Happiest When Building

Piedmont Maker Faire 2018

After posting a pictue of my new workbench on social media I was invited to display my digital fabrication setup at the Piedmont Maker Faire. Organized by the Piedmont Makers this Maker Faire has a strong focus on K-12 S.T.E.A.M eduction. Attendees were able to meet makers, a lot of whom where Piedmont School District students, as well as do hands on activities such as Air Rockets, a Derby car track, many art installations, etc. I'd billed myself as the "Digital Fabritorium" and took my Kossel Delta, Wanhao i3 derivative and the 3040 TinyG CNC router. I also printed some parts for the derby car, as well as a rendition of the Piedmont Makers logo for people to take as a memento.

Fabritorium Setup

All in all it was one of the most satisfying things related to 3D printing that I'd done. Many people stopped to watch and ask questions, ranging from the mechanics of printing, through to the workflow of getting a part made. It was really refreshing to get to see both students and adults see the printers in action. Some people had heard of 3D printing but hadn't seen it in action. Some had seen it before but hadn't seen a delta style printer. For others it was a totally new concept. When you're surrounded by this technology every day you get a bit jaded by the novelty factor, you tend to think it's not as interesting to others as, in reality, it is. It was so refreshing to answer everyones questions, and see digital fabrication through their eyes.

Derby Car Parts

Towards the end of the day a son and his father approach me. His son, Pepe, wanted to know if I could print a sphere. I rolled out my standard line that I'd print that by printing two halves and gluing the together. Making a sphere was hard, I said, the over hangs would lead to poor surface finish, even with supports I explained. The delta had just finished printing the last set of derby car parts for the day and the Dad asked if we could try it. I hesitated for a moment and then realized this would be a really useful thing to try for both of us. Switching to Fusion 360, I drew a 20mm sphere, exported the STL to Simplify 3D and generated some GCode with the default support settings. Given that the resulting print was only going to take six minutes I sent it off to the printer. Sure enough a reasonable looking 20mm ball came out, and the now gathered crowd got to see it all happen live. I'm so glad this father and son put me on the spot, we both got to learn something.

On the spot sphere.

Another first was doing some demonstration drone flying. Two of the members of UAV Berkeley, David and Trey, were there with their awesome X Class and some other craft. Along with two students we flew some line of sight 5" quads while David flew FPV with his 3". The 3" (or even 2"), was really the quad to have for this small location. A screen for his FPV feed would have been really awesome for the audience to watch along. I was the only one to crash while flying LOS, but at least the audience got to see how well the drones survive. I also flew the 3D printed multi-rotor with a camera hanging off the bottom. Once again it was an example of how you can become blasé about something you do that others find fascinating. After flying the 3D printed drone around for a few minutes I landed, thinking that it probably wasn't that interesting, only to have the audience applaud warmly. The whole demonstration seemed to be very well received, and I look forward to doing something like that again too.

Maker Faire From Above

The whole experience made me realize just how much I enjoy sharing these experiences and technologies with other people. I look forward to finding more opportunities in the future. For now the next event I'll be attending as an exhibitor will the Alameda Mini Maker Faire on Sunday July 8th. Come along and say hi, ask me about digital fabrication and drone building/flying, I'd love to chat!