Maker Faire Bay Area 2017: Live Updates and More

Maker News
Maker Faire Bay Area 2017: Live Updates and More

And that’s a wrap! Thank you to everyone who contributes to Maker Faire — you all make the magic happen! We’ll see you at next year’s Maker Faire Bay Area.


May 21 (Day 3): The last day of Maker Faire Bay Area is upon us! We’ll be scrambling to see the makers and exhibits we have yet to get to. We will update here as we explore. Keep refreshing the page to see it all!

Looking to see video instead of still photos? Check out our live stream over on Twitch!

Maker Faire will fill your brain! Don’t get a big head! #BigFaceBox – Blake, 4:50pm
An impromptu performace right outside our crew office. —Sophia, 4:45pm
This minimal mobile home is designed for homeless people. It folds down into roughly the size of a shopping cart. It’s tall enough to stand up inside, and contains a bed and a toilet. —Sophia, 4:30pm

The consoles themselves have surprisingly good graphics. Pixonia is a Minecraft-like game that was programmed in four days by just one person. It handles very well. – Jordan, 4:26pm
Pokitto’s DIY game consoles are ideal for kids or families who want to get into programming and gaming. Some of the work for a few of the games was done by one of the developer’s eleven-year-old son. – Jordan, 4:25pm
Maggie Harley’s artwork is both whimsical and wacky. My favorite, by far, is “The Accidental Adventures of Herbert the Owl.” It’s a collection of paintings of an uncaring, glazed-eyed Herbert traveling the world. You can’t help but smile when you look at them. – Jordan, 4:20pm
Tetsuji Katsuda’s Robot Band. And always remember “Robot cannot be perfect!” – Gareth, 4:19

If you see small clouds of bubbles lazily drifting around the fair, follow them back to the Bubble Printer in the south lot. – Blake Maloof, 4:17pm
If you can’t be at the Maker Faire, send a telepresence robot, like this one from OhmniLabs. -Blake Maloof, 4:17pm

The PSI Makers “Bop It” flame game takes the classic toy and pushes it to diabolically fun new places -Mike

wild games made from pinball machine parts! – caleb kraft
Smashing electronics to make little sculptures from the parts! Brilliant idea, looks like so much fun. – Caleb Kraft
Power Racing Endurance Winners: First: Nimby Ferrari, Second: Kitty Grabs Back, Third: MarioKart. —Hep, 2:54pm
U.S. Marines had 2 hours to learn robotics then pit these SumoBots against each other in battle. They also did a 2-hour welding course then raced their homemade scooters, as participants in a tech training by Building Momentum intended to bring soldiers up to speed with DIY computing and digital fabrication technologies. —Keith, 2:42pm
Otto, the autonomous Power Wheels Racing prototype by Rick Anderson from FUBAR Labs, built for <$500. Rick uses an onboard Raspberry Pi to collect data, then feeds it to a Jetson TX-1 for neural network training. I like the giant DIY steering servo made from a Harbor Freight drill and winch! —Keith, 2:40pm
Strawbees showed off a new R/C hovercraft kit that rocks — wicked fast, just one motor and one servo, trash bag for a skirt, super fun to drive! I gave a blue ribbon to inventor Erik Thorstensson, here wearing his DIY sun hat also made with Strawbees. —Keith, 2:25pm
Richard Murutar and partner Sirla brought their ingenious Sprayprinter project all the way from Estonia. It’s ingenious — a Bluetooth-enabled cap for your spray paint can that connects with your phone’s camera. Load a favorite image and it automatically squirts each pixel where it belongs as you move the can across the wall! —Keith, 2:20pm
Artist Joan Raspo with her fortune-telling, vertigo-inducing Ask Me, a giant-sized Magic 8 Ball. Step inside and ask it a question! —Keith, 2:15pm
Kitty Grabs Back looking good in the final laps of the Power Racing Series endurance race, driven by Donald Bell of Maker Project Lab! —Keith, 2:10pm
Robots and sculptural art command a ton of attention at Maker Faire, but more traditional art is also a mainstay here. Unusual Cards is a regular exhibitor, and I love their collaged, snarky, Americana style. —Sophia, 2:05pm

This bubble printer is like if a 3D printer and a bubble bath had a baby. The bubbles, um, bubble up through the box and through a template (in this case, it’s a heart), and the maker sets it free with the swipe of a PVC pipe. —Sophia, 1:18pm
A beautiful vintage Singer sits in front of a young maker at the Swap-o-Rama-Rama tent, where you can find clothing scraps, alter your own clothes, and learn to use a sewing machine. —Sophia, 1:37pm
Adam Savage gives his “Sunday Sermon,” —Hep, 12:30pm
More behind the scenes shenanigans from the crew tent. —Sophia, 1:08pm
The Tomorrow Show with Gray Bright, is whizzing around the fairegrounds with infectious smiles. Check them out on Youtube! —Sophia, 1:38pm

“Pulse” by Flaming Lotus Girls, is truly spectacular. I love that it has a biohacking element — hook yourself up and it will pulse in tandem with your heart. —Sophia, 1:43pm
Jumpy the Shark Motorcycle: Seriously, if I tried to ride this out of the lot right now, how long until someone tackled me? – Hep, 1:50pm
Faire-goers are wowed by the huge Lego roller coaster. Hep, 1:50pm
Art cars were out in force in the South lot’s Zone 1. – Hep, 1:50pm
TOBOR the gigantic robot dinosaur. – Hep,1:50pm
Brian Lawrence brought his Giant Soap Bubbles again to wow the crowds – Hep, 1:43pm
Who says drum machines have no soul? – Hep, 1:30pm
Crowd Sorting. The folks at the Dandelion Chocolate booth (small-batch chocolate makers) get a little bean sorting help from Maker Faire attendees. –Gareth, 1:15pm
Some of the things that Dandelion Chocolate have found in their bean harvest. – Gareth, 1:15pm
MakeCode is helping teach kids how to code with the Circuit Playground and MicroBit in the Microsoft booth. – Matt, 12:38pm
One of my favorite things at Maker Faire this year, Hebocon encourages anyone and everyone to make terrible robots and then pit them against each other in sumo-style shoving matches — the worse the robot performs, the better your Hebocon cred! – Craig, 12:02
Onlookers can control the undulation of individual tentacles of giant squid sculpture Mechateuthis. – Craig, 11:57am
Tufufu is selling bamboo wall art of popular heroes and villains from comic books, graphic novels, movies, and TV shows. Each piece of art features the first letter of that specific character’s name/alias (“B” for Batman, “M” for Mario, etc.). A poster with the full alphabet is available for anyone who wants to use geek culture to teach their kids the ABCs. – Jordan, 11:52am
Beware the trees. They’re always watching… – Jordan, 11:47am
I’m a huge fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Those carvings of Aang and Roku were what originally caught my eye. – Jordan, 11:33am
TAKmade Props and Customs makes both CNC carvings (like that incredibly detailed Millennium Falcon) and cosplay pieces (like McGree’s BAMF belt buckle). – Jordan, 11:32am
Ian Cole, one of the producers of Maker Faire Orlando, shows us his Makey tattoo. I’ve never met Ian in person before, but spotted him immediately because of his Makey pride! – Sophia, 11:30am
You never know who you’ll see at Maker Faire. Here’s Dale with Conan O’Brien. – Mike, 11am
CNC Router Parts is making pingpong ball crossbows for the attendees. They work great. – Mike, 11am
Gui from Megabots displays his blue ribbon on Megabots MkIII. – Mike, 11am
Goliath CNC, an omniwheel-based CNC router from Italy. Coming soon.– Mike, 11am
Tormach booth is milling aluminum USB drives with a bottle opener on the back. And a fidget-spinning bearing in the middle. Fun. – Mike, 11am
The Buildtak team made some Maker Faire-themed printerbed material and we love it. – Mike, 11am
Maslow, a low-cost, full-sheet CNC machine that uses a plotter system. Cost of the full rig is about $500. – Mike, 11am

I didn’t catch the name of this slithering hexapede as it rolled past me, but it sure was hypnotizing! – Sophia, 9:24am
Gather around Le Attrata and bask in the heat of these flames spewing giant moth sculptures. – Sydney, 10:30am
Around 30 people worked with lead artists Margaret Long and Orion Fredericks to bring these hot bugs to life. The sculpture burns about 6 gallons of fuel during each show. – Sydney, 10:30am
Le Attrata is made from stainless steel, wood, plastic, wool, and mild steel that gives it a rusty patina. – Sydney, 10:30am
These bookmarks were so beautiful. He was embroidering them right there in front of us and watching them come together was hypnotizing. Find them: – Caleb, 9:30am
The Maker Share team discusses our new platform over a bagels and coffee. – Mike, 8:30am


May 20 (Day 2): We are back for a second day of Maker Faire. The weather is once again beautiful outside and we couldn’t be more excited to talk to the makers we weren’t able to see yesterday.

Adam Woodworth’s giant Lego R/C plane is an accurate rendition of the toy we’ve all built — but it actually flies! – Mike, 6:55pm
Elliotte Bowerman with the Unicorn Scouts teaches kids AND adults how to embrace your whimsy inner magical unicorn! – Sydney, 6:54pm
Kitty Yeung shows off her gesture-recognizing LED dresses powered by Intel’s Curie module and its pattern matching engine (PME). The blue dress she’s wearing lights up different star constellations according to the wave of her hand, using the Arduino 101 board. In her hand is her LED fiber optic dress using Intel’s TinyTile microcontroller. – Keith, 5:33pm
Grant Imahara’s got a line of fans stretching through Expo Hall to say hi to him. – Mike
Esara from Maker Faire Kuwait brought her team’s winning project, the Diabetic Wound Detector, to Maker Faire. It was great to see her again! –Mike
Brook Drumm and his Printrbot printers. – Mike
The Zar Plotter has an artist’s touch. – Mike
Franklin the Robot, a weed-detecting-and-destroying garden crawler. – Mike
Franklin the Robot uses a miniature weed wacker to eradicate the weeds it encounters. -Mike
Feetz, a digital cobbler tool that makes 3D-printed shoes.
The underside of a Feetz shoe. -Mike
Still marveling at this supersized Circuit Playground board. -Mike
Chris Anderson from 3D Robotics/DIY Drones/DIY Robocars shows the OpenMV hardware and software system that makes interaction with machine vision a snap. -Mike
San Francisco-based Flaming Lotus Girls brought Pulse, an anatomically-correct fire-breathing heart. Biosensors allow participants to synchronize the flame effects with their own heartbeat! – Craig, 4:58pm
MegaBot gettin’ a little afternoon workout in. – Hep, 4:44PM
Power Racing is off to an electric start in their first sprint of the day. – Hep, 4:00pm
Kitty Grabs Back comes from behind for the win! Congrats! – Hep, 4:00pm
Family photographing themselves in the Lotus’s convex mirror. – Hep, 4:00pm
Executive Editor Mike Senese chatted with Digital Fabrication Editor Matt Stultz about putting together the latest board-themed issue of Make: magazine. – Hep, 4:00pm
CNC Router Parts was making ball-launching crossbows and raffling them off to attendees. – Hep, 3:50pm
Kids tinkering with light and color in the Exploratorium TinkerLab. – Hep, 3:50pm
Children playing at Giant Cardboard Robots. – Hep, 3:50pm
Bay Area Lego Users Group’s Lego City is huge! Couldn’t even capture the full thing in one image. – Jordan, 3:30pm
Lego City from another angle. Why is a giant attacking a building seemingly ruled by Princess Leia and guarded by a two headed dragon? Who knows. – Jordan, 3:30pm
These puzzles were pretty hard to solve. The one on the right can only be opened when all 12 sides spell out the name of a famous scientist. – Jordan, 3:30pm
Airigami is constructing this giant balloon Makey in the Activities tent. —Sophia, 2:31pm
Behind the scenes in the Maker Faire crew office. Can’t be too careful around here. —Sophia, 2:04pm
#RobotGirls prove that you’re never too young to start building robots, flying drones, and learning to program! —Sophia, 1:20pm
The amount of energy generated by volunteer cyclists, in watt-hours. —Sophia, 11:54am
There’s no shortage of cycling volunteers for the pedal powered stage, even on a super hot day. —Sophia, 11:54am
The Exploratorium in San Francisco brought a wall of intricate-looking shadow boxes made from cardboard…
…And on the other side you could see how they were constructed. – Craig, 3:00pm
Added without comment. – Craig, 230pm
It is warming up here, but the brave glass blowers are still working hard. You can feel the heat off the glass as they pull it out of this kiln. It sure is pretty though! – Caleb Kraft
Megabot and pilot (gunner actually) soak up the cheers of the crowd after a successful punch. —Keith 1:40pm
Megabot throws a practice punch at a helpless Prius, in preparation for serious destruction later today and tomorrow … —Keith 1:40pm
Smokey the Bear keeping everyone up to date on fire safety. —Sydney, 1:30pm
The Snail Car by Jon Sarriugarte makes its annual appearance at Maker Faire. —Sydney, 1:30pm
Esmerelda Strange performing for the Life Size Mouse Trap. —Sydney, 1:50pm
You can have your garden, and take it with you too! —Sydney, 1:40pm
Recycled LED art by Kristen Hoard —Sydney, 1:30pm
Laminar Sciences Corp has a light-distorting fluid that creates a psychedelic pattern when light is shown through it. And it’s safe for animals! —Sydney, 1:27pm
Fun with Pinball is showing off the gorgeous guts of all kinds of pinball machines and mechanisms, including this pinball baseball game. —Craig, 1:24pm
Tapigami’s Millenium Falcon on display in the Dark Room – Zone 3 —Hep 12:50pm
A young maker examines her shadows at Shadowplay in the Dark Room. —Hep, 12:40pm
A Maker displays his cosplay Sword and Gun with Makey. —Hep 12:20pm
The Make Activities tent is hopping, with dozens of hands-on demonstrations and activities. Kids, come make your own LED throwies, bristlebots, hand fans, bracelets, cardboard arcade games, light up flower pins and bow ties, cardboard architecture, felt crafts, award trophies, stomp rockets, cardboard guitars, unicorn horns, bubble wands, paper circuits, ugly dolls, and lots more! It is bonkers in here, in the best way. –Keith 12:15pm
Tinkercad announcing some new features to its web-based CAD software — saving custom designs, basic electronics integration, exporting to Fusion, and more. —Mike, 12:15pm
One of the food exhibits, a truck-mounted garden project with a self-watering urn system. —Mike, 11:20am
More MegaBots excitement — they will be demolishing a car throughout the weekend. —Mike 10:45am
Ply-O-Bot greets young visitor to Maker Faire. -Mike, 10:37am
One of my favorite exhibits in the expo hall — these music players are renovated from retro kitchen appliances. Pictured here is an old iron turned into a radio, and a portable grill turned record player. Check out this video to see them in action! —Sophia 10:20am
Saturday kicked off with a Missions for Makers breakfast, where Dale Dougherty highlighted a number of innovators doing projects with a purpose. —Sophia, 9:45am
Ever-friendly Russell the Giraffe towers above Fairegoers while delivering sonic delights with his booming sound system. Be sure to pet him on the nose; he likes that! – Keith, 11:14am
Pith-helmeted pilots from Obtainium Works cruise around the Faire in their “London Speedster” (totally not a Landspeeder) art car. Find them in the Steampunk Grotto and learn more about their many contraptions including the famed Neverwas Haul. –Keith, 11:08am
Feel like soldering 8,000 LEDs? You too can build this insane LED cube, an open project by Light23 and OBRA makerspace, now volumetrically lighting up up the Dark Room in Fiesta Hall. – Keith, 11:02am
Incredible glasswork by Erick Dunn in these glowing BioLuminOids sculptures, molded from actual living sea creatures and plants. And of course they’re microcontroller powered and Wi-Fi connected so you can custom program them. – Keith, 10:56am
Come and see what the Life-Size Mouse Trap will crush this year! – Sydney, 10:26am
Russell the Electric Giraffe greets Faire-goers as the gates open. – Mike, 10:00am
Ono 3D printer uses your phone and a liquid resin to make small, strong, and high-quality prints. – Sydney, 9:35am
Ply-o-bot and fellow maker talking. – Sydney, 9:33am


May 19 (Day 1): We are thrilled to host the 12th annual Maker Faire Bay Area, in sunny San Mateo, California. The makers and exhibits this year are eye-popping.

Most shadows are black, but this “Colored Shadow Wall” splits your silhouette into a CMYK projection. – Sophia 4:56pm
Kids attack The Jack, a giant inflatable sculpture by Martin Taylor of Chromaforms art collective. – Keith, 4:53pm
Kids get to drive The Ant, the mechanical beast created by Les Machines de L’Ile, from Nantes, France. Hand-carved wood, this thing is beautiful! – Keith, 4:50pm
A tie-dyed maker gets a demo of MakeVR on the HTC Vive, doing 3D design in virtual reality. – Keith, 4:45pm
HTC’s Chris Chin and Steve Hanstead gave us a sneak preview of tools in the upcoming Pro Version, including these snap grids and rulers for accurate part sizing and placement. – Keith, 4:45pm
Make:‘s Mike Senese quizzes HTC’s Steve Hansted about the new Pro Version CAD tools in MakeVR. – Keith, 4:45pm
Diego Porqueras of Deezmaker 3D printer fame (above) shows off his new creation Maker Muscle: fully customizable linear actuators for makers (below). – Keith, 4:05pm

No, no they are not. These purses are. That’s amazing! – Sophia, 3:31pm
Are these the coolest things you’ve ever seen that are made of soda can tabs? – Sophia, 3:30pm
This is the glove that controls TOBOR. The claw in his mouth is controlled by moving your hand. The joystick controls his wheels. – Sophia, 3:01pm
I got distracted by this little girl playing with a mechanical mouse. It was so cute! – Sophia, 2:58pm
TOBOR used to be a simple claw hand. He’s evolved over the years. – Sophia, 2:57pm
Faire attendees enjoying a performance. – Mike, 2:45pm
This hand-motion controlled robot keeps coming back with improvements and modifications. I love its new dinosaur aesthetic. – Mike, 2:35pm
Glass blowers show that Maker Faire isn’t just for techies, but for all types of makers. – Matt, 2:25pm
Check out Maker Share if you’re at Maker Faire! – Hep, 2:23pm
Adam Conway and Otavio Good show off their autonomous R/C cars in the DIYRobocars booth in the Robots tent. – Mike, 2:20pm
James Peterson’s Lotus is a quiet place of reflection for those who need a mental break. I wonder how many visitors it will get at Maker Faire? – Sophia, 2:20pm
Immediately caught my eye as I walked past. – Sophia, 2:19pm
I can’t stop laughing about this one. A human “claw” machine that kids control, in the robotics tent. – Mike, 2:18pm
Dark-room drone racing is back, and the track is even cooler than last year. – Mike 2:15pm
The Mystic Flyer is the world’s largest reverse-perceptive optical illusion. May have stared at it a bit too long. Eyes are beginning to hurt. – Sophia, 2:14pm
One of the big installations this year. This thing lights up with flames. – Mike, 2:12pm
Porsche 911s are cool. Electric 911 conversions? Super cool. – Mike, 2:10pm
I didn’t notice these two tesla coils for a while, because they’re so amazingly tall. Can’t wait for them to fire up (hopefully tonight). – Mike 2:05pm
The Amelia Mouse Piano plays itself and offers its listeners an artistic show. – Sophia, 2:01pm
This giant jack is deceptively light… – Mike, 1:58pm
These are examples of experienced stitchers. However, the Guild assured that this level of finesse can be achieved by anyone. – Sophia, 1:58pm
The Greater Pacific Region of the Embroiderers Guild of America set up a hands-on booth. – Sophia, 1:57pm
Eric Harrell 3D prints different car engines in hopes of spreading a fascination for fabrication and engineering. – Sophia, 1:50pm
Every single piece of this engine is 3D printed. Don’t lie, you’re impressed aren’t you? – Sophia, 1:47pm
The knots that inspire Knotty’s art – Sophia, 1:43pm
In the right hands, even a knot can be art – Sophia, 1:42pm
The machines’ flippers – Sophia, 1:35pm
The original Visible Pinball Pinbowl – Sophia, 1:35pm
The Pinball Museum exhibit featured the work of Dick Falkard, Michael and Christian Schiess, and Mark Gibson. – Sophia, 1:30pm
One more Dos Pueblos project — showing standing audio waves with tiny foam balls. – Mike, 1:18pm
Another Dos Pueblos HS project. – Mike, 1:17pm
Dos Puelblos HS in Santa Barbara has become a regular exhibitor at MFBA, This group is showing off their automated sand-drawing machine. – Mike, 1:15pm
It IS really cool though. – Hep, 1:12pm
I see you Mike… – Hep, 1:11pm.
The first public appearance of Megabots Mk3. We’re so dang excited about this thing! – Mike, 1:10pm
The Ant from Les Machines is one of my favorite visitors this year. Everything this group from Nantes, France makes is amazing. – Mike, 1:00pm
The Euroracks are jamming as the doors open to Maker Faire. – Matt, 1:00pm
The San Francisco chapter of the European Train Enthusiasts have a humungous, modular layout set up in an open-air tent outside. It’s seriously impressive. – Mike, 11:30am
Create. Connect. Learn. The MakerShare team introduces our new digital platform this weekend, where makers can put together portfolios of the projects they’ve made. – Mike, 11:15am
Make: founder Dale Dougherty talks with the Global Faire producers before the MFBA gates open. -Mike, 11:00am


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Mike Senese

Mike Senese is a content producer with a focus on technology, science, and engineering. He served as Executive Editor of Make: magazine for nearly a decade, and previously was a senior editor at Wired. Mike has also starred in engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, fixing cars, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza. You might spot him at his local skatepark in the SF Bay Area.

View more articles by Mike Senese

Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

View more articles by Sophia Smith

I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

View more articles by Caleb Kraft

Light cutter, fashion trend hunter, urbex artist, and space enthusiast.

Staff Photographer and Photo Editor at Make.

View more articles by Hep Svadja

Jordan has spent much of his life writing about his many geeky pastimes. He's particularly passionate about indie game design and Japanese art, but loves interacting with creators from all walks of life.

View more articles by Jordan Ramée

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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