San Mateo, May 20, 2012. The smell of unburned fuel hangs in the air, and fire can be seen in the distance. There's plenty of weird dudes walking around in steam punk attire, some holding guns, most wearing top hats and sporting mustaches. It's like Mad Max meets Alice in Wonderland but with BBQ pork and Pepsi sponsorship. Maker Faire is the festival celebrating DIY. Whether it's robots, 3D printers, or lego towns, people come here to celebrate completely original and crazy contraptions. Think of it like the E3 gaming expo, except the games suck. And there's no booth babes. Hell there's barely even women. No, this festival is really about the evolution we've made as a society from cave man to e-man, without forgetting its roots. I parked my car on a side street to avoid the ridicule of how plain and Japanese it might look. Approaching the gate: Holy cow, that's a lot of bikes! The girl at the gate asked if I was a student. I said "Not anymore". I'm 31 now, I dropped out a long time ago... but she gave me $10 off as a student anyway! Edit - I've added a few videos. Scroll down a few posts... I spotted this: That sounds fun! And it looks fun, now I know what to do with all that extra cardboard from my job: Okay so my photos suck for this, but check out their web site. It looked amazingly fun. The outdoors areas had plenty of cool vehicles and demonstrations which I'll post later, including videos. The fairgrounds lot has 4 or 5 large buildings or tents, with the smaller gadgetry inside. Remember this little guy? Maybe this will remind you: They had a little booth showing some of Keepon's latest achievements. This fella says he made the Spoon video: Here's the Lego metropolis. I don't know how many those steps the instructions had for this city, but I bet it was more than those castles your spoiled friends had as a kid. These trains run steady to make sure all the Lego people in Lego town get all their ipods and fluorescent laundry baskets from Lego Target at a reasonable price. The conductors are Lego town programmers. These 1:1 scale humans (pictured below) sit in the middle on their laptop hacking at proprietary software to control the traffic flow. I bet they dream of the romantic adventures of being a tiny Lego Train conductor. The wild adventures with the redhead that time on the #6 train (not pictured)... 3D Printers were all over the place here. I think I saw about 15-20, most looked like rough prototypes but were all being demoed: Most can re-print the components to build more 3D printers. This sounds like a dangerous step toward Judgement Day. This man's device was creating a cup. He said (IIRC), $1000 buys you the kit to build the unit. $1500 buys an assembled 3D printer. More on these below... Last time I went to Maker Faire, I had a robot following me around. It wanted to be my friend, and it would follow my every movement. This time I saw one that apparently kicks ass at basketball: How about a homemade Geiger counter for the Half Life fans or super paranoid? Here's a cool concept: Hmm, a wire though? And the prototype leaves a bit to be desired... Here's a company that makes full size video game-looking helmets and weapons, such as Halo gear: I'm not sure what this is, but there was a sign that said, "Do you know what this is? Brag." It had a compass in the middle. Any ideas? Please help me promote T3D: Digg this story here.