The MakerSpace Foundation with support of Derivco hosted the MakerCon festival in Durban this past weekend. MakerCon is a celebration of making and we love learning to make new things, so we wanted to share that love with the world.

One of the many reasons we love it is the maker movement offers a unique opportunity for people to earn a living whilst doing what they love. What’s not to like?

Over this past weekend in Durban, crowds gathered in the trendy Station Drive Precinct to explore technology, upcycling, hand-crafting and positive creativity in a unique exhibition organised by the makers, for the makers. The brief to all of our exhibitors was to create an interactive experience – we didn’t want people to just look at what we do; we wanted to teach them how to do it too.

People of all ages enjoyed the wide range of attractions, from Graffiti classes to DIY synthesiser-building workshops.

3D printing exhibition

Durban got a serious introduction to DIY 3D printing with over 12 3D printers running at the event. Quentin from RepRap Morgan showed off his unique design running on the “big Morgan”, and DIYelectronics showed off their kit-built printer farm. Printrbot’s Henry Lavine was as colourful as ever explaining the intricacies of 3D printing to the many interested visitors and Splinter CNC added some colour to the mix with his DIY design, as well as a CNC pen plotter he built for the show from an old printer he scavenged.

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Merging Technology

Derivco were as polished as ever with their stand, showing off their augmented reality technology and wowing the crowd with their smartphone-controlled robot arms. After a trip from Gauteng with a car full of DIY gadgets, Binary Space impressed with the sheer volume of their exhibit.

Local developer and musician, Toine, showed off his remarkable collection of DIY analogue synthesisers, and taught interested participants how to build their own.

Even architecture got a showing, as local architect and designer Jono James confused and amazed visitors by shaping his laser-cut cardboard retro surfboard at the show. Finally, SAB Kickstart incubatee’s interacted with visitors showing off their product ideas and gaining valuable insight for their startup businesses.

For the kids, Compukids ran workshops throughout the event teaching children how to program games and applications.

Hand crafted

For the less technically inclined, there was a range of hand crafts on display with leathercraft, soap-making and jewellery of all shapes and sizes. Visitors got a crash course in jewellery with traditional silver smithery lessons by Christy-Anne Jewellery, cold casting workshops from be:found jewellery, and bricolage and moulding workshops from local artist and maker Glenn Aidendorff. Chief maker from The MakerSpace, Travis Benschop, patiently taught participants the intricacies of leather craft.

Mary-Rose ran workshops for children, teaching them various hand crafts and making colourful decorations whilst parents enjoyed the show.

Edge

MakerSkate showed off their locally-made laser cut and hand-crafted skateboards in the best possible way by demonstrating them on a skate ramp that they built in the venue for the show. POSCA Pens and Local Graffiti artist Murray gave visitors a hands-on introduction to the art of spray painting and transformed the venue during the course of the show. Next door neighbours That Brew Co. made sure visitors didn’t go home thirsty by supplying their world class craft beer on tap.

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Smart technologies IoT Hackathon

Because organising a two-day maker convention with a limited budget in one month wasn’t enough of a challenge for them, the team from The MakerSpace also hosted an IoT Hackathon that took place from Saturday afternoon. Supplying Arduino-controlled wireless breakout boards and hardware to switch real world appliances on through the internet, participants were able to turn lights and toasters on and off from the internet for just R150.

The Future

MakerCon is a springboard for future Maker events. Together with the South African Maker Collective, they will be hosting the Makers Corner at all national Decorex events.

Engagement and support of visitors to the Durban show was very encouraging and we look forward to expanding the reach of this movement throughout the country.

Big Thanks

MakerCon co-ordinator Paul Basson would like to thank Derivco, Posca pens, Smart technologies, Station Cafe and Studio 031, and to exhibitors who donated their weekend to sharing the love of making.

Steve Gray is the founder of MakerSpace Durban and the organiser of MakerCon 2015 Durban. If you’d like to get involved and support what they do, head on over to their site and put your name down for the next event.