Make innovation a Labor Day tradition at the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire! This family-friendly showcase is part science fair, part county fair, part food-truck festival, part something entirely new.

Join us on Monday, September 7, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm for an inspiring day featuring:

  • Exhibitors from across the state
  • Local food trucks
  • Live music
  • Hands-on workshops for all ages


From bicycle-mounted bottle openers and fashion designs to robots that can throw a ball and mine real Moon dirt, the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire showcases a variety of Iowa innovations. Though our exhibitors’ interests and skills vary dramatically, they’re all committed to developing Iowa’s innovation ecosystem:

  • Area 515: See electric cars, 3-D printed objects and a DIY piano, presented by Des Moines’ non-profit community of Makers, tinkerers, artists and hobbyists.
  • CLenz Designs: Learn about the fashion-design process from sketches to the runway with local designer Cody Ritz. See a variety of patterns, fabrics and finished designs.
  • Cloud9 Robotics: You’ll have the chance to control a robot with Roosevelt High School’s competition robotics team.
  • Code Iowa: This innovative program teaches children how to code through mentorship and hands-on learning.
  • Delta Cartesian Hybrid Printer: This homemade 3-D printer is built from scrap parts using a unique motion system. Learn how to build one yourself for under $50.
  • Des Moines Drone User Group: See DM DUG’s drones zip and zoom through the air in live flight demos, and learn about the important role aerial robotics plays in agriculture, entrepreneurship and recreation.
  • DICE Robotics: Bring LEGO to life with Ankeny High School’s competition robotics team. Discover engineering, programming and teamwork with LEGO Mindstorms robots.
  • DMACC STEM: Learn about the science, technology, engineering and math programs offered at Des Moines Area Community College.
  • Dog Hat Lab: Meet a local artist who creates custom hats for your furry friends. See a cute dog modeling a homemade spacesuit and more.
  • Dream Studios: Experience the galactic side of graffiti. This local artist creates space-inspired pieces using spray paint and other household materials.
  • Electric Dream Machine: Transform almost any car into an eco-friendly ride with Electric Dream Machine.
  • Elevate Iowa and Vermeer: See welders in action from Elevate Iowa and Vermeer, and learn how you can get involved with this growing STEM field.
  • Fontenelle Supply Co.: See handcrafted leather goods and fashions, including wallets, belts and more.
  • FRC Team 4646 ASAP: Meet The Duke, the 2015 robot created by Des Moines high school students. See The Duke stack cans, pool noodles and more.
  • FRC Team Neutrino: Play catch with a robot, thanks to Team Neutrino from Ames. These competition bots can toss a giant ball across SCI’s Founders Hall, and they’ll even throw it right to you. Learn more about First Robotics League and Team Neutrino’s competition bots in three presentations at 9:30 am, 12:00 pm and 2:30 pm.
  • Geodesic Balloon Dome: Help local balloon artist Brian Becicka build a giant geodesic balloon dome throughout the day, and see him assemble a 10-foot-tall balloon bucky ball.
  • Henna Tattoos: It’s the ultimate innovative accessory. Get a custom Henna tattoo from a local artist.
  • Home Automation: Learn how you can switch lights on and off with your iPhone or Android device.
  • Human Foosball: Take the beloved game to the next level with Human Foosball YOU can play! Grab a group of friends, and work together to win the big match. The Des Moines Velociraptors, a local co-ed soccer team, will show off their skills and demonstrate this fast-paced exhibit.
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources: These “stained-glass” displays catch light in an eco-friendly way! Made entirely from recycled bottles, each piece features a vibrant natural scene.
  • Iowa LEGO Users Group: Build iconic Iowa landmarks, and add them to an outline of the state built entirely with LEGOs.
  • ISU FLEx: Experience virtual-reality devices, 3-D printing, circuit bending and more at this interactive station. Rethink your world as you test head-mounted virtual-reality devices, see a 3-D printer in action, experiment with Little-Bits robotics kits and more.
  • ISU Lunabotics: Meet a real-life space rover! This robot was designed to mine Moon dirt, and a majority of its components were machined and manufactured by the ISU Lunabotics team.
  • Kemin: Learn how this biotechnology company isolates useful molecules from plants.
  • Laser Lightsabers: See master replicas of high-powered laser lightsabers from your favorite movies, and learn how they work.
  • Lead Resident Maker Laura Funk: Meet Laura, and see the wide variety of projects she’s made this summer at SCI, including sewable circuits and upcycled devices.
  • LT-1000 Trainer Board: Discover micro-controller programming with this circuit board and companion books developed by Maker Michael Landon. Use Raspberry Pi technology to light up eight LEDs.
  • Make to Innovate: Explore Making through hands-on projects and real-world challenges with Iowa State University’s Aerospace Engineering Department.
  • New World Steam: Meet a metal artist at this innnovative exhibit. Learn how basic welding techniques transform ordinary metal into whimsical sculptures.
  • NubNub: This local startup is reinventing riding with bicycle-mounted gadgets. Pop the top off a cold drink with the Pub-Nub bicycle-mounted bottle opener. Make a quick fix with the Tul-Nub bike-mounted multi-tool.
  • Portrait Studio: Have a custom portrait painted in just a few minutes at this exhibit. Gather your family or friends for a keepsake inspired by the Maker mindset. The artists will provide drawing supplies for participants to join the fun.
  • R2-D2: See a life-size, working replica of the beloved “Star Wars” robot.
  • String Revolution: Make your own string from almost anything. Watch local textile artist Laura Poresky spin everything from plastic bags to grass stems into a DIY cord at this roaming exhibit.
  • Team PrISUm: See a working solar car presented by Iowa State University’s Solar Car Team.
  • That Dragon, Cancer: This immersive video game about one man’s battle with cancer is part tribute and part spectacle of 3-D impressionism.

Food Trucks

Enjoy local fare from five food trucks:

  • Kona Ice
  • Pyro’s Pizza
  • Roadside Tacos
  • Say Cheese

IMAX Booth Tours

Experience the Blank IMAX Dome Theater in a whole new way with a behind-the-scenes tour led by SCI IMAX Projectionists. See the reels of film that bring your favorite movie to life, and get a glimpse of the high-tech systems that keep our state-of-the-art projectors running smoothly.

Live Music

See a variety of local bands, and experience flaming karaoke (literally!) around the SCI grounds:

Fire Karaoke: Visualize sound with this musical and pyrotechnic spectacle. Part science experiment and part one-of-a-kind performance, a singer’s voice is transformed into visible, flaming sound waves with a Rubens’ Tube built by a member of the SCI staff.

  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Dylan Boyle
  • 12:00-1:00 pm: In Rooms
  • 1:00-2:00 pm: Ira Grace and The Bible Belt Prophets


  • DIY Doodle Bots: Build a robot that can draw with a few simple items! Create one-of-a-kind artwork with SCI’s resident makers.
  • LEGOs Go Digital: Join the Iowa LEGO Users Group in designing innovative LEGO structures using app technology. Then, bring your dream design to life as you build your custom piece.
  • Reusapalooza: Transform an old CD into a cute fish decoration with the Iowa DNR and Iowa Waste Exchange. 
  • Transform Your T-Shirt: Turn an old t-shirt into a DIY drawstring bag with staff from the Des Moines Art Center.
  • Center.
  • Zip-Line Flyers: Build a customized zip-line racer, and watch your contraption fly down the high wire.