Maker Faire Chicago 2017

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Maker Faire Chicago 2017
Location Lakeside Center Building at McCormick Place
Cost Free for Makers
Contact cmcnamara


As of 3/16/17, the Chicago Maker Faire has officially been postponed until the fall. We will notify you of updates as they come. Keep up the hard work! In the meantime, we'll be at CHIRP Record Faire, Northside Mini Maker Faire, and more!

General Information

This will be Chicago's first "full" Maker Faire, meaning the event will last two days and be organized by Maker Media instead of an independent organizer. This is a very exciting chance for exposure for South Side Hackerspace, and we want to give it our all to make sure we get the most out of this opportunity. First year Maker Faires in other cities tend to draw a crowd of about 20,000 people, so that's what's being predicted for us as well.

Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Public Library, and the Museum of Science and Industry are partners in this year's makerfaire, and so will likely also have a strong presence at the event.

Diversity of attendees is important and Maker Media requests that we keep that in mind and try to further that goal when possible, drawing attendees from otherwise underrepresented communities/demographics in the maker movement.

Commercial booths cost an extra fee, but we can charge for materials and memberships and such at the booth without being labeled "commercial". The only limit mentioned was "nothing too outrageous", so as long as we don't abuse the privilege, we should be fine.

April 22nd is Earth Day, so if you like building for a theme, sustainability might be your ticket!


The annual Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) will be running alongside Maker Faire in the adjacent South Building at McCormick Place. C2E2 is organized by ReedPOP, a subsidiary of Reed Exhibitions, a company that has worked closely with Maker Media to organize this event. As a result, attendees and makers alike will receive discounts on passes to C2E2. This is reciprocated by Maker Faire for C2E2 pass holders.

Available Resources

Our application has technically already been submitted in order to secure our spot, but we're able to modify it pretty easily. There's some limited outdoor space available if you have an idea that wouldn't work well indoors. Ask if you'd like to run a panel or discussion, or give a talk. If we would like to do a demonstration that requires some safety precautions, we're welcome to, but we must ask to be put on a list for safety waivers. Basically on the way in, willing attendees can sign a safety waiver and receive a wristband proving they're allowed to participate in riskier activities. Soldering requires a safety waiver, so if your idea is equal or greater to that level of riskiness, please let us know and we'll apply for the extra paperwork!

Spectacle is important to a successful show at Maker Faire, so even if your idea is a little crazy write it down! (Especially if it's a little crazy)

The event organizers said that they were still looking into whether pyrotechnic elements would be allowable at McCormick, but that it's not out of the question. They also mentioned they'll try their best to make anything work, so don't hold back your creativity!


Load in at McCormick Place is typically restricted to union labor, however thanks to our good relationship with the venue through Reed, they've allowed us some leeway in this regard. We'll be able to unload on our own as long as we keep it to two people in a cargo van or smaller. We can't use a pallet jack, but dollies are okay. Anything bigger than that will need some help from the union workers at McCormick. There will be more details on this once we receive the official Maker Handbook for the event.

We're also asked to compute our power requirements and submit them with our application. If your project uses electricity, please make a note of the amperage it requires below so that we can add it to the running total on our request.

SSH:Chicago Branding and Marketing

When in doubt, check out our branding standards

We should strive to make ourselves look organized and presentable (ha!). To that effect, we should prepare and stock:

  • Stickers - jcarr can/already print(ed) a bunch of logo stickers
  • Business cards - we have some in stock in Dmitriy V's locker
  • Tri-fold brochures - a version 1 exists, may need to be updated; great go-by for talking points with booth visitors
  • Table cloth with logo - black cloth available in Dmitriy V's locker, may want white; cmcnamara to design and vinyl cut iron-on logo
  • More SSH:Chicago shirts for members at booth
  • Consistent message on what we do and what we are presenting

Member Projects

Because we're a hackerspace, showing off member projects is kind of our jam! We want to get together as much stuff as possible to show off, so if you have an idea, please list it below! Make sure to sign it with three tildes (~~~) so we know whose project it is! Even if you're not sure your project is viable or you can finish in time, please add it to the list below! We'll finalize it later!!

Fancy SSH:C Sign - aedwards(talk)

things i need to to:

  • design sign
  • get slip rings/electrics
  • get acrylic
  • laser acrylic at PS1
  • glue, electrics

things done:

  • acquired motor
  • drunkenly drew a gear on the board
  • talked to Andrew at PS1 about lasers, still need to circle back
  • did colormatching on McMasters acrylic. it's not good.

CNC Project - tgoeghan(talk)

tgoeghan, please add details

Phlatprinter Gliders - dmeyer(talk)

My idea here is to use the PhlatPrinter CNC foam milling machine to cut chuck gliders at high speed at our booth. The glider will be two profiles that will be assembled together by visitors and then they can test fly them by chucking them into the air. The Phlatprinter draws about 3 amps.

String Shooter - cmcnamara (talk)

A fantastic demonstration of both waves and inertia, a string shooter is pretty easy to build and looks pretty badass. With the high ceilings in the exhibition hall, we might be able to go pretty crazy with it! This would use electricity, but likely wouldn't be hooked up to mains, so the amperage is irrelevant here.

Electronics Make and Take - cmcnamara (talk)

I'd like to do something with electronics because I really like electronics! They're also cheap and fun to make, so they can be assembled and then brought home. PS1 has a noisemaker kit that's pretty cute, but I kind of want to do our own thing. They use pliers to twist leads together, I'd like to use scraps of copper tape or similar so that the conductivity is a little more stable.

→ Extra credit suggestion: design a tiny PCB for this and run it through OSHPark. Difficulty: timing and design -Dmitriy V (talk) 14:28, 2 March 2017 (CST)