Maker Faire was in Austin this past weekend and it was awesome! It was busy but not packed so it was quite pleasant and so there is a reasonable chance that we might see it again next year. (Please, please, please Maker Faire organizers, come back again soon!)
My father-in-law brought his MultiMachine – a general purpose all in one mill that can be made out of junk. He has quite an active Yahoo group so several people who were already familiar with the MultiMachine popped by to take a look. The number one comment was about how easy it looked to build. My father-in-law would really love to see non-profit orgs (NGOs) adopt the design of the machine and take it to distressed areas so that impoverished people could use it as a way to build things and generate income.
There were all kinds of creative and unique bicycles, robots, and musical instruments. There were several electric cars including a Prius conversion. There were yarn spinners, knitters and hand quilters. There was at least one blacksmith with an active forge. The feel of the conference was very open and generous. People were showing off their creations and sharing ways for attendees to learn to make their own. A big Thank you! to the kind woman who helped my 3 year old make her own necklace.
On topics of interest to this blog – open source, there was a very cool display by Rep Rap the Replicating Rapid Prototyper which has the ability to make itself. They say that it is a “practical self-copying 3D printer”. With this device you have the ability to create physical items for yourself and to share with your friends and you can even go a step farther and make another device to give to your friends, so that they can share the physical creations with their friends. Richard Stallman says “Software differs from material objectsÃ¢â‚¬â€such as chairs, sandwiches, and gasolineÃ¢â‚¬â€in that it can be copied and changed much more easily.” With Rep Rap, at least somethings can now be copied and changed almost as easily as software (though perhaps not yet sandwiches and gasoline).
 Maker Faire Blog at http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/maker_faire/
 Multi-machine Yahoo Group with a picture of the multi-machine at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/multimachine/
 Rep Rap at http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome