Don’t bring your 3d printer to MakerFaire

This could easily be called “the year of the 3d printer”. They are in the news, in every hackerspace, and at every event. This last one is the one I’m going to focus on here. All the coverage we’ve seen as well as our personal experience shows that MakerFaires are filled with 3d printers. At MakerFaire K. C., there were so many that I lost count. I didn’t even bother taking pictures or stopping to look after a while. Many were makerbots, though a few repraps were present too.

If you want to be noticed at MakerFaire, DON’T BRING A 3D PRINTER AS YOUR SOLE DISPLAY.

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MakerFaire K.C. First impressions

I arrived at the Kansas City MakerFaire bright eyed and bushy tailed, excited to meet up with like minded people and see awesome projects. I was not disappointed in that respect. The building itself is quite beautiful with giant main rooms and decorated 40 foot tall ceilings. If you haven’t ever seen the Union Station in Kansas City, I suggest you check it out. It is really quite fantastic on its own.

The event seemed rather well organized. There were talks on different subjects as well as clearly outlined areas for each event. The place was absolutely packed, but walking around still managed to be tolerable. Volunteers in bright red shirts were wandering around offering assistance to anyone looking lost or confused. I didn’t run into a single person complaining about the event. I’ve been to a ton of large events and there are usually a few people who were upset. I didn’t find any here.

The booths covered subjects from all over the place. There was knitting, model rocketry, robotics, lego construction, random hacks, cast making, and of course, 3d printing.  I’ll be posting projects separately, as there were only a selected few that I think our readers would enjoy.

There were only 3 things I found frustrating.

1. Some of the coolest stuff I found, we have already covered.

2. I didn’t have time or ability to get as much detail on any one project as I would have liked. I’m used to seeing full write-ups with schematics and pictures. I only had a couple minutes with anyone. There were constant distractions as well as an amazing amount of noise (tesla coils especially!). I walked away felling almost like there was no point in doing interviews, but I guess this is how “on location” stuff works.

3. My footage is shaky. I apologize in advance. I didn’t end up bringing a rig with me to stabilize the camera and I spent the whole time wishing I had. I know how frustrating shaky footage is. I’m truly truly sorry. I will flog myself appropriately at my soonest opportunity.

after the break is a small gallery of random pics from the event with pretty much no accompanying info. Actual posts will be coming soon with details.

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Heading to MakerFaire Kansas City

Today, I’m heading out to Makerfaire Kansas City. I plan on covering this event quite extensively. If you see me, don’t hesitate to come up and introduce yourself. I may even have a custom cut vinyl hackaday sticker left for you. Since we are Hackaday, I plan on trying to get into the details and get interviews following [Ian Lesnet's] lead. We don’t just want to see a neat thing on a table, we want to know how it works and what roadblocks that person ran into. See you there!

 

MakerFaire North Carolina, We’ll see you there!

This weekend, June 16th, the North Carolina Maker Faire will be happening. This is the 3rd year for this event and from what we’ve seen in the past, it should be pretty good.

We realize that every site has its niche of event coverage that they should deliver. Engadget/Gizmodo need to show new phones and got to big apple announcements. Joystiq needs to be at E3. We feel like we should be where people are hacking/building things. In an effort to reach those places, Maker Faire pops into mind pretty quickly. [Jeremy Cook] will be at this one walking around and doing interviews as well as having a booth for his personal site jcopro.net . If you see him, don’t hesitate to go up and say hi, maybe he’ll have a custom cut vinyl hackaday sticker left to give out.

We plan on hitting as many other similar events as we can swing (sorry, looks like no one can make it to toorcamp this year). Our writers are located all over the country so if you hear of an event you think we would enjoy, shoot us an email. Maybe we can attend!

Light trikes allow you to pedal for your life

Unfortunately, none of our writers are located in California this year. This means that we weren’t able to go to the Bay Area MakerFaire and see the cool stuff for ourselves. We have been following along on the web though and a few projects have caught our eye. The rig you see above is a physical controller for a game that was inspired by the classic Tron light cycle. The gameplay is pretty obvious, you pedal the trike to go and turn the handlebars to turn your light tricycle. The hardware seems fairly simple, they’re using an arduino to collect information from the bike, then sending that through NetLab hub, a cross platform toolkit for taking data from a micro controller and feeding it to flash.  We think they did a fantastic job on the presentation, this actually looks like fun to play.

For some reason though, we want them to build a level that looks like the Stanley Hotel.

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BAMF2011: Google’s SKPR Bot, not for arachnophobes

Google’s Maker Faire exhibit space is swarmed with robots…er, androids. Amidst some cool bipeds and Segway-balancers, our inner sci-fi nerd was most smitten with this hexapod design, which they’ve dubbed SKPR Bot. The “Skipper” is on hand to showcase the ease of various Google technologies: SketchUp, Android OS and the Android Open Accessory Development Kit. The whole project came together in less than six weeks.

18 servos are mounted to a framework designed in SketchUp and laser-cut by Ponoko. The low-level servo PWM control is handled by the Dev Kit (essentially a rebadged Arduino Mega, as we’ve seen), while an Android OS phone provides a slick GUI and handles all the inverse kinematics calculations required as the robot takes each step. The coolest bit is that it’s all up for grabs. At this moment you’ll have to scrounge around the ’net a bit to find the plans and code, but some time post-Faire they plan to bring everything together at the SKPR Bot site.

BAMF2011: Lasersaur is one BIG laser cutter!

Psst…wanna buy a laser cutter, but not ready to sell your internal organs? Nortd Labs’ Lasersaur project aims to create an open source large-format laser cutter/engraver that undercuts (har har!) the cost of commercial models by an order of magnitude.

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