October 14, 2007

Building stuff

One recent thing I've become a bit more involved in is building stuff. Something of a popular trend, or perhaps myopia makes me think it is. I'm not sure this is truly new, as people have been hot rodding cars and renovating houses for a long time. But what does seem to be new new is that's it's easy for the crazy inventor types to communicate instantly and reach a wide audience due to the Internet.

Take Make magazine. They created a Maker Faire, and it's one of the coolest things I've been to in a while. There was a wide range of stuff being made, from robots, robot modifiers, robot art, crafts, tesla coils (two sets--a small one and an enormous one), musical instruments, flames, and giant games. Some of the stuff was showing off what had been built, but a lot of it was showing people how to do things, from soldering, to programming, to sewing with electroluminescent wire.

Two particularly memorable organizations at the Maker Faire were the Techshop , an open-access workshop with all kinds of tools--they were showing off the cool modern ones, ranging from CNC milling machines to 3d printers. (Note that there were a few home-made 3d printers elsewhere in the show which printed with food products (sugar and cheeze.) I'll have to stop by and visit some day.

The other was Cyclecide, a San Francisco alternative bike club which has built up a carnival midway of attractions. Yes, they have a carousel, ferris 'wheel' (albeit with only two seats), and the like. They also put on a rodeo. Anyway, people were having lots of fun riding the bikes and rides. (And again, there were lots of other bikes at the fair--electric, diesel, wooden.)

Well that was all the way back in early spring. Since then, I went to the Kinetic Sculpture Race up in Arcata, helped a friend build a giant dicycle and bring it to Burning Man as part of the Kinetic Sculpture Racing camp.

I just spent a bit of time this weekend putting together a web site for Unwheeldy (the dicycle). I have no idea what the future will hold for it but there it is.

Posted by MBlain at October 14, 2007 09:25 PM
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