Back in September, I attended the 2013 World Maker Faire in New York. This was my second time going to the faire, only this time I received a personal invitation from the SketchUp team to join them in the SketchUp booth for the weekend! It gave me the opportunity to talk to a ton of people about SketchUp, and introduced them to a few open source projects that SketchUp partnered up with for the event.
What is MakerFaire?
There are MakerFaires all over the world, but there are only a couple Faires that are so big, that they are called WORLD Maker Faires. There is one in New York, and one in San Francisco each year.
At MakerFaire, you get the chance to meet so many interesting and creative people showing off their projects. There are also a ton of different companies showing off some of the cool tools they create for the Maker community. So you’ll see all sorts of desktop manufacturing tools like 3D printers and CNC machines. There are also a ton of electronics such as Arduinos, and Raspberry Pis.
Since “Makers” are people who love to create things, who could be a better audience to showcase the free SketchUp Make software to than at the World Maker Faire?
Here are some of my pictures from MakerFaire
We’re in the Wikihouse
For the Faire, SketchUp partnered up with a number of really cool open source projects in order to show how SketchUp can be used to solve real life design challenges.
- WikiHouse– An open source construction set. You download and customize predesigned house components using the Wikihouse SketchUp plugin, then cut out all the parts on a CNC and build the house with minimal skill, tools and labor.
- OpenDesk – Open source furniture. Download predesigned cutting files for cutting parts on a CNC machine. Assemble furniture with minimal tools, skills, and time.
- AtFab – Open source furniture.
- FabHub – Directory of local fabrication services.
I was honored to be invited to be a member of the SketchUp team for a weekend. To be able to hang out with the people who’ve created and supported SketchUp was amazing!
It was also a lot of fun to be able to talk to Faire goers who had never used SketchUp before and watch their reactions when trying it out for the first time. One thing I found really interesting was how smaller children picked up on it so quickly. They just jumped right in and started navigating around without even having to ask for help.
Most Faire exhibits were set up under white tents, but not us. We actually built a full sized Wikihouse, complete with CNC fabricated furniture inside where we had laptops running SketchUp. All the parts were modeled in SketchUp, so naturally we had the models loaded in SketchUp so we could show people. You can find out more about the SketchUp collaboration with Wikihouse on the official SketchUp blog.
When I was not in the Wikihouse showing people how to use SketchUp, I was walking around the faire checking out all of the cool exhibits. One thing I was especially interested in checking out were all the 3D printers. There were so many different 3D printing companies it was hard to keep track of them all. Here is a list of some of the booths I visited:
- MakerBot ($2199-2799) Most well known and successful Desktop 3D printer
- Ultimaker (~$2560) Very nice printer. I really liked the rail design on the X and Y Axis
- Deezmaker ($699-1499) Various printer models, California based, open source
- Afinia ($1599) Won “Best Overall Experience” by Make Magazine
- Solidoodle ($799) More industrial look, but more affordable than most printers
- Deltaprintr ($500) Yet to launch, this is going to be a very economical delta style printer
- Formlabs ($3299) VERY high resolution, this uses a completely different type of 3D printing when comparerd to the Makerbot or other “FDM” type printers.
- ConceptForge The most radical RepRap printer designs I have ever seen.
The huge explosion of popularity with 3D printing and desktop manufacturing is so exciting. I built a 3D printer myself, and it has been so fascinating to learn about how they work while building it. I am really excited to where this technology will lead us in the next five years.
Do you own a 3D printer? Tell me about it below, leave a comment!