Portland Mini Maker Faire 2017

During the third weekend of September, PortLUG had booth for the first time at Portland Mini Maker Faire. This is was the fifth year that OMSI has hosted the event, but as it was our first year as an exhibitor, we started small with a 10′ x 10′ booth and a couple of tables.

Maker Faire calls itself “The Greatest Show & Tell on Earth”, and brings out creators of all varieties, so it was a natural fit for a LEGO User Group of adult builders. The participating LUG members wanted a display that would make passerby stop and think “wait… that’s LEGO?” or  “I never knew you could do that with LEGO!” It’s such a familiar medium, and we hoped to show how it can be used beyond the traditional sets we all know and love.

On two of the tables we displayed a variety of LEGO models, including optical illusions (seen in the back), life-size replicas of everyday objects (book, glasses, etc), and a 1:1000 scale of downtown Portland.

But we know that it’s hard to see LEGO bricks and to not touch them (especially at a show dedicated to makers!), so the third table was more interactive.

One of our technic builders brought a selection of sturdy geometric curiosities for people to pick up and shake; one was filled with LEGO soccer balls & made a satisfying rain sound whenever it was turned around.

The biggest hit was our reverse engineering challenges. A selection of small models were on display, along with a tray of elements. The goal was to recreate the models using just the elements provided, without any indication on how they were built (most relied on clever & non-traditional attachments). Only a few people managed to figure out all of the challenges, but we had many people returning to the table all weekend to give it another try!

It was a fun weekend of sharing our LEGO hobby with other makers. I’m already looking forward to trying for a bigger booth next year and increasing our interactive area. Maybe we’ll even have some prizes to be won!

Hopefully we’ll see you there. Keep building and enjoy! See more on our Facebook album.