Visiting Maker Faire Taipei 2016 – Part 1 – The Booths

Taipei Maker Faire 2016 Weekend (7-8 May) is the main reason for this Taiwan journey! And boy was it a whirl. Here’s a short photo coverage of things though it will definitely not do justice to the event as a whole! But yeah, here goes nothing:

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Held at the massive National Taiwan Science Education Center (NTSEC), this year’s edition of Maker Faire spanned 4 full levels of the building and also expanded into the outdoors where Drone and other RC enthusiasts had a lot of open skies to play with!

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Entering NTSEC, there is a large atrium stage setup. This is where robotics competitions and other activities would be held over  the course of the two days. To further broaden the reach of the very interesting and useful talks in the auditorium, there were also live streams of the speakers on stage during their segments……

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There’s always a good crowd milling around at the front, before they get to walk around to the other activities in the other floors.

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Most of the booths were laid out around Level 8 and 9 and first stop of the trip would have be to check out the ATOM 3D Printer Booth which was a landmark on Level 8. Love the way that they have always managed to make it look so effortlessly cool looking while spotlighting their 3d printers and their capabilities.

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Of course, the eye popping displays of the Warrior and the Mazinger Z speak for themselves! Having the Mazinger Z moodel standing next to ATOM 3d Printers gives a sense of how tall it is!

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But even then, the size of the normal ATOMs cannot beat this massive floor standing, large scale ATOM. But in all fairness, it would take super long to print stuff on it! One of the sample models from this printer was a model of the Moon which is even larger than a watermelon.

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Another sneak peak is a newly designed 3d printer for younger kids and students, called the Photon.  It was not running on display but one can get a sense of the build area from it. Seems to be a good entry-level (read: gateway drug) to more hardcore 3d printers for schools, students and beginners!

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Of course, we had to place a few of our models on display too. And so, here are the Planter Walker and also the Guardian of Lion City which were both printed on the ATOM 3d Printer.

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Moving around the other 3d printing related booths at Maker Faire Taipei, there were a general mix of distributors bringing in other brands, some other self-manufactured 3d printer models and a smattering of educators teaching, and students using 3d printing. Here’s one of the booths of a distributor bringing in Ultimaker 2 3d printer to Taiwan. A really good workhorse printer if you ask us.

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Interestingly enough, seems like there was a 3d printed Iron Man helmet or bust at almost all of the booths! But these are good models to showcase the resolution of the printers and also how the overhangs are handled by the 3d printers (with or without supports). However, it appears most booths tended to go for much larger 3d printed models and then have only printed them at 0.2mm / 200 microns.

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At another side of this distributor’s booth was also the highly regards Lulzbot Mini and some of the sample 3d printed models from this. Other common sights are Form 2 3d printers though Makerbot printers were noticeably absent (except from user booths)

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Walking further down the hallway of Level 8, there was a home-constructed laser cutting machine! Some of the folks were excitedly looking over and chatting about the construction, build and capabilities of machine. Unfortunately, most of the technical aspects of it was lost in translation for us. 😛

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For good measure, there were also other commercially available laser cutters! Was nice to see them in action and think they seem to be good candidates for future addition for the studio 😉

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Another large group of participants in Maker Faire Taipei (and all others for that matter) are the Hackerspaces, Makerspaces and Fablabs and here’s the booth for Fablab Taipei! It’s always good to see community-centered organizations working hard to support and push forward projects from the creative/geeky community! Even more amazing is how they remain open to new members, ideas and work closely with one another all over the world.

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Swinging by some of the booths of key sponsors/partners, the Logitech stand really was a good showcase of how firms such as these are also themselves making use of new technologies such as 3d printing in their everyday work.

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This example they had of 3d printing the prototype designs of their mice was particularly striking, as we have had for the longest time, used their example of 3d printing mice as a case study how of the industry makes use of this for product design. To finally see it in the flesh felt really familiar!

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Roaming around the other areas of the booths there were no shortage of other 3d printers on showcase. Interestingly, there is a much larger proportion/split of delta 3d printers here as compared to back home in Singapore. Suspect it is due to the more artistic/aesthetic usage of these 3d printers for more high precision and detailed prints. Taiwan does have a much larger base of toy/design/cosplay/modelling enthusiasts after all!

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Another segment of exhibitors on display are folks doing research from the universities. Of these, one particularly attention grabbing one (maybe due to their use of a massively sized screen showing great videos!) was this team from Idea Factory from 国立云林科技大学 (do check out their Facebook to see what they are working on!). The fact that the projects which the Idea Factory are working on have clear challenges and applications, and were driven by very intelligent and passionate teams was refreshing.

One of their projects on showcase used 3 industrial robot arms which can be programmed to work in unison to create 3d printed models using a paste extrusion method. When one thinks a little about it, this is obviously a lot more complicated than it appears at first glance.

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As an example, here’s the team’s software backend running a simulation in Rhino, driven by Grasshopper. The simulation helps the team to detect and collision problems before they actually run the machine control script on the actual (very expensive) industrial robotic arms . When a collision happens in the simulation, the simulation pauses and highlights in red the problem area, assisting the team in further understanding the issue and giving some thoughts on how to troubleshoot.

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After the very informative chat with nice folks from Idea Factory, the tour of the other 3d printing booths brought us to a group which is placing lithograph type photos and images on custom designed lamp shade. Nifty!

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Another education provider of 3d printing (using 123D design like us!) had amazingly done up this Metal Slug like tank! Must say that this is way further than most of the models we have been able to do up in 123D Design. Had a great time chatting and sharing ideas about the importance and teaching of 3d modelling and 3d printing to students around the ages of 10+.

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A little bit of something we will not likely see back in Singapore are these 3d printed air gun casings. Now, in Taiwan there is a large and active group of military simulation and war gaming enthusiasts and having air guns and pistols are all good here. So what this bunch of enthusiasts have done is simply to strip out the inner mechanisms of a standard air gun rifle and then 3d modelled what they felt was a nicer exterior casing for it. Done on solidworks, it really goes to show how with the right skills and dedication, a lot of things become possible with 3d modelling and 3d printing!

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Phew, this post ended up to be a fair bit longer than expected.

But there’s more to cover from some of the talks from the Maker Faire! Oh well, to be continued in Part 2 then [Coming Soon] ! =)

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