Power Racing Ups the West Coast Ante


Nothing tests maker mettle quite like time and budget constraints. West Coast makers: Now is the time to step up and show off your modding skills. This weekend, May 18 and 19, at the 8th annual Maker Faire Bay Area, we are hosting the season opener of the Power Racing Series (PPPRS). Born out of Chicago hackerspace Pumping Station: One, PPPRS challenges teams of hackers, modders, and makers to modify an electric kids’ toy vehicle (a la Power Wheels) and optimize it for speed, handling, and the ability to hold adult drivers (on a $500 budget, excluding the cost of the original vehicle and safety equipment). Then teams race around a track against other makers who’ve done the same. Beyond engineering, there is moxie: the ability to make a crowd-pleasing spectacle of yourself.

Got what it takes? There are currently 37 teams signed up for the race this weekend, but there’s room for more! Yesterday, PPPRS event organizer Jim Burke threw down the gauntlet and upped the ante:

I’m offering a $500 bounty to ANY WEST COAST TEAM that hasn’t already entered for San Mateo Maker Faire to finish a car in time to race this weekend. Yep, $500 bucks. On the spot. The bounty is for one team only, though. First come first served. The only way to win the bounty is if they finish the race weekend. More than one team can apply but they have to beat the competing team!

Are you a real maker? Apply now!

Sounds like we’ve got a Chitown challenge in the house! C’mon West Coast makers: show ’em what you got! What can you make in 3 days?

Pictured above and below is our MAKE vehicle for the race. Our team is the Make: Lab Rats, and our lead engineer, Dan Spangler, is proudly pictured below. Big ups to Brian Melani for engineering assistance, Paloma Fautley for making the coziest race seat, and Uyen Cao for the rad paint job. Who wants to race?

Head to the PPPRS site, check out the rules, scope your competition, and sign up. See you on the track at Maker Faire Bay Area!




MAKE Volume 33: Software for Makers

In our special Codebox section you’ll learn about software of interest to makers, including circuit board design, 3D CAD and printing, microcontrollers, and programming for kids. And you’ll meet fascinating makers, like the maniacs behind the popular Power Wheels Racing events at Maker Faire. You’ll get 22 great DIY projects like the Optical Tremolo guitar effect, “Panjolele” cake-pan ukelele, Wii Nunchuk Mouse, CNC joinery tricks, treat-dispensing cat scratching post, brewing sake, and more.

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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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