I had intended to do a Maker Faire roundup right after the event, but the beginning of summer sort of got in the way. The good news is that this roundup of who and what to follow doesn’t expire. So when you’re ready to kick-back and start scrolling through your social media feeds, make sure to check out these makers.
If you don’t already follow him, check out Mark Rober for some fun with physics. Mark’s presentation at Maker Faire was lighthearted and entertaining, like his videos, but he’s actually a serious scientist.
During his presentation, Mark announced that in the next year or so, he hopes to become a high school physics teacher. Shocked? So were we!
Don’t worry, Mark still plans to make videos. He hopes that teaching high school physics will help him understand how people learn. This will help him close the gap between what he thinks people learn from his videos and what they actually learn. That will make his videos even better. So Mark is not only smart and funny, but also a genuinely good human being.
In other Mark Rober news
In addition to stunning us with the teacher news, Mark announced that he and Jimmy Kimmel will be co-hosting a Discovery Channel program. It sounds like the topics are still a bit nebulous, but will center around building things that help people make ‘socially responsible’ decisions. He sited an example where if someone leaves their shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot, he and Jimmy might hack a shopping cart to follow that person around. Sounds like fun!
Sometimes presentations can be surprising
The presentation that David Picciuto (@drunkenwood) and Bob Clagett (@iliketomakestuf) gave last year was my favorite of Maker Faire. It was incredibly helpful and supportive of the maker community. This year, when I sat down, excited to hear Bob and his crew talk about their builds, there was a moment when I thought I would go see other things. I mean I love Bob, but he started by saying they were going to talk us through the process of making one of their videos. Not being a YouTuber myself, this didn’t really appeal to me.
Of course after the first few minutes the talk changed from ‘A Practical Guide To Online Video Production’ to an entertaining and informative chat about what each of the crew finds fun and frustrating about their role. It was great, and very different from last year. I learned a ton, mostly about working in a maker team, and have new people to follow: Josh Price (@joshmakesstuff), Jonathan Forby (@forby), and Anthony Rose (still looking for his Twitter handle).
A presentation on housing
My favorite presenter, though, was Ben Uyeda. Ben is an architect who left his firm to make tutorials on how to build cool projects inexpensively. He doesn’t have a massive shop full of expensive tools because most of us out there don’t either, and he wants his projects to be accessible to a wide audience. Since that is also Creatorvox’s goal, you can see how I would appreciate his work.
What made Ben’s presentation so interesting, though, were his thoughts on housing. One of Ben’s bigger projects is a shipping container house (see it here). When you look at this project it seems like it could be the answer to housing shortages everywhere. When asked about this, though, Ben told a surprising story. According to his research and experience, revamping legislation and elements of the building code would have a bigger impact. He sited some of the unnecessary costs associated with building a container house, such as sprinklers (in a metal house). At 6% of the cost of construction, he could have saved a lot of money by leaving them out.
More from Ben
Ben is also hoping to build a house made completely from recycled materials. Here, too, he anticipates years of struggle to get materials and alternate uses approved by code officials. Revamping the building code would make this both easier and more affordable.
Hoping to change the housing industry from all sides, Ben also has a plan for working within the existing building code. For this project, he would build a house for $100k or less. While ambitious, especially in a state like California, Ben already has some ideas for how to make it work. I can’t wait to see how it all goes.
Of course no Maker Faire roundup would be complete without discussing the fascinating, and seemingly endless, exhibits. If you have ever been to a Maker Faire, you know exactly what I mean. Not only are there interesting products and technologies to explore, but there are so many enthusiastic exhibitors. Everyone wants to tell you everything they know about their product, technique, or technology. I love it! It’s an incredible way to learn new things and meet new people, and is what makes Maker Faire so special.
Mille what?? I had no idea there was a name for this type of bead until I saw Arbel Shemesh’s fabulous exhibit. Her display, in rainbow and ombre, shows exactly how to make beads using the Millefiore caning technique:
You can see some of her incredible work in the background, too. If you have a pasta maker, you might want to give this a try. I’m sure it takes years of practice to get as good as Arbel, but it certainly looks like a lot of fun!
I was thrilled to find a project station from a non-profit called FabMo that re-purposes discontinued fabrics. They work with local stores and showrooms to collect unwanted scraps and samples. FabMo then brings these to their warehouse, sorts them, and makes them available to the general public. They do this through both craft activity groups and monthly sales. While their warehouse and sales are only accessible to people who live in the Bay Area, it’s such a great idea I thought I’d share it here. Maybe you can start one in your town, too.
Fun with cardboard
This year there were several exhibits that centered around cardboard. One was a gigantic T-Rex with color-changing LED eyes:
I love his little buddy made from straws, too.
One of the most sought-after makes this year was a make-your-own cardboard unicorn. Obviously I had to do that!
It was a little tricky to assemble in the damp weather, and keeping it dry all day was also tough, but totally worth it.
Maker Faire roundup miscellaneous
In addition to all of the presentations and exhibits, there was the usual randomness that makes Maker Faire so unique. Topping that list were all of the things zooming around the fairgrounds. The cupcakes had a little trouble this year because of the rain (they’re fabric), but they were out as soon as it stopped. Check out Acme Muffineering to see them all.
My favorite, which I saw only once and was too slow to film, was the magic carpet, complete with rider. Second to that was the remote controlled washing machine. Check out the video I captured on the Creatorvox Facebook page. The washing machine was fast, but not quite as speedy as the magic carpet.
Maker Faire vendor roundup
There are so many great vendors at Maker Faire it’s really hard to pick a few. Here is a list of my absolute favorites, all of whom ship. Of course they are mostly about food:
- Slow Moon Rise for really incredible nature-inspired, hand-printed t-shirts. If you like your shirts loose, go at least two sized up, though.
- Burlap and Barrel for great spices that are ethically sourced. The black peppercorns are so good I find myself peppering things I never have before.
- Happy Girl Kitchen for very tasty things in jars (jams, sauces, pickles). They ship all over North America. If you live locally, contact them to pick-up your order anywhere they normally deliver.
- T-We Tea. It’s obvious from the name what they do. My favorite is the Cougar Tranquilizer for a good night’s sleep. I don’t drink it very often, but for those times when your brain just won’t turn off, it works really well.
Quite a lot of rain
One of my favorite aspects of Maker Faire is seeing all of the fun, handmade, t-shirts people wear for this crowd. I like challenging myself to see how many of the science jokes and pictograms I can decipher. Usually it’s not that many, but it’s fun to try. This year everyone had on rain jackets that made it impossible to see the t-shirts, which was a little disappointing.
Once the sun returned, though, we were all back to joking about how much everyone loves the giant bubble machine, and which handmade vehicle was the best. I’m still voting for the washing machine, although the piloted desk is also fun to see.
That’s a wrap!
Well that’s the Maker Faire roundup for 2019. What were your favorite things? Tell us in the comments. For tips and tricks on planning for next year, check out this Creatorvox post.