Be a Part of this Massive Interactive Diorama Celebrating Elon Musk

Maker News
Be a Part of this Massive Interactive Diorama Celebrating Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the world’s top maker — no contest — and his goal is to save the Earth from global warming. To celebrate that, I’m building a giant diorama of Elon Musk’s spaceships, Tesla cars, Hyperloop transportation, Solar City energy, Paypal, Boring company, a colony on Mars, electric aircraft and whatever he invents tomorrow. And I’m inviting you to join along.

We need your help in building exhibits for the monster diorama that may grow to the size of a basketball court. It will have 50 to 100 exhibits, each showing a single Musk event.

Video of diorama under development:

YouTube player

What you can do: Build an exhibit. An exhibit is a specific event/achievement in Elon’s life. For example: Creating the Tesla roadster, testing a HyperLoop, reading 1,000 books a year when he was 10, launching a SpaceX rocket, dramatically returning rockets to earth, being born.

The Diorama: The diorama is a very large train set making a single loop. The track represents time. It starts in 1971 with Elon’s birth and ends about 100 years later with his self-predicted death on Mars. Many exhibits will have sensors to activate their animations when the train goes by. The train will have a video camera on it. The track will have signs indicating the year.

Diorama: It is flat and at table top height. Exhibits are set on it or glued to it. The diorama supplies 5v and 12 volt power to exhibits.

Exhibits: Each exhibit is a project for a maker to design and build. Exhibits must be self contained, mechanically strong, self illuminated, use supplied electric power and have self-describing signage/labeling. They symbolically show how things work. They do not need to be scale models.

  1. Simple level exhibits — these have no electronics (like a tree, a book, a person standing). Ages 3 to adult. Size: up to 3”x3”. Can be almost any material, but stay away from easily damaged materials, like paper. Sculpey Clay, 3D printed PLA, a bashed plastic kit all work well.
    Elon sitting in Sculpey BeanBag Chair. Cloth ‘Rug’. 3D printed TV with display.

    Signs can show activities (ex. Elon read 1000+ books a year as a kid) or a year or be a label.
  2. Medium level exhibits — some electronics: Ages 10 to adult. Size: up to 8”x8”. They can have a CPU, distance sensor, LEDs, servos and other animatronic devices. They should detect the ‘time train’ and respond with flashing LEDs, moving elements etc.

    Roadster Merry-Go-Round uses a Arduino Uno, an IR distance sensor, a relay (for motor) and has a power connector ( Ground symbol is ground, ‘L’ is 12v and ‘R’ is 5v) for our low amp system (amazon: 3.5mm 4 Pole Female Stereo Audio Video to 4 Screw Terminal Female Headphone Balum Converter Adapter).
  3. Major level exhibits — complex, lots of lighting and movement. Size: Any, but check with us first. These should touch on Elon’s main events.
    HyperLoop. Connector: Black is ground, Yellow is 12v, red is 5v.

How to start:

  1. Visit me at Bay Area Maker Faire May 17-19 2019 and tell me your idea for an Exhibit.
  2. Give me your contact info and exhibit idea (at Maker Faire or

Only contribute things you have made. No 3rd party brands, do not use Logos or trademarks you don’t have rights to, including Elon’s company logos. Child friendly. No political attacks, this is about Elon the Maker. The Diorama has the right to copy, distribution, public performance, public display, adaptation, modifying, selling, and destroying exhibits. Exhibits will not be returned to creators. In other words, once you give something to the diorama, the diorama has all rights. Hopefully the exhibits will travel the world and show the joys of making to everyone.

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Mike Winter

Mike Winter has spent his life writing software, solving problems, and building robots for places like Google. Along with his daughter Lisa, he’s most notable as a longtime BattleBot alum. Now he’s focused on artificial intelligence — specifically determining if a computer-controlled combat robot can best a human-controlled robot opponent in an endeavor he calls “AI or Die.” Always the educator, he guides the new maker through the basics of exploring AI robotics in this piece.

View more articles by Mike Winter