At Work & In The Field

STEM In The Community

Meet Your Local “Makers”

Professor Otto Wackenhammer (a.k.a. Joe Bondaryk) is an inventor and creator who builds Steampunk” games—set in a retro-futuristic steam-powered world—for his arcade in Hyannis.

Beth and Todd Marcus are avid home brewers who have turned their hobby into a thriving business, Cape Cod Beer. What they have in common is this: they are “makers.”

Makers are do-it-yourselfers, striving to be active creators rather than passive consumers. This is modern D.I.Y., re-energized by the collaborative ethos of open-source learning and by the availability of powerful digital design and fabrication tools such as 3D printers and CNC machines.

The maker movement is a community of inventors, designers, engineers, artists, programmers, tinkerers, and craftsmen. It is a movement that embraces the most important ideals of STEM: innovation, problem-solving, and engagement.

A growing group of makers is working to promote the maker culture on Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Makers hold meetups, give classes, and share resources and space. Last spring, WCAI described the movement as a perfect fit for the Cape, since this has long been a place where creative people come to make art and explore ideas.

The movement has inspired the creation of “makerspaces” all around the world. These are something like community workshops where makers can work, collaborate, and invent.

Cape Cod Community College Mathematics Professor Mary Sullivan, one of the directors of the Cape Cod Makers, recently visited the Artisans Asylum, a makerspace in Somerville, Massachusetts. Imagine, she says, 40,000 square feet of space, abuzz with people collaborating, active classes, and individuals and groups working on projects ranging from welding, to 3D printed jewelry, to a huge robotic spider-like hexapod, to PVC pipe didgeridoos. She left convinced, “the Cape should have on of these!”

Although our local makers do not yet have their own makerspace, they are busy planning their second annual gathering, the Cape Cod Maker Faire, hosted by Cape Cod Community College.

The Faire is a family-friendly event celebrating local makers’ inventions and projects spanning arts, crafts, technology, education, science, engineering, food, sustainability, and more. Last year over 40 local makers of all ages showcased their works, and more than 800 people from the surrounding community turned out to see it all.

This year, the Faire will be held at Cape Cod Community College on May 30, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Come explore your creative side, experiment, have fun, and be inspired. We’ll see you there.

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