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Unusual inventions at the Maker Faire

May 2, 2008 7:19:21 AM PDT
There's a huge event going on this weekend in the Bay Area called the Maker Faire. It's sort of a cross between Burning Man, and a do-it-yourself workshop that's gone out of control.

The Maker Faire is all about making things, like a better mousetrap, or at least a life size version of the legendary 'Mousetrap' board game, complete with bathtub and crazy stairs.

"The only difference with our game is that we have taken the trap that comes down and lands on the mouse and replaced with a two ton bank safe that we crush things with. We crush things like cars and motorcycles," said Paul Dingeldein, mousetrap maker.

I'll tell you something else you can crush with the safe, in just a minute. But why a Maker Faire? I asked the Maker Faire maker, who also publishes "Make" and "Craft" magazines.

"I'm just fascinated by all the different projects that people have going on in their backyards and garages, and really just a chance to encourage them to bring them out and share with other people," said Dale Fougherty, Maker Faire organizer.

Michel Olson is a maker of metal things, and perhaps the youngest master blacksmith in America. He creates because he wants to, definitely not because he needs to.

"There's not a need for a hand made nail really, there's a machine that just sprays them out, but we actually will get to show people the way it was done and show it at speed. One of the things that we do is that we go incredibly fast at it," said Olson.

Also on display at the Maker's Faire is a mobile home. No big deal you say? Until you see what it looks like, and it's self-powered with steam and there's going to be a wedding in it, after which:

"We're going to be crushing their wedding cake for them from what I understand. Yeah, hey why not a wedding cake?" said Dingeldein.

You can be a maker yourself at the Maker Faire. There's swap-a-rama-rama, where you bring in your old clothing, and designers help you turn it into something new, like a shirt into a skirt. Or you can make rockets and launch them.

And you can make yourself a friend of Mumbatu - 9 ton statue of rescued crane cables, or the statue Ecstasy which celebrates the end of oil dependency. Both were at last year's Burning Man.

"There's a very strong environmental message within each of the figures, so from their original performance last summer to having them go out and meet the world again - is to continue bringing that message out there," said Karen Cusolito, artist.

And Dale Dougherty makes one last point:

"We hope you go away wanting to be a maker," said Dougherty.


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