We are always running around full steam during Maker Faire, preparing and manning the Exploratorium booth, so most of the time it's hard to take in much of the rest of the event. Also considering the massive crowds that descend on San Mateo each year, when I get a spare moment at the faire I tend to just veg out on whatever shady patch of grass I can find.
So a couple weeks ago when Ryoko, Andrea and I went to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire solely as attendees, it was especially nice to get to explore the event at a leisurely pace and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. I wanted to share a few of the cool ideas, makers, and inspirations that caught our eye.
I've been working on a 'knot-tying' station so it was pretty cool to see an old timey tool for twisting rope. I could imagine that there could be a not-so-hard way to make a version of this machine.
Our collaborators at Light House Community Charter School had a really cool booth with lots of activities to try. I especially liked this mural where people could add their paper circuits to a collaborative creation. This would be something nice to add to the activity the next time we try it in our workshop.
Lenore and Wendell of Evil Mad Scientist were there showing off the EggBot but switched out the eggs with mini-pumpkins. Maybe something to experiment with for hack-o-lanterns in the TS this thursday night.
We've thought about glass blowing as a possible activity for an adult program but have been a little concerned about the open flame and safety issues. Maybe something as simple as this three sided acrylic enclosure could provide a helpful barrier.
I was inspired by this young maker's resettable chain reaction machine. I liked how the two walls in the corner provided the possibility to work with height and the whole contraption had a good mix of dominoes, ball runs, and circuits in a relative compact space. Definitely something to keep in mind for when we start prototyping chain reaction workstations on the floor.
Another great find was the conductive pen and printer cartridges made by agIC. These were epecially nice because they don't need time to dry and are instantly conductive. They also showed a prototype of a pen that could erase the line to correct short circuits. It would be awesome to run a workshop in the tinkering studio with them at some point.
Overall, I really enjoyed the relaxed pace and less crowded atmosphere versus the big event in San Mateo. There were lots of beautiful gardens, places to sit under trees, and casual places to have conversations. It felt a less commercial, more personal and more reflective of the community. While I do love the energy and excitement of the big event, it was great to participate at the EB mini maker faire and get some ideas and inspirations for our tinkering space.