Meet the Maker: Lehtela Guitar Craft

Ari Lehtela plays a custom sitari

Ever wonder what a luthier does? Meet Ari Lehtela and check out string instruments hand-crafted in Charlotte at this year’s Charlotte Mini Maker Faire!

Originally from Finland, Ari played music professionally in Canada and the United States throughout the 1970s and ’80s before turning his attention to designing and building guitars in the 1990s. Through Lehtela Guitar Craft, he creates acoustic and electric guitars, GitMandos, Sitaris and other instruments for a variety of musical styles.

At the Maker Faire, visitors will be able to play the custom instruments, enjoy musical performances and get one-on-one demonstrations.

Meet the Maker: Charlotte FPV Racing League

Charlotte FPV Racing League

Charlotte FPV Racing League is back for the 2016 Charlotte Mini Maker Faire.

Find out what first-person-view racing is about, witness micro racing drones in action and even watch as these small radio-controlled racers are 3D printed!

Members use custom made and off the shelf components to build their aircraft and get together regularly to share ideas, fly and race their multicopters through gates and obstacles.

Meet the Maker: FELTasticFashion

Try the felting process with FELTasticFashion

Felting is like 3D printing, but with layers of wool fibers. Cecilia Ho of FELTasticFashion will demonstrate the felting process and offer Felting DIY Kits, Make & Take mini-needle felting project and a hands-on community coloring project at the 2016 Charlotte Mini Maker Faire.

Discover how a felting needle turns wool into seamless piece of felt fabric to achieve a colorful wool painting, or transforms into 3D wool sculpture by matting, condensing, and pressing fibers together without the use of water.

FELTasticFashion uses wool roving from New Zealand Corriedale sheep. Visitors are encouraged to touch some of the finished felted creations and feel how the solid wool fibers can turn into something that can be stronger than steel wires.

Meet the Maker: Marcus Wu

Long after the abacus but half a century before the TI-81 came the Curta, a hand-held mechanical calculator that could add, subtract, multiply and divide with the turn of a crank. Once considered the best portable calculator, Curtas were displaced by electronic calculators in the 1970s and became popular collectibles that still work smoothly today.

Marcus Wu, a software engineer and 3D printing enthusiast from Belmont, N.C., will present a 3D printed, enlarged replica of the Curta at the 2016 Charlotte Mini Maker Faire. His version of the Type I Curta has more than 300 parts and has taken more than six months to complete but features a distinct Curta crank sound.

He details the printing and construction process on his blog and has even drawn attention from Mythbuster Adam Savage!

Calling all makers, artists, performers and crafters

The Maker Faire is returning to the Queen City!

The second annual Charlotte Mini Maker Faire will be held Saturday, October 8, 2016, at Discovery Place from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The 2016 Call for Makers is now open. Click here to apply today.


What are we looking for?

  • Student projects
  • Robotics
  • Homegrown drones
  • Arduino projects
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Space projects
  • Food makers (Food and drink sales are not permitted, although you may give away free samples.)
  • Conductive materials projects
  • Kit makers
  • Interactive art projects
  • 3D Printers and CNC Mills
  • Textile arts and crafts
  • E-Textiles
  • Home energy monitoring
  • Rockets and RC toys
  • Sustainability and green technology
  • Radios, vintage computers and game systems
  • Electronics
  • Electric vehicles
  • Science, biology/biotech and chemistry projects
  • Puppets, kites and other whimsical creations
  • Bicycles
  • Large-scale art
  • Shelter (tents, domes, etc.)
  • Music performances and participation
  • Unusual tools or machines
  • How to fix things or take them apart (vacuums, clocks, washing machines, etc.)

These are just some of the topics we’re looking for. We particularly encourage exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things.


There is no cost to exhibit at the Faire, unless you have creations you will sell to the public. If so, you will be considered a Commercial Maker and will be charged a $50 fee to participate.

Ready to join the Charlotte Mini Maker Faire?

The first step is to complete our online application.

Submit some information about yourself and your project(s). After reviewing the applications, our team will get back in touch with you about whether you’ve been selected to participate.

The deadline for application is midnight September 9, 2016.

All applicants will be notified by September 16, 2016.