Doug's Sounding Board


Maker Faire

We went on Sunday and after finding parking and then waiting in line for tickets finally made it to the the stuff. The main hall had the stuff from previous issues of Make and Craft magazines. Having kits for sale for the more popular items was a good idea. The stage was little crowded so we couldn’t get close enough to hear anyone talk, but talking to the people who were manning the booths was more fun anyway.

Next we went throught he Disney section which was surprisingly cool. Seeing how they mock up attractions and with a model and a camera, and seeing early stage animatronic models was nice since I didn’t think that stuff really escaped the back room. A few years ago I read that someone had come up with a new hologram process that really made things look 3D. I hadn’t heard anything else about it since then but I’m pretty sure that’s what they were using for the Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey. There was no electronics involved, just a hologram in a frame, but the image stood out in front of the frame. Moving from one side to the other I could go from seeing the front of Mickey’s ear to the back. People kept touching the frame because they kept moving closer in an attempt to touch the image.

After that we went to the big hall where we saw the robotics and other things that needed space and more commercial areas. We got to play with what was called “Galaxy Goo” but Crayola calls Modelling Magic. It’s easy to manipulate but then you let it sit for a weeks and it turns hard, no more going back to soft. It feels solid like a plastic but light like a foam when it’s dry. I want the 3D candy printer. We sat in the Tango electric car and then learned that it’s WAY too expensive.

After a lunch break we wandered outside, saw the Burning Man metal sculptures burning, the human beat box, a demonstration on methane from algae as a fuel source, and the QuickCamper. The QuickCamper folds up to act as a shell for a pickup truck but can expand to allow access to a queen size bed, a sink, a stock, a refrierator/freezer, and sitting space (where the bed would be). It’s not in production yet.

We wandered over at the right time to see the Diet Coke and Mentos guys doing their show and selling their nozzle kits, checked out the steam punks, and then wandered the craft hall, picking up cards for later purchase possibilities. I thought the clothing swap/redecorating stations were a good idea, but there wasn’t enough room for the tables selling stuff.

Finally we wandered into the fabrication room and saw several ShopBots in action. Surprisingly they are fairly quiet. There were automated toold for foam, vinyl, plastic, wood, probably other stuff I’m forgetting, There were some trying to start a 500 person co-op where so you wouldn’t have to buy all these things on your own. I started thinking about that and I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t have time for a remote co-op space either.

As we were walking towards the exit we got to see the giraffe bot ambling/rolling along.  Now we look forward to next year.

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