Last month the Bay Area LEGO Users Group (BayLUG) had its annual Anniversary meeting on October 11th at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto. We had a presentation by Russell Clark and myself on using the wiki pages to plan member participation in club events, a Halloween-themed contest, bulk LEGO for sale, and members brought a variety of their creations to display. Check out all the photos I took on Flickr (slideshow).
This coming weekend, May 18-19, I’ll be joining a bunch of LEGO enthusiasts from BayLUG (Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group) at Maker Faire yet again. This annual event has been going on every year at the San Mateo Event Center (aka Fairgrounds) since 2006 and BayLUG has been a part every year. This year we have a 40′ by 40′ space which will feature robotics demonstrations, a kids’ play area, a working train layout by BayLTC (Bay Area LEGO Train Club), and lots of LEGO models on display. I hope you can come and see the show, and stop by to say hi.
Besides our LEGO exhibit, there are hundreds of amazing exhibitors and vendors offering everything from knitting to welding, from woodworking to electronics. It’s a celebration of all kinds of do-it-yourself hobbies and homebrew activities, and always lots of fun. Many of the art exhibits that you would otherwise have to go to Burning Man to see are there, and there are lots of great hands-on activiites for kids of all ages.
In the meantime, or if you can’t make it, take a look at my photos from previous years’ Maker Faires.
Every year the Bay Area LEGO Users Group (BayLUG) sets up an exhibit at the Museum of American History (MoAH) in Palo Alto, CA over the holidays called “Living LEGO-cy.” This year was our 9th annual show. Here are some pics I took on the last day of the show just before teardown. Click the image to view the rest of the photos, or view a slideshow.
My local LEGO train club, the Bay Area LEGO Train Club (part of the Bay Area LEGO Users Group) took part in the Great Train Expo model train show this past weekend in San JosÃ©, CA. We set up a LEGO layout with two loops of trains (one freight and one passenger), a downtown area, suburban houses, a campground, train yard, and more.
A number of my things were on display, including Kermit, the Robert Indiana LOVE and LEGO sculptures, my City Park, a city block featuring the Blackburn Hotel and other buildings I’ve made, the Caltrain locomotive and cars, some freight cars, houses, cars and trucks, and RV’s. (Seeing this list, I realize I need to post some of these models – even though they’ve been around for years, they’ve not all been properly blogged…)
A signal gantry I built over four tracks at Bay Area LEGO Train Club exhibit at the Train Collectors’ Association Cal-Stewart Spring Meet, Santa Clara, California, March 2-4, 2012. I built it Friday night after we finished the setup when I realized we would have a four track line without much decoration in that area.
The signals over each track are based on the Union Pacific Signal Rules. Over each track there is a signal facing each direction, and each signal has three lights which could be red or green. I set up the signals with two each track marked “Clear” in one direction (top light green, two lights below red), and “Stop” in the other direction (all three lights red), in keeping with the direction of travel we used on the layout, but after I set all that up, someone put trains on running in the opposite direction (as shown in the photo below)!
The Bay Area LEGO Train Club displayed a train layout at the Train Collectors’ Association Cal-Stewart Spring Meet, in Santa Clara, California, on March 2-4, 2012.
This is one of our favorite events to display at, as they have a fairly low stress environment and it is in a very nice facility. We set up our exhibit on Friday afternoon, March 2, and finished setup Saturday morning. On Saturday, however, the show was only open to members of the TCA who were there for the Meet, so the crowd levels were low-stress. Sunday was busier, as it was open to the public from 10am-2pm. In past years, the attendance for the public day at this event has been fairly light, and we haven’t bothered putting up our “sneeze guards” (Plexiglass barriers that keep the little kids from reaching into the layout), but this year we quickly realized they had done a much better job promoting it, and we had to scramble to get the sneeze guards up before too many fingers found their way into places they shouldn’t (or worse yet, took things they shouldn’t … you know how grabby little kids can be around toys). Once we had them up, the crowd lightened up again, but we were still glad we did it.
This event was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, where we will be holding Bricks by the Bay in two weeks. While we were there, I had a chance to meet with our representative from the Convention Center and tour the facilities we will be using along with some of the convention volunteers who were also participating in the layout. We finalized the BBTB event schedule and locations where all the activities will be held.
This year the layout was a rather unusual shape for us. Usually we make a big ring of tables, and Bruce brings a gate that carries two tracks across it, so we can have two loops of track circling the entire layout. But Bruce wasn’t able to attend so we tried a new design, making a large “C” shape instead, with the two loops of track doubling back at each end, making a total of four tracks around the layout. It worked quite well, but it presented us with a new esthetic challenge, as there was now a stretch with four parallel tracks and no structures. When I saw that Friday night, I decided we needed a signal gantry, so that night I whipped one up and I am quite happy how it came out.
Take a look at the pictures from the show. Click the image below, or view all the photos as a slideshow.
I wasn’t able to stay for the whole meeting, but I did bring a couple of things I’d been working on – a gas station and the head of Kermit the Frog. I entered the latter in our contest, whose theme was “Movies,” and won the adult category! There were lots of members with minifigs, parts, and sets for sale, and a few people bringing their latest projects. For the kids, there was an activity where they could build things to make up a town layout. And of course our vendor Angel was there with his bulk LEGO which was as popular as always.
You can see photos of the meeting on my Flickr account.
Every January for the past several years, BayLUG has had a meeting at the lovely home of member Dave Porter who has a huge personal layout on display. People bring their latest creations to show, and stuff to sell, and we have our annual first meeting of the year. This year we had elections for new club officers. Click the image for the full set of photos, or view them as a slideshow
I brought my 14 Friends sets that I had built for the “Fortnight of Friends” series to display, and people of all ages really enjoyed looking at the new parts and colors in the sets. The animals were particularly popular among the kids … in fact one of the little girls who apparently had not yet learned the meaning of private property had wandered off with the bunny, both kittens, and the hedgehog! When I noticed they were missing I started asking around and finally this little girl was answering very cagily that she thought she had seen them somewhere in Dave’s layout upstairs… I left the room along with her parents and a few minutes later she came back, having “found” them. It was all rather cute once I had resolved the mystery. But my stuff had been handled so much I felt no choice but to wash all the parts when I got them home. They’re drying as I write this, and I look forward to finding uses for all the new parts and colors…
By the way I have a huge backlog of parts to sort. Anyone want to come over and help me work through it?
The last day of BayLUG‘s annual “Living LEGO-cy” show and teardown took place on Sunday, January 15th. My pictures are available online. This is an event we do every year at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, CA, as a fundraiser for the club and for the museum. This year we had excellent attendance, with a peak of 841 people coming through on the 30th, which was the most people we’ve had in one day since we started keeping track (and charging $2 admission).
Here’s a group photo of club members taken during teardown. Click the photo to see the rest of the images, or view them as a slideshow.
Our next event is the Train Collectors Association Cal-Stewart Spring convention, open to the public on Sunday March 4th, from 10:00am-2pm. It’s a toy train show and one of our favorite events of the year. Two weeks after that is the Bricks by the Bay 2012 convention – the convention runs Friday through Sunday, March 16-18, and is open to the public on Sunday the 18th.
A local newspaper has a great story on their Web site about the BayLUG/BayLTC exhibit at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto. The article comes with a gallery of photos and videos, and I’m pleased to report that three of the four videos show my models (City Park, Caltrain, and Scrambler). [Aside: I just noticed that the pages for those last two are out of date, and I never blogged about the Caltrain cars I’ve built… sorry I will update that soon.]
There are only three days left in the show: Fri-Sun, January 13-15. If you haven’t made it out there yet, best do so soon!