Re:Make event taking over SF's Fort Mason this weekend

October 4, 2013 7:16:27 PM PDT
You've probably heard about the maker movement, which is all about building things yourself. This weekend it's taking over San Francisco's Fort Mason. Though the movement itself is high-tech, this is not your typical tech crowd.

In the front of the sprawling festival pavilion at San Francisco's Fort Mason, Stephanie Schuller is making a giant sign out of Legos.

"We've got 385 pounds of them," she said. "We picked up the pallet down at the docks this morning; it came in from Denmark, from the Lego company.

Lego, it turns out, is one of the sponsors of Re:Make, a brand new conference and festival all about the maker movement, that's largely attended by women.

"This is the first generation that largely grew up with two working parents, no shop class, no home ec class," said Re:Make founder and Brit+Co. CEO Brit Morin. "If they had them, it was maybe an elective. And we're also just so overwhelmed with digital these days that we need a break. It's a human need to want to make."

So the stars of this conference aren't Apple and Google. They're Lego and Velcro, paper and scissors.

People are even encouraged to build things while they're listening to keynotes; with Legos, of course.

Legos have been the quintessential childhood building toy for generations. But today's kids will also have a different kind of building toy. Not just building things out of blocks, but building things straight out of their imaginations.

"The next generation of industrial designers are gonna be the kids who are getting 3-D printers this holiday season," said Chris Anderson, entrepreneur and former editor-in-chief of Wired.

Anderson insists now is a time to get your kids a 3-D printer, the machines that liquefy plastic and form it into shapes one layer at a time. He says they're changing the way we make things.

"We don't need to know how a 3-D printer works," he said. "You press "make" and out it comes."

A whole section of Re:Make is devoted to 3-D printers, which you can even use to make gears and springs.

"Being able to print things that move is really incredible," said Brit+Co. product manager Mike Schierberl. "I think opens the boundaries with what you can do with one of these."

And it's not just plastic. Morin 3-D printed her own belt buckle.

"And this is a full out metal belt buckle," she said. "

Re:Make runs through Saturday. It's free and open to the public.


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