This weekend we had the opportunity to attend Makers Central 2023 at the NEC in Birmingham. This is an annual event run to bring makers together from all sorts of disciplines, along with YouTube personalities and companies who supply our needs.
I’ve been wanting to do this event for a number of years now, droid building fits in so well with the idea behind the show with all the different forms of construction we use in our creations. Thankfully the organiser agreed with me and gave us a nice big stand and some entry tickets.
Justin and I arrived on the Friday to set up the stand and drop our droids off, with everyone else coming early on the Saturday morning. It was a good turn out with plenty of droids to keep people occupied!
One of the best things about this event was that so many more people were interested in how they were built, and as we all know any builder will happily talk for hours about their droid. We were all more than happy to open them up and work on them over the weekend so that attendees could really have a look at the internals and construction methods used. It was also refreshing to be able to mention Raspberry Pi or Arduino, and not have to then explain what one was!
The stands were fairly evenly split between people like us showing off what we do, YouTubers with things from their channels, and companies that produce the tools for the makers (and the more professional makers) with even big names like Dremel there.
Plenty of hands on features too. Have a go at engraving, practice your soldering, there was even somewhere you could do some blacksmithing.
We were there this weekend to raise money for Make A Wish. Makers Central asked us to run the raffle for the event which helped raise a significant amount. On the sunday especially, one of the prizes was a beautifully made wooden sword which gathered a lot of interest. There were also mini guitars, side tables, and engraved cutting boards. And of course, the raffle was drawn out of an upturned R2 dome! Over the course of the weekend we raised a whopping £806.16!
And of course, finally there were all the Youtube creators there. Most were wandering around the show and we got some coming to visit the stand. All were great to meet and have pictures with us.
I think I’ve found my new favourite big event of the year. It had all the fun of a comic con, but with the added bonus of being able to really geek out about the droids. The organiser seemed really happy with everything, and has said we’ll be asked back next year.
This was actually the first year that YouTuber Nick Zammetti wasn’t running the show and had handed it off to a new company who only had 6 months to put it together. To say they knocked it out of the park would be an understatement. From all accounts it was a lot busier than previous years and should just carry on growing. I could easily spend a full two days as a regular attendee and not get bored. So much to do, so much to see.
Thanks to all who came and helped out!