Exploding Virtual Circuits, a Giant Lego Spider, and More

Exploding Virtual Circuits, a Giant Lego Spider, and More

The Santa Rosa Mini Maker Faire took over the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts  in MAKE’s Sonoma County backyard Saturday. Since I missed World Maker Faire New York last month (we do have to put out an issue of the magazine every so often), I was itching to get a dose of Maker Faire energy and creativity. It was a gorgeous sunny day for late October, and there were plenty of kid-friendly, hands-on activities to enjoy.

Booths showing how to make your own hula hoop and how to knit using your fingers (which I didn’t even realize you could do) were popular, and local bicycle enthusiasts/hooligans from Fun Bike Unicorn Club had set up a time trial obstacle course for kids to ride though (complete with dry, yet encouraging race commentary). Even for a “mini” Maker Faire there was a lot to see and do.

Not that I really need a reason to stop and check out toys, but the Form 1 resin printer sitting on the Rawrz Toys table certainly caught my eye. Victoria Rose and Ann Sidenblad design their figures using Maya 3D software and have been experimenting using the Form 1 for prototyping (it was printing a narwhal figure while I was there). The whimsical sea creatures on display were made from molds based on an originals printed using a 3D Systems machine.

Jarrod Suarez’s fantastic Mecha Venator Magnus was in the back corner of the entrance way and I almost missed it the first time through. It’s composed of 14,000 Lego pieces, weighs 25 pounds and took 14 months to build.

Demolition is a puzzle game that teaches players to build and destroy virtual circuits.
Demolition is a puzzle game that teaches players to build and destroy virtual circuits.

Winston Wolf and Josh Herbert came up from San Francisco to demo their video game Demolition (working title), a puzzle game that teaches the basics of building circuits. One thing I really liked was that one of the goals was to push the components to their limits and make them explode (hence the title). Not only is it fun to make things explode, but as Wolf put it, one of the best ways to learn is to push things too far. The team hopes to finish by November, but you can download the working demo version at straolab.com/demolition.

Incidentally, before I took the photo the father of the boy in blue came up as he was playing to let him know he’d be waiting outside when the boy was done. The boy was so focused on the game that he barely acknowledged his dad, and it occurred to me that this was probably a familiar situation for my own parents when I was his age and for many other parents around the fair.

Here’s more of what was going on:

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