Featured Maker: This Creative Lab


The New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is not just about technology and electronics. Artists are also makers and we strive to feature artists who are passionate about what they make. Justin Shiels, the founder and owner of the one-man graphic design shop This Creative Lab, will be attending the 2015 faire as an artistic maker.

Shiels has always had a love for robotics and has known about the Maker Faire since it began in California eight years ago. He kept up with it by reading the Make Magazine and when the Mini Maker Faire came to New Orleans, he was excited to get involved.

This Creative Lab is a multifaceted company; the primary part of their business is branding and logo design. Since This Creative Lab opened its doors in July of 2014, the company has been designing logos and banners for small businesses and festivals in the New Orleans area. “In order to design logos and brands, I need to first understand the target market and this takes extensive research,” says Sheils, “Then comes the part when I collaborate with each business to create a distinctive image that will attract customers.” This Creative Lab has already successfully branded several companies in its short history. In addition to branding and logo design for small businesses, Shiels runs a workshop that focuses on art, digital media, DIY projects. “The class is taught about once a month and caters mostly to young professionals. There is demand for an art type marketing workshop because more and more people are realizing that the image of a company is incredibly important for a marketing plan” he says. Shiels easily fills up his class of 15-30 people each month.


The third facet of Shiels’ business is the creation of handmade artistic prints. He creates the images by hand drawing them on paper and then digitally traces the drawings on Adobe Creative Cloud. The final product is laid out on archival matted prints. According to the artist, “The art has been geared toward kids and has been inspired by memories from my childhood. I would say the genre of the prints is “contemporary family” and my overall goal in creating the prints was to create something that was both ascetically pleasing but also something had some personal meaning beneath. To be able to talk with the graphic designer and artist himself, be sure to stop by his booth at the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on March 7th!


It’s Exciting to be a Maker in New Orleans

It is becoming ever more exciting to be a maker in New Orleans. This is because  the maker and tech industries in New Orleans have the potential to match the prominent tourism and oil/gas industry that already exists in the area. The first place to find out about how this is happening is Silicon Bayou News. Silicon Bayou News is an online media firm based in New Orleans that tracks the technology industry in New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana. They seek out the companies that are new and innovative and have the potential to grow. They also get requests to promote events, launches, and product announcements. With a broad statewide following the company’s primary goal is to foster and support a vibrant and connected community of entrepreneurs and creatively minded people in Louisiana.

Julia Ballard is the Editor-In-Chief at Silicon Bayou news. She was able to answer some of the questions we had about why New Orleans has maker and tech potential. The two traditionally biggest sectors of the New Orleans metro area economy are oil/gas and tourism. But according to Ballard technology industry has the potential to be the third pillar of the New Orleans economy. “We are already seeing technology intertwine with other industries in the city,” she says. “Last spring, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Commission hosted its first hackathon, which used the city as a petri dish for an innovation to the trillion dollar tourism industry. Developments and initiatives in local technology will only increase as other industries strengthen.” Another question we had for her was what advantages do the maker/entrepreneur have in New Orleans over a tech hub area like Silicon Valley. According to Ballard there are a three reasons why it is easier for solo entrepreneurs to find success in New Orleans. “The business expenses for a startup are low, the startup is  more likely to be noticed by an investor in the city, and finally there are plenty of people in the New Orleans area looking to be hired to work for them.” Because New Orleans currently lacks the competitive tech environment, is a cool city to live inexpensively, and full of young college graduates looking to be hired, its a great place to have your innovative creation be noticed.

The New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is about highlighting innovation, tech advancement, and the Do-It-Yourself ethos but it is also about the makers creating innovative projects in their garage. Because New Orleans has become a favorable city for the maker and technology industries to emerge, it is a better place for our innovative makers to flock. If you are a maker, inventor, artist, or DIY enthusiast near New Orleans and you have a cool project that you want to show off, we want you to apply! Apply today to be a Maker in the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire!! nolamakerfaire.com/call-for-makers

January Maker Happy Hour

unnamedHappy New Year from the 2015 New Orleans Mini MakerFaire planning team! March 7th is rapidly approaching (~2 months!), so we thought we’d take a break from planning to throw another Maker Happy Hour.

Join us on Thursday, January 22nd from 6-8pm at Courtyard Brewery, the new nano-brewery and tap room at 1020 Erato St. Come stop by, enjoy some great beers (on us, until the tab runs out), and hang out with fellow local makers and Maker Faire enthusiasts! Complementing the great beer will be great food for sale from the Taceaux Loceaux food truck.

If you have a project you want to show off at the happy hour, we’ll have plenty of outdoor space for robots, projections, etc. Just email info@nolamakerfaire.com to let me know.

Also, don’t forget that the Call for Makers is open now through February 1st. If you are a builder, inventor, innovator, hacker, artists, crafter, DIY enthusiast, roboticist, scientist, or gadgeteer, we want you or your group to be a part of our event in March. Please visit http://nolamakerfaire.com/call-for-makers for more information; all makers must submit an application.

March 7th will be here before we know it! We will be sending out occasional updates via our email list, but be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the most timely information.

We look forward to seeing you on January 22nd!

3D Printing in New Orleans


Model castle that was 3D printed 

3D printing is transforming how things are made. It is allowing doctors to create custom prosthetic limbs for patients on the spot. It is allowing fashion designers to create garment styles that are not possible with conventional sewing methods.  If a toy company needs a mockup of a new product they are creating, they can rapidly 3D print a physical prototype to test the product before it is manufactured. Since mainstream 3D printing is a relatively new phenomenon, we spoke with Trey Richoux, the chief operating officer at a local 3D printing company to help explain what it is.

Trey’s company, Entrescan, is the authorized seller of 3D Systems products in Louisiana and one of the few companies utilizing this technology in New Orleans. 3D Systems pioneered 3D printing and the principle technology they use called Stereolithography (SLA). This process allows you to take a 3D scan or rendering of something, digitally slice it into layers, and print it by using lasers to cure resin layer by layer to build a product. With the 3D Systems models that Entrescan is selling they can create pretty much anything in a variety of materials including metal, plastic, and nylon. In house they have a ColorJet Printer with full color spectrum and a MultiJet Printer to make high-resolution plastic parts with ABS characteristics. The ABS type of plastic they use is common and prevalent in manufacturing settings. There are many applications for 3D printing; the medical field is one area where this technology is having a huge impact. For example, doctors can now convert a CAT scan of a body part into a 3D object that is an exact replica of the body part. This allows doctors to operate on the body part to practice for surgeries.

Entrescan has only been open for about a month so they are just getting their business started. Currently they are meeting with local companies to demonstrate their technology’s application to multiple industries including oil and gas, ship-building, general manufacturing, higher education, and architects. The castle we have pictured is a sample model done just for fun. However this model has also been used to show architects the capability of the 3D printing technology for making detailed architectural models. In addition to selling 3D Systems printers, the company eventually plans to have the capability to create models for New Orleans customers. The customer will be able to send  a file electronically of what they want printed and then come in later to pick it up in 3D form. This kind of service will be beneficial for any kind of small business that needs an accurate model or prototype of anything.  Although we are still in the beginning stages of 3D printing, it is clear that rapid prototyping with 3D printers will become a much more prevalent tool to help local companies innovate. The possibilities are endless.

The 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is a great opportunity to get some hands on exposure to 3D printing technology. There will be a wide range of makers showing off their printers, both consumer and professional grade, and the projects that they create on them. Join us on March 7th, 2015 at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick center for 3D printing demonstrations and much, much more!

Call for Makers Now Open!

10833947_10203976331383371_467030891_nOn Saturday, November 29th, we had the privilege of sponsoring the Robot Parade and Ball at the Old Iron Works in the Bywater. The event was a resounding success; a ton of people showed up to celebrate all things robot. The robots and robot costumes were great, and it was a fun evening of hanging out with local makers and technology enthusiasts. And, importantly, it was a great way for us to celebrate the opening of our Call for Makers!

We would like to invite you to apply to be a maker at the 2015 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire. If you are a builder, inventor, innovator, hacker, artists, crafter, DIY enthusiast, roboticist, scientist, or gadgeteer, we want you or your group to be a part of our event in March. Don’t fit into one of those categories? That’s ok, we still want you to apply! For guidelines and more information about what we are looking for, please visit http://nolamakerfaire.com/call-for-makers. Applications are due no later than February 1st, but space is limited so the sooner you apply the better chance you have of getting a spot. If you have any questions or need further information, please email me at info@nolamakerfaire.com.

We look forward to seeing your projects in March! And stay tuned for our next MakerHappy Hour in January. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the most timely information.