants to build Make's Herbie the mousebot :-D.