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Recap: World Maker Faire 2011

For the second year in a row, Make Magazine brought their Maker Faire to New York City, showing how fun and cool science can be. On the grounds of the Science Center in Queens, NY, makers, scientists, DIYers, crafters and creators of all sorts gathered to show off their projects to young and old alike.

I displayed my creations at World Maker Faire again with I LUG NY, the New York tri-state area based LEGO Users Group. Arriving Friday to set up, I found our table was behind the Maker Shed as part of the Young Maker’s area. Being hidden away in the corner of the Faire, as opposed to the more advantageous spot near the center, where we were last year. With the tables set for the day, I went off to watch the taping of Make:Live and socialize with the other makers over beer and paella before watching some demos and checking out the science center.

My personal highlight of the Maker Faire was during the party Friday night. As I was walking up, one of the golf carts that the staff were using to set up drove by me and the next think I saw was a turtle shell from drive up behind it, as if it were real life Mario Kart. It turned out to be one of the turtle racers that were built with Makerbots that would be racing later in the weekend.

Saturday came along soon enough, and I LUG NY was represented by five members, which gave me ample time to see most of the other makers and their displays. From lockpicking to Kinect hacks to 3D printing, a veritable  cornucopia of science and ideas intermingled to delight and inspire everyone. The was the Bust Craft area again, and although it once again felt like a flea market nestled within the confines of a science fair, it was placed in the middle of the Faire rather than off to the side, so it didn’t feel like the ghost town of a year prior.

Sunday was a different experience. I was the lone representative of I LUG NY and manned our two tables. I spent most of the day talking about LEGO, our organization and other topics relating to our table while intermittently playing with a marshmallow gun I had purchased from the table next to ours and was shooting over tents and having a minor skirmish with those responsible for selling the handheld PVC cannons with which I played. Late in the day, I covered the tables and took a break to experience a little more of the Faire and take care of personal needs before returning to finish out the day and break down for the eventual ride home.

Each year the Maker Faire is inspirational to me. I love showing off my creations and talking to people about them, but I also love seeing what other people have created and what they are displaying. I leave with so many ideas floating in my head and a couple new Arduinos and shields incorporate into my next LEGO projects, of which I can’t wait to get started building.

To see my pictures from Maker Faire, check them out on Flickr here.

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