MakerFaire Recap

Maker Faire San Mateo was in full swing a few weekends back. For those who don’t know, Maker Faire is a menagerie of DIY, crafting, hacking, learning, teaching and most importantly making. If you have never heard of it, it is worth looking up. There is another faire in New York Coming up this year and new locations sprout up every year. The next one could be in your town! Some of the SSD members were lucky enough to attend this years faire. Some were sponsors, others participants and some just spectators. Unfortunately SSD didn’t have its own booth to represent. Maybe next year. However, those who attended are here to tell their tale.

Hi, this is Ross. This was my first makerfaire, and it was really impressive. It was exciting, educational, draining, and fun. I was inspired by so many things, and I feel like I need to step up by hacking game in order to get to it all! Strangely enough, I was the only person to go to the faire from Solid State Depot who wasn’t working or exhibiting something. Consequently I was able to take a few more pictures and see a few more things. This is more of a collection of stuff I thought was cool than an event-wide recap. If that’s not what you want, then buy a ticket and I’ll see you next year!

Day one, four hours in I received my first Woz sighting. I’m glad there are people like him in this world.

We’ve been doing a lot of talking about laser cutter capabilities and sizes. This is the open source Lasersaur we have been considering.

And this is one of the top of the line epilog cutters. They are etching a kids shoe in this pic, that ought to give you an idea of size.

It was verging on stupid how many similar kinect hacks there were at the faire. You could get your image scanned and 3d printed at no less than 5 booths. That being said, kinect hacks are really cool, but it’s no longer enough to just hook up a 3d scanner to a 3d printer and act as if you have raised the dead. Let’s have some more innovation, people! This is shopbot’s booth where they were scanning and milling your face out of a plastic foam. They advertised, and I was really excited to see the mtm snap at their booth, but it was a no-show. They did have quite a few of their different sized machines running simultaneously though. Their routers seem like the epilog of cnc routers. No fuss, serious business, but you pay for it.

This guy has a snoopy-style booth set up where he is offering engineering help for 5 cents. I love the concept! I bet he got some crazy questions through the weekend.

This is the during and after shots of a milkjug igloo. I think they were just using zip ties and milk jugs. While it may not be an ideal emergency shelter, it is a cool idea.

There were quite a few makerbots and repraps there, but this one from techzone communications takes the cake. It is HUGE. They also said that they were working on a 4 headed extruder for this so you could print 4 of the same parts simultaneously. These guys were also generous enough to print me a couple of xl pulleys for my reprap. They were running 3 or 4 repraps almost all weekend long. I’d say that has something to say about their reliability.  Thanks again!

Makerbot wasn’t just about blinking lights and microcontrollers. Just the things I liked and took pictures of were. This was one of the cooler things I saw out on the midway. It is a gas tank for a bike that is built out of laminated layers of plywood. I don’t think it ‘fits in’ with the rest of the bike at all, but I would love to see the bike it does fit on!

Looking back, Makerfaire was a ton of fun. I met and/or saw a lot of people that I have only heard from or followed on the internet. It really is a cool feeling to get so many like minded people together, and to realize that you aren’t alone. There are a lot of other people out there who want to create, destroy, rebuild and redesign. I strongly encourage aspiring makers to find the closest one to them and go. It is fun, rewarding, and inspiring.

Hi, this is Liz, and it was my first Maker Faire also. During the actual Maker Faire hours (Sat and Sun) I spent most of my time at the eTextiles and Wearable Computing Lounge where I had 3 of my creations on display (for more on this, see my blog). But Friday was my first exposure to the funkiness of the Faire and it really left an impression! It was neat walking around and seeing people setting up their booths, meeting some of them and hearing them talk about their passions which led them to be at the Faire. Some of the creations were quite wild and it was all pretty outrageous and fun, here’s a few of the things that caught my eye.



Howdy, Joel here. I spent most of the Faire in the Sparkfun tent teaching soldering workshops to those brave enough to brandish a soldering iron.

Teaching is one of the passions I didn’t know I had until I actually gave it a shot. Maker Faire is my one chance a year to really shine. Sparkfun donates a variety of through-hole kits that need to be soldered together. Attendees can then donate any amount to participate in the workshop, having trained instructors help them assemble the kit. This was my second year teaching at Maker Faire. I also got to attend in 2009. The growth in just the past two years shows that DIY is not just a fad. The variety of people who attend the workshop never ceases to amaze me. Even more amazing is the amount of kids who attend the workshops. They make the long day on your feet worth it. Sure there are the occasional blunders and burns, but it is all part of the gig. Troubleshooting and fixing on the fly is a skill of mine that increases with every passing faire. I’ll continue to go every chance I get.

It isn’t all work though. This year we brought a big enough crew to allow instructors to have a few designated breaks throughout the day. That means: sightseeing!

Hmmm. This project looks similar to something. I can’t quite put my finger on it though…

And, last but not least, here’s Solid State Depot’s John Maushammer giving a talk on his Bonic Bonnet:

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