MakerFaire:NC 2010

So Carrie and I went to MakerFaire:NC and took the full Chaos Machine with us (all 7 storage tubs).  We ended up with a large room to ourselves, so I built a large machine: a U-shaped machine that was 8′ along the base, and 7′ along each of the arms, and roughly 6′ tall.  It took about 4 hours on Saturday to prep the space, unpack and organize all of the parts, assemble the framework, and install the elevators.

Sunday morning, I got up early so that I could get over to the site at 7am, giving me 2 more hours of prep time before the masses descended. I started by laying track from the elevators to a couple of pendulum switches, then started installing the more complicated stunts (the spiral, the triple loop-de-loop, the wind chimes).  A couple of faire volunteers appeared, so I showed them how to install track, and let them do what they wanted.  The next thing I knew, 3 hours had passed and the room was filled with people.  The room stayed filled with people for a good 10 hours.  I got a couple of breaks in there, thanks to Carrie and the odd volunteer (mostly Carrie!) in which to wander about the faire, but for the most part I was on my feet (or knees) all day long, adding new track and stunts, teaching adults and kids how to add to the machine, clearing out marble jams, and debugging problems.

The MakerFaire ran (nominally) from 9am to 9pm, but by 8pm the only folks left were makers who were finally getting a chance to look at the other displays.  It took about an hour (with volunteers) to break down the machine and pack up its parts.  Then Carrie and I loaded the tubs back into the van, then went back to the hotel to collapse.

One thing that went reasonably well was the video.  I bought a Samsung HD camcorder prior to the trip, and I set it up on a tripod at one end of the room, so that it could view the chaos machine, and then set it to time-lapse record the machine.  I still need to edit the footage, but I got a lot of good imagery.  The camera wasn’t aimed right during the Saturday setup, but I got it right for the Sunday run and teardown.  Once I have the editing down, I’ll upload the whole thing to YouTube and link to it from here.

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