Houston Maker Faire 2018

On October 13 and 14 almost thirty members of TexLUG-Houston participated in this year’s Houston Maker Faire.  In addition to the usual displays of custom models built with LEGO® bricks, we ran speed build contests, organized a scavenger hunt, and built a power wheels race car.

Speed build contests are common at AFOL shows.  Houston Maker Faire is different in that it celebrates Makers of all kinds, not just the ones that love LEGO®.  Most of the public attendees that took part in the speed builds had never done a contest like that before, and they were very excited about it.

The Hidden Bricks scavenger hunt was set up with the help of the Maker Faire staff.  TexLUG-Houston members created 20 small models that were placed in various locations around the whole event, not just in the TexLUG-Houston area.  Using a page with pictures of the models, public attendees visited all the other exhibitors and vendors to locate the models.  Each day a winner was selected from all the correct entries.

Power Wheels racing was a new event at Maker Faire this year.  Thanks to our AFOL car mechanic, TexLUG-Houston won the overall event after a series of races on Saturday and Sunday.  While the vehicle started out fully decorated with LEGO® parts, by the end of the last race it was down to the bare frame.

Displays this year included a large Wild West layout, an amusement park, various Star Wars® builds, detailed sports cars, and Halloween scenes.  In addition, Texas Brick Railroad set up an extensive train and town display.

Houston Maker Faire took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, Texas on Oct. 13-14, 2018.  Public attendance was about 4,500 total for the weekend.  TexLUG-Houston has displayed at this event for at least the last 5 years, and we look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come.

Models and photos are by members of TexLUG-Houston.  More photos and videos can be seen in our Facebook album.

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Maker Faire Preparations

Once again TexLUG-Houston will be participating in the Houston Maker Faire.  This year it will be held on October 13-14 at George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.  Maker Faire is a showcase for “makers” of all kinds, a place to show off hobbies, experiments, and projects.  There may be everything from quilting to robotics, crafts to drones at this event.

In mid-September about 17 TexLUG-Houston members met to discuss Maker Faire and other upcoming activities.  The meeting was held at the LEGO® Brand Retail Store in the Galleria Mall.  TexLUG-Houston’s participation at Maker Faire will likely include large Space and Wild West displays, many individual models, loose brick for free builds, and some building competitions.  There will also be a train/town display by Texas Brick Railroad.  Many thanks to the LEGO® Store for allowing us to meet there ahead of regular business hours.

About a week later a few members met to decorate the Power Wheels racer that TexLUG-Houston is working on.  Maker Faire is encouraging these projects, and will provide a track for the cars to be run on.  TexLUG-Houston’s racer, named “The Highly Sophisticated Interlocking Vehicle System,” is fully operational and ready to go!

Come on out to Houston Maker Faire, stop at the TexLUG-Houston area, and see all the other makers and their projects!

https://houston.makerfaire.com

Photos by members of TexLUG-Houston.

Children’s Hospital display, August

On August 3, 2018, seven TexLUG-Houston members visited a local children’s hospital.  Brick-built models of all kinds were displayed – castles, monorail, city and beach scenes, a tree full of owls, a Star-Wars themed train.  There was also a collection of small hospital-themed scenes that members had built just for this event.   About 2,000 hospital patients, families, and staff passed through the display area over five hours.  The models brought many smiles to the faces of both children and adults.

TexLUG-Houston does a display like this at the hospital about twice a year.  These are some of the most rewarding activities for out members.

Models and photos by members of TexLUG-Houston.

 

 

Brick Fiesta 2018

In early July about 20 members of TexLUG-Houston spent a long weekend attending Brick Fiesta 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.  Many of the members brought custom models they had built with LEGO® bricks.  Models were judged in about 20 categories by convention attendees and public visitors.  At least eight awards were given to TexLUG-Houston members.

Convention attendees also participated in a variety of build contests and games.  There were presentations on subjects such as lighting and stop-motion animation.  Many vendors were onsite to provide fans with opportunities to purchase unique or rare parts, sets, minifigures, t-shirts, and other gear.

Brick Fiesta is an annual event described as “A Celebration of LEGO® in Texas” – a fan convention with public exhibition.  It rotates through four major cities in the state;  in 2019, Brick Fiesta will be held in Austin.  www.brickfiesta.com

Primary models in the photos were built by members of TexLUG-Houston.  Photos were taken by members of TexLUG-Houston.  All copyrights are retained by their respective owners.  Please do not reproduce models or photographs without providing credit to TexLUG-Houston.  More photos can be found at the TexLUG-Houston Facebook group.

 

 

 

 

Brickworld 2018

2018 was a big year for Brickworld and for TexLUG participation! Over 15 members from TexLUG-Houston, TexLUG-Austin, TexLUG-Dallas, and Texas Brick RailRoad attended the convention, with many of them displaying MOCs that were either driven, flown, or separately shipped up to Chicago. The convention took place at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center about an hour southwest of downtown Chicago, as it has in years past.  In total there were 1008 registrants for the convention, a higher number than last year. The public attendance was 7700 for both days, a slight drop from last year’s figures. The entire convention hall, all 100,000 square feet of it, was filled up with displays and vendors, leaving surprisingly little space empty. Needless to say, there was quite a significant amount of capital in plastic within that space throughout the weekend.

The convention began Wednesday, with check-in opening at noon. I volunteered at the goody-bag loading station in the morning and with load-in operations, and other members volunteered in other areas, such as Sarah at the check-in station. The 1×8 brick color for this year was olive green, quite an interesting deviation from the norm! Convention activities continued throughout Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with the opening ceremony occurring on Thursday night. On Thursday afternoon, I led a seminar/roundtable discussion titled “Improving your Rockwork” focused on instructing MOC builders about how to use lesser known techniques and parts to make their rockwork look more realistic, with multiple members attending. There was a crowd of around 75-100 in attendance.

Other members attended various other seminars/set drafts/competitions throughout the week, ranging from how to run a LUG to Dirty Brickster. Several members enjoyed some deep-dish pizza together Friday night while inside the PennLUG train layout, for which Ed brought an incredible drawbridge and lumber yard! The World of Lights event on Saturday night was amazing as well, with many displays flaunting intense arrays of colorful flashing LEDs.

Overall, the displays looked incredible all around, and I believe the Great Ball Contraption broke the world record again this year with an insanely long layout. I think it’s fair to say everyone enjoyed the convention! I know I plan to be back next year, and more than likely many TexLUG members will as well.

– by TexLUG-Houston member P. Myers

Comicpalooza 2018

Members of TexLUG-Houston again provided models built of LEGO® bricks at the Comicpalooza convention in Houston.  There were 22 adult members and 1 teen member participating during the 3-day show.  MOCs on display represented Star Wars, Ninjago, Jurassic Park, Avengers, classic space, a working carnival, and more.  Comicpalooza organizers estimated attendance at about 60,000 people total for the weekend.  Setup and display were well-organized, and we hope to be back again next year!

Photos and models are by members of TexLUG-Houston.

Children’s Hospital display

On March 30, 2018, eleven members of TexLUG-Houston provided a display of custom models at Texas Children’s Hospital.  The display was located on a pedestrian bridge connecting two parts of the hospital;  an estimated 2,600 people came through over a period of five hours.  Patients, family, and staff all stopped to admire the creations made out of LEGO® bricks.  Many patients were brought out of their rooms just to see the display.

Models included a classic space and monorail layout covering three tables;  a reproduction of the battle at the Alamo;  superheroes, Star Wars, Jurassic Park;  a giant mountain jungle; and a rainbow castle.

Many TexLUG-Houston feel this is their favorite place to display, and we expect to entertain everyone at the hospital again in the future.