UTC’s “Fun and Goofy” Mini Maker Space

When you think of a 126-year-old institution of higher learning like the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, you may think of phrases like “time-honored tradition” and “hallowed halls of academia.” You probably don’t immediately imagine “fun and goofy.” However, that’s exactly how Bo Baker describes UTC’s Mini Maker Space.

“There are no real guidelines or rules,” said Baker, team leader of the space. “Students are just welcome to come here and play.”


Housed on the third floor of the university’s brand-new library, the studio was established to provide everything students need to create prototypes, whether they are the scientific models of Engineering majors, the fanciful creations of Fine Arts students or everything in between.

The UTC Mini Maker Space offers students access to two dozen computer stations featuring the Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk, SketchUp and CAD. A room known as the sandbox is dedicated to constructing mini-prototypes, and a fully-equipped recording studio, green screen room and 3D printing lab with two MakerBot Replicators are also available.


Students can borrow GoPros, camcorders and high-resolution digital cameras to use outside the studio, and UTC’s maker space technicians give crash courses on how to use the equipment.

1010475EDIT-Several UTC students will have their creations on display at the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire on Sept. 19 at First Tennessee Pavilion. Join us to see just how fun and goofy these makers can be!

Chattanooga Maker Profile: Rondell Crier

When New Orleans native Rondell Crier arrived in Chattanooga after Hurricane Katrina, his first order of business was to establish an artistic community that empowered underprivileged youth. He’d grown up, literally and figuratively, at New Orleans’ YAYA Arts Center, and he was inspired by the impact YAYA founder Jana Napoli had on his life and on their community.


Rondell went to work building relationships in his new hometown, and he received several grants to create a public art studio. He and his collaborators chose Glass Street in East Chattanooga, believing that art would help bring life back to the long-depressed neighborhood. A decade after Rondell settled in the Scenic City, he is Resident Artist at the Glass House Collective, which has populated the thoroughfare with vibrant murals, sculptures and art installations created by makers of all ages.

IMG_9938Glass House Collective gives underprivileged children an open invitation to come, create and collaborate. There are no structured art lessons; each child creates exactly what he or she wants. If a child comes to the Collective with an idea and the project is safe and affordable, he can begin making it the same day. Some of this summer’s participants were doing metal castings, and a pair of girls spent weeks creating a life-sized wooden doll. Rondell helps them with primary tutorials and safety procedures, and then the children are free to take the project into their own hands.

The free-flow structure of Glass House Collective is impressive, and Rondell said its priority is to give people access to resources. He knows many schools have been forced to cut their art programs when funding is unavailable, and the Collective exists to fill that void for makers of all ages.


Learn more about the Glass House Collective at www.glasshousecollective.org and see some of their creations at the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire this September.

#R2withU Photo Booth

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Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire presents #R2withU Photo Booth at Chattanooga Market Aug. 2

Have your picture made with R2 at the Chattanooga Market this Sunday, Aug. 2 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

All pictures will be uploaded to the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire Facebook and Twitter for you to tag and share as you please.

Join us you will this Sunday at the Chattanooga Market.

May the Force be with you.


Fire Tornado Blazing New Trails for this Year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire


Kate Warren, executive director of Art 120, is thrilled about this year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire. A participant of the inaugural 2014 Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire, Kate reflected on her positive experience and expressed her excitement for the years to come. For last year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire, a team from Art 120 and several local artists created the renowned ‘Fire Tornado.’ Kate Warren, Conrad Tengler, Mike Harrison, Andrew Nigh and Brian Dyer all collaborated to build the purported, “largest known outdoor Fire Tornado ” Named ‘Mr. Twister,’ this Fire Tornado plays on the natural phenomenon of fire rising in a spiral− given the correct apparatus and atmospheric conditions. As an added bonus, Mr. Twister has a logic board that synchronizes music to the spiraling fire. Kate commented that Mr. Twister is, “better enjoyed at night,” but that didn’t stop the popularity of last year’s presentation; we learned that people were coming from Atlanta and Nashville to see Mr. Twister.


Warren said the team took approximately two months to build Mr. Twister, but the main leg-work took place in the two weeks before the presentation. When Art 120 isn’t building reusable fire structures, they are busy teaching youth how to build ‘art bikes.’ Art bikes are what they sound like− creative and embellished bikes, adorned with ornaments and themes. Using the concept of the art bike, the team used trial and error to connect a recumbent bike to a propane tank and turret. Although the team had doubts, they managed to create this masterpiece full of both creativity and technology. When we asked if Mr. Twister is going to make an appearance for this year’s Mini Maker Faire, Kate said that Art 120’s plans are, “bigger and better than ever.” Although we cannot reveal what Mr. Twister has up his ‘spiral,’ if you will, we can promise that the innovations are impressive and ingenious.



Behind Mr. Twister, there is an incredible non-profit organization. Art 120 creates an interactive way to raise awareness and boost the creative community in Chattanooga. Art 120 offers programs for underprivileged youth and thrives on the mentality of, ‘what inspires the youth.’ The art bike program, a concept carried over from Kate’s hometown of Houston, Texas, has had tremendous success in the community and in the lives of underprivileged children. “The best part of what we do,” says Kate, “is bring joy to the community.” That’s exactly what Art 120 does. If you’re in the neighborhood on September 19, come to the First Tennessee Pavilion to support this labor of love and witness the new-and-improved Mr. Twister.


Call to makers closing this Thursday

The time is now to apply to exhibit your work in the 2015 Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire as the call to makers is coming to a close this Thursday, July 16. Tech enthusiasts, crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists, artists alike are encouraged to join the maker community in showcasing their work at this year’s faire. This is a fantastic opportunity to make new connections and be inspired by the fellow makers in the area.

Many makers have signed up and are preparing to show their best work at the event; so, what are you waiting for? Be a part of the maker movement right here in Chattanooga.

You never know what will spark an idea for your next project…


We invite you to entertain, inform, connect, and grow our community by sending in your application to participate as a maker in this year’s faire today.

Shown: ‘Fire Tornado’ by Kate Warren, Conrad Tengler, Mike Harrison, Andrew Nigh and Brian Dyer. 

The History of the World’s Greatest Show (& Tell)

In 2006, Maker Faire began in San Mateo, CA. Although small at first, by 2014, the overwhelming popularity of Maker Faire was represented in numbers−over 200,000 people attended Maker Faire between the Bay Area and New York. Maker Faire has taken off around the world. There are currently 119 independently-operated Maker Faires, some of which are international. Spain, Korea and Denmark are just a few of the many foreign countries now participating in Maker Faire.

More and more people have the desire to participate in ‘The World’s Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.’ On the Maker Faire website, you’ll find, “Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It’s a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. Many makers say they have no other place to share what they do. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is often invisible in our communities, taking place in shops, garages and on kitchen tables. It’s typically out of the spotlight of traditional art or science or craft events. Maker Faire makes visible these projects and ideas that we don’t encounter every day.”

Maker Faire makes itself home in Chattanoogalogo

With Chattanooga’s second year of the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire, expectations are very high. In 2014, 60 percent of Makers brought their children. As for the educational levels of the Makers, 33 percent had a bachelor’s degree, 21 percent had a master’s degree and 12 percent were still in school. The number of creative minds and gifted hands was greater than ever before. We expect that Chattanooga’s Mini Maker Faire will continue to grow as did the other Maker Faires around the globe. September 19 is coming up, folks! We sure hope you’re excited, because we definitely are! Registration ends July 16, so make sure to sign up for a guaranteed spot.

H/T: http://makerfaire.com/makerfairehistory/

Andrew McPherson: Mocs Arcade Maker


Andrew McPherson gave us a little insight to his ‘Mocs Arcade’−a 2014 entry in Chattanooga’s Mini Maker Faire. Andrew, a recent graduate from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, animatedly spoke with us about the effort it took to build the Mocs Arcade and the enjoyment he received by participating in the Mini Maker Faire. Collaborating with the UTC Engineering team, Andrew and several UTC Computer Science students built a standard arcade game. Participants were able to choose between three different, student-made video games. The process took several weeks and contributions from a variety of sources, but the final product was worth all of the effort.


Talking about this year’s Mini Maker Faire, Andrew commented that he will be unable to attend. He recently accepted a job at Amazon in Seattle, and he will be moving to Washington come August. However, he attributes his recent job opportunity to his Mocs Arcade. Highly impressed by the effort and ingenuity of the Mocs Arcade, Amazon offered Andrew a tremendous opportunity to join the web programming team. Although Andrew will not be in Chattanooga for the presentation, he revealed that he and his peers have been improving the Mocs Arcade exponentially−there will be seven different video games to choose from.

After the unprecedented success at the inaugural year of Chattanooga’s Mini Maker Faire in 2014, Andrew stated that many students at UTC are working diligently to make this year’s projects, “bigger and better than ever.” In fact, UTC has even created an individual space for Maker Faire projects. “The growth of interest in Chattanooga’s Mini Maker Faire on the UTC campus is really exciting; I just hope our department keeps the students involved,” said Andrew.


When speaking of what he gained from Chattanooga’s Mini Maker Faire, Andrew simply said, “I love being able to make things and meet other people that make things.” So, simply put, Chattanooga’s Mini Maker Faire is a place to meet other people that make things−a creative environment of those who show, tell and learn.


Maker Application Deadline Approaching

Tech enthusiasts, crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists and artists of all ages can apply online by July 16 to be featured at Chattanooga’s second Mini Maker Faire.

The Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire celebrates the maker movement and welcomes people from all backgrounds to showcase their creations free of charge at the First Tennessee Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Graham Bredemeyer, director of the Faire, said that the purpose of the event is to bring the community together to learn about the amazing maker talent in Chattanooga. “It was my hope to make this an annual event after the inaugural Faire in 2014 was such a success,” Bredemeyer said. “I’m not only looking forward to featuring the maker’s projects but also to connect the makers in the area with each other for better collaboration. It is a great opportunity for education, inspiration and community growth.”

The daylong, free to attend event will feature projects, performances, competitions and workshops. Organizers are seeking interactive exhibits that highlight the process of making things. Some of those submissions may include automated electronics, sustainability projects and large-scale art.

Bredemeyer said that last year’s event featured a wide variety of DIY products, from hydroponic gardens to a life-size R2D2 and a fire tornado, powered by pedaling a bicycle. “We had about 60 makers show their projects last year and explain how they created them,” he said.

Dozens of makers will be featured, and participants are encouraged to apply early due to limited space.

The Force is Strong with Dan Baker

“Bleep… Boop… Beep Beep Boop…. Beep!” C5&C3PO Star Wars fans delight: a Chattanooga local built an R2D2 replica from scratch and is excited to join in the Mini Maker Faire for the second year in a row. Dan Baker, graphic designer and sign maker, began this project with an interest in prop building, robotics and, yes, the Galactic Empire. WeirdAlYankovic DanielLogan & R2Girls The R2 Builders Club was founded in 1999, and Baker began working with the group in 2000. He didn’t start the project until 2006, and it took him four years to complete the prop. “I built R2 from scratch for cost, and as an artist, your build and process is your right of passage. There’s a difference between building from scratch and buying a bunch of materials to put together.” R2 can turn its head and drive around, its sound is on an automated loop. R2’s typical day is 11-12 hours before it needs to be charged, although it did participate in a 3-mile parade once during a 14-hour day. ConNooga BzXAHNJIUAACAL5“We have been to over 100 events,” Baker said. “R2 has been a ring bearer in three weddings, one being Star Wars-themed.” Aside from weddings R2 has been in dozens of parades, Star Wars-related events, Chattanooga Roller Girls events, presentations, conventions and the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire! Baker said it isn’t uncommon for R2 to be introduced on stage before he is … “Let’s welcome R2 and Dan Baker!” Bx8zIKLIMAAUA-_ “R2 represents so much time and effort,” Baker said. “It is a really satisfying and rewarding experience to go from creating something like this to being able to share it with others.” Right now R2 sits in Baker’s living room, and it moves throughout the house regularly. Mrs. Baker’s only rule is that R2 doesn’t enter the bedrooms. Bx7kMw_IAAABYrQ Baker is a huge supporter of the maker movement in Chattanooga and is looking forward to this year’s faire. “The thing I like most is that it used to be a bunch of nerds building stuff in their basements. The maker community encourages us, and brings us together.”