Outreach Account Backstory

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(a.k.a. The origin story to explain this lasting legacy from the Hive13 Maker Faire PTDR era)

Know that Hive13 uses two financial accounts to manage our day-to-day operations. One is the Hive13 PayPal account. It primarily exists to receive the regular automated monthly payments from the membership. The other is the Hive13 business checking account (x-8373) at PNC Bank. This PNC account is our main operations account for general business.

In 2013, an additional PNC non-profit checking account was started at PNC Bank. This is the "Maker Faire" Outreach account (x-4089). It is intentionally separate from Hive13's two operations accounts. All deposits in this account have come from external sources, with no connection to Hive financial operations. This page tells the origin story for this outreach account.

Origin and Inspiration Credits


This story traces its roots back to February 2005 with publication of the first issue of Make: magazine, a reboot of Popular Mechanics for the 21st Century.  This new magazine targeted a growing culture of do-it-yourself making and tinkering, involving everything from 3D printing, electronics, robotics, metal and woodworking, and other pursuits {link}.

Make's founder and publisher, Dale Dougherty (from Louisville), was onto something.  He was on his way to becoming what some folks now consider to be the Father of the Maker Movement {link}.

In April 2006 his publishing company launched its first public annual event to "celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset" {link}.  It was held in the San Francisco Bay Area town of San Mateo, California and they called it a Maker Faire {link}.

Hive13 was founded in 2009 and put Cincinnati on the growing map of Hackerspaces (a.k.a. Makerspaces) around the globe.

In 2010, there were three Maker Fairs; Bay Area again in May {link}, Detroit in July {link}, and New York City in August {link}.

Hive member Jim Dallam attended the Detroit Maker Faire in 2011.  He was blown away by Mark Perez and his team’s Life-Size Mouse Trap Game.  Our neighbor makerspace LVL1 from Louisville had a booth with a fire-breathing pony

Why was Hive13 not also here doing something equally offbeat?

2013 Our first year of Maker Faire Power Tool Drag Racing


In March of 2012, Jason Langdon, Senior Art Director at Possible Worldwide in Cincinnati, reached out to Hive13 about starting an effort to sponsor a Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire (MMF) in 2013.  Maker Media was starting to franchise the Maker Faire concept, expanding to many “Mini-Maker Faires” around the country and the world.  Jim, as Hive president, said the Hive was interested and planning sessions started in earnest.  The city was opening up the newly refurbished Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine and this venue was offered for an October weekend.

It takes the time and effort of many people to put on such an event.  A local benefactor, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation offered to donate $6,000.00 towards the event.  A mechanism was needed to receive and distribute these funds.  Jim, now Hive Treasurer, opened a dedicated/second/separate Hive13 “Maker Faire” account at PNC bank with an initial $100 donation of his own money on May 6, 2013.  The Haile Foundation’s $6,000.00 was deposited into this account on June 4, 2013.  Over that summer, checks were written from this Hive Maker Faire account to pay the City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Memorial Hall, Maker Media, and multiple vendors for their services related to the event.

Meanwhile, Jim and a growing Hive13 maker faire team were looking for an appropriate activity for Hive13 to sponsor at the Cincinnati Mini-Maker Faire.  Jim had seen YouTube videos of Power Tool Drag Racing (PTDR).  Never claiming to be original, and with a reputation for always being behind the times, it was decided to organize an outlaw Power Tool Drag Race.  We knew that nearby Columbus had some years of PTDR experience and that both Columbus and Louisville were also having their own MMFs around the same time that year. Jim reached out and contacted the Columbus Idea Foundry and LVL1 hackerspace from those respective cities to organize what became The First Annual, Mid-West Regional Triple Crown of Power Tool Drag Racing.  Using some of the arranged financial sponsorship, and working with several from Hive13 and volunteers in the other cities, a relocatable track was built and set up at the sequential events in each city that first year; Columbus MMF-2013 on the lawn at COSI, Louisville MMF-2013 street racing in NuLu, and Cincinnati MMF-2013 in Washington Park.  It was an all-volunteer effort, with most of the out-of-pocket expenses covered.  A good time was had by all, all the way around, and nobody got hurt.

The 2014 Season took us to Detroit

That first season was so much fun, we decided to do the PTDR again and bigger in 2014.  We returned to the three triple crown cities and expanded to add the 2014 Detroit Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum.  After the 2013 season, on March 10, 2014, the Hive “Maker Faire” account at PNC bank was back to the original $100.00 balance.  The 2014 Cincinnati Mini-Maker Faire would be held at the Cincinnati Museum Center in September.  The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation came through again with an even more generous $12,000.00 donation.  Jim applied for, and got an additional $1,000.00 grant from the Edison Foundation to reimburse costs for the team to put on the Detroit PTDR.  An additional $4,000.00 grant came in from Time Warner Cable later that year.  Hive13 members also ran a Learn2Solder table at the 2014 Cincinnati MMF.  We ran a PTDR Poster Competition and member Ian Wilson financed an order for PTDR T-shirts for staff and for sale.  Money was coming in and going out during the 2014 season.  When the last bill was paid on April 6, 2015, the Hive “Maker Faire” account at PNC bank balance was $5,617.24.

The 2015 Season took us to New York City

We doubled-down and went even bigger in the 2015 season, repeating in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Detroit and taking the PTDR to the World Maker Faire in New York City.  We had made it to the big time!  We were a feature exhibit next to the Life-Size Mouse Trap Game.  We won a total of seven of the coveted individually awarded Editor’s Choice blue ribbons, the most ever given to a single exhibit.  The PTDR was becoming an all-volunteer maker faire attraction/activity  business.  Major income came from invoicing the event organizer cities.  Other income sources were not consequential (T-shirt sales, Racer registrations, Event Tip Jar donations).  When the last bill was paid on May 31, 2016, the Hive “Maker Faire” account at PNC bank balance was $7,677.05.

The 2016 season took us to San Francisco

In 2016, the only place to go up was the grand-daddy home where it all started, the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, California.  We did it.  We took our game to the middle of “The Biggest Show-and-Tell on Earth” and we crushed it.  It was a major undertaking and a mountain top experience for us.  Funding was tight and we had sharp negotiations with Maker Media.  It was make-or-break at several points and the novelty was wearing off.  The PTDR was starting to become more trouble that it was worth for Hive13 as an all-volunteer effort.  After the 2016 season, with some belt-tightening, we still had around $8,000.00 in the account, but we were looking for the next new thing.  We did a few more small races around Cincinnati and Jim did an event in Greenville, SC but the PTDR was becoming a shrine to its former self.

The legacy Hive13 PTDR wiki page is here, such as it is.

The legacy Hive13 PTDR website is here, such as it is.

Winding down the PTDR and looking for the next new thing


What would be the next thing?  Other Hive members were finding other opportunities around Cincinnati.  

Member Brad Walsh and others had packaged all the necessary Learn2Solder class materials into a ready-for-use kit. Groups and places were asking the Hive to to take this Hive outreach activity to their events, large and small, around Cincinnati.  We wrote checks from the outreach account to purchase related supplies for the blinkie badges and deposited activity tip jar donations back into the account.  It was break-even, more or less.

Member Mike Horwath got funding and led a team to do a series of DIY Polymer Kitchen Chemistry events at ten Cincinnati Public Library Branches during the summer of 2016. We invoiced the Cincinnati Public Library $1,600.00 for the class series. This income was put into the Hive general fund on August 23, 2016.

Member Lorin Parker had a separate outreach with the University of Cincinnati called "Breakthrough Cincinnati-UC" that generated $450.00 in outside income.  At Lorin's request, these funds were deposited into the Hive outreach account on January 17, 2018.

We managed a half-effort to make a full-court range basketball-chucking trebuchet for Maker Faires in Cincinnati and Louisville but that effort barely got off the ground, literally and pun intended. Some outreach activities are a slam dunk and others are "air balls" that miss the goal.

On a sad note, the June 7, 2019 news reported financial troubles forced Maker Media, the company behind MAKE: magazine and Maker Faires, to lay off its entire staff of 22 and pause all operations.  Dale Dougherty said, “I started this 15 years ago and it’s always been a struggle as a business to make this work. Print publishing is not a great business for anybody, but it works…barely. Events are hard . . . there was a drop off in corporate sponsorship.” {link}  In the time since, Dale has been able to reorganize operations as Make Community {link}.

The legacy outreach account today

Since inception, and as of the end of 2020, the Hive13 “Maker Faire” outreach account at PNC bank has deposited $43,304.92 in outside income and has expended $35,011.05 from outreach operations, leaving a balance of $8,293.87.  The income and operations have always been totally separate from the Hive13 General Membership bank account.

It is hoped to maintain and grow the Hive13 “Maker Faire” outreach account at PNC bank as a resource to inspire and enable new outreach activities into the future, separate from the day-to-day operational resources of Hive13.