Open Sauce Recap

Two weeks ago, we saw the introduction of Open Sauce, a two-day celebration of Makers and Creators at San Francisco’s Pier 35. This inaugural event promises to be the first of many, as its success already has people asking about tickets for next year’s event.

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SparkFun's Rob Reynolds in front of Open Sauce
Rob standing in front of the inaugural Open Sauce.

Any new venture can be scary, but when you decide to create an event of this size and magnitude, well, that’s downright terrifying. Will anyone show up? If they do, will they enjoy it? Can we get interesting people for speakers/featured creators/exhibitors? The answers are a resounding yes, yes, and yes!

Open Sauce Crowd
The crowd at Open Sauce. Yes, that is Adam Savage on the main stage. (Image via Open Sauce)

Open Sauce was the brainchild of William Osman and Ian Dokie, in an effort to create a large gathering of like-minded makers, engineers, and creators. Osman described it as an event that would “capture the creator summer camp feeling of early YouTube conventions, where you interact with all of these people you watch online in real life.” They reached out to all corners of the maker community, and the response was overwhelming.

Apparently they weren’t the only ones looking to recapture that feeling, because Open Sauce featured panel discussions and talks by over seventy five top STEAM creators, including (and this is a very abbreviated list) Jorvon Moss (Odd_Jay), Becky Stern, Ruth Amos (Kids Invent Stuff), Emily the Engineer, James Bruton, Joel Telling (3D Printing Nerd), Estephannie, Joel Gomes (Integza), Nerdforge (Martina and Hansi), Codemiko (Youna Kang), Will Bales (from BattleBots’ Team Hypershock), Colin Furze, Mark Rober, and Adam Savage. For those of you doing the math, this is less than 20% of the amazing people sharing their insight onstage over the weekend. Additionally, depending on the level of ticket they purchased, attendees had the option of attending a small group chat with many of the featured makers.

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Multiple ticket level options were available, but everyone got a sweet badge like this (sponsored by JLCPCB).


Aside from the speakers onstage, the weekend was also filled with demonstrations and events, such as Powerwheel Racing, Egg Drop tests, a great Gloop demo, electrifying Tesla coil demos from Arc Attack, combat robot demos in which attendees are invited to participate, and a ground-shaking demo with ExoSapien.

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ExoSapien sits here quietly, but eventually came to life in an Earth-shaking and crowd-pleasing demo.

Of course, the core tenet of Open Source is that all makers, all creators, should be able to share their ideas and creations. To that end, Osman and Dokie decided to make exhibitor space free for individuals, students, nonprofits, and open source projects. This allowed for many more people to show off and share their ideas with five thousand of their closest maker friends! Students showing off their Arduino self-correcting rocket, Quint Crispin and his knife throwing machine, Anna Ramirez (AnaTheQueen) sharing the work she’s doing teaching girls in Mexico to code and create, and dozens of other exhibitors getting the chance to spend the weekend bragging, learning, and laughing with their peers, contemporaries, and heroes.

Meeting my heroes
Whoever said you shouldn’t meet your heroes never met these guys. (Photobomb by James Bruton.)


I didn’t go to Open Sauce empty-handed. I brought some of our SIKs, along with some of our pre-release XRP kits. I was able to give some of our Inventor’s Kits to a few makers who, like Allie Katz last year, were looking to increase their knowledge and understanding of coding and microcontrollers. Keep an eye on Ruth and Shaun over at Kids Invent Stuff, along with Ali Spagnola and Colin Furze, and you just might see more microcontrollers sneaking into their builds. I also put some kits into the hands of Ana Ramirez (Ana Queen Maker), along with a couple of young kids whose eyes were wide with amazement at the robots they were watching.

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Colin Furze was pretty excited to get his hands on a SparkFun Inventor's Kit.


There was so much more to see at this event than I can even begin to impress upon you in a simple blog post. (Did I mention that your Open Sauce ticket included admission to the SS Jeremian O’Brien?) If you were there, then you know the scale of this event. But if you missed it, don’t worry, general admission tickets are already up for pre-sale for next year’s Open Sauce event, scheduled for July 2024! You can get them here, and I'll see you there!

Rob, Odd_Jayy, and the new XRP kit. You can expect to see a lot more from this trio.

Two of my favorite 3D people, Josef Prusa (Prusa Research) and John Olhoft (Lulzbot), were happy to get to catch up.

James Bruton, this time not just photobombing, was happy to chat about bots and mechanical design.

Were you at Open Sauce? Let us know your favorite part in the comments!

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