What We're Excited to See at Maker Faire

A few SparkFun folks will be heading to Maker Faire Bay Area!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the maker year - Maker Faire Bay Area is a few days away and a few of us will be out there to attend. We’ve taken a look at the list of participating makers and selected a few of our favorites to share.

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El Pulpo Mecanico at Maker Faire 2014

Angela’s Picks

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Maker Faire Bay Area, and I am looking forward to seeing all the amazing costuming projects this year! I’ll be wearing a few of my own creations, come say hi and geek out about wearables with me. I’ll most likely be wearing a color-changing, LED fairy costume or some infinity mirror heels around the Faire.

Angela Sheehan

Angela Sheehan
SparkFun Product Manager and wearable tech expert

  • Take Your Cosplay to the Next Level: How to Successfully 3D print on Fabric & Embed other Objects - I’ve been following David’s development of compelling 3D printing on fabric techniques on Twitter, and can’t wait to see some of these prints in person! David will be doing a presentation on how to use these techniques in fashion and cosplay applications.
  • The First Annual Maker Faire Prop Contest - This is a brand new event for Maker Faire and I’m excited to see what amazing props grace the stage for the final judging and interviews. There’s even still time to submit your project (entry form is open until the 17th).
  • The Holistic Hooping Flow Zone - when I’m not tinkering with electronics, I am pretty heavily involved in the circus and flow arts scene here in Colorado and beyond. I always love stopping by the Holistic Hooping folks to take a hula hooping break during the event.

Mary’s Picks

Other than the Denver Maker Faire last year, I haven’t been to Maker Faire, and I spent all my time there as judge for AVC. For my first year going as a maker I actually have a booth, and I’m sharing some wearable hardware I’ve been designing for the last few months.

Mary West

Mary West
SparkFun Engineer

  • {ar/philia - I’ve been obsessed with AR for a while now, so seeing a fellow maker write a graphic novel that incorporates AR is top of my list.

  • Another AR attraction I am looking forward to is Get Qurious. AR sidewalk chalk - I’m imagining artists that abuse perspective to create amazing temporary sidewalk chalk art, using AR to take it a step it further.

  • I admire my fellow Funions almost more than anyone. I’m excited for Mike’s talk with Cypress, and to see Angela wander around enchanting everyone in her amazing interactive, wearable build. Shawn’s busy being Shawn. This doesn’t scratch the surface of what they are contributing.

Mike and Angela both have great picks, so I’ve got quite a bit to see.

Mike G’s Picks

Every time I go to Maker Faire I’m blown away by the range and quality of the amateur-built (!) exhibits, but there are a few things I always make time for:

Mike Grusin

Mike Grusin
SparkFun Product Manager and Rocket Scientist

  • Lenore and Windell of Evil Mad Science Laboratories always bring incredibly cool stuff, from a marble-powered binary computer, to an entire 6502 microprocessor made from individual transistors. This year they’ll have de-capped chips (don’t try this at home!) and microscopes for people to explore.

  • David Lang and the team at OpenROV use very clever engineering to vastly reduce the cost of robotic underwater exploration, and are really nice people as well. This year they’ll be showing off their new advanced underwater drone, the Trident. Come drive it around in their above-ground pool!

  • The enormous Dark Room is the center of the universe for all things glowing and blinking, as well as the coolest computer graphics. In the past we’ve seen Jeri Ellsworth’s amazing CastAR glasses, and Faraday-suit-wearing performers getting hit by Tesla-coil lightning bolts. It’s a great place to get out of the sun and surround yourself with LEDs for a while. Be sure to try out Angela’s magic wand while you’re there!

  • Finally, I’m looking forward to meeting someone I’m impressed is still around: Mehdi Sadaghdar of ElectroBOOM. Mehdi’s YouTube videos have shown us again and again what happens when you grab a wire you really shouldn’t, all in the name of teaching electronics. THAT’s dedication.

Mike H’s Picks

It’s been a couple of years since I was at Maker Faire Bay Area, and I was sad to discover that my perennial favorite, the Western Warship Combat club, won’t be there. Still, there’s plenty that I’m excited to see from old friends and new!

Mike Hord

Mike Hord
SparkFun Engineer

  • I’m always amazed by the work of Shawn Thorsson. His life-size costumes and props are a sight to behold!
  • I’ve never been to Burning Man but I love the big art cars that originate there. This year I’m looking forward to Clock Ship Tere and the creations from the team at Obtainium Works.
  • Mechateuthis is a familiar exhibit that I am always in awe of.
  • Dennis Aiken has made a wonderful mechanical puppet/suit that I think will be a real joy to inspect up close.

And of course, there are the presentations from makers to look forward to:

  • David Shorey has a cool class on 3D printing on fabric that looks really interesting.
  • Tesla coils are surefire fun. Bring earplugs!
  • Eyal Shahar has a compelling discussion of web dashboards for SBC projects that should be very helpful!

I also love seeing all the craftspeople selling their lovely wares in the Bazaar. So much desiderata!

If you see me there, be sure to say hi!

Nick’s Picks

The things I like most about Maker Faire are less the event itself and more the culture and traditions surrounding the event.

Nick Poole

Nick Poole
SparkX, Very Powerful Wizard

It’s always a great weekend in the Bay Area, and while I’m excited to see exhibits like Prosthesis: The Anti-Robot, and I’m always happy to see Cyclecide and our friends at the Power Racing Series, the things that I’m really looking forward to are getting sushi at Daiki Sushi and having a few drinks at Route 92 or The Swingin' Door, and of course the Bring-a-Hack Dinner at BJ’s. If you’re going to be there, you’ll likely find me getting sunburned out on the blacktop watching the folks at The Crucible do their thing, or perusing the SF Bazaar.

Sarah’s Picks

I’m attending the Faire in an effort to connect with some of our distributor partners, as well as to find new products, projects and stories.

Sarah Halliday

Sarah Halliday
SparkFun’s Sr. Distributor Account Manager

  • I am really excited to be part of the Pioneer Shield workshop Digi-Key will be holding with Cypress.
  • I have some incredibly talented co-workers who will be getting a chance to strut their stuff, and I look forward to the chance to witness a bit of their glory!

Like Mike, it’s been a few years since I have been to this show, so I look forward to the whole experience. Also like Mike, if you see me at the show, please say hello.

Shawn’s Picks

I’m free to walk around and see projects at will, so when it comes to scheduled talks, I like finding good stories.

Shawn Hymel

Shawn Hymel
SparkFun Creative Engineer

But wait, there’s more!

A few of us are not only there to take in the wonder that is Maker Faire, but also presenting some our own projects and expertise. It comes as no surprise that our love of tinkering and teaching extends beyond the walls of SparkFun HQ and into our hobbies.

Getting Started with Sewable Electronics

Presenter: Angela Sheehan
Location: Make: Electronics Stage presented by Digi-Key
Saturday 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

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Learn how to incorporate electronics into your costumes or crafts using conductive thread and sewable hardware. This session will introduce you to materials and techniques for soft electronics, an overview of the variety of hardware options to choose from, and examples to inspire your own creations.

Made with KiCad: Introduction to Designing Your Own PCBs

Presentor: Shawn Hymel
Location: Make: Electronics Stage presented by Digi-Key
Saturday 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

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Creating your own printed circuit board (PCB) can be a daunting task, but it can be a fun, rewarding experience. We’ll talk about how a PCB is made and what steps you’ll need to take to design one using the free and open source software suite, KiCad.

Making Your Projects Pop on Video: Setting up Your Home Studio

Panel: Shawn Hymel, Mike Warren, Paige Russell, Josh Berry, Jonathan Odom
Location: DIY Content Creator Stage
Sunday 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

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Paige, Mike, Josh and Jonathan (Instructables) join Shawn (SparkFun) to share their secrets for getting the best video to help you showcase your project, tutorial or maker story.

Insta-Hue Heels: Bluetooth Controlled Color Changing Shoes

Presenter: Angela Sheehan
Location: Make: Electronics Stage presented by Digi-Key
Sunday 1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

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Photo by Geoff Decker, Hidden Vision Photography

Learn how Angela created light-up heels that are wirelessly controlled by a matching bracelet, allowing quick color changes for any occasion. Check out the full project in the latest issue of Make Magazine. Fun fact: Angela made this project for this year’s SparkFun holiday party!

Programmable Jewelry

Presenter: Mary West
Location: Zone 2 in Expo: Northeast
May 18-20 All Day

See and reprogram light-up jewelry that reacts to the environment and the wearer. Create wearable works of art with traditional jewelry making tools and supplies. The jewelry line features a custom-designed microcontroller board and battery management system, as well as breakout board “charms.” You can also check out a small fashion-tech collection.


This covers only a small fraction of the amazing things happening during the event; check out the full list of makers and a presentation schedule on the Maker Faire website.


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