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Adam Savage at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013

Here I am at Maker Faire Detroit 2011. (Photo by James Bastow)

My name is Agnes Niewiadomski, and I’m a Maker-Faire-oholic. I was introduced to the world of Maker Faire three years ago, and have since attended nine Faires in North America (Bay Area, New York, Detroit, and Toronto’s Mini Faire). I have exhibited twice in Detroit as a maker, featuring my mascot heads, and my laser cut textile plants. I am also a member of a makerspace in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario called kwartzlab where I run the art programs. We are actually hosting our own Mini Maker Faire this weekend (June 15) for the first time, Maker Faire Waterloo.

My favourite part about going to the Faire is not just the visual spectacles, but also talking to the makers about their work, their process, and giving them encouragement to keep doing what they do, because they are so awesome. Travelling to different cities to attend Maker Faire also gives me the opportunity to go site-seeing, and there is something about San Francisco in particular that keeps calling me back. I cherish all the friendships I have made with the folks here, and look forward to visiting again next year!

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The first time you walk through the gates of Maker Faire can be overwhelming; which way to go first?

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BanditGuns.com had an interactive booth where you could shoot down pop can targets with their laser cut rubber band guns.

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Plotterbot.com is an open source initiative with plans, designs, and resources to build your own plotter bot!

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Outdoor rides included Cyclecide’s pedal-powered Bumble Bee.

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Artist Mauro Ffortissimo brought a grand piano to the beach in Half Moon Bay and for two weeks he played at sunset to growing crowds. The project was called Sunset Piano. When the piano had to be removed, he destroyed it ceremoniously in flames. Here are its charred remains.

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A close-up of Mauro Ffortissimo’s Sunset Piano.

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Fiesta Hall was filled with many light displays.

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Another light display in Fiesta Hall.

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Sunday’s main event was seeing Adam Savage roll in on the Nautilove submarine and give an inspiring speech about working hard and working smart.

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Adam Savage inspires the Maker Faire Bay Area crowd.

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Adam Savage listens to hear an audience question at Maker Faire Bay Area.

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The Young Maker’s tent featured a bunch of awesome toys made from everyday stuff. My favourite was the motorized marble run.

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The pendulum was pretty fun to play with, too…

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… and the catapult!

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Fingerprint is a neat invention that uses an iPad connected to a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino to take your hand-drawn image and 3D print it in Play-Doh on a piece of paper.

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Fingerprint 3D-printed Play-Doh drawings.

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Kinetic Creatures was selling kits to build your own cardboard pet. They can be hand cranked, or a battery powered motor can be installed to bring your creature to life.

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Kinetic Creatures had a giant Rory the Rhino set up on a pedal-powered mechanism.

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ComposiMold is a reusable and food safe molding material that you simply heat up in the microwave or over a double boiler and pour around your object. Once set back to room temperature (you can pop it in the fridge to set quicker) you can de-mold it and start casting!

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A dog figurine in a cup of ComposiMold.

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ComposiMold was doing a delicious chocolate molding demo.

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I couldn’t resist myself when I saw the T-We stand. I think I sampled every tea they had brewed up. I took home the Dolores Day blend!

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Ralph McCaskey gave a very entertaining demonstration on how to make glass beads and other shapes.

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Ralph McCaskey makes a glass flower.

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Shawna Peterson is a neon artist from Oakland, Calif., who was doing demos on neon tube bending. (Pictured above is one of Shawna’s assistants.)

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Shawna Peterson’s neon creation.

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Here the Stilt Factory models show off just how easy it is to be 10 feet tall! You could even buy your own stilts at the Faire, available in wood or aluminum.

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Our friends over at Vectric show off their CNC milling machine software and all the neat stuff you can make with it.

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A sturdy six-pack carrying case, made with the Vectric CNC milling machine.

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My favourite Vectric project was the wooden chain. The secret to attaching the links involved a mallet and some wood glue.

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A close-up of the Vectric wooden chain.

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Awesome metal tree sculpture in the middle of the Faire.

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In the Homegrown Village there were live animals and a stage for talks on food and farming.

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Goats and chickens in the Homegrown Village.

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A talk being given on the Homegrown Village stage.

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Mr. Wang of San Wang Restaurant in San Francisco came to do a live demo of how they make their hand-pulled noodles.

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Mr. Wang’s hand-pulled noodles.

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Tanenbaum Fabrications had a display of their steampunk props and costumes.

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A frenzy of making was taking place over at the Maker Camp. Instructions on how to make duct tape wallets and LED pinnies. Once you completed a project you could take home a t-shirt. Also postcards with info about an upcoming online summer camp for teens! More info at makercamp.com.

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Maker Camp starts on July 8!

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BioLite is a wood burning camp stove that allows you to cook dinner while at the same time charging up your usb devices.

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The BioLite stove, burning hot.

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DIY.org had a large grassy section at the Faire where families could come to hang out and make things from cardboard. This organization encourages kids to learn skills by completing challenges and earning badges. It’s an online community where kids will upload photos and videos of what they have accomplished.

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A robot-esque costume in the DIY.org area.

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A big catapult in the DIY.org area.

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Marble towers made from paper! Plans are available for purchase and download at paperrollercoasters.com.

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The SpinBot makes a great impression. Available in the Maker Shed.

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The University of Santa Cruz’s Open Lab had an interesting table display. This is a video projection onto a vacuum formed face “screen”.

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Noisebridge, the local hackerspace in SF had a booth showcasing some 3d printed creations that can be used in many ways.

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Noisebridge’s 3D-printed creations.

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A kinetic sculpture by Nemo Gould.

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A lollipop-licking machine.

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Great to see Diyode (Guelph, ON makerspace) with a booth at the Faire. Check out their humongous Code Shield!

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This guy was walking around with an Ultimaker strapped to his back! 3D printing on the go.

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California College of the Arts had a lot of neat projects to share.

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Oversized eggs made from different materials are exercises in getting to know the strength of materials, and how to work with them.

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More oversized eggs made of different materials.

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A soft sculpture of a sequined stomach holds a set of servo motors inside. When activated, the servos squeal and cause the stomach to churn creating an amusing display.

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Interactive fiber optic and LED light sculptures react to sound and to touch.

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Another fiber optic and LED sculpture.

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Steamed wood bending demo.

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Autodesk gave people the opportunity to have their 3d image captured in their multi-camera apparatus. The 3D file was emailed to participants.

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I stumbled upon one of the final rounds of the FIRST Tech Robotics “Ring It Up” Challenge. This was put on by Playing At Learning, a nonprofit organization serving K-12 youth by offering fun, affordable STEM activities.

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A robot participating in the “Ring It Up” Challenge.

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Over at the Ford Movers and Makers tent, fine artist Brandon Regner played music through his awesome speaker installation where he turned dozens of old walkie talkies into working speakers.

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Also in the theme of upcycling, three old Ford drill presses were converted into block printing machines.

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Wooden bikes!

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The pedal car races were fun to watch.

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So was the dunk tank!

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Fun Bike Unicorn Club displaying their awesome bikes.

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A big robot.

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Giant metal Hand of Man, controlled by small children!

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Hand of Man

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Hand of Man

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Volunteers from Nimby, a DIY space in Oakland, teach kids how to cut, bend, and spot weld sheet metal into a handy little box.

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Making a metal box at the Nimby booth.

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As I make my way back to the shuttle at the end of the day, Nautilove sails by one more time. See you next year!


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