February Open Make @ The Tech: Flight!


Dale Dougherty moderates the Meet-the-Maker talks

By Bridget Rigby

So many great memories of our last Open Make @ The Tech: Flight! on Saturday, Feb 16.

We had Rick Schertle, avid flight Maker and frequent MAKE Magazine contributor leading his amazing paper rocket activities with museum guests. They got to build, launch indoors, modify their rockets, add some rocket flair, create rocket recovery systems, and then launch again. They also got to see an outdoor launch. These rockets can go up to 300 feet!

Guests also built and launched flying machines in our Ready, Set Fly! workshop. They tinkered with the forces of flight, built many different flying machines, and tested them on our human-powered launcher. Through many iterations of learning, fun, and failure, they discovered their own flight path to success.

We also had Chris Anderson, Former Editor of Wired Magazine, CEO of 3D Robotics, and Founder of DIY Drones and Geekdad, join us (with his very cool flying robot drones!) for our Meet-the-Makers talks, along with Rick Schertle and Team Viper. They were all so engaging as they shared their passions for flight-making.

If you missed the talks, you can watch them here.

These flight Makers shared their innovations, and more importantly — the great personalities and mindsets that relentlessly drive towards those innovations. They shared their successes, and their many failures along the way. That’s the power of the Maker mindset that takes a crashed plane, or plane that gets completely tangled in a tree, and turns that into a new innovation — or even starts a new company, as Chris Anderson did with 3D Robotics!

One of my favorite moments during the talks was when Rick & Chris made the Maker trade on stage between Rick’s amazing rocket glider (another one of his very cool flight innovations) and Chris’ flight controller. I just love the way Makers do business!

Speaking of Maker business, I loved seeing Saphira show up at The Tech, the fire-breathing techno-dragon designed and built by Team Viper during the first year of Young Makers. It was too perfect since we had Team Viper for Meet-the-Makers sharing their project from last year’s Maker Faire – The Viper, a full-motion flight simulator they built into a real plane fuselage. They did an outstanding job for the talks, and shared plans for the next iteration of The Viper for this year’s Faire.

Another Young Makers team purchased Saphira from Team Viper, and they’re adding onto the techno-dragon for their project for this year’s Maker Faire. It’s so cool when one team’s innovation sparks new innovation for others, and spreads like fire. In this case, a fire started by the coolest fire-breathing techno-dragon I’ve ever seen!

I met Saphira when I first met Tony DeRose, co-Founder of Young Makers and his older son Sam DeRose at STEMposium a couple of years ago. Tony and Michelle Hulbinka from Make were good enough to invite me to the Open Make a couple weeks later at the Exploratorium. That’s where I first experienced Open Make, the wonders of the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio, and the amazing feeling of being part of Young Makers.

From that day, I talked with Michelle about when The Tech might get to be the South Bay hub for Young Makers. We’re so happy that day has arrived and are really loving being in the middle of this group of innovative and positive people, and the Maker Movement.

A huge thanks to Dale Dougherty, Founder of MAKE, for playing Maker Moderator for our Meet-the-Maker talks, and Tony DeRose, co-Founder of Young Makers and Pixar Scientist, for leading our Young Makers Plussing Session, both in true Maker and Young Maker style.

After a great day of flight-making, we’re very happy Makers of the South Bay.

We hope you’ll join us for this Saturday’s Make, Open Make @ The Tech: Wearable Tech, where you’ll get to meet more local Makers and tinker with the latest trends in wearable technology!



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