People in the Las Vegas Valley maker community are often too busy working on their projects to notice that there are others in the area who are engaged in similar efforts and can lend a hand, according to members of a local hackerspace called the SYN Shop.
That's one of the reasons why they are planning the Las Vegas Mini Maker Faire from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Henderson Convention Center, 200 S. Water St.
"They've got their little niches and just don't realize there are others with similar interests," said Yvonne Houy, a SYN Shop member who is helping organize the family-friendly event. "I think the maker faire kind of brings people together and is like a cross-pollination of ideas."
The SYN Shop recently relocated to 1075 American Pacific, Suite C, from 117 N. Fourth St. in downtown Las Vegas. The new site offers about 5,100 square feet, up from about 2,500 square feet at the former location, said Bill Tomiyasu, a shop member who also is helping organize the fair.
Tomiyasu said collaboration is vital for those interested in innovating new devices and products or modifying existing ones in the fields of technology, machining, science and even art.
"The reason we do maker fairs is because, if you're someone who makes stuff, and you have no place to show it off, you lose interest in the project," he said. "You're not getting any feedback or positive reinforcement for it."
Makers also can find such support at the SYN Shop, where members can swap ideas and seek guidance from those who are more experienced, Tomiyasu said.
"We want to get people who are making stuff in their garages to come down and show us what they know," he said.
The fair is set to feature between 50 to 70 local makers and companies showcasing projects and products ranging from robotics to photography and sculptures. Musicians, dancers, filmmakers and martial arts students are slated to offer entertainment, and food trucks will be available. Activities also are planned for children.
About 800 to 1,000 people are expected to attend.
"A lot of it is kid-friendly," Houy said. "There will be a whole section for youth activities of various sorts. There will be a lot of showcasing for things that kids have created. We'd like to see more schools or youth organizations getting involved."
Tomiyasu said the SYN Shop puts an emphasis on exposing valley children to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which is the focus of STEAM education in schools.
"We're dedicated to education in general in the public, but we like to inspire the next generation, as well," he said.
The SYN Shop is looking for more sponsors, volunteers and makers to take part in the Mini Maker Faire. Tickets are $8 for children and $10 for adults. There is no registration fee for makers, and vendors pay $100.
SYN Shop hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday and 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday. It also regularly lists events at meetup.com/synshop.