Adam Hupp

Maker Faire 2008 Highlights

This weekend I attended my first Maker Faire and was amazed at the variety of cool stuff to be seen. I’m sure every attendee has their own list of highlights, but here’s mine:

TechShop: The TechShop provides access to tools beyond the reach of the average hobbyist. Welding, CNC plasma cutters, later etching, and machine tools are all available after a short training class and payment of a modest use fee. I can’t even explain how excited I am to check this place out - I’ll be taking the TIG welding class at the end of May.

Electric Unicycle: The was probably the coolest single thing I saw. It sounds deceptively simple: a unicycle with an electric motor. The neat thing is that, like a Segway, it (sort of) self balances and is controlled by the operator leaning forward and backwards.

Orb Swarm: A 3’ diameter hollow sphere that can roll along the ground under autonomous control. A motor is suspended in side the sphere, and it changes direction by tilting the batteries to act as a counterweight.

Michael Cooper’s Chair: This item was sort of out of place at the fair in that, as far as I could tell, it didn’t actually do anything. Even so it was easily the most beautiful and polished piece I saw. The chair is made of curved wood laminate and is set in the middle of a spider/helicopter/hydraulic lift device right out of science fiction.

Unfortunately Mr. Cooper’s website follows the common artistic failing of using unlinkable Flash applets to display their portfolio so I can’t link directly to the piece. The item I saw is shown in the upper-right hand corner on the main page of his website.