We are officially 2 days, 13 hours, 44 minutes and 32 seconds away from the 10th annual Maker Faire and our 10th time bringing the tinkering spirit of the Exploratorium down to San Mateo. This year, we will feature a large scale Rube Goldberg machine built by visitors to the event, a throwback to our 2009 booth. We'll set off the chain reaction five times over the course of the weekend.
That's not the only similarity to our booth from six years ago. For that event we created the first iteration of the tube wall, a venerable system for creating flexible workshop environments made from zip-ties, poster tubes, and incredible finger strength.
The tube wall has served us well at maker faire, on the floor of the museum, and even in Saudi Arabia, but after many years of faithful service, it was looking a little worse for wear. So we took this opportunity to create a new and improved version that will be making it's debut this weekend!
Another thing that we are updating is the set of "special" materials that we require each group to build into their section of the chain reaction. Last week we had a google hangout with Dana from ScienceWorks in Ashland and brainstormed ideas for interesting parts that might trigger a wide range of outcomes. We built some swinging ping-pong racquets, high marble ramps, and zig-zag tracks for participants to use as starting points.
We will have our ping-pong ball finale back in action from the Russian chain reaction last summer, so Nicole has been working on a water clock 'countdown timer' complete with a robotic goldfish.
We've also freshened up a few of our newest Tinkering Studio exhibits with new labels including this super-tiny exhibit label only visible when using Sebastian's "take a close look" microscope station.
We're looking forward to another round of Maker Faire with chances to meet old friends and discover new artists and makers. If you are planning to be down at the Faire, be sure to stop by the Exploratorium booth and try out some of our newest exhibits, meet some of the makers on staff, and help construct the chain reaction machine.