Make It Dayton Festival

Exhibitor Sign Up: Fill out this Form

When: October 5th 2019

Where: Carillon Historical Park

It is Dayton’s own gathering of Makers and Crafters. Here is where we showcase local artists, woodworkers, 3D-printers, rocketeers, alongside makers and crafters of all kinds! If you have a passion for arts, hobbies, and do-it-yourself projects, then you will find that you will love the Make It Dayton Festival. We encourage all people and families to attend. And if you have that maker spirit, we would love for you to sign up and show off your talents.

Tile and Error: Part 2

Last week, I 3D printed a replica of an Arts and Crafts style art tile. At the end of that blog post, I mentioned that I was going to paint the tile and frame it, and report back to you.

That did not happen.

But, it didn’t happen because I changed my mind on how to finish the tile. I decided it would be cool to dye epoxy resin and fill the design in with that, instead. So, for starters, I sprayed the printed tile with some automotive primer.  This was to help smooth out the ridges between the individual layers of plastic, and provide a flat surface to receive the resin.

While waiting for the primer to dry, my wife and I ran out to the craft store to get some resin, since we’ve never worked with it before. And then, I went in search of some knowledge. The resin we bought was clear, and we didn’t buy any dyes, having seen Peter Brown’s series of videos on homemade dye alternatives. They’re quite good, and I very much recommend them. (Side note: I also plan on trying electroforming a print, because that looks like fun too)

Because minimizing the number of things you’re trying to figure out is for suckers

So, we picked some colors, smashed up some sidewalk chalk we had laying around, mixed up a small batch of epoxy resin, combined the chalk and tried pouring it into the tile. Since I didn’t know what to expect, I started with the larger areas of the tile. The results were…a result.

Important science truth: Negative results are still results!

It didn’t look terrible, but it wasn’t the look I was going for. Fortunately, that’s the beauty of having a 3D printer; I can always try again. But, since I clearly hadn’t figured out the best way to approach the dye, I decided to keep using this tile as a test piece. The large flecks of chalk in the resin seemed to indicate that we hadn’t smashed the chalk down fine enough. In the video, Peter used a mortar and pestle, which I didn’t have. So, I went outside, grabbed a garden paver and a rock.

You thought I was joking

Unfortunately, my makeshift mortar and pestle didn’t seem to work as well as I had hoped. I was still getting large flecks of chalk in the resin, though the overall color seemed stronger.

Also, the resin just may have spilled over some of the outlines

To take my ability to grind the chalk out of the equation, we decided on a different dye the video mentioned. Cocoa powder. The setback: I was out of large areas on the tile. So, we bought some pipettes online to use to slowly dole out the resin. This worked pretty well, once we realized the first pipette had a hole in it and switched to a working one. And that’s where things are at today.

I’m pretty happy with the general look of this. Obviously there are some things to fix in the next iteration, but if you decide you want to try this yourself, here’s my current set of take-aways:

  1. The dye powder needs to be pretty finely ground with uniform particles, otherwise it will not incorporate well
  2. Resin runs, but not as much as you think it will
  3. For pours this small, the working time is pretty long
  4. The surface tension of the resin is high enough that you don’t need to prime the tile.

Finally, I did end up breaking down and buying a cheap mortar and pestle online, which arrived about an hour ago. I plan on trying it out soon and then doing a full re-cast of the tile. If anyone out there has any suggestions, let us know on Facebook. I’d love to hear from anyone who has experience with resin or suggestions for changing the print to better support a resin cast.

Dye it

Pour it

Make It Dayton

Tile and Error

In general, I’m a fan of the Arts and Crafts movement style. It’s also got the added bonus of having some similarities to the maker movement: combining the design process with the creation process, ensuring that the things you have are up to your own standard of quality, and appreciating the role of the craftsperson in the design. I’ve got a few books on constructing A&C style furniture (which one day I’ll gather the nerve to attempt), and a fair amount of the decor in my home is A&C. Until I do finally build that Morris chair, I thought being able to create my own art tiles would be a cool challenge. The difficulty being, all I know about working with clay comes from trying to plant a vegetable garden in the soil around here.

Seriously, a major shoutout to anyone who doesn’t just run from clay, screaming

What I do know something about, though, is 3D printing. So, I thought I could print an art tile, paint it to look (marginally) like a ceramic tile, and frame it. To start, I went looking for a reference image. If you’re ever bored, do an image search for Arts and Crafts tiles; there is some really amazing work out there. But, I finally found an image that would suit my needs: looked nice, but simple, since this would be my first attempt at such a thing

Please note, I could not find the original artist for this tile. If you know who it is, please let us know, so we give them credit

With that, I imported the image into FreeCAD (my design software of choice), and tried to work out how to do what I wanted. What I settled on was to draw outlines (in the Sketcher workbench) around the raised edges in the image and extrude the resulting face. And, like all good projects, I figured out a better way to do it after the fact.

FreeCAD will let you import SVG files and do the same extrusion process that I had been using. So, I could have drawn the basic shape (much more easily) in Inkscape, outset it how I needed (still in Inkscape) and then imported it into FreeCAD and used extrude. This would have made it much simpler, as the Sketch process has some limitations in terms of freeform curves, such as the dragonfly wings (it doesn’t seem to like them).

For a more in depth explanation on this process, there are any number of excellent tutorials on YouTube.

And now, the simple part! Printing! I’ve already got my printer set up, and I recently set up OctoPi, so now I can send things to it wirelessly. What could possibly go wrong?

Got a few minutes?

Yeah. As it turns out, my printbed was “somewhat” out of level. A bit like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, actually. Since my printer doesn’t have automatic bed levelling, I had to adjust it by hand, which is…not my favorite job. But, once that was done, the print was on its way (okay, there was 1 more failure, but it was a fluke. Just a second try at printing fixed it.)

And that’s where I’m at, right now. I’m hoping that this week I’ll be able to try and paint it, as well as build a frame to mount it in, so I can report back to you all in the near future. If you’ve got any questions or ideas, let us know on social media.

Design It.

Print It.

Make It Dayton.

Watch out!

Today I want to showcase a homemade watch-winder.  I built this watch-winder for my self-winding watch. (Wait…What?) The self-winding watch is a type of watch that is usually wound through the normal arm motions while wearing it.  Self-winding watches are pretty fancy; generally I don’t wear it day-to-day, and as a result it loses track of time. Which is why I wanted a watch-winder for a self-winding watch. But instead of buying one, I decided to make use of my 3D printer and make one.  I printed the parts, assembled it, and wrote my own software for controlling it.

The watch-winder is not my own design.  I found the design at, which is a website that hosts designs that you can buy.  This particular design cost me less than $2.00, and I figured that was worth it.  What makes it work is the set of concentric rings. The rings provide a couple of degrees of freedom, each degree of freedom allowing rotation around an axis.  A motor is connected to an arm that spins in a circle. At the end of the arm is a bracket which is connected to the innermost ring. As the arm spins, the rings “wobble” in just the right motion to wind the watch. It’s a neat design and fun to watch. 

Which is the key to intergalactic travel and which is the watch winder?

The design also includes a base, which hides the electronics and motor.  I did need to modify the base design slightly, because I wanted the power to come through a proper power jack, rather than through some dangling wires. This Jupyter Notebook captures the steps I took to modify the base.  I used my 3D printer and PLA plastic to print model.

All of the electronic components were purchased from Adafruit.  I bought an ESP8266 microcontroller, a stepper motor, a stepper motor driver board, a power push button, power jack, and power supply. Before soldering the wires to the jack and push-button, I had to mount those parts to the base.  After they were mounted I could solder the wires. The board required soldering headers to connect the stepper driver board to the ESP8266 board.

To assemble the model I used a variety of on hand m3 screws, m3 hex nuts, and thin m3 square nuts.  Assembling the model was frustrating at times. The hole for the push button was a bit too small, making it difficult to insert the push-button. The nut traps, holes for the square nuts, were poorly designed. The nuts were difficult to insert and align with the screws.  The original model could use a few more design iterations, in my humble opinion. Despite the issues, assembling the model is pretty straightforward. Before closing off the base, I programmed the ESP8266.

Pictured: Me considering a redesign

The ESP8266 is a wireless capable microcontroller. It can be configured with an Arduino Integrated Development Environment to run the standard Arduino software framework. Using this framework opens a set of software libraries that considerably eased development.  I chose to use PlatformIO IDE instead of the Arduino IDE. PlatformIO provides the same Arduino framework, but in a development environment that I prefer. My code can be found on GitHub.

This was a fun and comprehensive project. I enjoyed building this watch-winder, and I believe it’s something you can do too.

Print It. Solder It. Code It.

Make It Dayton.

Life After Make:

Earlier this week, Maker Media announced it was suspending operations, and let go of all its employees. For the full announcement, see the TechCrunch article here.

In the 3 days since Josh Constine posted his article on TechCrunch, social media has been exploding with well wishes and happy #MakerFaire memories from Makers around the world.  MATRIX Labs (@MATRIX_creator) has even launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and bolster the Make: brand.

So, where does this leave the maker movement? Make: was (and may still be, if they can get back on a sound financial footing) one of the great centralizers of the Maker movement. They pushed for Maker education, and brought the idea of do-it-together to the forefront. Without that force, can we continue calling ourselves a movement?

Personally, and probably unsurprisingly, I think so. Making is an idea whose time has come; the desire to learn new things, shape the world with your own ideas and your own hands, and to revel in the joy of creating. And, speaking for the festival producers here in Dayton, that joy is something we want to spread.

I liken Make:’s troubles to early aviation (because, you know, Dayton). The fledgling field of aviation kept moving forward after Wilbur Wright died in 1912, because aviation was an important, world-changing idea. So too, the Maker Movement will not fail just because one of the leading voices of that movement has left us.

While Make: brought a bright spotlight to the Maker Movement, it did not create it. This movement even has roots all the way back to the Barn Gang here in Dayton.  Makers, inventors, artists and creators of all types find encouragement and inspiration by gathering together, and that will not change. Sharing our ideas, our passion projects and our love of making with each other and the greater community is important, and potentially as world-changing as aviation ever was.

So, for now, the community as a whole, and I personally will mourn Make: and Maker Media. But we won’t stop creating and sharing, because that was the point; we can carry the movement forward by doing-it-together.

In that spirit, Make It Dayton will still be hosting a 1-day celebration of making in the Miami Valley, called the Make It Dayton Festival this October.  For more details, visit


You may have noticed that last summer we started a social media campaign #wheredaytonismade, in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Dayton Mini Maker Faire.  This hashtag is meant to inspire makers across our region and beyond to look at the legacy of making we have in Dayton, but also to look towards our future as a leader in the maker movement.  It wasn’t that long ago that Mayor Nan Whaley signed the national Maker City Pledge, officially pronouncing that the City of Dayton is committed to engaging our region in the Maker Movement to stimulate our citizens to become inventors and tinkerers and to learn new skills and explore new technologies and arts.  Why would a city government care about that? Well, because some inventors and tinkerers will go on to create new businesses and products that create new jobs.  Those learners who want to adopt new technologies and make things with their own two hands? Those are the same people who make excellent employees for those new maker businesses, especially in manufacturing.

Dayton gained fame in the last century as a hub of invention and manufacturing, leading the world in patents and advancing some of the most exciting technologies of the era.  The Wrights, Kettering, Deeds – these are the giants whose shoulders we stand on as makers here in Dayton. #wheredaytonismade is about recognizing the new efforts in and around our city to create a generation of makers that leads Dayton into the next century.

Know someone who is an exceptional Maker?  Want to recognize their achievements and work in our community?  Tag them with #wheredaytonismade and then email and we may write a blog post about them!  Plus, encourage them to sign up to exhibit at the Dayton Mini Maker Faire this August.

#wheredaytonismade #makeitdayton

Dayton to be Regional Host for 2018 Maker Faire Producers Summit

I’m not shy about self-identifying as a maker, so inevitably I get asked the question “what do you make?”  And inevitably, I list Maker Faire as one of the things I make.  I’m the RepRap of makers – a maker that makes Maker Faires to make more makers.  Makers.

As one of the founders of the Dayton Mini Maker Faire, I’ve become part of the network of makers that plan and produce other Mini Maker Faires across the world.  Every year, Make Magazine, the originators of the Maker Faire concept, host a world-wide summit for Maker Faire producers.  In past years, the Maker Faire Producers Summit has been held in the Bay Area or other single locations around the world.  This year, the Summit is being held online and Make asked if some Mini Maker Faire teams would be willing to host viewing parties for their regions.  Guess what? Dayton was selected to be a regional host for the Maker Faire Producers Summit for 2018!

So what does that mean for Dayton?  It means that producers of other Maker Faires from across the Midwest will be converging on Dayton, Ohio on March 3 to meet face to face and participate in the global online summit together.  It means that we’ll have the opportunity to learn about other cities and their Faires, and possibly form some collaborations to bring the best of the Midwest to our 2018 event.  It also means we get to share what makes Dayton unique with the rest of the world.

Are you interested in learning more about what it takes to produce the Dayton Mini Maker Faire? Thinking about joining our producers team? Or are you the producer of another Maker Faire in the midwest?  If so, send an email to for Summit registration info and to connect with the Dayton team.

A Journey of Maker Discovery

Make It Dayton has, to date, been a loose gathering of local Makers who banded together to bring Dayton the 2015 and 2016 Maker Fest and the 2016, 2017 and soon 2018 Dayton Mini Maker Faire.  Through these events, we’ve built relationships with numerous makerspaces, maker clubs, startups, libraries, schools and other groups who are interested in growing the Maker Movement in and around Dayton.  Lately, we’ve been thinking – if we’ve managed to bring together 85+ exhibits and 3000+ attendees for the Dayton Mini Maker Faire, and if we now have this growing network of makers, what is next?  How can we make Make It Dayton a force for good in our community?

The answer is – we’re not sure!  But, we’ve recently sent out a survey to the “brain trust” that we’ve pulled together over the last few years and are starting to form the answer.  Make It Dayton will be undergoing some changes and growing pains in 2018 as we redefine what we are outside of just the Maker Faire planning committee.  If you are interested in coming along on this journey of maker discovery with us, here are a few things you can do:

  • Subscribe to this blog so you are in the loop for all the latest updates
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @makeitdayton
  • Join our mailing list by filling out the Contact Us form
  • Volunteer to help us figure it all out by filling out the Contact Us form
  • Let us know what you think Make It Dayton should be! Guess how? That’s right, fill out the Contact Us form!

We plan on starting to hold regular meetings in the coming months, and we’ll be posting that information here as well as social media.  We hope to see you there.

Maker Fest 2016

*Editors Note: This is historical content that is being relocated to the blog section of the website so that our Events page can be updated to reflect current activities for Make It Dayton.

Maker Fest 2016
The second annual Maker Fest was a resounding success! A bit early for Pi Day (3/12/16), we had 24 exhibitors, 8 presentations and over 600 attendees (not to mention 3 food trucks). It was a ton of fun and a great lead in to Dayton’s first Mini Maker Faire in July at Carillon Historical Park. If you want to see the presentations, check out our YouTube channel.

For pictures of the event, check out:

MCM Electronic’s wrap up blog post:

AFRL Maker Fest

On Super Pi Day (3/14/15), the first ever AFRL Maker Fest was held at Tec^Edge.  We had over 500 attendees, several discussion panels and exhibitors from all over the Dayton Area. Make It Dayton is working on next year’s event and looking forward to an even larger turnout!

Here are some pictures of the event:

By the Wright Brothers Institute

and by MCM Electronics

Wrapping up 2016 and Gearing up for 2017

After the 2016 Dayton Mini Maker Faire, the Make It Dayton team took a long, deserved break – mostly so we could spend a little time getting back to our own maker projects! We had a fantastic first year for our Maker Faire on July 16, with over 2500 attendees and more than 50 exhibits and hands-on activities scattered across Carillon Historical Park. Now that we’re all rested and refreshed, we’re gearing up for the 2017 Dayton Mini Maker Faire.

This year, the Dayton Mini Maker Faire is expanding to a 2 day event, August 5-6 2017. We’ll be launching our Call for Makers this January, so keep an eye out for our newly revised and simplified application form. This year we are focusing on adding classes, speakers and more hands-on workshops to the event. We are working on bringing in a 2-day HAM radio certification course, and a very big name speaker and author who has been featured in Make: Magazine.

You can learn more about all our new ideas for the 2017 Dayton Mini Maker Faire this weekend, November 5-6 from 12-5pm, at the Dayton Mall Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire. We’ll be one of the featured exhibits along with Dayton Diode, STEAMWorks Labs, Proto Buildbar and Boro Moms & Beyond. Get an up-close look at the winning go-cart from the Boneyard Build-Off, check out some cool EL wire, HAM radio and electronics projects, and see some 3D printed stuff at our table. We are excited to be partnering with Barnes & Noble for 2017, and look for their pop-up shop at Carillon Park during the Dayton Mini Maker Faire August 5-6.

If you can’t make it to the Barnes & Noble event this weekend, mark your calendars because Make It Dayton will also be at the Science Festival during Super Science Saturday at the Boonshoft Museum, November 19 from 10am-4pm.

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to get involved with Make It Dayton, or want to volunteer at the Dayton Mini Maker Faire this summer, be sure to follow @makeitdayton on Facebook and Twitter, and join our Meetup group at We have been holding casual meetups at local coffee shops called Maker Mornings. We have them every few weeks on Saturday mornings, and we try to rotate locations around town. You can also reach us at We are looking for people interested in being part of the planning committee, but also for our street team that hangs flyers around town and for our day-of Maker Faire set-up, tear-down and event teams. These are all great opportunities for high school or college students, boy and girl scouts, or other youth groups looking to record some volunteer hours supporting Dayton History, the non-profit that runs Carillon Historical Park.

We hope you’re getting excited about next summer’s Dayton Mini Maker Faire! We can’t wait! For all the latest news and announcements, be sure to subscribe to this blog as well as follow @makeitdayton and @makerfaireDAY on Facebook and Twitter.