2015 Maker Faire Detroit Blue Ribbon Winners

EditorsChoice150x150Each year the Maker Faire Detroit team awards makers with an Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon for “demonstrating great creativity, ingenuity and innovation for their Maker Faire project. Maker Faires across the country hand out Blue Ribbons to deserving makers and signify the highlights of that year’s event.

Here is the group of Blue Ribbon winners from Maker Faire Detroit 2015. Congratulations on your hard work!

Two Blue Ribbons
Ben’s Encore Wall of Sound
Detroitus CarCroach
DIY Pinball

One Blue Ribbon
Hot Wheels Big Loop
Digging Atari
Underwater Remote Vehicles
Oh Sew Betty
Melted Crayon Art
Kittens in QR Codes
Paper Roller Coaster
i3 Detroit Battleship
Mobile Talking Computer
Lego Clock
Needle Arts Zone (spinner – Erika Pfeiffer)
Ben’s Encore
Flying Toasters
The Great Maker Race
Needle Arts Zone
Cubicorn Games
Maker OS
Goodrich Martians
Thurston First Robotics
Vinny Gjokai Creations
Make Your Mark: Mark Montano & Great Lakes Beadworkers
Team 1250 / First Robotics
Detroit Drone Races
Model T STEM Project
Build a Bridge
Team 503 / First Robotics
Bees & Blossoms
501st Garrison
Cyberoptix Tie Lab
Square One
Pancake Bot
TechShop Detroit – SE Michigan Kayak Builders
Enable Hand 3-D Printing
i3 Detroit Does Art
UM Dearborn – Supermilage
Liter for Light
Moxie Personal Trains
Achieve Academy Auto Taxi
Shell Saltwater Car Races
The Mini Maker
First Robotics Team 301
Colossal Connect Four
Incose Golf Ball Drop
Oakland University

Maker Faire Detroit 2015 Presentations

Did you miss one of the lectures or panels during Maker Faire Detroit 2015? Head over to our YouTube channel to see this year’s great collection of presentations.

Looking Back: Maker Faire Detroit 2015

From all of us at The Henry Ford, thanks for making Maker Faire Detroit 2015 another success!

Activating Today’s Maker Communities


What are you working on? That is a question you might ask a few times a week when talking with colleagues who work in different departments, or after meeting someone casually and finding out where they work. We have been engaging with the maker community recently as we want to support their efforts towards promoting a creative, artisan culture, and we know that makers are often the source of new manufacturing businesses.

David Chadwick, Marketing Manager at Siemens PLM Software, shared his thoughts on what it means to activate today’s maker community over on the Siemens PLM Software blog. Earlier this summer the Siemens team was on hand at i3 Detroit (a longtime maker at Maker Faire Detroit) for an engineering assignment as they showcased the software. As a partner in innovation with us at The Henry Ford, we’re excited to share some of David’s recent blog entries.

You can see how Siemens’ Solid Edge software is being utilized by today’s makerspaces and innovators thanks to this YouTube playlist.

Beagle Board at Maker Faire Detroit

Maker Faire Detroit is here and it is a great opportunity for everyone in the US Midwest to get involved in making electronics and programming more fun and fulfilling. There will be a number of hands-on tutorial sessions with BeagleBone Black as well as presentations on using BeagleBone Black in 3D printing and electronics education. There will also be several give-aways at the BeagleBoard.org booth for those who show up for the drawings. Throughout the weekend, several people will be presenting their own show-and-tell projects at the booth, so be sure to visit often.

Learn more about Beagle Board’s offerings to Maker Faire Detroit this year here.

Official Maker Faire Detroit App


Make the most of your visit to ‪#‎MakerFaireDetroit‬ this weekend by downloading our free app, created by our partners Lochbridge! You can learn more about the app and download it here.

The Innovation Garage: Start Up 101

canstockphoto22213897-2-copyHaving spent much of our time in startup, nonprofit, and large corporate organizations over the last twenty years, we’ve come to understand some very simple, but often overlooked basics when it comes to getting an idea, company, or team within the larger organization off the ground.

These lessons are remarkably basic, but can be very challenging to have the discipline to stick to when you first start-up. Always remember, that your overall mission is to make your company or team successful and sustainable, and most often that means cash flow first, then focus on profits next.

To read more about The Innovation Garage‘s lessons on what to expect when developing a new idea, click here. Join The Innovation Garage at Maker Faire at The Henry Ford in Detroit, July for StartUp 101 Workshop with Jon Washington.

Maker Faire Detroit 2015 Program



Our outdoor maker midway is all new this year and we can’t wait for our makers and guests to enjoy it this weekend. Take a look at this year’s official program to get an idea of what you can expect at Maker Faire Detroit 2015.

Meet the Maker: Matt West, Three-Story Hot Wheels Track


Tell us about yourselves.
I’m a technician working at Henry Ford. I’m basically a tinkerer, and my son Blade is the kind of kid that is very into electronics- he’s a very modern child. He’s good with tablets and computers, so it’s hard to impress him. He and I are both good at different things- while he’s figuring out how to code Minecraft, I’m busting trying to figure out how to make his Nerf gun shoot through drywall. But we always try to do little projects together, and the team here at work are all tinkerers in their own right too. We’re just typical makers- people who look for problems and find different solutions to try to fix them.

What inspired your project?
Basically, raising kids right now is a tricky challenge because there’s so much to distract them- they’re so wrapped up in technology and literally everything is at their fingertips. So the inspiration was to show kids that just because the instructions say do it this way, it doesn’t mean that you have to go that route, and also that you can take engineering and science and use it to push something beyond its design. To find weakness and trying to either change or modify it to go beyond that. The whole thing started 2013, when I noticed a Hot Wheel kit that my son had gotten for his birthday where you actually put the track on the wall and I started wondering if we could take this past what’s on the box. My son and I started taking the connectors off the wall and taping them in different positions and making it bigger and bigger. Before we knew it we had a 48-inch loop and we were dropping cars from the ceiling. It was basically the height of our playroom. This got me thinking that we could go further- go for a world record if there was one, which there was.

How long did it take to complete?
The original project took about two-month start to finish once we got the team put together. The only thing we didn’t make ourselves was the Hot Wheel track itself, but the superstructure we custom cut and set up. To physically assemble it only took a few hours. It probably took longer to create the design and build the materials than to actually make it.

What was the biggest challenge in making it?
Probably organization was my biggest challenge, that, and finding the right people to work on it. Luckily, I pitched it to the right people and they all jumped on board.

After it was built there were some minor tuning issues, we had to figure out if we could actually get these little cars to go around a twelve foot loop, but it was really just a matter of using the right people, figuring out what abilities they had and what our capabilities were and getting that all to go into the same direction once you have the parts- everyone’s talents just come together.

Do you have plans to build an even larger track?
Yes, if our record gets broken by someone else, then we think we’d be able to successfully reclaim our title. We learned a lot from this attempt and we already have some ideas on how we might make it bigger. There’s have enough ceiling height at our facility, so with a couple of tweaks we think we could possibly make it even larger.

What are you most looking forward to at Maker Faire Detroit this year?
Maker Faire is such a big event that I’m really hoping we’ll be able to show our track to a lot more kids and parents. To really tell them that this is something you can do. Working on a project like this is not so massive, it’s not the space program. It just takes the desire to apply concepts, to do some practical experimentation, and implement it. So I’m really looking forward to being able to share that with more parents and more kids, to really get the ideas going. I want someone in that group to go “I can do that, I can beat it,” and try and beat the record, and then we’ll take it right back.

Meet the Maker: Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience


What is Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience?
Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience is part of the nationwide tour celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the great innovator and musician Les Paul. The 53’ interactive state-of-the art mobile exhibit takes visitors behind the scenes into the world of Les Paul giving them an opportunity for numerous interactive exchanges within a 1,000 square feet full of music, technology and the energy of Les Paul! Guests young and old will immerse themselves in 1,000 square feet of music exploration, sound and technology innovations and hands-on interactive entertainment. Visitors will also be able to mix and share music as they discover Les Paul, the man many define as the most important innovator of the music industry

Who was Les Paul?
Many have called Les Paul the most important man in music history. As the creator of multi-track recording, the solid body electric guitar, over-dubbing and numerous other recording techniques, Les Paul changed the face of music. Musicians from around the world owe their careers to Les Paul. He was an inventor, an innovator, a musician, an entertainer and one of the most historical figures of the music industry.

What do you hope people gain from the experience?
We hope guests walk away from Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience with an understanding and excitement for Les Paul and all that he accomplished. We also hope by entertaining the guests with information, music and storytelling about Les Paul that guests want to create their own innovations or perhaps follow in the footsteps of Les Paul. Most importantly we want visitors to have fun within the interactive environment and learn something along the way. It is a very exciting exhibit with many hands-on opportunities.

What are some must-see features of the project?
Visitors have thoroughly enjoyed all of the interactive areas inside the tour exhibit. The many hands-on opportunities helps them to immerse themselves into Les Paul’s life and enjoy learning throughout the process. There is so much to do that it is very hard to determine one area to call a favorite as every part of the tour exhibit is a one-of-a-kind, can’t be missed opportunity for guests of Maker Faire.