Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2010 Bay Area Maker Faire

This past Saturday I went to the Bay Area Maker Faire, an annual event where thousands of talented folks got together to show off their creations and innovations. I brought my camera along, but made the mistake of spending more time gawking and making mental notes than I spent taking pictures. I still managed to get a few interesting shots.

The first thing to notice when we walked in were three guys zipping around in carts dressed up as cupcakes:
Maker Faire Cupcake Scooter
Then there was this large installation piece right inside the front gate:
crank thing

It was simple enough, but the mechanism was still really interesting:
Cams and rollers

A bit further in, there was a rocketship:
Maker Faire Rocketship

The rocketship was not small and they were giving tours:
Maker Faire Rocketship 2
The rocketship was built on site and dismantled afterward. I really want to know what they do with this thing after the Faire. Then I need to find a place to park it...

Elsewhere inside was a low-budget engineering consultant:
Maker Faire consulting engineer

There was also a contingent from the Bay Area R2 Builders Club:
Maker Faire R2D2s
I stopped for a few minutes to listen in on some of the questions passers-by were asking the builders. My favorite was the almost unanswerable "how much does one of these cost?" to which the builder replied, "I had to choose between building an R2 or restoring an old Camaro. R2 won." Classic geekery.

The R2 units weren't the only famous robot replicas though. There were others:
Maker Faire robots
There was also a booth labelled "DIY Pixar" where I was hoping to see some fullsized Wall-E mockups or the like, but alas, there wasn't much there. I get the idea that most of their exhibition didn't show up.

Elsewhere on the grounds there was no shortage of interesting vehicles:
Maker Faire Cycles 2
Maker Faire Cycles

This little steampunk scooter was covered in all sorts of intricate details, but I couldn't help thinking it was a bit overdone:
Maker Faire scooter
I missed most of the steampunk end of the exhibition, but I'm told there were all sorts of amazing things to see there.

Instead, I saw the largest xylophone I've ever seen:
Maker Faire xylophone

And an android-propelled chariot:
Maker Faire chariot

My favorite vehicle though, by far, was the Mega Spider. This was an all-electric octopod that the builders were taking for a spin around the Faire:
Maker Faire Mega Spider 2

Here's a shot of it from the other side:
Maker Faire Mega Spider
In addition to the odd assortment of vehicles, there was an odd assortment of people:
Maker Faire crowd

I spent a few minutes watching one of the bands. I don't remember what they sounded like because I was busy being fascinated by the fact that the lead singer was playing a guitar made from a shovel:
Maker Faire shovel musician

There were other interesting folks everywhere you looked:
Maker Faire crowd 2

There were also hands-on demonstrations of all kinds. Here's a soldering demo:
Maker Faire Soldering

On top of all this, there were interesting artwork installations all over the place:
Maker Faire sculpture

Some of them were pretty whimsical:
Maker Faire zombie kit

And many of them included flames:
Maker Faire fire 4

The biggest burning thing was this structure:
Maker Faire fire 3

Some of the burning parts were spinning inside of it. There were also control paddles all over it so members of the crowd could push or pull parts of the sculpture to make plumes of flame shoot out of the to of the arch:
Maker Faire fire 2
Cool.

There were also some wildly unorthodox pieces for sale. I had a hard time talking myself out of buying one of these giant fishing flies:
Giant Fishing Flies

And it was all I could do to keep from coming home with this wind vane:
Maker Faire Ultimate Windvane

It was a tough place to walk around when you're someone like me. Every place I looked, all I did was come up with wild new ideas for all manner of projects to add to my to-do list. For example:
Fire Breathing Snailwagon

Doesn't everyone need a fire-breathing snailwagon?

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