Thinking back on the special magic of Make: and Maker Faire

Originally published at:


Dammit! Too soon, dude! I’m still not out of the denial stage!


Of all the things Make and Maker’s Fair did for me was connect me with my friends through conversations. I have lost track of the number of links or articles that have been shared with me, all of them conversation starters. Most started with, “Look at this.” or “Thought you would find this interesting.”

The second thing it did, was provide a bit of hope and happiness. I loved seeing other peoples quirk (yes as a noun) and work and the world seemed much more interesting knowing that people worked on all sorts of projects- useful or not.


I’m still in shock, and thinking back to good times I had at the San Mateo faire, interesting articles in the magazine, and the wonderful MAKE TV show. The only times I’ve met the BB crowd FTF – Pesco, Gareth, Mark, Carla – was at the San Mateo Faire. Also finally got inspired to learn how to solder there. (I only just a few weeks ago threw away the solder practice boards I bought at Maker Shed that year.)

I was about to write “I haven’t been to a Maker Faire” in years, but realized I’ve been to an average of two “mini maker faires” (or similar events under another name) per year.

But I’ve been an exhibitor, showing off a table full of model rockets.

TBH, my experiences at these kind of explain why I stopped going to the big faires; they began to skew “young.” As in, geared toward kids (often really little) dragged to the faire by parents who want them to have an enriching experience.

The last “big-gish” faire I went to was in Portland, at OMSI. The model rocket club decided to add a hands-on paper rocket build and launch event. It was, to me, an awful grind. Six hours plus of cranking on a bicycle pump (because we found out that kids break bicycle pumps), with hardly any chance to talk about “real” model rockets. The paper rockets and the experience were ephemeral. Popular AF but I don’t think we inspired anybody, or taught any skills.

Maybe I’m reading too much into my personal experience, but I wish the desire for grown ups to learn new things was indulged a bit more.


Thanks, Gar.
Without the first Bay Area Maker Faire, I would not have as many friends I communicate with almost daily.
So proud to have so many sweet memories of my Make family.
May Maker Media like a Phoenix rise again as an Eagle.
I as one will be waiting.


Good point. I used to find the maker faires to meet me where I was at, but lately have felt sort of like a perv going to a kids birthday party. I can see how educating kids is big, but would like a place where I don’t feel old trying to be a kid again.


I was an early subscriber to Make: and I remember the Make: Way Ford Escort. That was my introduction to the 24 Hours of Lemons. I knew I wanted to do it immediately. I didn’t know how to work on cars or high performance driving, but it looked too fun and worth it.

11 years later, and I am in my fifth season of racing. No class win, but we took IOE once. We have had the engine out of the car at 1am. Sometimes the car runs well. Sometimes it breaks. I have crashed. I am getting better at running cleanly, if slowly.

I now do all the maintenance on my own vehicles, two wheels and four, and I know I can take on any repair. This went from something I saw in Make: to being a huge part of my life with many adventures and friends made along the way. I definitely teared up when I saw the news. I hope the best for everyone laid off, and I hope Dale takes another shot at it soon.


This end seems… untimely. We are in the early stages of IOT, and just hitting the stride of 3D printing, robotics and STEM focused education. This should be the golden age of Make. Surely it will rise again, hopefully with Gareth as its Electric Monk.

@garethb2 you were at my wedding, so many years ago. Let’s catch up!


Dale’s comment that maybe Make should have been a non-profit is an important one. I wonder if there’s some way the current company could pass along their existing assets to a 501( c)(3) that could keep things online, etc. I’m thinking of a new, non-profit Make:, but if that doesn’t work I could imaging somewhere like the Internet Archive hosting the content.


Well, crap.
I hope they can manage to get up on their feet again and reboot.
(Fingers crossed.)

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It’s a beautiful tribute and shows how Maker Faire can be such an inspiring and personal event for so many of us. Maker Faire Bay Area 2010 truly changed my life as I was just starting life as a young adult and is the event that made me join the movement and be a passionate part of it since then.

Here is my tribute:

I’m looking forward to next iteration. Failing is part of being a maker, and finding solutions as well.


Speaking from experience, being a nonprofit is harder, not easier, than being a forprofit. Nonprofits still have to pay people and pay bills, but have a harder time generating revenue. And the overhead is higher because of reporting requirements. Just because a company failed to make profit in the past doesn’t mean that being a nonprofit will make things easier. Nonprofit isn’t a business model, it’s a vow of poverty.


Oh, that is a real loss. Our library has subscribed to Make: for 10+ years (I’m not too proud to say I heard about it here on BoingBoing, and immediately asked our library director to subscribe). More recently, our STEM program faculty asked if there were plans to keep or eliminate the title from our holdings, and I assured them that we (and silently, I) love the magazine and have no plans of getting rid of it.



Makezine used to be on my blog reading list. But then, Raspberry Pi seemed to appear in every other article, as well as 3D printing, and laser cutting… All them fancy electronics are not something I can really afford, and somehow my brain isn’t wired for programming. So it fell off the list.
I occasionally glanced at it, but the few times I did it looked like more or the same. And the few times I saw that there was a “local” Maker Faire, usually it was too short a notice, and too far.

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My exact same experience. I’d like to get a 3D printer someday, and yeah those reviews of laser cutters would be neat if I could AFFORD one, and ENOUGH WITH THE FREAKING DRONES ALREADY . . . long story short, I have a year and a half of MAKE magazine issue I haven’t read yet.

(I didn’t know that Mark had been replaced as editor for over a year!)

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Man that brings on a sadness that I have difficulty articulating properly… Maker Faires were like stepping into a grungy steampunkish Gernsback Continuum where everyone loved to play with their toys techy to mundane and enthused on sharing their play with others. I hope it can continue in some fashion.


I also have the problem on youtube with Adam Savage’s Tested.
I enjoy seeing Adam launching himself into a project, even though I don’t have a huge workshop with an impressive collection of tools. I still get to enjoy the anecdotes, and in some cases, ideas on ways to solve problems.
I can’t attend those conventions, it’s fun seeing them.
I like seeing things that can only be seen because Adam Savage is Adam Savage.

However, the multiple reviews of VR gear or laser cutters/3D printers, while interesting, are frustrating. And the photography/toys/arcade aren’t my thing.

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It’s always sad to see a wonderful entity bite the dust. I definitely enjoyed the Maker Faires that I showed off stuff at, and it was great to be in the book. Many very interesting and creative people.

It’s difficult to do something so grand as a non-profit. The local maker-hackerspace in Tucson, Xerocraft, has held on for many years because of the dedication of its volunteer staff. But they don’t have the energy to plan more events.

Fortunately, we still have the Internet on which to share our crazy ideas.


I still don’t get how this happened–that they had to shutdown immediately. They obviously made it work for a quite some time. What changed?



They just had the San Mateo faire, and would have begun publicity and planning for the Flushing, NY faire. If that wasn’t going to happen, this would have been a good time to pull the plug.

Or maybe lines of credit ran out.

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