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Arts and Culture

Solar Coffee And Mechanical Squids: Reno’s Mini Maker Faire

Maker Craig Bergland uses solar ovens to cook items like potatoes, yams, and corn.
Natalie Van Hoozer
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More than 70 inventors displayed their unique products over the weekend at Reno’s Mini Maker Faire. 

Solar-roasted coffee and a mechanical squid are just two of the products that were displayed in Idlewild Park. It’s the first year that the Mini Maker Faire has joined forces with Artown.  

This lamp holds coffee beans, which are being roasted by reflection of sunlight from a dish of mirrors.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
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This lamp holds coffee beans, which are being roasted by reflection of sunlight from a dish of mirrors.

“It’s part science fair, part county fair, part something entirely new,” said the fair’s executive producer, Chrissy Klenke. “It’s a unique event that celebrates the DIY culture. If you think about it, everyone is a maker in one way shape or form.”

Ice sculptor Cal Gonzales created a “lava lamp,” which chills liquid as it is poured through the ice.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
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Ice sculptor Cal Gonzales created a “lava lamp,” which chills liquid as it is poured through the ice.

Maker fairs are events where local inventors and tinkerers can share what they’ve created, as well as show other people how to make products for themselves.

A pineapple carved out of ice takes shape in the hands of ice sculptor Cal Gonzales.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
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A pineapple carved out of ice takes shape in the hands of ice sculptor Cal Gonzales.

Inventor Eric Bradford was at the event. By paying monthly dues, he has access to a maker space, where he can use a variety of expensive tools which help him create his products.

“Sometimes you also want to build stuff as part of business development,” Bradford said. “So you try stuff out, you build it real easily, it’s an inexpensive way to do a lot of prototyping real quickly.”

For sculptor Barry Crawford, who created the mechanical squid, being a maker goes beyond simply putting parts together.

“There may be something hidden inside your brain that nobody else is going to have,” he said. “If you don’t put it out there, you know, it may be gone forever.”

The arms of this mechanical squid move when participants turn handles on the outside of the sculpture.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
/
The arms of this mechanical squid move when participants turn handles on the outside of the sculpture.

There is another Mini Maker Faire planned for next summer.

The third annual Reno Mini Maker Faire in Idlewild Park.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer
/
The third annual Reno Mini Maker Faire in Idlewild Park.

As a note of disclosure, KUNR is a media sponsor of Artown.

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