Tuesday, 19 May 2015

My First Maker Faire

My first (but definitely not my last) Maker Faire took place last weekend in San Mateo - about half an hour's ride on the double-decker Caltrain south of San Francisco.
Caltrain
I don't think any of my photos do justice to the scale of the event - it was epic, covering several football fields, with huge indoor arenas like aircraft sheds and thousands of people of all ages darting hither and thither. I had volunteered for a five hour shift in the middle of the day (which I spent in the Media Lounge answering important media enquiries like "Where are the toilets?") but for the rest of the time I was out there talking to Makers. The full 59 photos can be seen on Flickr here so these are just the edited highlights.

There was an excellent mix of big name and kitchen table set-ups exhibiting and interacting with people. Google had a big presence and either they or Intel had things like this set up.
Robotic knife game
It's a robotic version of that pub trick where you stab a knife quickly in the spaces between your fingers and not into the fingers themselves. The gore-laden additional fingers lying in the bottom of the container were a nice touch. Then again there were the people who were creating for fun's sake. This guy had turned a deck chair and brolly into a moterized conveyance and was happily touring the site at impressive speed.
Mechanised sun lounger
That wasn't the only motorised vehicle.
Motorised Cupcake
And then...
Steampunk Woman in motorised wheelchair

Different zones focussed on different types of Making. 3-d printing had a big presence as did wearable LEDs and other light forms. Lego was well represented as was laser cutting and kickstarter type start ups such as - god bless america - a way to turn inanimate objects into musical instruments.
Musical Food
In the video monitor you can see jelly being demonstrated and they had some bananas and some fake grass which people could try out on their stand.

Those people who remember when MAKE magazine started (ten years ago) will also remember it had a sister publication called CRAFT. Sadly that seems to have died a death but there was still some 'craft' going on. Machine knitting of course.
Knitting Machines
Plus a delightful...
Needle Arts Zone Sign
I also now know even more than I did before about making clothes from duct tape.
Duct Tape Crafts
And I already knew a fair amount having made three tailor's dummies for three of the SkipNorth attendees.

There were also several fire blowing beasties, including this huge guy who had a woman standing inside him making his bits move and flame.
Giant Metal Man
There was also a giant metal flaming snail on wheels. One of the zones was kept dark to make the most of the illuminated Makers.
Inflatable Illuminations and Makerbot
That is an inflatable forest. As if you didn't know.

The whole thing was quite incredible and there are lots more photos online from me and others. Their official website shows there are events happening world wide and I would strongly recommend you go and take the whole family. At this one there were special kid zones and the only times I heard crying was when kids were being told they had to move on to another Zone.


1 comment:

Ynot said...

Thank you so much for including a photo of the Needle Arts Zone! I have attended several of the NYC Maker Faires and volunteered in the Needle Arts Zone teaching knitting (SO much harder than I expected). It was great to meet people and help those of all ages who stopped by to learn knitting!

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