Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

I went to Maker Faire yesterday for the first time since my first visit in 2009.

There were a lot of familiar exhibits, but the most noticeable change was the rise in 3D printing. There were multiple 3D printers on display, including these from Ultimaker which are about $2600.

3D printer making a figurine

I had never seen a 3D printer in person before, and it was fun to see many of them in operation. The concept as far as I can tell is pretty simple. A plastic coil is fed into a hot nozzle, just like a hot glue gun, which melts the plastic. As the plastic is extruded, the print head moves along 3 axes to create the product. I don’t know what I’d use a 3D printer for today as I don’t generally build things in the physical world, but it will be interesting to see if they ever become mainstream among general consumers.

Fire is always popular. Here’s El Pulpo Mecanico:

Metal octopus sculpture with fire coming out of the tips of the tentacles


It reminded me of how fire is used at theme parks and in Las Vegas.

I didn’t get any good video of it, but this year the Tesla coil demonstration was musical. There was a keyboardist in a cage, I believe controlling the coils, backed by other band members. You can find a ton of good Tesla coil music videos on YouTube.

Tesla coils

I liked the look of these lights:

Inflated colored light sculptures

Here’s what it looks like to have a smoke ring shot into your face:


Blue Man Group has incorporated similar machines into their act, of course playing them as drums.


Old train

That’s a Fresnel lens on the light. Yeah, I learned stuff in my high school stagecraft class.

horse made out of tire scraps

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