Last weekend, I got to see the future of making objects in the information economy at the World Maker Faire in New York.
Since finance has replaced manufacturing at the core of in the United States’ economy, some have worried that “We don’t make things anymore.” And in one sense they are right— giant companies no longer employ a majority of the workforce in complicated fabrication processes and huge factories lie dusty and empty. But you could never think Americans don’t make great things if you met even one of the hackers, makers, or crafters I saw this weekend.
Maker Faires, with their festival ambiance, amazing showcases and shops and bigtime promotional tents, have been going on since 2006 when Make Magazine put on the first one in the San Francisco Bay Area. They show the playful, whimsical and quirky side of maker culture, and, as you can see, everyone has a real good time.
Check out the slideshow to see what was at the show, and look for a Maker Faire near you at their site.
Sashimi Tabernacle Choir: In an impressive hack, this maker put singing bass on his car and reprogrammed them to sing rock classics. Huge hit at the Faire.
Makerbot created these hacked RC racecars, giving them Mario-esque spiky shell covers.
People lined up to race shells all day at the Makerbot Raceway.
Thing-o-Matic: A DIY 3D printer kit from Makerbot. Create anything you can out of hard plastic. (pic courtesy of Makerbot)
Carusolar: An original 1930s carousel refurbished and solar powered by GE.
Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis, also founder of hackerspace NYC Resistor, with a Makerbot-made action figurer. He talked about the thingaverse—a site where people design and share blueprints for for 3D printers. (pic courtesy of Makerbot)
A non-Makerbot 3D printer showing off yet another use: architectural modeling.
Hackerspaces are the epicenters of maker culture. People get together to share expertise, tools, space, and creative inspiration—and to build. At Makerfaire, Brooklyn Hackerspace Alpha One Labs put on a soldering workshop.
In this project, a midi keyboard controls all these huge drum-banging robots.