Murray entrepreneur Tim Anderson likes to builds things. He's even built something that builds things.
Anderson, who assembles electronic gadgets out of old parts, made a 3-D printer that creates a real sculpture of an object taken from a 3-D computer model. It's just one of many things the 26-year-old man has built by piecing together electronic knickknacks with just his hands and a spark of imagination.
"Ever since I was a kid, it was always fun to create things from blocks to Legos," said Anderson, who has now started up a hobbyist electronics company called Elefu. "And this was just the next logical step for me."
Anderson and other high-tech hobbyists will be showing off their gadgetry at the annual Craft Lake City festival, a free one-day event at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City that showcases do-it-yourself hobbies and crafts. More than 180 vendors will show off their wares, ranging from textile art and handmade quilts to knitting, crocheting and locally made jewelry.
New at this year's festival is the inclusion of what organizers call the DIY Engineers area displaying items created through technology and science-related tools. The DIY Engineers area will be displayed in a building that's been branded the XMission Science and Technology Building for the festival.
Hobbyists will be showing off gadgets ranging from 3-D printers, such as Anderson's, to new computer displays, a can-crushing invention that also dispenses the soda, and a robot that smashes pumpkins.
Not that all the tech toys crush other things. Also on display will be a robot that can delicately write on an eggshell.
Anderson's 3-D printer is connected to a computer where the object is first drawn with a 3-D program. The printer has a nozzle that oozes out melted plastic in layers until it forms a 3-D representation of the object more like a "fancy hot-glue gun," as Anderson explains it. He has made figurines, board games pieces and other toys with the device.
"Nerd culture has been on the rise for several years now, and it's great to see people in science and technology be recognized," said festival director Angela H. Brown. "Some of those elements that may not have been seen as cool 20 years ago are now being embraced by the mainstream."
Two groups in Utah that specialize in tinkering and hacking electronic devices are showcasing their work at the festival. The Transistor is a group from Provo; MakeSLC is based in Salt Lake City. Both schedule weekly and monthly meetings as well as classes where they talk about hacking the latest gadgets.
It's the same hacking culture that has allowed many enthusiasts to modify video-game consoles or to "jailbreak" iPhones and iPads to make those devices do more than Apple originally designed them to do.
"Traditionally, they are not thought of as creative people, but in reality, I think that they are," Brown said. "We all like to create things. What a better way to redefine craft than to bring in some of these creators."
The groups include people who do more than just solder things together. "There's a lot of creativity in the group," Anderson said. "You can't just have technical-minded people. It's a very skilled set. We have everyone from computer-science majors to ceramics teachers, and everybody in between."
What it is • A gathering of crafters, artists and do-it-yourself hobbyists who showcase and sell their locally made products. New this year is a group of technologists who hack or modify existing gadgets or create new ones with old electronic parts.
When • Saturday, Aug. 11, noon to 10 p.m.
Where • The Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main St., Salt Lake City
Price • Free
Website • http://www.craftlakecity.com.