Tuesday, October 6, 2015

San Diego Maker Faire 2015 :: Day One

Welcome to our first day at the first annual San Diego Maker Faire. We arrived bright and early to set up outside the Hall of Champions, in Balboa Park.

Here is our official Maker Faire sign for Da Vinci... seen in his 2.0 incarnation.

First order of business was unloading stuff... tools, parts, limbs, supplies, chairs, the table, the tent. We were invited to create a Young Makers Zone, with two robots, and the Viking tent.

And we were in good company!

When I shared this picture on FB, Paul commented,"Geoff's stride and expression is classic. It looks like he's in a musical and is about to break out in song." If Geoff broke out in song, Paul is the kind of friend that would sing along, and back up with guitar. No misstep.

Surrounded by friends, and the stuff we make, it felt like home. I knew then... This is going to be a great Maker Faire.

Maria was looking certain, too. She's ready.

Paul. Yeah, he's all in.

Max, quiet and reserved, made himself helpful wherever he could.

Still working, never ceasing, Geoff shows Mech-Cthelulu's mechanical claw.

Alex puts the Engineering and the Art in the STEAM.

Here's William's photograph: Paul, Max, and Geoff fine tuning the Giant Robotic Tentacle, Mech-Cthulu. Props to Paul for that name, by the way. It's sticking. {Caution Tape was not for decor.}

The fun of sharing the Giant Robotic Tentacle, Mech-Cthulu, is not just the demo, watching it dance and pop, but handing over the controls, and seeing the thrill in someone's face, when they take command of that 9' tall beast.

Back in the Viking tent, Da Vinci 3.0 illustrated all day... practically nonstop. It's a mesmerizing thing to watch an automaton wire sculpture illustrate, so deftly, so beautifully.

Maker Faire isn't a show... it's show and tell, and this is one of the most gratifying parts of exhibiting and attending a Maker Faire event. We aren't there to perform, or to keep secrets. We are there to share... our ideas, our creations, and to engage with the visitors.

We pull back the curtain, and share the works. Some people ask right away, "How does it work?" And some visitors want the chance to figure it out for themselves. Everyone enjoys the dialogue, the exchange, and just watching the process.

Da Vinci is an automaton, inspired by the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. Beneath his desk are two motors, one for each axis, the x and the y. These motors are controlled by computer from our Eggbot, an open source CnC art robot. To control Da Vinci's hand movements from below, the motors lead to three magnets, which in placement match three magnets in the plate in Da Vinci's hand. Through the glass plate of the desk top, Da Vinci's hand is magnetically attracted to the movements of the motors below. Eggbot's computer directs the hand left and right, forward, and back, and a third servo motor in his hand controls the Z axis, lifting and dropping Da Vinci's pen.

Da Vinci "knows" what to draw thanks to another great open source tool, Inkscape. "Inkscape is is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux." The cable running up Da Vinci's right arm links him to the laptop, where we have created illustrations for him to use, like the Centennial Lady Maria made in Scratch.

The wire figure, Da Vinci, is a third version from the original which debuted at Bay Area Maker Faire in 2012. Alex designed and built DA Vinci 3.0 using pliers, a drill, and a reel of rebar tie wire. Alex has an uncanny gift for bringing images in his head to life, in drawings and in 3-D. Da Vinci's arms and stance are not only aesthetic, they are calculated to move appropriately and fit around the desk and motors. The hand was fitted with the Z motor and special plate that holds the magnets and calibrated Sharpie holder.

All that was the tech, the engineering, the art and the math... next comes the wonder! The looks on people's faces, their interest and questions, their suggestions... all of this is what makes it really, really fun!

We are the Benevolent Order of Makers. We love to imagine things, make things, and share them!

At Maker Faire, we are in great company, with hundreds, thousands, of creative, generous, smart, engaged people who love to find the play in everyday life.

Corina, Cris, Geoff, Maria, and Janece... at home, and abroad, we are surrounded by wonderful friends. It's awesome.

I am trying to imagine how many vans it would take to bring all the things BOoM has made over the years! I am really glad William brought his Prancing Pony sign.

His pack was full of marshmallow shooters from Maker Faire. Some cool group was sharing making those... and I really want to make one, too!

When Maria wasn't operating and explaining Da Vinci, she was making new friends.

There were also cousins to play with! Priscilla came with Emma and Maddie, from their Maker Faire exhibit.

Meet Da Vinci...

then, control Mech-Cthulu!

As I explained, the drawings we let Da Vinci share were all in Inkscape, but one little boy asked, "Can Da Vinci draw an airplane?" And we answered, "He can, but you have to teach him how." Our laptop didn't have a mouse, and he'd never used Inkscape, but he was willing, so check out what he managed to accomplish on his first try! He traced his finger on the tiny keyboard pad, and then Da Vinci was able to draw his airplane!

Making at Maker Faire!

No less than five times, this family asked to buy Maria's Centennial Lady, but we insisted they could just take it home. They didn't want to take it without a picture with the artist.

At the next event we plan to have BOoM and our URL printed on Da Vinci's drawings. And wouldn't it be great to have the resources to let more children use Inkscape to make their own pictures, too? Dreaming big. Dreaming BOoM!

Maria is posing for the La Jolla Light reporters who wanted to know all about Da Vinci and BOoM. Maybe we'll be featured. We are less interested in the attention on us, and more keen on sharing the idea of Making, of funding STEAM education, restoring metal shops in schools, maintaining Regional Occupation Programs and sharing the efforts of like minded friends, like Mike Fulkerson,and AR-Duo. At San Diego Maker Faire there were hundreds of people who are passionate about STEAM :: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Music, and any news about efforts to promote STEAM education is good news.

Here is a dear Maker... Happy Birthday, Bambi! All dressed-up and helpful, as always, in the very dress she was designing and cutting patterns for at our last BOoM meet-up.

Stayed tuned for Day Two, when we got rained-in and I learned to solder!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes! It was great to meet you, learn from da Vinci, and turn my nephew (age 11) loose on mech'thulu. A fabulous entrance to a fun maker fair. Thanks! I'll have to send along a pic of that geodesic chicken tractor I was telling you about