Oakland Shows How It’s Done at East Bay Mini Maker Faire

Maker News
Oakland Shows How It’s Done at East Bay Mini Maker Faire


Each of the 150 Maker Faires across the globe is a special snowflake in its own way, each a unique reflection of that particular community’s creativity and flavor. The East Bay Mini Maker Faire, now in its seventh year in Oakland, California, is synonymous with good vibes and very much a reflection of the wildly imaginative, fun-loving energy of Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Though a fraction the size of the mothership, Maker Faire Bay Area, the largest DIY festival in the world, the East Bay Mini Maker Faire still brings more makery goodness than you could possibly absorb in one day. Plus, they offer more hands-on activity per attendee than any other Faire and they park more bikes at the on-site bike valet. Bay Area is all about the bikes. You definitely won’t be sorry you spent your Sunday (this Sunday, October 23) there. Be sure to check out the full schedule of talks, demos, workshops, and performances to plan your day.

Here’s a glimpse at years past:

You can see a full list of exhibiting makers online, but here’s a baker’s dozen to get you started:

Maria del Camino by Bruce Tomb

If ever there was a car that wanted to fly, it was this. Maria del Camino is made from a 1959 El Camino and a Komatsu excavator. Perforated with tens of thousands of holes, Maria’s image becomes visible as she transforms into a 17-foot-tall robot, drivable using a smartphone.

AxiDraw by Evil Mad Scientists Laboratories

The AxiDraw is an extremely versatile machine, designed to serve a wide variety of everyday and specialized drawing and writing needs. You can use it for almost any task that might normally be carried out with a handheld pen. It allows you to use your computer to produce writing that appears to be handmade, complete with the unmistakable appearance of using a real pen (as opposed to an inkjet or laser printer) to address an envelope or sign one’s name. And it does so with precision approaching that of a skilled artist, and — just as importantly — using an arm that never gets tired.

Next Generation Flight Simulation by Flight

Flight‘s mobile fighter jet simulators are painstakingly handcrafted and outfitted with authentic instruments to ensure that pilots of all levels, from aviation enthusiasts to veteran airmen, get to experience the pure adrenaline rush of combat flight.

Sharky-Go-Round by Kirk McNeill

The Sharky-Go-Round is a forged steel interactive sculpture. Blacksmith Kirk McNeill created the piece to take the viewer beneath the ocean to appreciate the beauty of these animals and as a condemnation of the heinous act of shark finning.

BioLumenOids by Erick Dunn and Julian Hartline

Bioluminoids are light-animated glass and resin sculptures fabricated using lifecastings molded directly from plants and organic materials. They’re interactive via a wi-fi phone app with a simple interface that lets you program your own custom animations.

Camp Tipsy

Camp Tipsy is an annual rotten boat-building contest and campout organized by the San Francisco Institute of Possibility. Participants build “boats” out of junk to float in the East Park Reservoir. Come see what little it takes to build a boat!

ArtCrawler by Sean Pace

ArtCrawler, a recycled United States military vehicle, is a mobile community center for new media art practices along with science and education. This mobile art and science research facility will house the tools of both trades as a composite field study instrument for multidisciplinary project implementation. The vehicle serves as a platform for audio-video recording, 3D printing, CNC cutting, sculpture fabrication, field research/support, material processing and welding, along with being a mobile power station.

Riveropolis by Gregory Gavin

Riveropolis combines social play, science, and design, providing social “making” opportunities for children, families, and communities. In Riveropolis’ extended projects and summer camps, participants enter a deeper narrative, architectural process to design and craft unique river worlds.

CalSol UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle

CalSol is a team of over 100 passionate Berkeley undergraduate students who design, build, and race high-speed, street-legal vehicles completely powered by the sun.

The Flying Flea Circus by Justin Kelly

The Flying Flea Circus will have a full-featured DIY race and obstacle track at the Faire, complete with Mini FPV racers. Come watch local FPV racing pilots go head-to-head! Bring your own drone and face the challenges of the Circus!

Follow by Christopher Schardt

Follow is a large cylinder of LEDs with ultrasonic sensors that detect passersby. A randomly chosen picture will be displayed for each person that passes by and the picture will follow that person move around. Christopher Schardt is an LED aficionado. Check out his installation called Firmament that was at Burning Man this year below. Videos of Follow in action are available on the project site.

The Bicycle Ferris Wheel by Paul Cesewski

If you’ve never ridden one of Paul da Plumber’s pedal-powered creations or experienced Cyclecide, that’s too bad, but there’s still time. Just be prepared to have an unreasonable amount of fun. Paul’s Bicycle Ferris Wheel will be there.

Nyan Skirt by Jeff and Marie-Claire McDonald

Nyan Skirt is a programmable LED skirt based on modular LED strips and interactive components connected to a single belt. The full costume includes the skirt and a Pop-Tart top that is reactive to sound and includes Arduino-controlled MP3 speakers.


For all the information you need to join the community in Oakland this weekend, head to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire site. You can even still get discount tickets online.

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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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