Saturday, November 1, 2014

MIT Mini Maker Faire

A couple of weeks ago, on October 4th, I traveled down to Boston to compete in a Combat Robotics competition at the MIT Mini Maker Faire. It was hectic and tons of fun, I met some awesome people and didn't have time for any pictures, but somehow won the Antweight Rumble and came home with Best Rookie. After the competition was over I was able to explore the Maker Faire for a few hours. There were tons of 3D printers, tesla coils and robots, but surprisingly the most common thing people brought were electric vehicles. There was a little racetrack set up for the Power Wheels Racing Series as well as more general EV racing. So without further ado, here are all the crazy things MIT students are building, in order of the number of wheels. Sorry for my terrible camera skills.
Flying Nimbus, a segboard
Following the trend of DerpyBike and Herpybike this is known as eNanoHerpyBike 
There were a surprising number of tricycles
Most of these are made at MITERS, aka the MIT Departament of Silly Go Karts
A seriously overpowered and scarily low RC motor tricycle
DriftTrike is somehow even more scary than the last tricycle. That's half an bike with a hub motor on the front.
What makes it scary are those back wheels. They're casters, meaning they can spin around horizontally, so when you go around a corner they turn sideways.
A very narrow tricycle powered by an electric chainsaw. I don't understand how it goes around corners.
Another Tricycle. The whole red front half tilts side to side for cornering
LOLrio Kart. Yes it does use that wheelie bar.
Check out that custom differential!
Yes, this is a wooden go kart
Chibi-Mikuvan, a miniature 1987 Mitsubishi Delica with a giant RC boat motor, angle grinder gearbox and 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid battery 
There were also a number of practical vehicles. Scooters are a fairly popular way of getting around MIT because the campus is fairly compact and you can bring scooters into class.
So many scooters
Cruscooter, built in the scooter class taught by Charles Guan, the guy who build LOLriokart, eNanoHerpyBike and Chibi-Mikuvan above
In front of the race course with a dubiously practical motorcycle

One of the few electric bicycles. The motor in the center of the photo connects to the wheel on the left side of the bike, without going through the bike's gears, so it's neither mid-drive nor a hub motor
EtekChopper, built by the Daniel Gonzalez, the same guy as Cruscooter
Named after the gigantic brushed motor at it's heart
Another motorcycle conversion, a lot more polished and sporting a more efficient AC motor
The trunk of a 1980s Porsche conversion that I forgot to take a full shot of
And under the hood. Where's the motor?
Last but not least, the 5 wheeled recumbent with a trailer full of batteries that goes several hundred miles 
It's another chain driven non-middrive setup. I don't know why these are so popular, they get the worst of both worlds.
There were a lot of fascinating vehicles at the Maker Faire, and these were not even close to all of them, as I only realized I should be taking photos about halfway through. Even more interesting, however, was talking to all of the people who built these, many of whose blogs I've been following, some of them for years. Jamison Go helped me troubleshoot my robot and after the competition was over, I had a lot of time to kill so I spent a while talking to Shane Colton, Ben Katz, and people from the Cheetah and NASA Rover Challenge teams at MIT.

Next up, progress on my bike.

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