Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.27.06 AMCNC (Computer numeric controlled) or “digital fabrication” tools—like 3d printers, laser cutters, milling machines—used to be so expensive that only corporations or big research groups could afford them.

Then over the last 10 years, a whole new version of these tools become available to the hobbyist market.  Either through pooling resources at a makerspace, or via one’s own credit card, independent makers had access to very powerful ways of making things for $5000 or $2000 or $750 and less.

This enabled a whole world of people familiar with designing in visual design programs like Illustrator and Photoshop to take the leap via Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into porting their design files to physical objects.  It also empowered a huge number of  people living in code (software developers) to become makers, and develop hardware.

It also meant that people could now share code via the Internet to make THINGS:  hardware parts, gadgets, replacement parts, prosthetics, molds, etc. Thingaverse, for example, is a whole library of files for things—download, maybe tweak, and then print or cut!  So Open Source Software evolved to Open Source Hardware.

Add crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter, Indiegogo) to the mix and you’ve got an entrepreneurial revolution.

This critical mass of influences and evolution is some of the special juice behind Maker Movement, and this is what Maker Faire and Make: magazine were first to articulate and celebrate.

This year at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, we have a great selection of companies and makers developing and using CNC or digital fabrication tools. Some will be grouped in our Digital Fabrication Zone on the map, and others are sprinkled about the faire.


Bay Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) is a coalition of Bay Area companies engaged in 3D Printing seeking to make it as easy as possible to go from idea to object. BAAM does this by integrating products, services and solutions into a common, seamless user experience.

Othermill, from Other Machine Co.

The Othermill is a portable, easy-to-use CNC milling machine that is optimized for high-precision manufacturing. You can use the Othermill to make anything from your own circuit boards and Arduino shields to intricate wood carvings and metal engravings. The Othermill is made by Other Machine Co., a San Francisco-based company making design and manufacturing more accessible to all.

SoundFit 3D Scanner
SoundFit, LLC

Scan small objects and create 3D models with our scanner! We can train you how to use your mobile device to reliably capture photos that can be submitted to SoundFit to be turned into 3D models.

Techshop San Francisco

TechShop is a playground for creativity. Part fabrication and prototyping studio, part hackerspace and part learning center, TechShop provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software. We offer comprehensive instruction and expert staff to ensure you have a safe, meaningful and rewarding experience. Most importantly, at TechShop you can explore the world of making in a collaborative and creative environment.


FLEETedu delivers the technologies of the future on re-purposed public transit vehicles. We provide interactive digital arts and fabrication experiences to ignite the next generation.

Diablo Woodworkers

We have a vibrant woodworking group in Pleasant Hill, CA. It meets monthly with presentations and demonstrations by skilled professional artists and woodworkers in the Bay Area. Examples of student projects are exhibited along with the tools and technology that support the woodwork. Also, we will be demonstrating how SketchUp (the 3 dimensional software application) is used to support student

Local Urban

Unique laser cut wood jewelry that represents our Bay Area. I use a program called Corel Draw to design the art and then I go to the Tech Shop in San Francisco to use their laser cutter to cut!

AgIC – make your circuit instantly
AgIC International Corporation

Have you ever made your own circuit on a paper? Let’s see and make circuits with our conductive markers and circuit printers, such as cards, origami works, speakers, and boards.

Indie Laser Collective

We are a collective for laser artists & makers. Our studio has the tools to run your production or prototyping laser jobs, or to come and work together collaboratively on a shared project. A great place to fabricate your vision into works of art

Maker Shed
Maker Media

The official store of Make: magazine! Think of the coolest 1) technology bookstore, 2) museum gift shop, 3) arts & craft shop, and 4) electronics store you can dream up — now roll them all into one. It’s an irresistible collection of books, kits, robots, microcontrollers, science sets, electronics, tools and supplies, all curated by us, the people behind MAKE and Maker Faire.

The Nautilus Art Car
Five Ton Crane

The Nautilus project is an artistic experiment and collaboration between Christopher Bently, Sean Orlando and the talented artists of Five Ton Crane.
Inspired by the submarine in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, our version is full of delight and wonder. Visitors will be welcomed aboard to explore, and see what collaboration can create!

The Nautilus is on here because these makers have leveraged digital fabrication tools extensively for other projects—for example, the Ray Gun Rocket Ship—for the internal structure.  The time gained from digital fab meant they could focus more on the details and finish work that make the end piece so astonishing.

Indeed, this technology is so pervasive that there are likely many more makers in the show that belong on the list. A good exercise would be to roam the show evaluating each exhibit to see where that maker may have leveraged this new toolset.

See you Sunday!