The Maker Faire, It All Began with Make Magazine

This year’s Maker Faire Taipei has just ended, with makers from all walks of life given the opportunity to shine. This was the sixth Maker Faire Taipei since 2012. Were you ever curious who made it possible? Well, the answer is Make Magazine Taiwan and nobody else.

Mother of the Maker Movement

Many readers are themselves professional makers, so they always need up-to-date information. The 2015 movie The Martian was a good example of this. Image via IMDB

Make Magazine published its first issue in the US in 2005 and the following year held its first Maker Faire, which was a global success. Meanwhile, Make Magazine Taiwan is following in the footsteps of the original Make Magazine in promoting maker culture and organizing major offline events in Taiwan.

Make Magazine Taiwan has similar content to its American counterpart, including special topics like 3D printer reviews and guides to development boards. Chief Editor Yuan Yan (顏妤安) told us that most of their readers are professional makers who always need up-to-date information for their projects, which is why development boards and digital manufacturing have always been the two most popular topics.

The editorial board makes adjustments whenever there is a new trend, such as virtual reality. When the movie The Martian was released in 2015, they worked hard to make sure their readers received the latest content.

Sharing stories of local creators

Make Magazine Taiwan puts a lot of effort into translating and proofreading foreign articles, while still managing to provide Taiwan content. Yuan Yan said that for one issue (“生物駭客的瘋狂實驗) they introduced to their readers a Taiwanese popular science comic artist RJ (阿賊). Interdisciplinary topics like this help to attract readers who aren’t makers.

In another issue (“跟著社群玩自造), the editors interviewed a local maker community and featured the Giant King Kong (巨創金剛) made by FabLab Taipei, covering behind the scenes and community power. However, the style of the magazine means that the mixed content—sometimes Taiwanese, sometimes American—can be confusing to some readers.

Many stories lie behind the making of the Giant King Kong. Image via vMaker

Taiwan has a lot of makers, one of which is Our Greenmap (綠點點點點), a maker team located near National Taiwan Normal University who fix home appliances and organizes various neighborhood events. Our Greenmap don’t call themselves makers: they do what they do because they enjoy it. But they’re still doing exactly what makers do, which is why the magazine wrote a feature on them to introduce them to other makers.

Our Greenmap is actually very similar to Repair Cafe (維修咖啡館), a business we have written about previously:

Another interview Yan wished to talk about was the one with Ruiliang Hong (洪瑞良), founder of Perkūnas Studio, who designed the Fangshan Post Office Shrike before he even became famous. In this moving interview, Hong talked about how he managed to find all the materials he needed in the Shinkuchan Shopping District with only very limited information.

Staying upbeat when the novelty wears off

Digital tools like 3D printer have always been highly rated, but recently the focus has been moving from hardware to complex applications. Image via Pixabay

“According to Yan, Ruiliang Hong, like other makers, always tries to find new materials, tools, and information before anyone else. This is the maker spirit: people do it because they truly enjoy what they do, and not for fame or money.”

In her experience as chief editor, Yan has observed that 3D printer and other digital manufacturing tools are not as popular as they once were, but they have always been important. People who really love digital manufacturing are now focusing on complex applications rather than hardware, which is exactly what Make Magazine is doing: learning and making progress together with makers, and putting technology to good use.

Yan said that Make Magazine Taiwan receives a lot of submissions, some from high-school and university students, and many educational institutions Subscribe their magazine. All this support is what will help the magazine move forward and give more people the information they need.

Going forward, Make Magazine will be providing their readers with more trending information so they can achieve the ultimate goal of “manufacturing democracy” for all.



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