Posts tagged maker faire 2014

My last post, on the World Maker Faire (alas, too long ago, but many a project beckon), was largely commentary-free. In the intervening weeks, a number of articles have aligned into a constellation of push-back against the maker movement. Most center around the rise of 3-D printing: seductive as additive manufacturing may be, it is currently crippled by an inability to do much real work. ABS and PLA, the dominant printing materials, coupled with current common build volumes, represent real physical limits to what 3D printing can accomplish right now. These limits, coupled with radical open access to both software and print files, has slashed the brake lines that limit consumption. We are living in the dawn of the age of The Crapject. 

Coined by Scott Smith, of the Changeist, the term crapject refers to the uniquely useless stuff spawned by the rise of 3D printing. One of my favorite design writers, Allison Arieff, recently wrote an eloquent piece on this phenomenon on Medium, entitled Yes We Can. But Should We? Both Smith and Arieff question whether "desktop manufacturing" is a good thing, and with good reason. The history of manufacturing is a dirty, dark, dangerous thing. Raw materials were wrenched from the earth under great duress and transformed, often crudely, into consumables. Progress had a cost. That cost has fallen exponentially over the last five hundred years, and now we can summon object from the ether with the press of a button.

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World Maker Faire 2014

This past weekend I got a chance to go to the World Maker Faire in New York for work, researching makerspaces and their citizens. I was unprepared for the sheer size of the event: if last year's event is any predictor, it was tens of thousands of people. It helped that the weather was great and they were inhabiting the site of the 1964 World's Fair. A V-2 rocket loomed over the exhibits just as it did when my father visited as a 15-year old. Supposed to be Robert Moses' crowning achievement, it was instead crippled by his intransigence, and has now been converted into the New York Hall of Science. SITU Studio has built out some Design Labs in the museum as permanent exhibits. 

The Maker Faire could be seen as a revival of that spirit, but honed in on a narrower audience. This year continued long-standing exhibits such as the Power Racing series and 3D Printing Row, as well expanded into new ones, like a group of Kickstartered small businesses. Following are some pictures and videos of my favorites.

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