17 Fun Projects to See at Maker Faire San Diego

Maker News


The southern California city of San Diego is synonymous with scenic parks, good vibes, and creativity, and the third annual Maker Faire San Diego, taking place this October 1 and 2 in Balboa Park, is a perfect reflection. Filled to the brim with over 200 makers, the Faire is spread throughout the massive park, and a ticket to the Faire also gets you admission to 10 participating museums housed in the park. To boot, Maker Faire San Diego features a robust lineup of speakers, performances, demos, and workshops, so be sure to check out the online schedule to plan your day in advance. Below are 17 of the 200 projects you’ll see at the Faire, just to offer you a glimpse of the diversity. You can check out the full list of makers online.

Organ Donor


Organ Donor is an acoustic pipe organ with variety of novel interfaces that allows extreme interactivity in unexpected ways. All Maker Faire participants are invited to play and interact with the organ while learning about how it works!

Van Go Soap Box Cars


Van Go is an annual STEAM Festival in Little Italy that promotes the integration of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math by having the students of Washington Elementary School engineer soap box cars and race them down State Street.

Chalk Pastel Art by Michael Heikkinen


Chalk pastels are raw pigment pressed into a dry stick. While most people just know it as that messy stuff for kids, it’s actually an incredibly rich and versatile art medium. Michael Heikkinen has been working with chalk pastels for over 20 years. Come discover a magical world rendered in chalk pastel.

Stone Hop-Cade


Stone Hop-Cade is a celebration of vintage arcade games made from used kegs with a giant display that pits two players against each other in a six-game battle. This project is a collaboration between Stone Brewing, local fabricators, and two German game designers.

501st Legion Imperial Sands Garrison


The 501st Legion is the premiere “bad guy” Star Wars costuming group. The Imperial Sands Garrison creates high-quality costumes and props based on the Star Wars universe. They will be displaying their work and demonstrating construction techniques.

Light-Painting Stick by Richard Truong


The RGB LED light-painting stick allows you to take your long exposure photography to a new level. The light painting stick can create abstract and photo-realistic images onto your long exposure photograph.

Mead Making with Golden Coast Mead


Golden Coast Mead produces what they call “modern San Diego mead.” Come meet their head brewer and R&D brewer, who will talk about the magic of mead and show you just how easy it is to make mead at home. They look forward to meading you!

STEM Guitar-Building


Learn how to build your own custom electric guitars while applying concepts related to science, technology, engineering and math. See various custom guitars made by other San Diego City College students earlier this year.

Whimsical Chairs by Kim Ogburn


Handmade by mixed media artist Kim Ogburn, Alice the Wonderchair and the Mad Hatter Chatterchair will be on display and ready for you to have a seat and take a photo.

UCSD Triton 3D Club


Triton 3D is a 3D printing club at the University of California, San Diego. They’ll be demonstrating some of their projects, such as the 3D-printed prosthetic hand shown here. Come learn more about 3D printing and see some of the other innovative projects they’ve been working on.

Cirque Quirk’s “Hugh Man” Giant Puppet

Cirque Quirk‘s “Hugh Mann” is a larger-than-life friendly robot who’s aim is to delight, entertain, and interact with humans throughout the event! Keep a lookout for this 10-foot-tall boxy character that loves to make friends.

AR-Duo the Steampunk Rover


AR-Duo was created at San Dieguito High School Academy’s metal shop by generous contributions of time from welders, engineers, artists, and students, to serve the good of our community.

Surfing into a Greener Future with Algae

Cal-Cab (California Center for Algae Biotechnology) and UC San Diego Extension are leading the way on using algae for innovative food, energy, and other bio-products while educating future leaders in this developing industry. Come see the world’s first algae surfboard and much more!

Coppersmith Design by Alik Perakh


Siberian artist Alik Perakh is “compelled to make beautiful things” and will be displaying some of his original handmade wares for your viewing pleasure.

New Green 365



New Green 365 will be displaying their decorative table-top and wall-hanging micro hydroponic systems, as well as their Nixie tube clock projects.

Airplane Roller Coaster Model by Tim Cole


Model builder Tim Cole has made a model of the Fred Church Airplane Coaster that operated in Rye, New York, from 1928 to 1957.

Bicycle Teardrop Trailers by Bill McCown


Retired aerospace mechanisms engineer Bill McCown will be sharing his two teardrop trailers used for bicycle camping. Each is roomy, comfortable, weather-resistant, stylish, and light enough to be towed by a bicycle.

For all the information you need to join the fun in Balboa Park this weekend, head to the Maker Faire San Diego site!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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