Sunday April 23, 2006

Maker Faire

The first magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, MAKE Magazine unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements and garages.
It's an unusual magazine and it has certainly found a niche, if one can judge from the attendees at the first Maker Faire, held this weekend at the San Mateo Expo Center. Rich and I went down for a couple of hours.

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There were well over a hundred exhibitors (aka, "makers") showing off their inventions, running DIY craft projects, and generally having a good time. There were workshops available as well as demonstrations on both days, plus lots to see by just walking around.

Immediately inside the gate, The Crucible's Amazing 'Fire' Truck, let off frequent explosions of flame (Whoompf). Just inside the door, we found the electric giraffe (my photo didn't "take" unfortunately). There were sculptures and crafts; demonstrations of glass blowing, neon glass tube bending, yarn spinning, and laser cutting; hands-on tables for kids and adults. There were robots of all styles, shapes, and sizes, from small remote-controlled wheeled vehicles to the aforementioned giraffe.

One booth had yarns made from unusual substances such as recycled acrylic fiber (think soda bottles), "soy silk", and bamboo. Another exhibitor showed off his interlocking wooden puzzles. Rich and I were especially fascinated by Bathsheba Grossman's "printed" 3D sculptures.

We stopped to talk to the vendor at blurb, an upcoming self-publishing setup with very nice production values.

Blurb BookSmart software is an easy-to-use, downloadable bookmaking application that allows users to drag and drop content into professionally designed templates – and then to customize them by using flexible layouts, backgrounds, fonts, colors, etc.
The finished books are hard-cover, full-color, with handsome dust jackets.

An avid collector of bracket fungi as a kid, I especially enjoyed the Pure Culture booth. Philip Ross grows eerily alien looking fungi. His Juggernaut project provides a customized hydroponics lab in a futuristic glass "living capsule". He was giving out postcards of the fungi and the Juggernaut capsule.

In one large room, a "flock of Whale blimps" floated lazily about, interacting with visitors. Outside, the Silicon Valley Aftershocks gave a demonstration of Segway Polo.

I didn't bring the good camera, but I did get a few pictures: Take a look.

April 25

More From Flickr

According to the folks at O'Reilly, there are more than 2,000 photos posted at Flickr - Have a look.

Maker Faire ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 23 Apr, 16:16 Pacific | «e»