Maker Faire ’07, Day 1

Discovering Pinball

Maker Faire day 1 was a huge success.

The pinball machines have been in play constantly. Lots of folks had some great questions, many of whom seemed disappointed that I don’t restore machines for a living.

Lots of kids at the show, pretty much perpetually in awe. It was great to see their faces light up when they played their first game of pinball.

Both machines are holding up really well, even under some serious flippity-flap abuse. The Cyclone has not reset a single time!

Very Big Spark

I’m located in an awesome spot this year (last year was in the same room with the circuit benders which was really incredibly painfully loud). As mentioned before, the SRL crew share the corner with me. Seriously interesting people doing very cool stuff. I spoke with Mark Pauline a bit and he introduced his incredibly cute kid to pinball; the kid is a natural!

A little bit further away is the Tesla Coil installation. Two 12 foot tall tower coils driven by quite the custom power supply and driver circuit. The pictured spark was only about 4 feet in length. When going full blast, the tours will generate sparks that jump across the 10 or 12 foot gap in between. With lots of noise and that tasty ozone smell.

Damned impressive piece of equipment. Even more impressive is that the towers are a scale model of what will eventually be two 122 foot tall towers in the Nevada desert that should be able to generate 300 foot long bolts of lightning.

Even these “small” towers generate one hell of an impression when powered up. You can feel the charge, it is damned loud and the sparks are clearly visible even in the otherwise brightly lit room.

Printed 3D Objects Made From Sugar

Also close to us is the Candyfab 4000 created by the fine folks at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. The Candyfab 4000 is a 3D printer. That is, you can feed it a design and it will quite literally print a three dimensional object.

With a key difference.

Unlike most 3D printers that use toxic chemicals or processes, the Candyfab uses regular granulated sugar. The sugar is fused by heating it with a hot air gun.

The result is really quite beautiful. Totally clear what it is, but all roughed up like it has been growing coral at the bottom of the sea for a bit.

The EMSL folk have dipped some of the objects in saturated sugar solution, thus encrusting the object in a layer of sugar candy crystals.

Mercedes Pen

One advantage to bringing items to the faire that are designed to be locked up in a roadhouse somewhere and get beaten upon regularly is that I actually get a chance to walk around the show floor a bit.

I took some random photos of things that caught my eye. Stuff I hadn’t seen last year, stuff that surprised me, etc… No particular order here and you can safely assume that for every picture shown here, there are another 10 equally as cool things within yards that I completely missed.

Maker Faire is that way. No matter where you look, there is a pocket of brilliance.

This is the “Mercedes Pens”. The car is completely covered in thousands of pens and the artist was there with glue gun in hand asking folks to help further decorate the car.

Random. I like it.

Disgusting Spectacle

The scale of some displays is truly impressive. The Disgusting Spectacle is about 25 feet tall.

The participant climbs into the hamster wheel on the left and keeps it spinning. All that effort is rewarded by a giant finger rising up and, yes, picking the nose of the even larger head.

Wooden Bike

Every time you turn around at the Faire, it is likely that you’ll be surprised by something.

I was walking along when some dude rode by on a bicycle that was effectively a big wooden triangle with wheels.


Turns out that it is one of many custom built, completely random, bicycles. Some are quite practical like the bicycle welded to a shopping cart. Others? Not so practical, but very cool. Like the bike with the handles behind you that you have to pedal backwards to make go forwards.

Wire Illustrations

Sometimes, you’ll look at something and think “Why is that here? Seems so very plain.”. That happened with this display. I was standing in a room and happen to turn to face a wall to see what looked like relatively nice pencil drawings directly on the wall.

Nope. Walking by them revealed that the “illustrations” were actually made from wire and there was quite a bit of 3D to the images.

Neat to watch how they subtly change form to kind of follow you as you walk around the room.

Muffin Car

On the way back to the pinball machines, I was walking across the Faire grounds and nearly got run over by a gigantic muffin car.

Covered in giant Prozac pills.

There are about a half dozen muffin cars that occasionally wander the faire. Quite well made and the drivers wear hats to match the designs of their muffins.

Not surprisingly, many of the larger displays and outdoorsy stuff premiered at burning man. I have heard many people say “It is like burning man only without the desert, dust, or annoying naked people (though I miss the nice naked people)”.

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One Response to “Maker Faire ’07, Day 1”

  1. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Lemurtronics! says:

    […] met the EMS folks at Maker Faire and witnessing their attention to detail both first hand and through their weblog, I picked up a […]

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