Maker Faire Experience (Austin, 2007)
You know that feeling when you're just a little person arriving to Disney? My Maker Faire experience was better, even going through a serious illness. Indulge me for a moment while I have a flashback. I find myself continually browsing the internet, pulling up my feeds, printing the latest posts and reading the information like my wife would admire platinum on her finger. And all focused on technology, building, hacking, modding, robotics, mechatronics, mechanics and electronics. This faire is that and more! If you have a chance to travel the world and see something, see the Maker Faire, and if you're a frequent visitor to this website, I'm sure you wouldn't regret it.
Apparently, the Maker Faire will exhibit twice a year, first at San Mateo, California (near my stomping grounds at Berkeley) in the Spring, and second in Austin Texas in the Fall. Austin is nice and sunny that part of year, and San Mateo is nice all year-round which is located in the Bay Area, near San Francisco and Berkeley.
After my arrival to Austin to set up the CNC I notices that I was located in this area called "Fab-Ri-Cate". It's a totally intense mixture of different types of fabrication efforts, machines, technology and knowledge. I was blown away! Shop Bot was there as a sponsor. That's a sweet machine if you've got a cool ten spot on you ($10,000+). The founder of the Shop Bot was there and he was cooking up this interesting vertical drawing machine and a "Zomicile". It appears that he started out just like this buildyourcnc effort, by grabbing stuff at the local hardware store and putting together a machine. The founder is a genius and it was a pleasure meeting him.
I was also able to meet the guys at RepRap. Now, those are some very focused individuals that truly have a cause to get their technology out there. RepRap is a technology/machine that prototypes using a low melting point plastic with the process of building up the plastic until it realizes a specific form. They pride their effort on having a machine that may be able to self-replicate itself. They were just adjacent from Fab Lab, an effort to do everything with fabrication formed by a couple of MIT students. Fab Lab dabbles with all aspects of fabbing, from the software to the mechanisms used to build prototypes. The image show the staff from Fab Lab and RepRap.
I must say that my favorite part of the Maker Faire was meeting Andy Payne with CAM BAM. He was located right next to me. So close in fact that most people thought that we were one exhibit. We played off of each other... when an individual would ask questions about software I would motion to him and he would return the favor when individuals asked him about how to get a CNC machine. We both latently advertised Mach3, how could we not! Even though Art wasn't there, Mach3 got a bit of attention, and most people knew of the software. I urge anyone reading this to check out CAM BAM. It's a great piece of software, and it's free, for now. He's coming out with a commercial version soon. CAM BAM is a software application that takes a design from CAD and generates the g-code for use in Mach3.
Here is an image of my humble machine at the faire. My kids like the colors. I could ramble on all day about the Maker Faire, but I'll stop with my experience in the Fab-ri-cation area. You can get the whole scoop at the Maker Faire website at makerfaire.com. I'll never forget the guy that was knitting and drumming simultaneously.