Maker Faire 2010: General Impressions

So Maker Faire is pretty much the mecca for DIY nerds. I say that with all love, because this event brought to the surface many aspects of myself as a geek that I didn’t even know were there. Even though you might think this is an event for gearheads alone, I can say that I’ve never before seen a more creative collection of people. Everything was interesting, everything was fun, and everything worked. There was even plenty of education for the kids, too. Read on for the highlights for me.

First and foremost, even though things were creative, there were still plenty of gearheads. The first thing we checked out was a CNC plasma cutter demonstration from the folks at TechShop. They were cutting out bottle-opener versions of their logo, and they demystified the entire process in a way even a luddite would understand.

We made our way through a Young Makers building, full of young people who had made things that put my skills to shame. If I had made this wheel, the first thing I would’ve done with it is probably electrocute myself:

Outside in the midway, we found a giant fire breathing robot dragon made by a Young Maker:

It wasn’t only about the displays though, the attendees were showing plenty of creativity as well. We grabbed this shot with some people we had also snapped at Nova Albion:

And if you didn’t show up with your creativity pre-made, you could stop by a tent that had been set up to teach you to solder. I can’t stress enough how big this was. This is the best example I can come up with to explain why Maker Faire is important. The entire event is about grabbing you by the ears and saying “Listen: you CAN do this! There’s nothing magical about this, and it’s FUN!” Learning to solder took me less than 5 minutes, and it’s dead simple. Plus, that tent was the only place to assemble this badge of honor:

But I know why you’re here. You’re here for a picture of me in a big pink fur hat. This was an invisible maze. The pink hat was tracked by a camera, and music coming through the headphones told you if you were on the path or not. Awesome idea, well executed, and it gave you a chance to see this image you can’t un-see:

We’ll have some more in-depth coverage this week, including Brian’s thoughts on Maker Faire as a great place to ignite the imaginations of your children. We’ll also have a post with pictures and audio with the Flaming Lotus Girls, so be sure to check back throughout the week.

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