24 hour hardware hackathon

March 5th & 6th

Knowlton Hall

From the same folks that brought you Makeathon 2015 and the fall OHI/O Hackathons came this year's best hardware event at The Ohio State University. A makeathon is a 24-hour hardware-oriented hackathon where students come together to create something amazing. This year's event took place at Knowlton Hall on the weekend of March 5th-6th. Free food was provided and over $1,000 in prizes was awarded out. You don’t need to have any hardware experience or materials - just come to the 2017 Makeathon with a cool idea!

Last year's Makeathon 2015


What is a Makeathon?

A Makeathon is similar to a Hackathon. Both are events where participants build awesome projects from scratch in just a few short hours. Both can be 24 or 36 hour events--we will be holding a 24 hour event. The difference between a MAKEathon and a HACKathon is that we are encouraging projects to be Hardware oriented, and therefore physically making something!

Does it have to be hardware?

All projects must use at least some piece of hardware--whether it is analog, embedded or mechnaical is up to you. A smartphone app does not count, but a smartphone app that tells a Raspberry Pi or LaunchPad to actuate a servo is fine. Embedded software for Arduinos or other microcontrollers are also acceptable.

I'm bad/inexperienced at hardware, should I even come?

Yes! Absolutely still come. We will have mentors and experienced club members helping out so you are welcome to flag us down at any point. If you want to learn a bit more about hardware before the event, come to a club meeting for the Electronics Club.

What should I bring?

You are encouraged to bring any tools you might need. There will be some tools available, but keep in mind they will be shared with many teams. Our tools include wire strippers, cutters and soldering irons, along with an assortment of test equipment such as oscilloscopes, signal generators and multimeters. You will not need to bring power strips or extension cords.

Bring your laptops, any specific hardware components you were planning on using, as well as a breadboard or two if you have them.

How will judging and prizes work?

Judges from various backgrounds will be evaluating projects based a rubric that includes creativity, technical difficulty, presentation, and more. In addition to overall winners, we will have honorable mentions in categories like "Best Lighting Project" or "Best Electromotive Project". Even if your project goes up in a puff of magic smoke, you might end up winning the mention for "Best Nosedive".

Are any projects not allowed?

For safety reasons, projects that intend to interface with the 120V AC mains in any way other than direct power are discouraged. Even something as small as a relay controlling a lamp being on could be hazardous with exposed wires. For similar reasons, projects involving high voltage such as Tesla coils, jacob’s ladders, or plasma speakers are discouraged. If you are unsure if your project will be allowed, please ask!

We reserve the right to shut down any projects that we deem as unsafe. We want the event to be awesome and electrocution or other physical injury is not so great. Please bring your own fuses if you intend on working with the mains or otherwise high voltage project. Railgun, coil gun or any other projects with weapons are banned. Projects such as an induction furnace are similarly banned for an obvious fire hazard.

How many people can be on a team?

Teams may consist of up to 4 persons, including yourself. You can come with a team, or join a group at our team formation event right after the makeathon's kickoff. We've also created a team formation group on Facebook for students to meet other hackers ahead of time.

Can I work on an ongoing project or does it have to be new?

The nature of events such as Hackathons or Makeathons encourages new ideas that you have only 24 hours to deliver on. For that reason, we encourage you to not work on an existing project and try something new! It’s more fun that way--trust us.

You are more than welcome to brainstorm ideas for projects before you come on Saturday. If there are some obvious components that you’ll need, you can order them and bring them to the event. Just be sure the brainstorm stays as a brainstorm until the event day.

What if I don’t have hardware?

We realize that hardware isn’t necessarily cheap and as easy to work with as a software project. Thanks to the generous folks at Texas Instruments, the Electronics Club has a stock of MSP430 LaunchPads that your team can borrow for the event! If you associate the MSP430 with unhappy times coding in assembly, don’t worry. Energia is a clone of the Arduino IDE (integrated development environment) and works like a charm by letting you program in C.

Thanks to our sponsors, we will have various sensors, displays and gadgets available to borrow. We also have the essential components for any project including: wire, resistors, capacitors, LEDs, shift registers, and transistors. If you need any of those essentials, you can take them--no returning necessary. A full list of the hardware and tools available can be found here.


Start Time Event
10:00 am Check-in
10:30 am Build-Your-Own-Sandwich
11:00 am Kickoff
12:00 pm Making begins
4:00 pm Dinner - Pizza
9:00 pm Snacks & Pudding
12:00 am Deadline for Team Registration
2:00 am Early Morning Snacks
7:00 am Breakfast - Panera
11:30 am Lunch - Noodles
12:00 pm Making ends
12:15 pm Judging Begins
2:15 pm Judging Ends & Lunch
3:00 pm Showcase Begins
4:00 pm Sleep


Interested in sponsoring the Makeathon or other OHI/O events? Talk to us!

    Silver Sponsors

  • Harris
  • Battelle
  • Texas Instruments

    Bronze Sponsors

  • Eta Kappa Nu
  • Department of Speech and Hearing Science


  • The Electronics Club
  • Amateur Radio Club
  • ACM's Committee on Women in Computing
  • IEEE
  • The Maker Club
  • Buckeye Hackers