Making It Big in Portland – 2014 PDX Mini Maker Faire

A Showcase for Makers

ordering cytotec from canada without a prescription We were excited to participate in the 3rd annual Portland Mini Maker Faire at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. This was a fantastic opportunity to get our 3D scanning and printing tools out in front of the public, and mingle with fellow Makers and 3D printers from the area. Maker Faires have been going on since 2006, providing people to showcase their creations at events all over the country. Exhibits are not limited to high-tech creations, either. There are many other amazing items that don’t need a computer to build are on display. Woodworking, cheese making, jewelry making and other traditional hand crafted pieces were on hand at the MMF. Portland’s is one of the largest of the “mini” Maker Faires, with over 100 exhibitors and thousands of attendees.

3d printing, 3d scanning, tesseract design, portland The Tesseract Design booth at the Mini Maker Faire

 3D Printing at the Faire

my latest blog post Naturally, tech like 3D printing features prominently at events like the Maker Faire. While underrepresented at last year’s Portland Mini Maker Faire (3 printers in 2013), the 2014 event features no fewer than 18 3D printers. Our booth was located at the far end of the “3D printer zone,” which was both a curse and a blessing. For those coming from one direction, ours was the first 3d printer they encountered, which brought a lot of attention. Those coming from the other way had already seen a dozen-plus printers, and their reaction was more along the lines of “Oh. Another 3D printer.” Overall, it was great to see such a strong representation for 3D printing at the Faire. The crowd was really engaged, and got to play with a variety of printers.

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Kids loved the 3D printing exhibits at the Mini Maker Faire

There was some really interesting innovations at the Faire as well. One of the most impressive was this large-scale FDM printer that was being custom-built by Oregon Tech’s Rapid Prototyping Lab. This truly impressive 3D printer boasts multiple heads and a print volume of  14″ x 20″ x 24″.

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Oregon Tech’s monster 3D printer

One of the barriers to widespread adoption of 3D printing is the cost of the materials. In a previous post, I mentioned that efforts were underway to undercut the high cost of filament for FDM/FFF printers. Local firm Proto-Pasta was on hand to show off their filament extrusion process and give away samples of filament.

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Proto-Pasta’s filament extruder

Another neat innovation was the “walkabout printer,” a battery-powered 3D printer attached to a backpack frame.

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Walkabout 3D printer

With all of the 3D printing competition, we needed a hook to distinguish our setup from the many other 3D printers at the Faire. Since I had been doing a lot of thinking about 3D scanning and photogrammetry since my last post, I thought it would be good if we could scan visitors and provide them with 3D printed images of themselves. We did run into some issues with the scanning during the middle of the day when the sunlight was very bright. Since the Sense 3D scanner uses an infrared laser, a lot of background IR radiation from sunlight confused the scanner. Fortunately, this was only a problem during the middle of the day and in the early morning and afternoon, we were able to get good scans and prints of our visitors.

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Scanning a visitor to the Tesseract Design booth, and the final product

Architecture and Sherman Tanks

There was a lot more to the Portland Mini Maker Faire than 3D printing, and many visitors spent the whole day taking in all of the exhibits and activities. One of my favorites was a display for “tiny houses.” This is an idea that is extremely popular in the Pacific Northwest, and was inspired by architect Sarah Susanka’s book “The Not So Big House.” Tiny houses are typically less than 500 square feet in size, and may be mounted on wheels for portability.

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The tiny house display got a lot of attention

One of my favorite displays at the Mini Maker Faire was the tiny Sherman tank.

3d printing, 3d scanning, tesseract design, portland

Sherman tank at the Faire. The turret is removable to provide access.

The 2014 Portland Mini Maker Faire was a great success, and featured an impressive array of 3D printing applications. Tesseract Design was glad to be a part of it with our 3D scanning and printing booth. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!

For more information on Tesseract Design’s 3D printing services, please see