The magic of Maker Faire is that it’s never the same event twice. There are repeat showstoppers — EepyBird’s Diet Coke and Mentos show, Life-Size Mousetrap, and Power Wheels Racing (among others) all alone make the event a can’t-miss show. But you rarely find them in the same location year after year. Instead, they move and integrate with hundreds of other projects from makers, both huge and small, throughout the faire grounds, allowing visitors to discover new treasures around every corner each time they visit.

The constant change is a key part of what makes Maker Faire so magical to me. It is a living, breathing event series that morphs to reflect the creative ways the community leverages incredible new technology and traditional artistry and craftsmanship. It’s the perfect forum to find the hot trend years before anyone else does. I often mention seeing the rep-rap 3D-printing experiments in the back corner of Expo Hall at the first two Maker Faires (2006, 2007) as the perfect example of this. MakerBot, considered the trailblazing pioneer of this field, didn’t form until 2009.

This year is the 11th Bay Area Maker Faire, and with it comes the excitement of the new projects I’ll get to see. I’ve peeked into the database of exhibitors and pulled up a few that I’ll be seeking out at the show next weekend. See you there? Hope so.

Drone Tent

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The drone section of Maker Faire has grown over the past few events, and this year we’ll have by far the largest yet — around 16,000 square feet for flying, racing, battling, and more. The Aerial Sports League has been building a dynamic race track for the show, too — check out the early renders of the 3D course. The races will be qualifiers for the upcoming National Drone Racing Championships, so the stakes will be as high as the speeds of the racers.

Adam Woodworth’s Flying Star Wars Creations

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Last year, I struck model airplane gold with my Star Wars speeder bike builds, and this has kicked off a series of follow up projects, where I’ve tried to make pretty much every ship on Wookieepedia fly in real life.” This is basically my dream. 

Praying With Fire

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One of the signatures of Maker Faire Bay Area is oversized art that bellows flames. We’ve seen some incredible pieces through the years, and I’m looking forward to seeing this giant flame-throwing praying mantis by Todd Cox at the show.

High Desert Wind Instruments

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“The High Desert Wind Instruments are a quartet of acoustic/mechanical music machines powered by the wind.”

Sandwriter Skryf

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This was my favorite piece at Maker Faire New York last year. I can’t wait to see it again. The wheeled robot drives itself around the faire for hours, carefully writing poetry in poured sand with surprising beauty.

Open-Source Artificial Pancreas Platform for Type I Diabetes
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OpenAPS is a collection of open-source tools enabling individuals to build a system to perform automated analysis and dosing of Insulin in the treatment of Type I Diabetes. Bay-area members of the global OpenAPS community would like the privilege to demonstrate their work as examples of makers using their skills to improve their own health and the health of their loved ones.”

Cave Mapper
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By Sasha Jaffarove: “I am young maker and I am on my 2nd version of a Cave Mapper that I made. My Cave Mapper is using a Raspberry Pi platform which controls an Arduino relay, which in turn controls the buttons of the Lidar device. The objective is to have the Lidar measure the area and chart it on a graph. Afterwards it will show a 3D model of the area.”

Open Library of Product Designs
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CNC and laser cutters are hot! Over the past year they’ve really grown in prominence with the community. But for them, design files are needed. The library from Obrary has some very attractive offerings, all free to download and edit or make.
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Don’t miss Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 from May 20-22 in San Mateo. Get tickets and info here.