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Maker Faire Returns to Austin! DIY Makers, Progressive Techies, Old-Fashioned and Indie Crafters, Mad Scientists, Quirky Musicians, and Many More Gather to Celebrate the Maker Movement

October 6, 2008

"At first blush...this festival, sponsored by Make magazine, is a gathering place of pyromaniacs and noise junkies, the multiply pierced and the extensively tattooed. But wander a while, and the showy surface gives way to a wondrous thing: the gathering of folks from all walks of life who blend science, technology, craft and art to make things goofy and grand."
— New York Times
Sebastopol, CA—The world's premiere DIY (Do-It-Yourself) event will be back in Austin on October 18th and 19th for round two. Last year, over 20,000 people from across the state, nation and beyond invaded Austin, Texas for the city's first Maker Faire. This year, the event is coming back to the Travis County Expo Center and organizers are already expecting double the attendance and over 400 Makers are scheduled to show off their inventions from robots to crafts to food and more.

Put together by Make Magazine and Craft Magazine, Maker Faire celebrates things people create themselves—from electronic gizmos that would make James Bond jealous, to "slow made" foods and homemade clothes that would make Martha Stewart swoon. The event is a non-stop "wow-fest" where surprises and inspiration are as ubiquitous as the festival air.

"At the surface, Maker Faire is a fun event for people of all ages," explained Event Director Sherry Huss. "But more than just a weekend of creative entertainment, we want people to leave feeling inspired—that they too can create things, express themselves, and engage the world around them. Our goal is to resuscitate the spirit of American creativity and innovation!"

Along with hundreds of Makers displaying their unique creations, specific event highlights from this year's Austin Maker Faire will include RoboGames, rocket making and launching, Edible Austin's Food Maker Pavilion, exciting new alternative vehicles and a sustainable village. EepyBird will be showing off its new Diet Coke and Mentos Mega Fountains and Maker Faire favorite, the Life-Sized Mouse Trap is not to be missed. There will be Maker Music, a fantastic evening program including fire arts on Saturday, and special speakers throughout the weekend including Col. Joe Kittinger, "The Man Who Fell to Earth—Skydiving from 30,000 Feet;" Dr. Gary Marcus, a cognitive neuroscientist at New York University and author of "Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind;" Patrick Buckley, The Hungry Scientist; Benderella, Circuit Bending, Biology and travels to India; and so much more.

Many more headlining activities will be added in the weeks ahead.

Preliminary event sponsors include Hyundai Motor Company, Microsoft.NET Micro Framework, Google, Make: Television, CLIF BAR & Co, Geek Squad, Freelancers Union, ShopBot Tools, Inc., Singer Sewing Co, Yahoo! and Whole Foods Market.

The Details:

WHEN: Saturday, October 18th: 10am - 10pm
Sunday, October 19th: 10am - 6pm

WHERE: Travis County Expo Center
7311 Decker Ln. Austin, TX

TICKETS: Advance ticket prices available at Whole Foods Market Downtown and Austin Children's Museum until October 17th. Full price Tickets available online at www.makerfairetickets.com or at Travis County Expo Center the weekend of Maker Faire.

Advance Purchase Price
   Single Day Weekend Pass Single Day
Adult $20.00 $40.00 $25.00
Student (13 to 21) $10.00 $20.00 $15.00
Youth (4 to 12) $5.00 $10.00 $10.00
Kids (3 & under)

Here's a sampling of what you can expect to see:


  • RoboGames Texas Cup: The best fighting robot competitors from the US and Canada will be at the Austin Maker Faire to smash, bash, crash and trash their way to victory inside a 1600-square foot bulletproof battle arena!
  • Capital BEST Robotics: A 6-week robotics design contest for middle school and high-school students geared toward inspiring them to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology fields of study.
  • FIRST Robotics: The teams will showcase the robots they have built for FIRST competitions and will also provide demos and information regarding FIRST and its mission.
  • LASA Robotics: The LASA Robotics team showcases and demonstrates competition robots from previous years, ranging from small, knee-height robots to five foot, 120-pound machines.
  • The Robot Group: Multiple projects by over 12 members of Austin's Robot Group.
  • Combot Model Warships: The North Texas Battle Group will be displaying radio-controlled, WWII era model warships that are equipped with CO2 powered canons that fire ball bearings in balsa wood hulls. Ships are damaged - even sunk! Then they are recovered, patched, and sent back into battle!


  • "Hyundai Eco-Modding Workshop": The Illuminati Motor Works Team - an official Automotive X-Prize Contender competing for the "1 Gallon of Gas, 100 Miles - $10 Million: The Race to Build the Supergreen Car." The IMW Team will be at Maker Faire conducting daily eco-modding workshops and talking to Mr. Jalopy about their project and software hacking. Warranties will be voided as they focus on how to get better mileage and improve performance on the Hyundai Genesis. They will be on the Maker Stage on Saturday and Sunday to talk about what they are learning and field questions from the audience.
  • Hybrid Plugs, Inc.: Watch a live Lithium-ion "Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle" conversion of a Toyota Prius over two days at Maker Faire Austin and check out the Ford Escape Hybrid that has already been converted.
  • Austin Area Electric Vehicle Association (AustinEv): See, drive and talk to the folks who convert gas-powered vehicles to electricity.
  • Soleta: Check out the remote-controlled, solar-powered cart - it stands 23 inches high, weighs 10 pounds and is capable of carrying a 10-pound load.
  • NuVinci Continuously Variable Transmission: The NuVinci CVP (continuously variable planetary) transmission is an award-winning drivetrain product for bicycles and light-electric vehicles. Fallbrook Technologies will demonstrate the NuVinci product offerings, as well as showcase several development platforms utilizing this revolutionary technology. Makers can customize the transmission and control system to suit their application.
  • UT Solar Vehicle: Samsung Solorean: The UT Solar Vehicle Team is hard at work on their new vehicle for the 2008 North American Solar Challenge. Yet to be named, this vehicle shall be a culmination of advances in solar technology with significant improvements in driver comfort and safety. Meet the UT Solar Vehicle team and get a chance to check out their latest project.


  • Edible Austin Food Maker Pavilion: Arguably, there is no DIY project more practical than growing and making your own food. Edible Austin Magazine hosts this special showcase of local food makers, artisans and growers. Over 25 food makers and farmers will be on hand with samples, products for sale and useful advice on how they make their wares.
  • Green, Cost-Effective, DIY Extravaganza: See several sustainable projects that you can learn how to make—a solar oven with step-by-step instructions for people to build, a low-cost DIY greywater system, an indoor gardening setup, a DIY pedicab and more.
  • Solar Still: Learn how to make a device that distills water using solar energy.
  • Sculpt Your Own Earthen Oven: Learn how to build your own earthen oven using natural, locally-available nontoxic, environmentally-responsible materials.
  • Austin Bike Zoo: Large pedal-powered rides from recycled and found materials, including the 80-foot-long, 6-rider rattlesnake. Then there is the 15-foot-tall butterfly, the moth, the 4-passenger peacock, the Maker Faire mobile billboard, many cargo bikes and more.
  • The Down and Dirty of Green Cleaning: Visitors will be able to make their own natural cleaning products and take them home. Demonstrations will take place every hour, daily and the there will be ongoing chemical-free cleaning wisdom throughout the day.


  • Austin Children's Museum Maker's Kids Area: Parachute Launch: Design and build a penny parachute! Launch your two cents from the Parachute Launcher and see how safely it returns to the ground.
  • Mega Model Build: Calling all artists, engineers and junk collectors. Join the ACM staff and Architect Artist Scott Specht and build a Mega Model City on-site at Maker Faire.
  • Woodworking: "Make and Take" or add onto the armature under the Maker Kids tent. ACM staff and volunteers will provide guidance and assistance in a free form woodworking workshop. We'll be designing, building and decorating with wood, paint and tools.
  • Celebrate National Chemistry Week: Members and volunteers of the American Chemistry Society will be celebrating National Chemistry Week with hands-on chemistry experiments for the entire family. (Saturday Only)
  • FLL Show and Tell: First Lego League will be showing off the robots they've built and presenting their research on Climate Connections.
  • TAME: Texas Association of Minority Engineers will join ACM to host a hands on activity that has more potential energy that we can harness! Build a rubber band or mousetrap powered car, then test, and refine your design.
  • MakerKids Showcase: Kid Makers from Austin will be showcasing their inventions and creations. From finely detailed paper ships to ICE COOL the remote controlled cooler, there's even got an invention designed to make homework more fun! (Saturday only)
  • Kite Making: Make, test, fly and refine your kite all on site. Experts from the Exchange Club of Austin - Hosts of the annual Zilker Kite Festival will be on hand all weekend to help you perfect your wind-powered flyer.

    Other kid-friendly attractions:

    • Life-Sized Mouse Trap: The unique design of this giant, Rube Goldberg-style contraption was cleverly gleaned from the memories of childhood, twisted out of scale, then sketched beyond life size.
    • Eepy Bird and Diet Coke Mento's Mega Fountains: Help the original Eepybird guys build their amazing Mega-Fountain using Diet Coke and Mentos! Soda practically explodes as carbon dioxide rapidly escapes from the bottle.
    • Texas LEGO User Group: TexLUG will create an area for children to make their own creations with LEGO's.
    • Edible Austin Food Maker Pavilion: Pumpkin painting at Edible Austin Food Maker Pavilion.


  • Science in the Movies: Live demonstration revealing how science is used to create spectacular movie stunts and special effects. Stunt coordinator Steve Wolf who has done projects from Crocodile Dundee to America's Most Wanted to Hustle and Flow developed the program. The program is now the basis of science education programs for students and teachers.
  • Windwheel: The Windwheel is a new type of windmill for pumping water and making electricity. It works in a low breeze of five to 10 mph and up to hurricane force winds of 80-100mph with any direction of wind. It can be made with metal vanes, wood or tightly stretched cloth, making it possible for people everywhere to pump water or make electricity inexpensively.
  • Mongo: Mongo is a large trebuchet catapult capable of hurling 10-20 pound objects up to 300 yards. It operates using a 1600-lb counterweight. Daily demonstrations will take place as well as "The King of Fling" Catapult Contest.
  • Therm Fire Sculpture Robots: This is a robotic fire sculpture show with a gigantic tesla coil in the middle. That's four fire sculpture robots and one tesla coil. Included in this show is the Makers latest turbine-engine-powered fire sculpture robot.


  • Robot with Silly String Shooter: A demonstration of practical uses for a mobile robot that shoots silly string.
  • The Luna Project: The Luna Project works to harness the power of open-source techniques and the do-it-yourself community to achieve what government and industry have not: break humanity out into planetary space.
  • Video Head: The Video Head Project was inspired by the amazing art project called Drum Head by Murat Konar. In an attempt to take it to the next level, the Video Head will have multiple mouth and eye expressions in order to display a wider range of emotions and interactions. The foam head gives the image an eerie lifelike 3D appearance.
  • Mini Sand Drawing Machine: A small inexpensive plotting system that uses two servos and a mechanical linkage to doodle. The drawing stylus can reach a curved diamond shape and can be adapted to plot with a pen or other interesting materials. It is a low-resolution system that can be built with hand tools and inexpensive off the shelf parts.
  • wiblocks: Physical computing building blocks. The first wiblocks consist of an Arduino compatible uC block (with XBee) + LCD block + battery pack. Future blocks with feature other uCs and a variety of multimedia functions.

MUSIC: Over 20 bands from Austin and beyond represent a wide range of musical tastes all within the DIY realm will be performing. Throughout the weekend, Maker Faire attendees can expect to hear a plethora of musical sounds including vaudeville pop, 80s funk, Latin rock, experimental electronica, gypsy punk, sideshow shanty tunes, reggae, orchestral pop, a circus punk marching band and more:

  • El Tule
  • The Hero Cycle
  • Foot Patrol
  • Sideshow Tramps
  • The Tastydactyls
  • Operation Playmate
  • Supersonic Uke
  • Angeliska + Arpadelamar
  • THAT Damned Band
  • The Dialtones
  • Southern Drama
  • Painful Leg Injuries
  • 7 Seals and The Wingless Angels
  • Wax Museum Pandemonium
  • Alexander's Dark Band
  • Automusik
  • Girls Rock Camp presents Guy Incognito WinoVino
  • Belahar
  • Esmerelda Strange
  • Mucca Pazza


  • Blacksmith Village: Austin is home to the largest community of Blacksmiths and we will have several of them onsite giving live forging demos of blacksmithing techniques including sculptural and functional projects, tool making and more.
  • Bazaar Bizarre: A juried craft fair of over 50 quality indie crafters and designers cobbling together their handcrafted DIY wares to sell and staging an offbeat entertainment extravaganza.
  • Swap-O-Rama-Rama: Transform used clothing into unique works of your own. This popular Maker Faire exhibit encourages participants to go to different DIY stations and learn ways to create textile reuse. There will be sewing stations where local designers will teach fresh clothing mod tricks, on site silk screeners with a host of original designs and extraordinary local designers who will show off their work in the Swap-O-Rama-Rama reuse fashion show.
  • Weavers and Spinners Society of Austin: Demonstrations of weaving and spinning, and add felting and braid making to hands-on offerings. The history of weaving and spinning as well as innovations in these fiber arts will be on display.
  • Soft Circuit Embroidery: Introductory tutorial for working with conductive thread to make a circuit on fabric.
  • Pyrotechnics Meets Art: Sculpture + propane + forced air + metal salts + spark. Enjoy the excitement when flame effects/pyrotechnics meet art.


  • Life-Sized Mouse Trap: The unique design of this giant, Rube Goldberg-style contraption was cleverly gleaned from the memories of childhood, twisted out of scale, then sketched beyond life size.
  • Eepy Bird and Diet Coke Mento's Mega Fountains: Help the original Eepybird guys build their amazing Mega-Fountain using Diet Coke and Mentos! Soda practically explodes as carbon dioxide rapidly escapes from the bottle.
  • Texas LEGO User Group: TexLUG will be presenting a train/town and space themed layout built entirely of LEGO building elements. Working trains and other motorized creations will be on display.
  • Austin Metal Authority/Blacksmith Village: Live forging demonstration of blacksmithing techniques including sculptural and functional projects.
  • Art Cars: Art Cars return to Maker Faire Austin. Check out the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir Art Car - over 250 Billy Bass singing fish bolted to a Volvo and singing Opera. This award winning art car from Houston has 300 pounds of batteries, 2 computers, and more than 5 miles of wire in the control system.
  • Halloween Activities: Costume making in Swap-O-Rama-Rama, Pumpkin painting at Edible Austin Food Makers Pavilion, and more ghoulish activities...
  • ArcAttack!: Musical Tesla Coils that employ a unique DJ set up of their own creation (an HVDJ set up) to generate an 'electrifying' audio visual performances.
  • Mice'Pace Maze: Players are given audio information through the use of wireless headphones, creating a maze using sound as the walls, and challenging players' abilities to move through a space with only what they hear. It's a human mouse maze with no walls.
  • King of Fling Catapult Contest: Local contestants bring their "Maker Made" catapults and compete in the "King of Fling" Catapult Contest. (Saturday only)
  • Austin Rocketry Group: Build and fly your very own model rocket with the Austin Area Rocketry group and launch it later in the day.

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