Author Archives: pahlkadot

Carpe Diem: Preparing for the Faire

15382369689_6635181bf3_oTomorrow morning the gates will open and hordes of people will walk into the Faire with the Nautilus on one side of them and Ursus Redivivus on the other.  The bikers among them will have confidently parked their rides in the secure bike corral next to the main gate, and drivers will have paid $5 to park at Emerson School 2 blocks away at 4803 Lawton St.

The prepared among them will have brought:

  • Their tickets, either printed (preferable) or downloaded to phones
  • Cash for the awesome food trucks and crafter shopping
  • Clothing for the Swap-O-Rama-Rama screenprinting and textile hack zone
  • Small appliances in need of help for the FIXIT Clinic.
  • Sunscreen, hats, and water.

Those especially prepared will have checked out the amazing list of Makers here, looked over the schedule of presentations, workshops, and music here, and planned their attack.

Burning Man 2011But lots of folks will just show up at 360 42nd Street, buy a ticket, and see what happens.  And that’s great too.

Either way, see you tomorrow!  The gate opens at 10am.


Countdown to the Faire!

Burning Man 2011The 5th Annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire is almost here!  What’s happening at the Faire this year?  More than ever!  If you missed your chance to try Cratestacking last year, it’s back.  You won’t believe Saurabh Narain’s Rubik’s cube solving robot, or the fun of caged drone combat at Game of Drones.  We are thrilled to welcome Five Ton Crane’s jaw-dropping art carThe Nautilus. Tons of hands-on making, as is our standard: screen printing at the Swap-O-Rama-RamaJapanese paper marbling, seed bombs, the Nerdy Derby, tape art with perennial favorite Tapigami, and lots more.  The latest in digital fabrication, with TechShop. OtherMill, TypeA machines, BAAM, and the FLEET digital design & fabrication lab—a repurposed MUNI bus!  Culinary and domestic arts workshops, like minestrone with renowned East Bay chef Kelsie Kerr, and pizza with Pizzaiolo’s David Surcamp.  Plus pedal-powered carnival rides, bands, food trucks, bioscience, electronics, art, craft and more more more!

There’ll be over 170 Makers/Presenters/Performers, so check them out here, and then check out the schedule of presentations throughout the day.

Enjoy exploring all the Faire has to offer this year, but don’t forget to come back to to buy your tickets before its too late!

See you Sunday!

What to Bring to the Faire

It’s tomorrow! I hope you’re as excited as we all are.  Here are a few things you need to know.


  • If you are pre-registered, bring your paper tickets (they were attached to the email confirmation you received when you bought the tickets)
  • If you don’t have tickets yet, you have until late tonight (Saturday) to buy them at the current rates.  Starting Sunday morning, prices go up to $20 for adults and $15 for kids & full-time students. Discount codes don’t work onsite, so if you show up to buy tickets, expect to pay the full rate.
  • Bring cash for the awesome food trucks and crafter shopping
  • Bring clothing for the Swap-O-Rama-Rama screenprinting and textile hack zone
  • Misbehaving small appliances for the FIXIT Clinic
  • Hat and/or sunscreen, as a lot of the event is outside


The main entrance is at 360 42nd Street in Oakland.  (map)

Best options are BART to MacArthur Station and 10 minute walk (see map of route here), or bike.  There is attended bike parking at the Faire.

If you drive, Emerson Elementary School, 2 blocks away at Shafter & 45th, is offering parking for $5 as a fundraiser for their PTA.  There is limited street parking.

See you on Sunday!

Friendly Drones? Yes, Friendly and Fun!

I bet a lot of us associate drones with stories of surveillance and international conflict. So why on earth are we featuring them at a family-friendly celebration of creativity?

To explain, here’s what Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief at Wired magazine, founder of DIY Drones (an online community for people building their own unmanned aerial vehicles), and a speaker at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, said in the New Yorker last year:

“The Internet was once a military thing, but we colonized it and took it away from them. Right now, drones are scary. I’d like to make them unscary.”

Building your own drone is not only a way to learn physics, electronics and sensors, mechanical assembly, and how things fly, it’s also a way to put a powerful technology in the hands of regular citizens, which makes for a better and safer society. It’s also a way to feel what it’s like to be a bird, to experience that amazing sensation of flying, safely, from the ground, when drones have eyes and share their view with you. And if you’re still thinking about the military implications of this technology, here’s Chris again in Wired earlier this year:

It’s safe to say that drones are the first technology in history where the toy industry and hobbyists are beating the military-industrial complex at its own game.

Be at Studio One on the Mini Maker Faire grounds at Park Day School by 11 am next Sunday, October 14th, to hear Chris explain how and why he builds drones, and shows them off.

It’s Today! What to Bring to the Faire

It’s 7 am and the organizers and volunteers are here at Park Day School getting ready.  Most of the makers loaded in last night, and the others will be arriving over the next hour.  The place looks awesome, and we’re so excited to open doors.  You will soon wake up, and wonder, What should I bring to the Mini Maker Faire today?  How should I get there?

So, as a quick reminder, remember to bring:

  • Your paper tickets, if you’ve already registered (you can login to eventbrite at any time to print them) or cash, check or credit card to buy new tickets (onsite prices are $20 for adults, $15 for kids)
  • Cash for the awesome food trucks and crafter shopping, as well as parking if you use one of the lots ($5)
  • Clothing for the Swap-O-Rama-Rama screenprinting and textile hack zone
  • Misbehaving small appliances for the FIXIT Clinic (you can take it to the Wreck Lab after if it doesn’t work out 😉
  • Handmade, homemade food stuffs for the Urban Homemade Food Swap
  • Hat and/or sunscreen, as a lot of the event is outside
  • Your bike!  Free bike valet by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition; come in style!

Remember, tons of exhibits run all day, but check the schedule for times of performances, workshops, and lectures. Doors open at 10 am and we kick everyone out to start clean up at 5 pm.

Most importantly, bring your curiosity and DIY attitude.  We can’t wait to see you soon!

Brain Food: New Talks on the History and Future of Making

Most of what you’ll find at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire will inspire you to do something with your hands, but we also have fantastic talks about the history, future, and culture of making, talks that will feed your brain and spark your intellectual curiosity.

Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect, urbanist, writer, and Assistant Professor of Architecture & Urban Design at UC Berkeley.  Nicholas is coming to EBMMF to talk about an unlikely but fascinating subject: the Apollo AL7 Pressure Garment, what Armstrong and Aldrin wore when they walked on the surface of the moon in 1969.  As he puts it:

The Spacesuit they were wearing was made not by a military-industrial conglomerate, but by Playtex makers of women’s underwear. Not only was the suit hand-sewn by seamstresses whose usual work was sewing bras and girdles, but the head of suit development for Playtex, Lenny Sheperd, had only previously worked as a television repairman. An artifact of maker culture long-before-the-fact, the Apollo spacesuit holds crucial lessons for how we approach technology, and our own human nature.

Nicholas will be speaking at 1pm; check the final program for location.

After a mind-opening exploration of this artifact of maker culture, be sure to wrap up your visit to EBMMF with a look into the future.  Tim O’Reilly, whose company O’Reilly Media produces the Maker Faire and MAKE magazine, and whom Inc and others have called the Oracle of Silicon Valley, is going to share his thoughts on what this all means in our closing speaking slot at 4pm.  We asked him what he wanted to say in his talk, and here is how he replied:

Right now it’s easy to see the maker movement simply as a DIY movement. But of course the PC and Internet revolutions also began as DIY phenomena. Inside each of was set of enormous cultural and technological changes with implications far greater than were anticipated at the time. This talk will explore where the maker movement is taking us. We’ll cover everything from what the maker movement tells us about the future of manufacturing, health care, education and the economy.

Join us on October 16 for these and many more fascinating, informational, and inspirational talks.

Chris Anderson’s DIY Drones

Reason #235 to come to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire: Where else can you enjoy a taco from Zamoranos while you watch Chris Anderson demo the latest in DIY drones?

Chris Anderson & DIY Drone

What’s that, you don’t know what a DIY drone is?  Well it’s also called an amateur Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV, if that helps. Basically it’s an aircraft that can fly by itself, without a pilot in control.  And the point is, you can make one at home.  Berkeley resident and Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson does, along with his kids.

Chris not only makes these amazing machines, but he’s also convened the community of DIY drone enthusiasts online, and catalogs the collective intelligence of these tinkerers for everyone’s benefit.  If you’re interested in checking it out, his Getting Started page on is a great place to, well, get started.

Or just come get the scoop from him in person at 1pm on Sunday, October 16th, taco in hand.

Make It: LightPipe Sabers and FairyWands!

Maker, Dad, and electronic toy designer Kent Suzuki was one of the first people to buy tickets to last year’s East Bay Mini Maker Faire.  He, his wife Lisa Washburn, and their two boys had a blast last year, traipsing undeterred through the rain, visiting practically every exhibit at the Faire.  This year, we’ve convinced this fabulous four to share one of their family projects by leading a workshop.

The Suzuki-Washburns will walk kids, parents, and kids at heart through all the steps to make a light-up Rainbow FairyWand or Rainbow LightPipeSaber, and since they’re bringing the materials, you’ll be able to take one home.  Kent says:

You’ll be using color-changing LEDs to make these, and no soldering is necessary. While you’re busy making your cool glowing doo-dads, you might accidentally learn a thing or two about LEDs and light pipes work.

Kent, Lisa, Bryce and Dylan will lead this as a one-hour workshop during the day.  We’ll be publishing the full workshop schedule, including several other hands on activities, in about two weeks. Stay tuned!

New date: October 16th

Well, it turns out there was the three day weekend and the Jewish holidays on the weekend of the 9th, so we’ve officially moved the East Bay Mini Maker Faire to Sunday, October 16th.  Please note the new date!

Save the date: October 9, 2011 –No the 16th!

We might be crazy, but we had such a good time, we’ll be doing it again next year. Save the date for the 2nd annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire: October 9, 2011.

If you’d like to get a reminder when we open the Call for Makers & Crafters (early summer) and attendee registration (later in the summer), please give us your email address by clicking on the red button to the right. We won’t send frequent updates, and we won’t share your address with others.

Update: We’ve switched the date to October 16th.  See next post.