Bay Area Maker Faire!

“Fledgling” kinetic sculpture

We flew to San Francisco last Tuesday for BAMF ’11, a palatial feast for the senses. It was my first trip to the West Coast; we got in last Tuesday and spent the first few days exploring the city. Saturday and Sunday were spent at the Faire, where the above sculpture dominated the back tarmac area with its awesome wingspan.

Other favorite exhibits:

Harvey Moon’s drawing machine - I saw this as a Kickstarter project a while back; glad he succeeded! In fact, he got almost 700% funding. Holy crap. (Be sure to fullsize this image — the best part is the squiggly detail lines!)

Hanging stylus, with counterweights, draws an octopus.

Mark Frauenfelder’s make-a-longboard presentation – I captured him after the Faire on Sunday and got to ride this thing around a bit. The bowing makes it more difficult for me to balance, but for experienced skateboarders it’s easier. (It helps keep the board from bottoming out on convex surfaces.) Also, the painting on the back is AWESOME, though you can’t see it here.

Crackerbox amp - parent of the Angry Amp!

Arc Attack - the famous Tesla coil lightning band! They make music by tuning the Tesla coils to spark hundreds of times a second. For example, a violin’s A string vibrates at 440Hz, or 440 oscillations a second, the universal A4 tone. To produce this tone, they turn the coils on and off 440 times per second. And then they have little girls stand in a Faraday cage that absorbs all the electricity… as it plays the Doctor Who theme. Awesome.

We also got to see the presentation of the Global Hackerspace Challenge, where they gave out excellent shirts, and I picked up a crapton of new stickers for the back of my skateboard. Matt and I have bought materials for the longboard project, and if it works out, we’re planning to offer an AHA class on it. Hackerspace labcoat road fleet FTW!

•••••

We visited Noisebridge, one of the first hackerspaces, co-founded by Mitch Altman (one of the presenters of the Hackerspace Challenge). This place is awesome, especially their super-cool library, which is presided over by Keanu Reeves (“be excellent to each other, dudes!”). I spent some time reading about poisons in Silent Death, including such literary gems as “What exactly is nerve gas? Well, to be brief about it, it’s bug spray for people!” And it turns out that Thing-O-Matics make an exciting music reminiscent of the Portal soundtrack.

We went to Langton Labs, a living/creating warehouse community thing. I covet their place, especially the corner area where they have rope webbing to climb on.

They also have this:

More Maker Faire / SF photos here! :)

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