Maker Faire 2012 – Torn

So, here’s the thing.  I really really really like the Maker Faire.  I’m just torn as to the most optimal way to experience it.

First of all, I love taking my wife and daughter to Maker Faire.  Getting to see so many amazing things all in one place – and getting to see them all through my daughter’s eyes is absolutely incredible.  I could spend the entire weekend just walking from exhibit to exhibit with them.

Second of all, I love talking to Makers and finding out what they do, what they love to make, and how they learned all the things they did to get there.  I honestly feel smarter just for having gone each year.1

Third, helping man the MakerBot table last year was AWESOME!  There was basically a constant crush of people coming by all super interested in what a MakerBot was and what it could be used to make.  Everyone was friendly, polite, interested, and had such excellent and insightful questions.  Imagine a place where you got to just hang out with people you like2 and people would stop by and ask you to tell them all about your favorite hobby.  Chances are you could talk endlessly and cheerfully about it.

Fourth, I’ve build and made some things over the last year of which I’m kind of proud.  While all the actual innovation credit must go to Sandy Noble and others, I like to think that my little drawing robot is uniquely mine.  It would be a lot of fun to put it up and have it draw a huge picture all weekend.  It would be even better with a time lapse video playing nearby.

So, what’s a maker to do?  Experience Maker Faire with the family, spend my time talking to makers, man the MakerBot table, or put something on display myself?  In all likelihood I’ll probably hit the Maker Faire before the family is up, help MakerBot, catch up with the family. 3

Oh, Natalie Imbruglia, only you know how I feel!

  1. Admittedly, it wouldn’t take much for that to happen []
  2. Such as the MakerBot crew! []
  3. But, it would also be cool to set up my drawbot in the background. []

6 Responses to “Maker Faire 2012 – Torn”

  1. kongorilla says:

    For the last few years I’ve taken to buying a weekend pass for myself, so I can spend one day on my own, seeing the stuff I want to see at the pace I want to see them. The other day is family day, when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the dad.

    I don’t know about that scheme this year, though. (This is how I’m “torn” about the Faire). Between the increasing crowds and the rerun exhibits, my enthusiasm is dimming somewhat. Which is a shame. I love that the Faire is in my backyard (and RoboGames, too) and want to support it. But I really hate crowds and I don’t think the organizers have done enough to ameliorate the situation. There have been occasions there, and one in particular when I couldn’t move for a long time, where I was actually afraid due to the crush of people surrounding me. Not fun. Nor particularly safe.

    Showing my projects usually isn’t considered for long, because I can’t get my act together. It’s accomplishment enough that I finish anything I start. I keep thinking, “Next year”, especially when I see those rerun exhibitors, because I know it’s the fault of lazy people like me that the same stuff is shown every year. I just know there’s got to be some amazingly cool stuff in garages all over the Bay Area that never makes it to the Faire.

  2. whosawhatsis says:

    I’m also having trouble deciding what to do. I’m planning to go for the first time this year, and I can’t decide whether I should bring my bots along to participate in the 3d printer village. I really want to have a chance to see the rest of the faire. Maybe one day of each? Can you see everything in a day?

  3. I’ll be at Maker Faire Detroit as a first-timer, and I’ve already volunteered to man the Milwaukee Makerspace booth for a while, and I’m also bringing the family… Maybe we need a support group or something.

  4. MakerBlock says:

    Wow!!! I had no idea people were wrestling with the same dilemma!

    @Kongorilla: I’ll admit, the crowds at the Bay Area Maker Faire have gotten really really big. I’m just not sure what could be done about it. The only solutions seem to be more time or more space. I suppose one day they might have to move the entire thing to Cal Expo where the California State Fair is held? If it were held from one weekend to another weekend, this would probably help too. We’ve historically had a tough time finding food, bathrooms, and navigating crowded areas at the Maker Faire. I don’t really mind “rerun exhibitors” because these things are still pretty cool. In fact, I find myself wondering if I can find exhibits I had seen the year before.

    @Whosa: I’m not sure which Maker Faire you’re close to – but I would definitely say it is impossible to see all of Maker Faire Bay Area across two full days. Moving fast, stopping to eat, hit the bathroom, etc, we’ve only been able to catch highlights and spend time in the areas that really interest us.

    @Pete Prodoehl: I’m thinking we DO need a support group. As kid friendly as the event is… Is it really father friendly???

  5. whosawhatsis says:

    It’s the Bay Area Maker Faire that I’m planning to go to. I guess I should leave the bots at home this time and just check out the faire. Maybe next year if I skip the rerun exhibits…

    You really can’t see all of the exhibits in 18 hours over the course of two days? Challenge accepted. Of course, I won’t have a wife and kids slowing me down. Hope to see you there! If I’m not going to bring my bots, I should probably design something wearable to print out and show my 3d printing cred.

  6. MakerBlock says:

    @Whosa: I really wouldn’t be able to see all of the exhibits in 18 hours, no question. Even without the family, I don’t think I could do it. By the time I’ve been through the Expo Hall, Fiesta Hall, Show Barn, and tried to look at all the stuff nearby, I barely have any time to see anything else. And that’s only about 1/2 the entire Maker Faire Bay Area.