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Make: Magazine's death and the death of Maker Faires

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#1
So, I feel this is strongly related to the FT community, although some may not see it.

Last week, Make: Magazine, the founders of Maker Faires worldwide, went under. With it, many of the Maker Faires worldwide have been cancelling their events because they don't have the support of Make:.

I'm sure some people are going, "Well, that's for a bunch of techies, or people who make arts & crafts." Nope. Makers are people who MAKE things. That IS us to a T. We MAKE planes. We utilize inexpensive and readily available materials to form it into something that actually flies, using basic aeronautical principles, although we may not realize it.

I was an exhibitor at a Mini Maker Faire this past weekend, where I brought out planes, simulators, drones, and some of the best pilots in our RC club, to come out and demonstrate RC. We also built about 40 chuck gliders that we gave out to kids, from the STEM kits that Flite Test has. Every single kid who got a plane walked away smiling, because they all looked awesome. I had several parents ask me where I got them, to which I gladly gave them stickers on the planes that had the Flite Test website, so they could look up how to get free plans or purchase speed build kits. I had one family ask specifically on how to get the chuck gliders, because they wanted to build them with their church youth group. And there were MANY fathers and sons, or even single moms, that were approaching us because they wanted to get involved in the RC hobby, but didn't know how, where to start, where to fly, etc.

This was all at one event, where there were people who were learning to build things and applying a slightly different mindset to everything. I had a member of the local Maker's Guild who came over and grabbed one of the foldable paper planes that the AMA sent me (Thank you, AMA, for supporting us with that and membership info!) and she stuck a coin battery and an LED on the end of the paper plane - gave it just enough nose weight, and the plane looked neat with the flashing light at the end!

I think it's a bummer that we're having events like this shutting down, just because Flite Test and plane construction really is a huge aspect of what it's all about. We make our planes out of simple materials, we learn to solder connectors, we have to figure out radio signals and potentially get our HAM radio licenses and figure out frequencies so we don't interfere with others, we learn how to use servo motors to actuate flaps and ailerons and elevators and rudders, maybe we're even using 3D printing to build firewalls or control horns or other parts. In short, we're utilizing all sorts of different aspects of the concept behind Maker Faires, JUST for our ONE hobby - wouldn't it be nice if we had a public venue to show others applications of all of this, to see how other people have utilized some of these tech tools, and share resources and knowledge?
 

FDS

Well-known member
#2
I am doing a presentation (and flying session) to young people for work about quads as tools for filming, business and fun. We want to get whoop racing going across the county as well.
I have built chuck gliders too but couldn’t find the FT stem ones anywhere. Plan links for those would be awesome.
 

Fluburtur

Cardboard Boy
#3
Well that sucks, at least the Paris maker faire seems to be holding up being a rather large event. I wouldnt want to see it end, I planned on exposing there this year.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#4
Well that sucks, at least the Paris maker faire seems to be holding up being a rather large event. I wouldnt want to see it end, I planned on exposing there this year.
Double check on that. I just found out this weekend that the San Diego Maker Faire in Balboa Park, which was to be held on Oct. 5th and 6th, was cancelled. It still shows as being listed on the MakerFaire website, but it's not going to happen, from what I understand. I REALLY want to be wrong about this, because of how important I feel it is for not just Flite Test but the RC community in general.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#5
I am doing a presentation (and flying session) to young people for work about quads as tools for filming, business and fun. We want to get whoop racing going across the county as well.
I have built chuck gliders too but couldn’t find the FT stem ones anywhere. Plan links for those would be awesome.
I had to order them from b2b.flitetest.com under their STEM Merch; they had 4 different types of planes in their boxes of 40 or 80 of them.

Since I placed the order back in...April, I think it was, I now see them being offered on clearance for 100 pack in the main FliteTest store. I'll be brutally honest with you, it is MUCH easier to just buy the kits than having to cut them all out. I used some of the sheets to make plans from last year and cut them out, and it took me 2 hours to make 4 sheets worth of planes, cutting them out to be ready for the kids. My time was worth the $60 + shipping that I paid for them alone. :)

There aren't any plans for the chuck gliders online (at least, none that I was able to find through the forums here or on FT) and with those, it is honestly easier to just have them pre-cut, especially if you're going to be building them with a bunch of kids. When I did them this weekend, I was averaging about 5 minutes per build, and probably could have cut that down to 4 minutes if I hadn't been building the Cub gliders - that particular model has a cut in the top to allow the builder to add some dihedral, but when you do, it just doesn't want to let the wing sit quite right on the fuselage, thus slowing down the build times compared to the Spitfire, Viggen/EuroFighter, or F22/Raptor builds (and when you've built around 200 of these suckers when there's a long line of parents and their kids waiting for one, you learn to be as efficient as you can LOL)
 

Kendalf

Well-known member
#6
That's terribly discouraging to hear! The Maker movement has been a welcome innovation to myself and many educators, and it is sad to see one of the large companies actively part of this going down.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#7
That's terribly discouraging to hear! The Maker movement has been a welcome innovation to myself and many educators, and it is sad to see one of the large companies actively part of this going down.
One of the biggest parts of this was Intel pulling sponsorship. What I was hearing this weekend from many Makers and the Maker's Guild putting on our event was that Intel had their Internet Of Things dept., where they had a bunch of devices that would interact with each other, like lighting systems, thermostats, security cameras, etc. Turns out that the Makers weren't wanting to use Intel's development kits or circuits; they were going to with cheap, low quality Chinese knockoffs and making it "just good enough to last for a short time". Sounds eerily familiar with the Banggood/Aliexpress stories we see on the forums, with buying the cheapest parts and just making it work, rather than buying something quality. Anyway, that's another story for another thread...

Well, Intel decided that they weren't going to throw money at an expensive department, failed marketing/sponsorship, and builders that wouldn't support them, so they closed down the dept. and cut out all of that money, and that caused Make: to have to seek corporate sponsorships elsewhere. Make kept looking for funds through other venture capitalists, but when one of the big guns like Intel pulls out because they don't see an interest, it becomes MUCH harder to get money from other investors.

I know, economics lesson that nobody wants to hear, and I'm sure there'll be someone that'll turn it political; that's not really what I want to get into here - merely presenting the reasons that Make: attributed to their fall. Personally, I'd LOVE to see Maker Faires come back in a big way; it seems like it's a matter of getting sponsorship, but it's hard when the tech companies like Microsoft, Intel, IBM, etc. are reluctant to put money into something like this...
 

Fluburtur

Cardboard Boy
#8
As far as I know the Paris one is largely sponsored by a french brand so it doesnt seem to be cancelled so far, it has a lot supporting it so there is still hope.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
As far as I know the Paris one is largely sponsored by a french brand so it doesnt seem to be cancelled so far, it has a lot supporting it so there is still hope.
I REALLY, REALLY hope I'm wrong on assuming it'll be cancelled. :) I think that these events are REALLY important to kids because it piques interest in science, tech, engineering, art, mathematics, crafting...I mean, how many kids nowadays know how a glass is made? Or how to build an oak cabinet? How many know how to build a simple computer, or fix it if it breaks?

This is why I think it's important that the next generation is interested in this stuff. I hear so much that "American kids don't know how to repair things." I know it's not just my home country that has that issue - it's worldwide. We SHOULD know how to build and repair things, make them better, and these events are a perfect way to get them interested. :)