World Maker Faire

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World Maker Faire

Postby Tim » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:44 pm

So, anybody from MakerGear planning to show up at the World Maker Faire in New York this weekend (preferably with an M3 dual and/or a prototype M4)?
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby Tim » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:00 pm

I guess that's a "no", then? Well, anyway, I'll be there, and I'll wear my "MakerGear" T-shirt proudly. Last time I went, the Simplify3D booth had a MakerGear M2 dual set up. I'll go see what they're up to this year.
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby Tim » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:58 pm

Well, news from the 2017 World Maker Faire. . . Kind of disappointing, altogether. MakerGear wasn't there. Simplify3D wasn't there. eSUN wasn't there or being represented by anyone there. About the only companies there that I have done business with in the past were MadeSolid and Polymaker. I got some free samples from both. Polymaker was featuring their "PolySmooth" filament that dissolves in alcohol, along with the "Polysher" that creates an alcohol mist to smooth down pieces printed with the PolySmooth. The crystal-clear PolySmooth after an alcohol mist bath really has an amazingly smooth surface and is near-perfectly transparent.

So much of what was there was the same as the last time I went, two years ago. Except that there was not a MakerGear printer to be found anywhere, which was the biggest disappointment. But then there wasn't much in the way of competitors, either. Those that were there weren't showing anything new and interesting. The most interesting thing there was two companies in back-to-back booths that had independently worked out how to use a cell phone as a DLP projector and developed resins that cure in the spectrum from a cell phone backlight.

Outside of the 3D Printer Village, a number of people were showing off their new Glow Forge laser cutters, and maybe the neatest new non-3D-printer technology on display was the Wazer, the more-or-less affordable desktop water jet cutter (on display along with the wristwatch they had neatly sliced in half).

I'm guessing that the 3D manufacturers are finding the Maker Faires to be a big time sink that doesn't generate enough new sales to be worth the effort, and many of the manufacturers like MakerGear are small operations that may not be able to afford the time and the staff for a weekend. Plus there are just too many Maker Faires now. . . It pains me to say it, but it's true. They're getting dangerously diluted to the point where they're just a place to take your young kids to build a rocket out of a cardboard tube or a marshmallow gun out of PVC pipe until after a couple of trips the novelty has worn off and your kids are bored with it. Meanwhile the 3D printer manufacturers are going upstream to the trade shows and conventions.
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby ednisley » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:50 pm

Tim wrote:getting dangerously diluted


For me, Make Magazine's jump-the-shark moment happened with go-kart plans using a pile of scrap lumber and random bits of hardware, propelled by $400 of new Makita drills. Say what?

The initial Maker Faire concept seemed OK, but the amount of effort required to build even moderately complex projects limits the supply of "ordinary people" willing to travel long distances and spend big money just to show off their toys. As a result, most of what I saw in NYC a few years ago looked like commercially sponsored projects and subsidized pro-level performances, with projects from those "ordinary people" treated as a sideshow. Admittedly, I was a volunteer and didn't have much time to get around, but that's what I saw.

a big time sink that doesn't generate enough new sales


AFAICT, the buzz has left consumer-grade 3D printing, perhaps because it's become painfully obvious that:
  • There's no market for crappy plastic figurines produced in the privacy of your very own living room
  • Few people have the skill set and time required to design useful and printable 3D objects

So it goes ...
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby Phil » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:31 pm

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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby Tim » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:12 am

Nice article.

I know that there are people doing a lot of useful things with their 3D printers. . . not just cheap plastic toys. But I suppose one way to look at it is that the printer is a tool, and you don't bring your ball-peen hammer to Maker Faire to show off. You bring your Glow Forge, or Wazer, or whatever is the latest cool thing, to show off, but not after the novelty has worn off.

There were probably thousands of things being shown at the Maker Faire that were printed on 3D printers; maybe I shouldn't sound so pessimistic about it. The 3D printers are out there doing their job, but quietly, in the background. That puts the focus on the things that are being created, not the tools that were used to make them.
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby jsc » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:16 pm

I decided last minute to go on Sunday because my daughter wanted to go back to that "place with the big golf ball (the Unisphere that had all the crafts." I didn't make it to the 3D Printer Village, although now I wish I had to score some of those filament samples. The two interesting 3D printing related things I saw was a booth by Stern Design Works who had some cast miniature figurine jewelries that were incredibly detailed for their size. They said they printed them out on an Ultimaker and outsourced the casting. I expressed surprise and asked if they used an extra tiny nozzle, and they said no, standard .40mm. Also in the lobby of the indoor portion, SeeMeCNC was showcasing some ludicrously large delta printers printing life-size statues, putting out thick ropes of melted filament.
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby Tim » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:25 pm

jsc wrote:Also in the lobby of the indoor portion, SeeMeCNC was showcasing some ludicrously large delta printers printing life-size statues, putting out thick ropes of melted filament.


SeeMeCNC has had their giant delta printer there in the same place under the stairs in the Hall of Science for at least the past four Maker Faires. I spent more time watching it last time I was there. Instead of filament, they use the bulk plastic pellets (nurdles), storing them in barrels and feeding them to the printer via shop-vac hoses. It all melts together in the oversize print head. It's not very practical but it's a crowd pleaser.
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby jhaupt » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:53 am

My husband and I were there too, on Sunday.

It's funny, we came away feeling very much the same way. The combined qualities of everyone defaulting to the kid/family friendly, there not being anything we really haven't seen before, and the sense that there where fewer independent makers showing off their cool creations than in the past. That last one is the biggest for me; it's where all the true creativity and whimsy comes from. Case in point, two years ago there were people on the inside part that built their own arcade games including the gameplay itself, and there was some amazing stuff there, like a soviet-retro vector graphics system. This year, there were arts and crafts stye kids activities in the same place. Ugh.

One good thing that came from it was a free sample of something called Elixir PLA that Printed Solid was giving away. I've since ordered two spools. It has this crazy pearlescent appearance that I couldn't quite believe. Not sure what I'll use it for, but kind of had to have some.
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Re: World Maker Faire

Postby Tim » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:43 am

jhaupt wrote:It's funny, we came away feeling very much the same way. The combined qualities of everyone defaulting to the kid/family friendly, there not being anything we really haven't seen before, and the sense that there where fewer independent makers showing off their cool creations than in the past.


The Bay Area Maker Faire still seems to have all the good stuff. I'm glad to say I made it to the 2nd or 3rd Maker Faire ever (back in, I think, 2007) where they had an entire building's floor space for robot battles (as opposed to a 4 foot square piece of plywood. . . is that disappointing or what?). And somebody set up a sizeable pool where they held pitched battles with model battleships carrying arsenals of CO2 pellet guns. This year, MakerGear was at the Bay Area Faire showing off the M3 Independent Dual. There's a YouTube video interview with MakerGear if you search for it. I'm sure they have time for only so many of these dog-and-pony shows, but the fact that they took the M3 all the way out to California instead of just driving it across Pennsylvania says something.

One good thing that came from it was a free sample of something called Elixir PLA that Printed Solid was giving away. I've since ordered two spools. It has this crazy pearlescent appearance that I couldn't quite believe. Not sure what I'll use it for, but kind of had to have some.


I got my sample of the sparkly Elixir PLA. I haven't thought of anything to do with it yet, either. I also got a sample of the PolySmooth although I'm not sure how I can create an alcohol mist without their special nebulizer thing. They indicated that just spraying it with alcohol isn't going to do much due to the rate of evaporation.
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