Daily Archives: May 23, 2011

Maker Faire 2011

My local LEGO club, the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group, has been displaying at Maker Faire every year since it started in 2005. Maker Faire is an amazing event, full of all kinds of creativity, from knitting to robots to welding to music. A lot of the art cars and artistic displays that Burning Man is famous for can be seen at Maker Faire in a much more pleasant climate. Regardless of your hobby, it’s a hobbyist’s paradise. And if you’re ever looking for a new hobby, it’s the perfect place to find one.

We had just over 20 club members participating to some degree, at various points during the setup and event. We set up the tables and displays Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and opened to the public at 10am Saturday. I have no idea how many thousands of people came through, but the crowds were nonstop all weekend. The show wrapped up at 6pm last night and we quickly tore down and packed up the display.

We had a 40′ by 50′ space set aside for our club to use, and we divided that up into four distinct areas.

In one corner we had a train/town layout, which is where I spent most of my time. We had a downtown area with buildings, cars, trucks, etc. I had two blocks, one featuring my Blackburn Hotel and other buildings, and the other with my City Park. We also had a suburb full of houses and smaller businesses, and a train yard for storing the trains that weren’t running. Inspired by the Log Cabin set, we had a little campground area featuring two of those cabins and one large one that I made out of three of that set. I also parked my RVs in that area, and we had a lake with an island full of bison/buffalo in the middle for reasons I don’t really understand, but they were cool buffalo. I called them the water buffalo. There was a large open space on the layout which we filled with creations built by kids in our MOC building area (see below).

Besides the town/train layout, we had a row of tables along one side with all sorts of other creations by our club members, including some of my sculpture pieces, Marcello’s Japanese Navy WWII ships, Charles’s spaceships, some Technic creations by Jeremy, and some of my assorted models including the big yacht and some of my 7-wide cars.

The other two corners of our space were devoted to a MOC building area and a Mindstorms demo area. In the MOC building area, we had bulk LEGO parts dumped out on the floor and kids of all ages were invited to build whatever they liked out of the parts. We displayed the parts on the train layout so that the kids could contribute to our display. The Mindstorms area featured live demonstrations of robots of various types run by Eva and Steve, who worked tirelessly all weekend showing the robots off to the public and teaching them about LEGO robots.

To see what it all looked like, click the photo below or click here for a slideshow of all the pictures.

Maker Faire 2011