Monday, May 28, 2012
On Saturday I went to my very first Maker Faire - albeit just a Mini
one - where I realized there is SO MUCH cool stuff out there I still
want to learn. Then we went to a cat show next door, where I realized -
again - that CATS ARE AWESOME. (And I want to pet a hairless cat. I do. I
bet they feel like warm velvet. Mmmmm.)
If you've never heard of them, Maker Faires are a celebration of makers - DIYers, hackers, programmers, and other crafty types. At our little one here in Orlando we had a smattering of prop builders, artists, 3D printer programmers, model rocket builders, and other assorted scientists and geeky types. It was small - all housed in one giant warehouse at the fairgrounds - but John and I still managed to spend an enjoyable few hours browsing and chatting with the exhibitors.
The end where we entered had a robot arena, where kids were allowed to drive some of the 'bots around:
Next to that, two larger robots were shooting baskets:
These toy robots were fun to watch: they can sit, stand, and walk on their own!
There were two or three excellent found-object artists at the Faire. Here's one of my favorite pieces:
A Klingon Bird of Prey! (I recognize the head as a tea ball. Your guess is as good as mine on the rest of it, though!)
Robots Are Awesome:
This lovely lady was a fellow attendee, but she really stood out from the crowd:
Of course, it's not a Maker's Faire without a musical Tesla coil:
For $3 you could buy a little pack of parts and solder your own blinking robot pin. SOLD!
Here's the finished pin:
These animatronic fruit guys were singing, and the way their "faces" moved was both fascinating and reeeally creepy. Here, I grabbed a little video:
This is a large metal and plexiglass sculpture. The colored lights changed over time - quite pretty.
The droid builders were back here, too, along with some familiar droid faces:
I don't think I've seen this little guy before, though. AND I LOVE HIM.
Back in the lighted area, there were a few crazy-talented prop builders:
This is all by Jason of Fireblade Comics. He does a lot of custom work, and I love that he displayed several of his props alongside the items he'd made them from:
And finally, here are two of my favorite art pieces :
Both pieces are by Aleric Art, and are actually on sale at Etsy right now, if you're interested.
So that was the Orlando Mini Maker Faire! Hope you guys enjoyed visiting it vicariously through me. Sadly I don't have any pictures of the cat show - some of those cat show people are a leeetle bit scary, and I didn't want to chance it - so you'll just have to imagine me and John and our friends Scott & Missy tip-toeing down the aisles and peering longingly into all the cat houses while their owners glared at us suspiciously. Hee.
Oh, and Happy Memorial Day to my fellow Americans! Today I plan to practice some more painting finishes on my current craft project and then finish the 1,500 piece jigsaw puzzle I've been working on for months. How 'bout you guys?
UPDATE: I've had a few of you comment on the robots in my first two pictures, and Katie K. was kind enough to send in some more information about this great program for kids and teens:
"After reading your post today about the makers fair, I simply HAD to write to tell you about the robots at the beginning of the post. As I intently scrolled down the page, I immediately recognized the bots in your pictures. Well, not those ones specifically, but the program they're with. FIRST Robotics is an international competition that brings young people together in the name of, well.... robots. And geekery. FIRST has several programs for different age groups, starting at 5 years old or so.
In the first picture, with the smaller robots, is the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the second with the big one is FIRST Robotics Competition. But both of these are completely comprised of high school students, so those fabulous bots were built by kids 13 to 18 years old! I know more about the basket-ball shooting one, because that's the one I'm in, so I'll talk about it. Beginning in January, teams are given six weeks to design, build, code, and test a robot to complete a given task (given at the start of the build season). This past year it was a more complicated version of basketball. Teams are given a basic kit of parts, but are expected to make or buy anything else they need to make their robot run. Teams then compete at regional and (inter)national levels. So, yes, those robots (and their teams) belong at a Maker Fair.
I'll make a shameless plug here and invite you to tell any kids you know who are inclined toward making stuff to look up a team in their area. And teams can always use the help of adult mentors and monetary contributions. *nudge, nudge*"
Thanks so much, Katie!
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