For a do-it-yourselfer there’s one major problem with Maker Faire—too many choices. It’s like a giant candy shop; how does one choose which one booth to visit at a time.
While learning how to build an electronic practice bagpipe, one might be distracted by the booth down the aisle where a demonstration is going on using ink that prints with the use of sunlight.
The two-day annual festival that took place May 19 and 20 in San Mateo draws nearly 100,000 visitors, and hundreds of Makers, many from our own backyards.
Ella Smith, a Young Maker and 4th grader from Portal Elementary School in Cupertino showed off Zevrino, her automatic cat feeder. Powering the cat feeder with an Arduino, Ella worked with her dad, Roger, to build the feeder that would dispense food at scheduled times.
And two other Cupertino Makers, Greg Klein and William Martin, showed off their Near Space Balloons concept and the images sent back from the camera that floated 100,000 feet high above the ground. Images from the balloon flight can be seen on their web site Hibal.org.
Watching their demonstration was self-proclaimed geek David Fung of Cupertino and his family, wife Karen, son Andrew and family friend Joseph Del Mundo.
Maker Faire is Fung’s idea of heaven.
Looking for a way to continue to practice the bagpipes without waking up his sleeping children, Tim Malcom from Los Gatos devised the eChanter Electronic Bagpipe.
Malcom, a former software engineer turned full-time dad, showed how to use affordable parts such as an Arduino, sprinkler pipe tubing, screws and some wire to build your own electronic bagpipe for as little as $25. His design is open source and free.
Ana Araujo of Campbell who owns When Creativity Knocks, an online craft resource offered a free do-it-yourself workshop to make a mini blackboard made out of old vinyl records.
Kids lined up to slap on a little blackboard paint, press on some decorative stickers and then head over to Araujo who punched a couple holes in the record—one for hanging the blackboard and one to hold a piece of chalk tied to a string.
Los Altos ham radio operators, Michael Pechner and Paul Zander—or rather NE6RD and AA6PZ, respectively, as they are known in the ham world—were there with co-hammers to tell everyone about ham radio organizations such as Foothills Amateur Radio Society.
“We’re promoting ham radio and all it’s many aspects,” Pechner says.
In particular they are quite excited about Arduino transmitters and what can be done with them.
“You’re limited only by your imagination,” Zander says.
Hacker Dojo in Mountain View was represented by folks such as Laura Wiene and Robert Morell who were on hand to invite hackers and Makers to drop in to the Mountain View location where like-minded people gather and share ideas, they said.
The facilities are open to anyone who wants to use the workspace and be around others who are interested in software and hardware. Membership is $100 per month.