Hands-on-fun with electronics and 3D printing at SXSW Create 2014


It’s my favorite program of SXSW. Inspiring, do-it-yourself, open to the public, awesome and fun! Makers, Hackers and DIYers presented themselves in a big tent (a big thank you for all the people that stood in the cold all weekend!) and let the public play with their products at SXSW Create 2014.

This year presented 3D printing by Tinkerine, nanocopters by Flexbot, robotics by Texas Instruments, soldering lessons by ATX Hackerspace and more. As a media theorist I know how to apply technology, but I can’t build a circuit or program a command. Products and institutions that help me play with electronics and digital technology attracted my attention.

Get ready for some hands-on-fun!

SXSW create LittleBitsLittleBits makes is easy for me to learn and prototype with electronic modules such as motors, lights, sensors etc. The modules are put in beautiful colorful cases and can be snipped together by tiny magnets. This project where a 6 years old made a Dervish paper doll whirl on the speed of sound is a nice example of how to use the kit.

sxsw create Sparkfun

Sparkfun dressed the public in e-textiles made with LilyPad LED’s, conductive thread and sharpies on a nice piece of fabric. It was challenging for those who couldn’t sow and for those who never attached a LED to fabric. I love their webshop for buying components and kit’s and love their workshops even more for learning how to use it!LilyPad Sparkfun

inventables ShapeokoAnother great webshop for designers is Inventables. They presented their newest open source milling machine kit. Put it together yourself, attach a Dremel machine and cut out or carve your design! People lined up for their customized beer opener.


A fun project from Left Field Labs is MusicDrop. Participants can compose their tune online, a 3D printer prints a drop shaped music box that fits in the palm of your hand that can play this tune.

Music drop

In order to train outstanding designers they need to know about the basics. At Austin Tinkering school kids can work with real tools and real materials. Basics such as mass, aerodynamics and gravity can be experienced best by …. making your own wooden car! At SXSW Create kids build their own design and when finished building, these prototypes were tested on the best track ever. Parents were eager to ‘help’ their offspring 😉sxsw create Wood