Today we drove up to the Exploratorium for one of their special Make Magazine‘s Saturdays. This Saturday happened to feature a special exhibition where Exploratorium visitors could make magnetic toys, and a Webcast featuring the founder of the Tech Shop talking about the shop’s tools and a gear-driven LED clock he’d made at the shop. Make Magazine seems to be on a drive to capture the mindshare of every gadget-minded, handy geek in the United States, and they got Peter and Neil’s attention (as well as the attention of most of our local friends) in May with their Make Fair. I didn’t go, but I’ve heard it described as variously as the Exploratorium on steroids; the PG-rated version of Burning Man; and a gearhead geekfest. In any case, Peter and Neil couldn’t get enough of it, and Peter came back with a membership to the Tech Shop.
Since then, he’s spent many an afternoon and evening at the Tech Shop. I also haven’t been there, but it sounds like the kind of workshop someone with unlimited funds and talents might have–it has lathes, laser cutters and engravers, industrial embroidering machines, plasma cutters, welding gear, 3D plastic prototype printers, and lots and lots of scraps to put together into whatever crazy invention you want. Unfortunately, so far it’s only had activities for adults, and Neil can’t wait for the opportunity to go. This was as close as I could get him, and afterwards, of course, he’d be happy with all that the Exploratorium has to offer.
We arrived at the Webcast studio 15 minutes earlier and I staked us out on a front-row bench. When someone noticed us, I happily announced that we’d come to the Exploratorium especially for this show. Within a few minutes, the publisher of Make Magazine decided having a kid on stage would be cute, too, and asked Neil if he’d be willing to participate. Gee, would Neil be willing to play with gears, and hang with the founder of the Tech Shop, who also happens to have worked on one of Neil’s all-time favorite shows, the Mythbusters? Did they even have to ask? A production assistant quickly fitted him with a microphone, and gave him instructions.
So, without further ado, here is the webcast. If you look closely, you’ll even see me and Kelly in the front row in one of the audience shots.