This past weekend was the annual Maker Faire held in the Newcastle Centre for Life.
I had been looking forward to it for some time and I wasn’t disappointed! The event was a cornucopia of various Maker type stalls attractions and talks, all of which worthwhile and informative even if the topic wasn’t your particular discipline.
I can’t thank the assorted makers enough for bringing along their wares and taking the time to enthral, inspire and delight us for two whole days – I can’t wait for next year!
I couldn’t possibly recount everything that went on but I’ll elaborate on some of the images I’ve captured and try to give an impression of what was going on:
(Have mercy on my photography skills, I’m still learning how to use a DSLR)
Getting there was easy enough as I only live a half hour’s drive from the City, I unpacked the kids and headed straight over. The crowds were initially very busy around the entrance but it soon thinned to the point where we could all get in – it cost me £12 for one adult £7 for one Junior (6-12) and my daughter got in free as she’s still under 5 – very reasonable for what you got…
…check it out!
This was only the half of it, I tried to take documentary photos and sweeping overviews but really I got too carried away with trying to not lose my children in the crowds and to investigate what was on offer.
There was the usual offering of 3D printed goods which I felt were no better quality than my moderately tweaked and well ‘dialled in’ Makerbot Replicator 2 however seeing firsthand some output with bizarre filaments I’ve not used such as flexible stuff was interesting as was the startup pictured below which hoped to bring 3D printing capabilities to some lesser developed areas:
I saw some kind of pick and place self replicating printer which I think had something to do with Bristol University, however I was too busy being impressed by their RFID(?) tagged lego bricks called PhysiCAD which they were using for rapid prototyping / design. The bricks had rules applied to them such as ‘this brick is super heavy’ so you couldn’t design something over say underground pipework.
I was impressed and they invited me to play with the bricks – I made a spaceship which is probably online somewhere…
I saw this very loud Macintosh powered audio equipment:
My kids got to use this orange furry sticker machine:
Here’s the sticker I made…
One of the things I like most about this sort of event is looking at things I wouldn’t normally have any interaction with such as these really cool latex masks made by Ray Phillips, my kids loved the Storm Trooper head but I was more of a Davros man.
I spent some time discussing how 3D printing was changing his particular craft and he told me about how he’d had to re-tool to 3D modelling with software which seemed like a bit of a shame to me, although clearly he wasn’t bad at it!
Moving along I found an exhibit with a ZX spectrum running a banner printing program, I didn’t check to see if it was the 16k version or not as clearly it had enough for the job.
…They also had this awesome replica PDP 8/1
There were some guys over from Amsterdam making rings:
There was a real Brain that someone had donated to science. I spent some considerable amount of time attempting to communicate with it but eventually my son got freaked out and we had to move on.
The brain is the most important organ you have…
…According to the Brain
I saw a giant Drone but I have very little knowledge on the subject so I shuffled along quietly impressed by the payload capacity and general size of the thing, looks like something you could strap to your back and take off.
Elsewhere in the event they were racing mini drones with an FPV setup which was very popular, I think this was the racing drones display, they all kind of look the same to me…
Eunny’s awesome mobile display of 3D printed and Laser cut animals, she has awesome business cards!
A Pattern Craft punchcard which I’ve subsequently laminated and am using as a bookmark.
A remote control Cat device of some kind:
A wandering Band!
Here’s a really cool Telescope which used a Raspberry Pi camera and 3D printed parts. I told him he should definitely take it over to the Kielder Observatory for a trial run. You can also buy the parts as a kit if you didn’t already have them, checking my workshop at home I lack only the tube and the mirror which a good friend of mine might be able to help me out with… hint hint… :-)
I came across a display of automata brought along by a friendly ex teacher, I wish I had a few masters more like him back when I was at school! He had the children enthralled with his cunning mix of toys and home-brew electronics wizardry…
…His good wife told me she used to accompany him to various shows and sit there stitching until one day she decided to set up her own display of artistic stitch-craft which I thought was very well done.
I don’t know who made these cog pies (possibly someone from the Great British Bake-Off) but I could have easily been thrown out for trying to eat them…
While wandering around I happened upon the smallest LED cube I’d ever seen in my life made out of surface mount components. While inspecting it a friendly guy called Ben turned up and explained he was the one who had made it and he was a member of what happened to be my local makerspace. I don’t get much spare time with having a full time job and two hungry kids but it was great to chat and I hope to make an appearance there soon as you can only do so much in your home workshop.
(Ben’s cube is the tiny black speck in on top of the white ring in the centre of the picture)
I could have spent all weekend there at the faire and I would have done except I had prior commitments which I could not cancel out of so I had to cram everything that I wanted to see into one day, next year I’ll ensure that I clear the calendar as I had to make do with coming away with only this much swag:
For an exhaustive list of everyone who attended click here!