Sunday, October 14, 2012

East Bay Maker Faire Demo

The Maker Faire was a great success!  There was a standing-room only crowd, Chris' talk was interesting and funny, the demo flight went well, and I had a great time talking to a lot of people interested in hearing more about our drone work.  The Charming Mrs. Harrison came along and took photos. After we finished with the demo we walked around and enjoyed the other exhibits as well.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a "Mini" Faire, but it was definitely worth going to.

Prepping the talk.

I brought some visual aids for the show-and-tell session.  It was a lot of fun explaining the basics.  Next time I think I might rig up a receiver attached to a motor and ESCs, and let people control them via the transmitter.
I brought the Arctiflyer VI (now with sweet sweet APM 2.5 power!) and the ArctiBaby.  In addition I brought the Zephyr II (five feet of flying wing awesomeness!) and the EZ-Flyer.  That was one of the first planes I built that actually flew, and I still love it.  Whenever I take people out to try a flight, that's the plane I use -- it's pretty invincible!  It's a great Maker thing as well -- about $10 of stuff for the body and $30 for the electronics, made from a free design posted on RCGroups.
 There's this awesome blog you should know about...

 Chris knows how to tell a story... I've heard how he got started as a drone maker maybe half a dozen times so far, and I was still hanging on every word.  I was standing to the side watching the audience, and they were equally engrossed.  If you haven't heard it yourself, check it out here.

 I gave an overview of some of the aircraft I had brought.  I thought the Arcticopter was another good Makers' Faire candidate, being constructed about halfway from remnants scrounged out of the recycle bin.
 People seemed surprised about the new generation of Foamy planes.  I think there might be a lot of fertile ground for new RC and Drone makers based on that.  I love my peeps in the Concord Model Engineers who make beautiful balsa aircraft, but this is definitely a lot easier to get started with.

Somebody has a new book, have you heard?  I received my copy in time to bring it in to get it signed.  So far I'm really liking it.  I love it when he compares the makers to the original Homebrew Computer Club guys.  They were my inspiration back in the day, and I worked really hard to get to Silicon Valley to follow in their footsteps.

After the talk, we went outside and I flew a demo flight.  It was in a really small space, and there were people on three sides, so I didn't do much more than bring it up and put it into loiter mode.  It was pulling a bit to the right.  Normally I would have let it move around and find its natural parking spot, but I nudged it back to the center so as not to go near any of the spectators.

 I'm not naturally a "kid" person (although I'm on pretty good terms with the two I produced), but I was pretty impressed with the kids that showed up.  They were careful in handling the planes, asked some good questions, and in general were really well behaved.  Maker Parents, take a bow!

Here's another view of the flying area, showing the distance between the quad and the audience.  The people in the picture above are to our right from this angle.  They were behind us as I was flying and Chris was narrating the action.

 Sure, go ahead and spin the prop.  The EZ-Fly is a tough old bird and has been through a lot worse!

It's not so often I'm totally surrounded by people wanting me to go on and on (I'm wanting so badly to say "droning") about RC and drones, so I had a great time.

Next time I'll have some blog post about how to get started in RC and Drones, since that was one of the most FAQ of the afternoon.  Unfortunately the East Bay has a dearth of RC clubs, otherwise it would be easy to point them in that direction.

If we chatted and you're still got some questions or are in any other way interested in the talk and presentation,  feel free to drop me a line and keep in touch... I love talking about this stuff!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I couldn't make it out there today Mark, I was pretty wiped after spending 12 hours out at Pacificon. But I did make it out to Lime Ridge today, and met some of the guys from Concord Model Engineers. I had about as much success with my Nutball flight as I did in Cesar Chavez (check my blog but at least I got some video. Mike offered to send me the plans for his cool little "Piranha" plane, very cool, lightweight, nearly indestructble. Might have to give it a whirl...