Maker Faire 2010

Maker Faire is a bustling place with lots to see. but the best part so far is being able to ask questions because it’s the builder that is behind the stand. lots of the tech being shown is open source maybe because there is no commercial road for the project. or because it really needs the help of lots of other people. it’s sad that so many of these things will never get the attention it deserves.

our two guests became Mic shy so it’s just me and Kristin. here’s the outline which will change into something that resembles an article:

my how it’s grown!
the MF gets bigger every year. there are more booths, exhibits, installations, talks and demonstrations. although there were things from past years that we either didn’t find or aren’t part of the show any more. like the pile of old electronics that anyone could pick through to take home to repurpose. the number of people attending has grown. there were lines for lines. okay it wasn’t that bad. but it was way more crowded on Sunday. we’ll chalk that up to the local news creating buzz.

you cannot see it all!
it’s just not possible to see all of what is going on. interesting talks overlapped. demonstrations happened at certain times. the events were spread out over the whole fair ground meaning you’d have to skip listening to Q&A to make the start of another talk. but we not complaining. it’s always better to have too much to see and do then to come away feeling underwhelmed.

it’s interesting how “craft” is as big a part next to “tech”
it’s easy to get caught up in tech. it beeps, buzzers, shoots and scores. growing up it was cool to know how to solder and very uncool to know how to sew. today our thinking is “so what!” there are lots of craft-y thing that everyone should know about. screen printing for example. we’ve done it with hit or miss results. so seeing the Yudu Printing Machine screen printer in action made us excited about the possibility of screen printing again. the Cricut
“> paper cutters have been around for a few years but having never seen one in action it was hard to justify spending money to get one just to see. but we can see how having one of these machines would make paper craft way more fun.

Adam Savage was Packed
there are “maker hero’s” but there are few that draw the crowd that Adam Savage draws. unless you got there early it would have been hard to see the talk. but it doesn’t matter because somebody recorded it and posted it so everyone stuck in the back could see now. but it’s not just stars that got this treatment because everything got recorded. and that makes up for the “it’s too big to see it all” problem.

everyone is approachable
if there ever was a place to hear stupid questions it was here. but there is no such thing right? every question that we heard was always answered leading to another question. the best part was hearing the questions coming from kids which were usually more inquisitive compared to questions coming from adults. there was never a felling of us versus them or stars versus fans. the better way to think of it is maker talking to maker. an example of this is the story John tells about the Cigar Box Guitar made by Mark Frauenfelder of Make Magazine.

30 years ago it was hard to make a robot. okay not hard because it’s back then there was the same stuff that we have today: motors, servos, control systems, cpus, batteries, frames, radios a wide array of input sensors. but this stuff was expensive compared to now. but it’s not just cheap it’s really useful stuff. a tiny GPS can be found for $10-20. this makes an impossible autonomous flying robots (from back then point of view) completely possible. and you don’t have to be a robotics engineer to make it go. you can be anybody.

3d printers
have you read Print Crime? you should. it won’t take long and it will help you understand why we’re excited to see the continued development of these devices. it’s awesome to see how far all the projects have come since the RepRap first came on the scene. there’s lots of 3d printer choices now: makerbot, mendel which is RepRap ver 2, FAB@Home. there’s lot’s of business forming around these projects shipping everything from parts, boards, printing material, to support.

make a kit business / turn your “make into cash”
it seemed odd (but not at the time) to want to sit on what amounted to a business talk during the middle of everyone making. but what’s the fun of making if you are just doing it for yourself? okay, that’s our point of view. we are already making things that lots of people want. not everyone should build a business around your hobby. it’s hard work. it’s talks a mindset. it can be expensive. but most of all it changes things completely. sometimes what was fun doesn’t stay fun as it scales up. here are links to the content from that talk: stuff that runs AdaFruit, slides from the talk, other downloads.

best Make of the show?
what was the best Make of the show? maybe it was that we made it there! because showing up is half the battle with traffic, MUNI, and just making the train at the last minute. but seriously, there were so many amazing things to see that it’s really unfair to call out something as “the best”. maybe we didn’t see something that really was the best of the best. the thing that you made at home while we were there might be all that. remember, the Maker Faire isn’t just about seeing. it’s about doing. passively sitting back watching it happen is not the same thing as soldering iron in hand hovered over a perf board. or whatever way you end up making something. because it could be code. or drawings, or sending out for laser cutting. whatever it is it’s to you to put it together because that box of parts is not going to assemble itself.

lots of links go here:
Rotational Casting Machine
Butterfly BASIC
Evil Mad Scientist Labs
Land Sharks
Pacific Pinball Exhibition
Lucky Ju Ju Pinball Gallery
Bay Area LEGO Users Group
the Apple //e that displayed tweets
the Fantastic Phrase Machine
3D Cell models from GalaxyGoo
Detroit Maker Faire call for entries
New York Maker Faire call for entries

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around the Maker Faire
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