Maker Faire Vancouver

Just spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon down at the Maker Faire!

It’s a celebration for the DIY/maker community in the Vancouver area, in the form of an exhibition featuring dozens of (very cool) DIY projects done by local hobbyists, students, etc.

This is the first (Mini) Maker Faire in Vancouver, a “mini” version of the popular world wide event by the Make magazine.

There was everything from soldering workshops, to giant mechanical spiders, to 3D printers, to DIY style electric car, to robotic snakes, and a making bacon workshop. It’s good to know there are so many fun things people are doing in Vancouver!

First thing that caught my eyes was this –

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RepRap (http://reprap.org), an open source 3D printer that can print itself (plastic parts at least, including gears). I’m very interested because I’m thinking about switching the structural components of my quadrocopter to be 3D printed, but I was worried about the strength of 3D printed parts. I got to play with some of the printed parts, and that removed all doubts. The parts were really strong (at least as strong as ABS plastic that I’ve been using), and also incredibly light. They didn’t say specifically what material they were using, only that it’s an “organic bio-degradable plastic”. Nevertheless, seeing the machine in action really gave me a lot more confidence in 3D printing technology.

And in action (sorry for my bad videoing!) –

Cheaper ones can be bought for about $1000 (requires assembly). I would get one if I have space in my apartment…

Another 3D printer on display –

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This is the famous MakerBot, another open source 3D printer ($1300 for DIY kit).

More cool projects –

Someone converted their car to full electric, with a lot of lead acid batteries! It can be recharged by plugging into the wall (regular 3 prong cable).

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Gigantic mechanical spider powered by pedal. Panterragaffe.

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And the electrical-powered version –

Seeing those things on the internet is one thing, but being there watching them in action is even more fun. I also got to talk to many designers about their projects (they are all very excited), and had some great insights into how they make design decisions.

Can’t wait for the next one!