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At MAKE, our engineering interns (and occasionally others) test-build almost all of the projects that we publish in the magazine. This adds a lot to the articles– we verify that they work (or don’t), learn how to explain them better, nail down good sources and specs for the materials, and shoot more photos and video. It also gives us ready-built projects for demonstration, experimentation, and random fun.
So far, so good. But by reading this post, you are witnessing the launch of the next phase in our unceasing efforts to increase the proportion of Quality in the universe: the MAKE Beta Team.
Beta Team members are makers at-large who do pre-publication test-builds of our projects at the same time that we do them internally at the world-renowned Make: Labs. The idea is, we can make our projects even better by listening to and working with test-builders both inside and outside of MAKE.
We also hook up Beta Team members with new kits, tools, and other stuff that companies want us to test and review (sometimes before these things come on the market). If you’re interested in something, you get it free and just have to write a short, hands-on review– 1-2 paragraphs, or more if you feel inspired.
As a Beta Team member, your mission (should you choose to accept it) will be to:
- Build a project, from instructions that already look complete, using materials that we will send to you — we will send you everything, except for tools that you already have
- Let us know if anything doesn’t work or isn’t explained clearly
- Share any other ideas you have related the project
- Show off to friends, family, neighbors, and strangers, and see what they think (extra credit)
During the process, you’ll correspond with a great group of people including (but not limited to) MAKE authors, engineering interns, editors, and designers. Meanwhile, the projects you build will be yours to have, hold, and hack forever. Also, we’ll throw in:
- A year’s subscription to MAKE magazine
- Weekend-pass tickets to the Maker Faire of your choice
- The coveted MAKE Beta Team t-shirt
What a deal!
If this sounds like something you might enjoy, please fill out an application here.
When I attended my first Maker Faire Bay Area in 2010, one thing I was especially impressed by was the level to which makers took their booth designs. Taking into consideration signage, traffic flow, points and levels of interactivity, and supporting material, it was like the science fair & craft market of my dreams! Featuring everything from plastic crafts and hand-forged metal tools to robot guts and even a zine library, how a booth was designed largely dictated its level of interaction and subsequent success.
So for the current Road to Maker Faire Challenge, presented by Esurance, one of the criteria makers are being asked to consider is their booth design. There’s definitely some synergy in the air around this topic too, as the folks running the Seattle Mini Maker Faire recently conducted a public seminar to assist makers with booth design. Some really good points they raised include:
- Show things in process.
- Show the broken parts & failed experiments.
- Show the tools!
- Try and engage all audiences – from Young Makers to adults – with the same materials.
- And lastly consider how people will flow through your space.
Another great tip they give for inexperienced booth makers is to do trial runs at home. It’s only tables and chairs really – the rest is up to you! Layout a booth at home, look at it, and break it down. Wait a week and try putting it up again. See if anything has changed or should be changed. Sometimes a sign or a hands-on project is all it takes for your booth to be a success!
How to Design Your Maker Faire Booth