Fun and Games at Maker Faire

They say there’s no rest for the wicked, and given the never ending stream of visitors at our Maker Faire tent over the weekend, we must have been very bad lately. Our popularity was only eclipsed by our success; garnering an amazing 8 editor’s choice ribbons among our projects, as well as multiple interviews with Leo Laporte on his livestream from the event. Keep reading below the break for details on individual projects.

The Twinki3s car was possibly our most popular attraction, perhaps because it was mobile and got good exposure around the faire. Most likely, though, it was because we brought and shot nearly 400 Twinkies between the two days, eventually running out midway through the second day. The Hostess store couldn’t keep up with the ammunition demands of a heavily armed battle twinki3 apparently; good thing we didn’t make it belt fed. Our new gun performed admirably, replacing the old cannon featured in an earlier post by a significant distance. With our upgraded model, we achieved a range of 50+ feet, surpassing our wildest expectations of the potential muzzle velocity of a Twinkie. Regrettably, cream filled confections do not have the structural integrity of more robust ordnances and would crush and or explode under such high forces. Not that such events weren’t immensely entertaining, but to ensure the rounds were safe and edible for the children around, we generally kept it under half that power. Such limitations did not deter the car from being a smash hit, however, earning it a whopping 3 editors choice ribbons and the attention of hundreds of young and old visitors alike. Apparently the car got jealous of all the Power Wheels competing on the track and we caught it challenging a quadracycle to a race, however the competition chickened out.

Eric’s quadcopter was also extremely well received as evidenced by his well attended lecture under the Make tent on Sunday as well as his packed hourly demos of it flying. Having owned one of those little toy helicopters in the past and struggled to keep it stable and safely far from the good glassware, it’s exciting to watch the quadcopter hover so steadily and apparently effortlessly with so little jiggle even in a big gust of air. Unfortunately, the quadcopter’s motors were not up to the task of getting used and abused so heavily, causing Eric to go through every last spare part in his box to keep it airborne through the end of the day Sunday. For those that missed the twice award winning quadcopter in flight, you can see it in action here, or check out some neat videos from a camera onboard the ‘copter as it took high(ish) altitude shots of Maker Faire.

While industry is not one of the 3 i’s of i3, Matt clearly was demonstrating that trait when he brought a whopping 4 projects to our tent by himself: skeeball, a Nerf shooting range, a cigar box banjo, and his beer growler organ, the lot of which occupied the entire northwest corner of our space. Undeterred by mechanical breakdowns that claimed the majority of his shooting range, buckling beer growler bellows, and many mishaps suffered by his skeeball machine, Matt went above and beyond the call of duty, making on the fly repairs to ensure all of his guests got to experience and enjoy his creations. When Matt wasn’t frantically finding solutions to the threat of 9 year old playtesters, he was busy curating his various inventions to interested visitors and treating passerbys to tunes on his musical instruments.

i3 sported 11 projects at our tent alone (plus a few improvised ones involving shapelock on Sunday) with more around the faire. Unfortunately so many projects would be too long to go into detail on here, so check out Nate’s video mashup to see more of the faire as well as other i3 projects, and stay tuned for an upcoming post about the power wheels race including our entry of “My Little Friend”!

List of i3 Projects:

  1. Red Green (AKA Paul Bunyan)
  2. Twinki3s car
  3. Twittering solar powered dog house
  4. Skeeball
  5. Nerf shooting range
  6. Beer growler organ
  7. Cigar box banjo
  8. Electronic player piano
  9. Quadcopter
  10. Feedback Musical Instrument
  11. LED flashlights
  12. Power Wheels racing
  13. DIY drip irrigation

Awards by project:

  • 3 – Twinkie Car
  • 2 – Quadcopter
  • 1 – Beer growler organ
  • 1 – DIY drip irrigation
  • 1 – Overall i3 Booth
  • Power Wheels Racing: First Place!