Maker Faire Miami 2018

Our third annual Miami Makers Pavilion continues its tradition of celebrating the collaborations of local makers and STEAM organizations — all coming together to build a better Miami!

This is the second year that Maker Faire Miami is a Full Featured Faire — but it is celebrating its 5th year since it started. We’ve participated each year and helped organize it in the steering committee, but we felt like there was a need to bring people together to do something special that highlights the synergies in the Miami Maker Commmunity. Three years ago we began the Miami Makers Pavilion to help coordinate local makers, STEAM organizations, and startups in a collaborative showcase that celebrates the diversity of talent we have in South Florida. This year was the largest showcase yet!

Each year we commission the design and construction of a central pavilion that anchors all of the different makers being featured. The first pavilion, PVC Pavilion, is now permanently installed at Morningstar Gardens. The second, The Suncatcher Pavilion, was featured at UNTITLED Art Fair during Art Basel, as well as on Metropolis Magazine after its debut at Maker Faire Miami, and winning a Maker of Merit award in Maker Faire Orlando last year. This year, we were humbled and honored to work with studio AMLgMATD again in a very ambitious, showstopping work of art.

The Noctis Pavilion

Our overarching theme this year was Makers of Space, exploring the research, prototypes, and projects that are helping humans learn more about life in space and on other planets. The design for the structure, The Noctis Pavilion, is a wonderful expression that blends science, engineering, and art. Laz and Natalie created an aluminum canopy that was inspired by the topographical lines on Mars. Once again, playing off of the abundant sunlight in Miami, the structure was designed to cascade its patterns in shadow — the resulting effect was a stunning projection that transported people to the Noctis Labyrinthus, a region on Mars between Valles Marineris and the Tharsis Upland that is most notable for its maze-like system of deep, steep-walled valleys. As you walk underneath, you feel the sweeping curves of the canyon-like columns ascend into the mapped and gridded terrain above.

The all aluminum tubing contruction — a system of hand bent curves, each unique from the other, sinuously wrap over the more rigid grid pattern, and definitely feels like an extra terrestrial object that just appeared on Earth. The careful balance and composition of the cascading columns create a structurally sound canopy while maintaining an extremely light aesthetic. Laz and Natalie never cease to amaze us, always proposing highly complex work, and always delivering a high level of quality. By exercising their mastery of design and fabrication, and their extensive knowledge of materials, they are able to manifest their ideas true to their original concepts with little compromise. We are proud that they are building amazing things in Miami and that they have generously poured their heart into these projects with us over the past few years. They are a prime example of authentic Miami Makers! See more of their work here.

Sonic Electronic: Frost Science + Moonlighter

The Noctis Pavilion closely hugged our Sonic Electronic interactive installation for the FROST Science Museum. Originally created for their Big Bang event, the table top features a number of hands-on exhibits that explore light and sound using various electronic components, including a chladni plate, makey makey, raspberry pi, conductive ink, and more! A crowd favorite was the electrical arcs that made 3 different tones based on how close together the wires were. The arcade buttons also made it extremely difficult to resist pushing. A nice moment was when Mike from Raker and Mario the Maker did a little live jam session using the various sounds on the table. A special thanks to Mario the Maker for collaborating with us on this project!

Retropie Arcade by Mario the Maker

Mario the Maker was back with more projects than ever! His Retropie arcade is always a Faire Favorite — winning him Maker of Merit at Orlando Maker Faire last year! His area included the infamous oversized BMO from Adventure Time that you can actually play video games on, as well as a slew of other raspberry-pi powered gaming devices, our favorite being Moonvaders 1.0 (a custom coded, space invaders-inspired arcade game lovingly built out of plywood and plexi). And as much as we love the retro arcade games, Mario decided to bring back a more analog classic game with a twist. He built a giant alien-themed operation game. It would sound a siren and vibrate when you touched the edges while trying to pull out the random artifacts in the alien patient — just like the original! The only difference was that it was 8 feet long!

Other fun objects on display included the Photo-Matic Auto-tweeting photobooth and the Poem-O-Matic, a receipt printer that prints out a random poem each time its pressed, created for O, Miami Poetry Festival. He had a first prototype of a light piano that would play different tones just by running your hand over beams of light! And of course, his collection of vintage macs loaded with classics on floppy discs like The Oregon Trail and LOGO coding education software. So many electronic delights — what’s not to Love?! For instructions on how to build some of these projects, including some open-sourced code and more — visit his GitHub, follow him on instagram, and check out his Medium Page!


Everybody loves Legos, which is why the giant modular block kit by Everblock Systems is going viral on the internet as it appears in large events all around the world. Thanks to a grant from the Miami Downtown Development Authority, we’ll be activating the Miami Baywalk with a life-size lego prototyping event, Building the Baywalk, on the last Sunday of each month for four months starting April 29th. We decided to bring them out to Maker Faire to give everyone a sneek peak of all the fun they can have each month on Miami’s iconic waterfront Museum Park! It was fun for both kids and adults as structures of all kinds were built, disassembled, and rebuilt throughout the course of the fair.

Mini Makers

There were lots of games and activities for kids — but some children took their creativity to another level! Two of our students showed examples of sustainable entrepreneurship and social impact projects. More about them listed below! We also had various projects on display showcasing work from the young makers in our STEAM After School program, Moonshot Makers Clubs, field trips, and camps.

Allen Hasbun — Mobile Reading Pod

Last Summer, Allen was a part of our Design Thinking Camp. We usually have character clients for our students to design for, but thanks to The New Tropic, we had the opportunity of giving them a real client — The Miami International Book Fair! The challenge was to design something that would promote literature and distribute books to the community. The children learned how to 3D model their concepts, laser cut some prototypes, learned about scale and did lots of research. Out of a dozen designs — 9 year old Allen Hasbun was selected to build his solution in full scale!

His design was a mobile furniture unit that offered people lots of ways to sit and read, as well as plenty of enclosed shelving that would hold the free books. After about a month of CNC milling, sanding, and varnishing — it debuted at the Wynwood Yard. It has travelled to various community events including The Book Fair, Maker Faire Orlando where it won a Maker of Merit Award, and now, Maker Faire Miami 2018! You can learn more about Allen and his incredible project here.

Life Clock - Eduardo Fernandez

Eduardo may only be 11 years old, but he’s already a social entrepreneur! Eduardo creates eco-friendly products using upcycled materials as well as a range of hand painted educational maps of the continenets. He started Life Clock about a year ago during his time at our STEAM After School program. He experimented with GIY (grow it yourself) mycelium material from Ecovative, Ecopoxy resins, and scrap chips from the cnc router ranging from sawdust to metal shavings. He has hosted workshops on how to create clocks out of recycled materials and has set up his pop up market at various local public events. His understanding of the urgency of our enviromental issues has inspired creative action for him. Through his creations, he is championing a re-thinking of how we produce and use our everyday products. See more of his work here.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Fairchild has had a robust offering of arts and sciences eduational programming for quite some time now — but their new research initiatives in partnership with NASA have them working on building solutions for growing plants in space! They exhibited two of the LED plant growing chambers that they have created to grow specific types of plants and collect growth data to identitfy which grow better in various environments. This has been an incredible effort they’ve led in collaboration with over 120 participating elementary, middle and high schools throughout South Florida. They also announced the exciting news that they will be creating a makerspace at the garden to get the public involved in learning more about the project and crowdsourcing the design of some of these very prototypes that they are creating. We are very excited to be partnering with them to help build the innovation studio and host educational programming centered around the design challenges for Growing Beyond Earth.

Frost Science Museum

The Frost Science Museum has been a staple Miami institution for generations now, but their new building in Museum Park Downtown has lifted the celebration of the sciences to new heights. Since they opened the new state-of-the-art museum just about a year ago, we’ve been really happy to work with them on building a series of hands-on interactive installations for their events. On display under the pavilion was the Sonic Electronic that they debuted at their Big Bang event, mentioned earlier, but the education team at Frost also came to Maker Faire with a great activity for kids that offered a preview of their new exhibition, Design Lab:Engineering.

Using different cut-out shapes made with various materials, children chose the appropriate design for the prongs on a claw machine used to pick up different objects. They were able to test the effectiveness of their design choices in real time and try different versions until they found the one that perfomed the task successfully! If you haven’t gone to the Museum, now is the time and be sure to check out that new exhibition that will let you tinker and create all day! We’ve got a lot of special surprises in the works for their upcoming Gala, Power of Light, so if you have tickets to that event, keep an eye out for fun interactive installations throughout the museum!


Neil Patterson, one of our original founding members, is an Architect by day and a maker by night. He works on creating interlocking sculptures that are inspired by locomotion, Scottish architecture, vehicles, and other industrial designs. Usually his pieces can fit on a shelf or table top, but this year he went BIG — fabricating a model of one of his tower designs over 8.5 feet tall!

He hopes to eventually sell these designs as DIY kits that you can customize and assemble. Often made using acrlyic sheets, craft wood, or plywood as his material pallete — he then blends careful 3D modelling on CAD with all the layers meticulously coded, to then fabricate the pieces using the laser cutter or CNC mill, depending on the scale. They are all intricate with a lot of depth and incredible detail — both capturing the essence of its inspiration, and abstracting the form to activate your imagination. You can follow him on instagram to see more of his amazing work.

City of Miami — Mike Sarasti

Mike Sarasti is the City of Miami’s Chief Innovation Officer, a position charged with driving innovation, process improvement, collaboration, and customer service across municipal government. Throughout his career serving Miami’s residents, Mr. Sarasti has been instrumental in the advancement of civic services, digital technology, and open data. He has built valuable relationships with other cities, foundations, non-profits, universities, and others throughout Miami’s civic tech community. Most recently at the City of Miami, he has led efforts to transform digital services, release open data, and build process improvement capacity throughout the City. On his personal time, he also writes, produces, and performs in the electro-experimental-rock duo Raker.

Creative Cutout

Creative Cutout is a start up company making a variety of custom products using cutout designs. Products range from invitations for parties, weddings and other occasions, to jewelry, ornaments, fine art pieces and more. The brainchild of Vicky Gonzalez, a Miami native that boasts an interesting mix of Cuban and Greek decent. After graduating from Ringling college of Art and Design in 2014 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration, she realized that she loved working traditionally and by hand, but has learned to embrace the pros of technology and is now building her company utilizing both of these facets. She is an integral team member at Moonlighter — teaching workshops and collaborating on design projects, all while building her own brand!

Drip Drop Boards

Located in the heart of Miami, Drip Drop Boards builds one of a kind, handcrafted longboards from the mind of local artist and creator Daniel Rodriguez. Combining hand craft with digital fabrication, he has been able to create unique custom boards that blend digital design and artisanal quality. He has transformed his process at Moonlighter by utilizing the CNC and laser engraver — and now has gone on to open up his own microfactory and showroom! Its been incredible to see him grow and refine his designs! You can see more Drip Drop designs on their instagram.

Team Banzai Engineering

Kevin Sanchez, an engineer by trade and a maker for fun — works out of Moonlighter after hours to build all sorts of exciting electronics projects from RC cars to rockets to Drones. This year he exhibited a Mars rover simulator.

Two people would have to sit down at the control stations, one would control the movement of the rover, the other would control the robotic arm. They had to work collaboratively, communicating over custom made headsets, in order to pick up a series of space samples and store them in a container. It was fun watching the process and was a great example of how much skill is required to accurately maneuver these devises remotely!

Ben Searcy Props & Droids

Ben has been working on a series of replicas from Star Wars including a full size R2D2! He was showing off his progress on a number of droid designs and other props he’s been creating. He has laser cut many of the parts for his R2 unit and has assembled many of the vacuum formed pieces already. His next step is to add all of the electronics to make it all move remotely. We look forward to helping him complete his project this year!


01 Is An Education Lab That Fosters Agency And Creative Confidence In Students By Empowering Them To Shape Their Worlds Through Technology. This year, they had a number of their student projects on display, and they brought back a crowd favorite — The Virtual Reality Experience! People of all ages were able to take turns immersing themselves in new worlds and digital adventures!


Melanites is a multimedia company that designs diverse toys, storybooks, and games that celebrate Brown Boyhood. In the books, you follow the crew of four curious nine-year-old boys as they go on different S.T.E.A.M. adventures!

Created by Jennifer Pierre, a social entrepreneur who is passionate about creating spaces for diversity and empowering children to dream big. Over the years she has mentored, tutored, and volunteered with countless children. Seeing firsthand how differently many of the boys of color maneuvered through life put into perspective how society cultivates children based on race and gender. She created Melanites to intercept the glass ceiling placed on young boys’ mind about what they can be when they grow up and how they are supposed to express themselves. Her goal is simple: to design diverse toys, storybooks, and games that empower children to dream big! To learn more about Melanites and Jennifer Pierre’s mission, click here.

Favorites around the Faire

We got a chance to walk around and meet other groups and were really happy to see Joseph Prusa exhibiting his award winning open source printer. We saw lots of great familiar faces — and many new ones! Loved that we had a local Boy Scout troop building wooden structures live at the faire. Illumia had their great interactive art projection that has been used in lots of Urban Activations. Also, South Florida has endured the closing of a couple of Maker Spaces, but we are glad to see two new spaces join the community — MakeMIA and Apiary Miami! All in all, a very positive experience that shows how vibrant and diverse our South Florida maker community is! And it is only growing more and more each day with each kid that is introduced to STEAM!

A big hug to Ian Cole from The Maker Effect Foundation/Maker FX Makerspace/ Nation of Makers! As busy as he is, he personally visited both Maker Faires that were happening concurrently that same weekend, driving all the way from Jacksonville down to Miami — just to show his support! We love you Ian and can’t wait to visit Orlando Makerfaire again in a couple of Months!

Also — Ian explianed that the signage we designed for our area to identify each participating maker/org, would be a valuable resource to makers in other faires who want to spruce up their exhibit. So we’ve open-sourced the CNC files so anyone can mill their own! We’ve included a table height sign and a tent height sign. They are made of 3/4" plywood and require no harware, but we do recommend using a sandbag for the tent height sign to ensure that it doesn’t fall over in the wind. The table height sign can be used standing on the ground or laying on its side on top of the table. The two pieces simply slot together. You can download and customize your own version HERE.

Thank you to everyone who came and shared your creations, shared memories with your community, and helped make the Maker Faire a success. It is by the collective efforts of many people and organizations that shape the experience!

Thank you to Miami Dade College and Mano Americas for supporting the Miami Makers Pavilion, and for organizing the faire, and to Knight Foundation for sponsoring the faire! For more info on Miami Maker Faire, visit: