Maker Faire ’07, Day 2

SRL's Knife Bot Doing The Knife Dance

On day 2 of the Maker Faire, I spent most of the day hanging out with my pinball machines, answering questions, chatting with the SRL folk as they prepped for their performance later in the day, and enjoying refreshing waves of ozone as the Tesla coil was fired up every hour.

Photo on the left is SRL’s Knife Bot doing the Knife Dance with the two pinball machines in the background. Here is another shot with the SRL Logo, Satan Head and the pinball machines in the background.

I also spent some time wandering about to check out various incredibly cool hacks and events, focusing on stuff I had never seen before.

Heavyweight Class Battlebots

The Robot Fighting League folks built a full sized combat robot arena in the robotics room of the show, completely with bleachers for folks to enjoy the show.

I have seen BattleBots on TV and, sure, it was entertaining. But the robots never really looked that terribly menacing.

The arena had a thick plywood roof and lexan (bulletproof glass) sides. The fighting floor was thick plywood, surrounded by a wall of heavy metal beams.

I.e. the arena was built to contain serious destruction.

In come the ‘bots. Two heavyweight robots (I don’t remember the names) weighing around 220 lbs each. Yes — 220 lbs — only slightly less than me (but more than I should weigh). The bots also looked significantly larger than on TV. Very solid, too.

And then the fighting began.

Holy Crap!! These things move fast. Zero to bat out of hell in a second or two, switching directions, flipping over, and generally raising mayhem in milliseconds. When the bots hit, you could feel it. Not just through the noise of the arena, but as vibration through the concrete floor.

Wow. Damned impressive. There was a moment where one of the bots unleashed a hammer like weapon that hit the lexan. I thought the stuff was going to break.

After the two bouts I saw, they had to have a 20 minute delay to repair the arena. Yes, the robots had actually hit the metal beams so hard as to knock them out of place, ripping screws out in the process.

In this picture, you can actually see that the iron beam wall is bent.

Power Tool Drag Racing Track Shredding Action!

Moving on, I definitely needed more power. So, I wandered over to the power tools drag racing event.

Best description? Brilliantly hilarious entertainment.

Take a power tool or two (or three), modify them a bit so they stick to a 1 foot wide track made of wood. Plug ’em in, wait for the count, and RACE!

There are two classes of races; ridden and on the track.

The track races seem to range from “didn’t go at all” to “holyohmygodthatthingjustshotpast the end of the track at 1 bazillion MPH”.

The ridden division requires some kind of vehicle that can be ridden by a human that is powered by a power tool or tools. This is an example, with the drivers eyeing each other quite dramatically.

Instead of a christmas tree, PTDR has a track queen that starts each race. Damned fine entertainment, the whole thing was.

Corn Mash Still

Wandering back through the Faire, I ran into this guy who had built a moonshine distiller out of a small water heater and some copper tube.

Brilliantly simple design and works very well. The resulting product was quite tasty and surprisingly smooth for something so raw.

Made me wonder several things:

(1) What would happen if one were to take moonshine and throw it in a small, charred, oak barrel for a couple of months? Would it gain a smooth smoky character?

(2) What if one were to ferment the corn with various brewer’s grains?

(3) Could one make ferment fruits and make fruit brandys? Or how about just distilling wine to produce a higher alcohol content product, then adding fruit?

(4) How about fermenting with a combination of Agave Nectar and other fermentable ingredients? Could I make something halfway betweeen Tequila and Whiskey?

Looks like small water heaters are only $180 or so…

SRL's Satan Head

I headed back to my pinball machines to answer any questions, check on the machines, and grab another dose or two of ozone. The SRL folk were prepping for their upcoming show and I took quite a few pictures of the prep work.

And then I got to follow along and take photos of the on-site setup and photos of the show itself from quite an advantageous position (upwind, for one).

It was an awesome show. A completely visceral demonstration of destruction and mechanical power.

Pictured at left is Satan Head with the furnace inside burning away in prep for the show. The little red splotch at the top came out when I boosted the saturation sligthly. It appears to be a bit of infrared picked up by the camera; that steel head was very very hot!

But enough about that for now… I have lots and lots of pictures of the prep work and the show. It deserves a write up of its own.

2 Responses to “Maker Faire ’07, Day 2”

  1. Charles says:

    Damn, I didn’t know BattleBots was still around, after the TV show got cancelled. But the “sport” pretty much died when everyone started making wedges with no offensive weapons. And your pic shows two classic wedges, so I guess nothing has changed. Nobody wants to see bots flip over, they want to see them shredded to pieces.

  2. HaZaRd155 says:


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