Drones lined with rainbow LED lights zoom pass. Children on steel, mechanical crustaceans charge through packed crowds. A giant metal octopus, named El Pulpo Mecanico, shoots bursts of fire into the sky. I’m walking around the grounds of the San Mateo Event Center—and it’s Maker Faire 2014.

As a passionate advocate for fixers, hackers, and makers alike, I have an embarrassing confession to make. I’ve never been to a Maker Faire. In fact, up until recently I wasn’t even sure what Maker Faire was. So I seized my chance to go to the weekend-long event with some of iFixit’s finest teardown engineers. We did over 7 live teardowns and worked in a booth with the great folks at ARM. It was awesome.

For those of you who haven’t attended DIY’s greatest show-and-tell of the year (referred to by many as TEDx-meets-Burning Man), Maker Faire is a massive playground of projects, crafts, workshops, booths, and speakers. And as I explored the event—my eyes trying to keep up with the over-stimulation—I watched everything from a 3D printer creating a replica of Thor’s Hammer, to a team of 20 seamstresses collaborate on a multicolored quilt, to a popup glowing forest that kids used for an all day hide-and-seek game.

Here are some of my favorite moments from this year’s Maker Faire in San Mateo:

California College of the Arts builds awesome structures out of wood and lasers.

We do love all maker-students.

Makers design tons of colorful, complex bikes. Anyone wanna go for a ride?

Move out of the way Barbie. 3D printing lets you make dolls of any shape or color.

iFixit teardown engineer, Jake, and I compete to “think harder” in the Beer Battle.

More wood laser cut outs.

It’s small and moves around, but it’s no common wind-up toy. No, that’s a computer in there.

Lots of bikes, but I get it—there is a lot of ground at Maker Faire to cover.

Gigantic costumes that are computer operated from within—a lá Iron Man.

Fire shoots out from several metal structures to the beat of nearby music. What a hot dance party.

iFixit teardown engineers, Jeff and Jake, get ready for a full afternoon of live teardowns!

Want candy? Sorry, we just have hacker tools in this vending machine.

Let’s grab some Make swag.

Steampunk vortex ring blast. Need I say more?

Self-sustaining gardens so you can finally grow all that kale for your smoothies.

Painted, clay structures make any office desk a little bit brighter.

Every kid deserves to play with drones at least once.

Cardboard laser cut outs? I bet they’d be pretty easy to teardown.

iFixit tool developer, Brett, and I relax after doing a couple teardowns for the big crowd.

Frame your 3D printed creations for everyone to ogle. Look at that stunning detail!

Jeff and Brett do a live teardown and answer crowd questions.

We’re taking zen gardens to a whole new (modern) level.

Celebrity sighting!

This colorful display is made of hundreds of thousands of pieces of…duck tape! Duck tape proves its worth once again.

Music coming from street pianos helps set the mood for exploring Maker Faire.

Thanks for having us, Maker Faire! iFixit had a great time!

Have you gone to a Maker Faire? Tell me what your favorite part is!

Writer and Advocacy Outreach at iFixit.com

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