I'm the volunteer coordinator of the Providence Mini Maker Faire. This Faire is sponsored by the City of Providence as part of PVDFEST, and produced through AS220, a non-profit, unjuried, uncensored, all-ages center for the arts in Providence. The PVD Mini Maker Faire is free to attend, and it is free for makers to exhibit at.
Although the Mini Maker Faire has a budget from the City of Providence, there are some costs I incur as the volunteer coordinator. While not all of them are strictly necessary to make a Faire happen, they make it so much better.
For example, I have been making 3D-printed and CNC'd maker badges to act as collectible exhibitor credentials for the exhibitors, sponsors, and volunteers. Last year, I introduced a new exhibitor badge design that is also a fidget spinner:
To make these, I need to purchase supplies (3D printer filament, HDPE sheets, bearings) and also cover the cost of maintaining and upgrading the machines I use to make the badges. This Kickstarter campaign makes this (and so much more!) possible.
This year, we're adding a new backer award to the mix: a lapel pin that commemorates one of the greatest achievements of the steam age, George Henry Corliss' Centennial Engine, a massive (1,400 horsepower) steam engine that powered the Machinery Hall (and more) at the Centennial Exposition in 1876. Corliss was a Providence-based engineer whose improvements to steam engine design revolutionized steam power around the world.
I began with an illustration I found of the engine, imported it into Fusion 360, and traced a sketch over it. I extruded the sketch, and added a slot with tabs to snap in a post and clutch assembly:
In addition to allowing me to add some nice touches to the makers' experience at the Faire, this Kickstarter campaign will help me defray some other costs and to keep the overall budget under control: this includes tents, signs, and miscellaneous show supplies as well as a couple of nights' stay in Providence. This gives me an extra couple hours each day to work on the show; time is infinitely precious with an event like this (more so since we are, for the first time, keeping the Faire open for two days this year).
All the makers, volunteers, and sponsors will receive these collectible credentials, and you can, too, by backing this campaign and choosing one of them as your reward.
Risks and challenges
The challenges of the Faire are numerous. Our biggest challenge would come from the weather. Because we are holding the event outdoors, a bad storm could cause us to postpone the Faire until we are able to find a good time to hold it later in the year.
The hardest part of putting on this event is making everything come together over the course of day: we have setup early in the morning, the event itself, and breakdown/load-out. Because we're a small team, a forgotten extension cord or lamp can cause us to lose a key person's time for an hour or more. We address this by making lists, checking them twice, and bringing extra things (because stuff breaks, too).
The other obstacle is making sure we have the right makers to exhibit and create engaging experiences. Without a set of compelling exhibitors, we'd have a pretty boring event. Fortunately, the team members have wide and complementary networks of friends and collaborators to draw on, and we've already got over 30 makers committed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)