This past Saturday (March 22, 2014) I attended the 1st Annual Southwest Maker Fest in Mesa, AZ. It was very cool for a 1st annual version of a fest, I must say. I've officially been calling myself a, "maker" for about 5 years now and I had never been to a maker-anything to speak of. This was a lot of fun.
The very first thing I saw as I walked from the parking lot was this bad boy:
I've seen (and squished) some big beetles in my day, but boy howdy! This thing is buh-IG! The stereo pumps out through a bunch of cool speakers mounted on top of and behind the car. It had color-shifting LED strips all over the joints and creases on the body. I was told it made the rounds at Burning Man. I didn't climb up inside it, but did admire it up close.
The first booth I stopped in and chatted at was the Local Motors booth. They had a couple of their totally killer Open Source Rally Fighter cars sitting there for you to sit in, scope out, marvel at, drool on, dream of ways to steal, etc.:
I honestly was not completely aware of all of the things Local Motors does and how it does them. If you have not had a chance to check out their website, I highly recommend you get over there. It's amazing what they're doing over there and it's completely fascinating to read about all of it.
One thing that was VERY hard to miss was the presence of 3D printers all over the place. Within the space of one street, there were at least three on display, all printing something cool or another. I met the great people over at TechShop in Chandler. I will make time to go visit them and potentially do a write-up on the facilities and vibe and people. From what I saw at the booth, they're super-cool and it sounds like they have excellent facilities and services.
While I was there, the main stage had DJ music going and a painter making a painting right in front of all of us. It was really cool. Just past the stage in the photo, there were activities for the kids to take part in and things for them to make. Just out of the photo to the right, there was a booth where I watched a kiddo make one of those cool dinner-calling triangle chimes.
Another thing I watched kiddos make were fake rocks! HA! I just had professionals do that to the waterfall for my pool. Where were these kids when I was shopping around??
Why hadn't I thought of this years ago when I discovered chalkboard paint?? Brilliant! Take a truck, put some giant honking metal ram's horns on the back and paint the thing in chalkboard paint so the kids can go to town on it! I didn't walk up and touch it, but I'm thinking black chalkboard paint on a vehicle in Arizona is going to be a tad hot to the touch, no?
And last but not least, let's circle back to one of the other Local Motors Rally Fighter cars on display because they... Were... AWESOME!! Lime green? Why I'd love one, thank you! VROOM!
If you missed it this year, please be sure to check it out next year. I'm guessing the word will spread even more and we'll see an even bigger turnout for the second one! The way the maker movement is spreading and growing, I have no doubt. See you there!!