Lisbon Mini Maker Faire – part II

This is the second post regarding Lisbon Mini Maker Faire. In case you haven’t read part I, click here.

Lisbon Mini Maker Faire – Day 1

After an almost sleepless night working on the projects and filling a storage box with all the components and tools that could be necessary, at 7AM we started the hard task of trying to fit all the projects inside the car trunks. A few minutes later and there were two full cars on their way to Lisbon (some of the eLab Hackerspace members went later). A two-way radio in each car helped Hugo Santos making sure that no one would fall asleep. At the same time he, who was in the car in the front, tried to offer some cookies to people on the second car by throwing them from the window, which, of course, didn’t work at all.

A coffee and a few hours later and we were finally arriving at Pavilhão do Conhecimento and making the check in at the faire. We were given some cool Welcome Kits, which contained a Lisbon Mini Maker Faire T-shirt, a small LED flashlight, a measuring tape, some business cards and a DIY Arduino kit Lisbon Mini Maker Faire special edition, sponsored by Then it was time to take all the projects to the exhibition tables and finish whatever needed to be finished.

Lisbon Mini Maker Faire

The TheMaker3 CNC still needed the LinuxCNC problem to be solved and I also had some problems to solve in the HacKeyboard PCB. Since Fred Zabel and Nelson Neves have far more experience than me with Linux, I went to solve the HacKeyboard PCB while they tackled the LinuxCNC problem. One hour and a half later the only axis that had the driver assembled was finally moving! (Thanks Fred! Thanks Nelson!). I don’t recall the exact problem but I think it was some Linux module that wasn’t being loaded for that specific kernel version and Machine Kit had to be recompiled from source.. something like that. Having the LinuxCNC problem solved, there was still time to wire another motor driver, pack everything, have dinner and finally have some deserved sleep.

TheMaker3 CNC

Lisbon Mini Maker Faire – Day 2

The next day started with an early wake up to go back to Pavilhão do Conhecimento to prepare everything for the opening of the fair to the public. After having all the exhibition tables ready I wired the last motor driver of the TheMaker3 CNC and the three axis were finally fully operational and ready for some demos 🙂 .

TheMaker3 CNCTheMaker3 CNC

I thought that I would still be able to program the MiRo controller board but I was wrong… the number of visitors kept increasing e there wasn’t time for anything else other than doing some demos and answer the questions that the visitors made. When I visited Synshop, the Las Vegas Hackerspace, they told me that it was going to be like that… they weren’t kidding…

At 12:00AM eLab Hackerspace members Hugo Santos and João Duarte went to give a workshop on how to use KiCAD 🙂

eLab Hackerspace Kicad Workshop

During the day I realized that taking the disassembled HacKeyboard to the faire was actually better than if it was assembled. That way the visitors were able to see the inside of the keyboard and how it works.


The feedback from the visitors was very positive and it was very interesting to hear the suggestions that they made. Out of the four projects that I took to the Lisbon Mini Maker Faire, the Infante robots project was, by far, the one that attracted more people. The robots didn’t stop during the whole day. 🙂 The younger visitors of the faire would gather up around the table eager to try programming them and sometimes their parents were actually the ones playing with the robots 🙂 .

Infante Robots

When I finally had some time to stop for a moment I realized that the day had passed and I didn’t had time to see the other projects being exhibited at the faire. In the next day I would have to take at least 20 minutes to see the other projects 🙂 .

Lisbon Mini Maker Faire – Day 3

The third day started with a repetition of the previous one: demos and answering the visitors questions 🙂 . However, I managed to take some time to see the other amazing projects being exhibited at Lisbon Mini Maker Faire. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see them all in detail as I would like but at least I took pictures from most of them to see at home with more attention 🙂 . After seeing the other projects, I went back to my exhibition tables and stayed there until the packing time. In the middle of the afternoon the number of visitors started decreasing and finally it was time for the closing and awards session. Then, it was time to play the game of fitting all the projects in the car trunks again, have dinner and come back to Algarve.

MiRo Robot


During the Maker Faire, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with some of the recently (back then) created Hack’Aveiro group, all of them amazing active makers that, without any doubts, have the Maker spirit and motivation do spread the Maker culture in the north of Portugal and execute great projects. If you’re reading this and live in near Aveiro, get in touch with them 😉 They have weekly meetings and are usually very active in the G+ community Hack’Aveiro – Makers, Hackers e Artistas em Aveiro. Join them, contribute, share, etc. 🙂 I’m sure we’ll all see great projects made in Hack’Aveiro 🙂


Tesla Coil

Tesla Coil

The Tesla Coil made by João Duarte, one of the co-founders of eLab Hackerspace, was, without any doubts, one of the projects that stood out at the Lisbon Mini Maker Faire. Every time the Tesla Coil was turned on everyone’s heads would turn to look at it. Both the visitors and the Makers were fascinated with the visual effect caused by the high voltage electrical discharges. Whenever the Tesla Coil was on, part of the Maker Faire would just stop… and in that part I include the BeagleBone Black of my TheMaker3 CNC that would simply crash due to noise coming from the power supply generated by the Tesla Coil, even though it wasn’t nowhere near the CNC 🙂 . Another part of the Tesla Coil demos that fascinated visitors was the fact that we could light up incandescent tube lamps when they were near the Tesla Coil.

Tesla Coil

Lourenço Medeiros, the journalist of the Futuro Hoje TV Show from SIC, decided to include the Tesla Coil in his show and ended up experimenting what a high voltage electrical feels like! While he was speaking to the camera he became distracted and got his tube lamp too close to the Tesla Coil while holding the opposing metallic terminal. If you look at the video below at 07:52 he slightly bends his knees and gets a big smile on his face and you hear a small noise coming from the microphone. That’s when he felt it! 🙂

To all of you who are eager to know more about all the theory, calculus and build process of the Tesla Coil, you can look at this amazing post that João made in his personal blog, where everything is documented in a very extensive and clear way. Detailed quality documentation is just something that João does amazingly well for every project that he does.

Other interesting projects

Although all of the projects exhibit at the Maker Faire wer very interesting, I will just list some that I especially liked:

– YARR big 3D printer from Maurício Martins, founder of Leds&Chips – it could print very big parts. The ones they had for demonstration looked quite nice and robust.

Yet Another RepRap

– Zeca Robot – simply an amazingly detailed robotics work.

Zeca Robot

-MFF (MultiFunction Fabricator) – a very interesting concept for compact fabrication.

MultiFunction Fabricator

– Full Metal Racer – an extremely entertaining game where you could drive a small vehicle using FPV (First Person View).

Full Metal Racer

-DiffTryke – a very cool differential tryke. Too bad that I didn’t have time to try it :\


– Voind Robot – Robot to control analog equipment remotely

Voind Robot


The Lisbon Mini Maker Faire ended with an awards ceremony, offered by Several projects were awarded and one of them was the Tesla Coil built by João Duarte (Congratz João! 😀 ). Unexpectedly, I was also called to receive an award for my efforts as a curator, spreading the word about the event and for being responsible for the presence of many projects at the faire. A big “Thank You” for the consideration to who thought that I was worthy of such award 🙂 It was a huge pleasure to be part of the curators team e and the only thing I regret was for not being able to help even more in the organization 🙂 The prize comprised a pack of Arduinos (Uno, Due, Yun) offered by (Thanks Filipe!) which certainly will be very useful in future projects and a “Friend of Science” card from Pavilhão do Conhecimento 🙂 .

Lisbon Mini Maker Faire Prize

Final words about the faire

I think that Lisbon Mini Maker Faire was a huge success which was not “Mini” at all. As referred by several people, the only thing related to the event that wasn’t perfect was the “Mini” in the name 🙂 Portugal is a country with a lot of Makers with excellent technical and creative skills and the proof of it was the submission of over 100 projects in the first edition of the event in Portugal. The public was also very interested in the event: more than 12000 entries were registered at the Lisbon Mini Maker Faire. As final words on this post, I will now list some things that were specially enjoyable and thank some people:

  • It was a pleasure to meed and talk with a lot of portuguese Makers that I already knew online and started to know offline. I just regret that the circunstances of the event didn’t allow us to chat for some more time but I’m sure that other opportunities will come 🙂
  • A big “Congratulations” and a big “Thank You” to all the organizers of Lisbon Mini Maker Faire (SAPO, Pavilhão do Conhecimento and curators teams) who did an astonishing work. Everything was perfect, very well organized! Well done! 🙂
  • A big “Thank You” to all the members of eLab Hackerspace that contributed to the evolution of the Maker community in Algarve and allowed us to have a strong presence at the Lisbon Mini Maker Faire. It was also funny and rewarding to see the visitors surprised for seeing so many people with a black t-shirt saying “eLab Hackerspace – Faro” 🙂 I hope that we will be even more next year and with more and better projects. Sometimes people say that “our only limit is our imagination” but when working with people like you the only limit is the available time since imagination and technical skills to create new projects will never be missing 🙂 Congratulations for all the projects that you took to Lisbon Mini Maker Faire and for the work that you have been doing at eLab Hackerspace that is not seen by everyone else 🙂 ;
  • Thank you to all the sponsors of the event for supporting the Lisbon Mini Maker Faire and thus, the Maker community in Portugal.
  • Congratulations to all the Makers that attended Lisbon Mini Maker Faire for building all those amazing projects and being able to share your knowledge with everyone. I’m sure Lisbon Mini Maker Faire wouldn’t be the same without you.
  • A big “Thank You” to Celso Martinho for taking the lead in organizing a Mini Maker Faire for the first time in Portugal, making the dreams of many Makers come true and for giving me the opportunity of be a part of Lisbon Mini Maker Faire curators team.
See you all next year!

See you all next year!

When’s the next one? 🙂

All the photos that don’t have the The Bit Bang Theory logo were “stolen” from the Lisbon Mini Maker Faire photo repository and were taken either by João Nogueira, Pavilhão do Conhecimento or SAPO.

Click here to read Lisbon Mini Maker Faire – part III (photo gallery and videos)

 Did you find this post helpful? Do you wish to contribute to other projects regarding computer science, electronics, robotics or mechatronics that will be posted in this blog? If you wish to do so, you can donate via paypal using the button below. Thanks! 🙂