Setting up a DIY extravaganza at Maker Faire (photos)

There may be more than 100,000 people on hand this weekend in San Mateo, Calif., to see the best of the DIY world.

Daniel Terdiman
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
1 of 22 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Eepy Birds at Maker Faire

SAN MATEO, Calif.--It's hard to believe that Maker Faire will be making its sixth annual visit here this weekend. But with the DIY movement in full swing these days, it's no surprise that the festival keeps on winning over new converts and keeps growing. From the first-ever Maker Faire, which took place here in 2006, the event is now held in cities around the world. And while the first-ever iteration of this DIY bacchanalia drew just 20,000 curious souls, the rumor is that there will be more than 100,000 on hand this weekend.

The masses will descend Saturday, but Friday was setup day, and throughout the giant San Mateo County Event Center, the makers were busy putting together their diverse collection of robots, singing tesla coils, giant battleship tanks, and felt Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

Friday was also education day at Maker Faire, and there were about 1,300 school kids on hand. These kids were treated to all kinds of exhibitions, including one by the Eepy Birds, the duo famous for choreographing the fountains that occur when you drop Mentos into Diet Coke.

Here, we see that fountain of soda, while a group of kids looks on.

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Swamp Kirin

This is the Swamp Kirin, from Arkansas' Seabat Studios. Though it looks like it may be a robot, it actually has a person inside. Wherever it goes, smiles follow.
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This is Colossus, by artist Zachary Coffin. A reference to the Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the sculpture, originally created for Burning Man 2005, features three huge stones, each weighing 10,000 pounds. Yet the structure is designed so that anyone can spin the sculpture by themselves.
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Solar carousel cells

These are the solar cells that will power a carousel at Maker Faire this weekend. The project was brought by General Electric, which has several installations and projects on display at the event.
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Any good geek fest should feature R2-D2s, and Maker Faire is no different.
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Arc Attack

Arc Attack, a performance group from Austin, Texas, features singing Tesla coils. Here, on Maker Faire setup day, the Tesla coils blast out their electricity, timed to the Imperial Death March music from "Star Wars."
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Google has several installations at Maker Faire this weekend, including something from Sketchup, and another featuring robotics and Android projects. This is the back of the Google shed.
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Design Build Repeat

This is the main visiting area of Google's Maker Faire installation. Here, visitors can play with various projects, including those having to do with robotics, and others with Android.
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Wearable LED panels

This is Erik Johnson, with his "light, flexible, wearable LED panels." His project is known as Light Bright.
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Giraffe crossing

A giraffe crossing sign welcomed visitors to Lindsay Lawlor's Electric Giraffe Project, a giant, robotic giraffe.
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'Rave 'Raff

This is Lindsay Lawlor's Electric Giraffe Project. First built for Burning Man 2005, the robotic creature has gone through many iterations and has gotten bigger and better. This year, Lawlor said he has added new electronic feedback, as well as new sensors that can interact with visitors.
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The shadow of the Electric Giraffe Project is seen on the wall at Maker Faire on Friday.
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Felt weapons

These three weapons are made entirely of wool, and are the work of crafter Nifer Fahrion. The three pieces are a one-of-a-kind part of Fahrion's NifNaks collection of felt designs. She says the pieces, which are on sale together for $1,200, signify, among other things, the dichotomy of love and war, violence and peace.
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Flying Spaghetti Monster

This is a large Flying Spaghetti Monster from Nifer Fahrion's NifNaks collection.
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Kids on Barn Owl

This is Tyto Alba, by Sharon North and John Bodine. Latin for "barn owl," the name is appropriate for this steampunk owl kinetic sculpture.
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Inside Vetric Labs

This is the inside of the Vetric Labs booth at Maker Faire. Here, visitors can sit in front of a Kinect motion controller and have the device send data to a nearby computer numerical control (CNC) machine, which will proceed to make a bust of the subject.
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Vectrician at work

This sticker was on the outside of the Vectric Labs booth.
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The front porch

Crew members put the finishing touches on a wooden "front porch," which will welcome most of the visitors to Maker Faire this weekend.
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Tiny bike

A man rides a tiny hand-cranked bike around Maker Faire on setup day Friday.
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GE InBody

This is InBody, from General Electric. The machine is designed to provide people with accurate measurements of their total body water weight, their dry lean mass, their body fat mass, and to take the data and determine whether someone is overweight. The idea is that this machine can be used in a doctor's office or a weight-loss clinic and its data could supersede the oft-used body mass index (BMI), which GE says is insufficient at providing good information.
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Burning Time

This is a prototype of one of the towers that will be set up at Burning Man in the Nevada desert this summer, and that will make up part of what's hoped to be the world's largest-ever working clock. A 40-foot tower will be placed in the middle of the desert and project three very strong lasers, one for the hour hand, one for the minute hand, and one for the second hand.
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This is artist Michael Christian's Home, a sphere that rotates in either direction and has a light inside that casts beautiful shadows all around it. The patterns on the outside of the sphere are based on city grids from maps.

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