We survived the kids tent at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

Grizzly Peak's 3D printed model trains debut to hundreds of young makers.


The 9th annual Maker Faire was an enlightening experience like no other. Grizzly Peak Model Trains was one of 1,100+ exhibitors that saw over 130,000 event attendees celebrate this year’s theme: The Year of the Maker.

Tucked into a corner of the hands-on activity tent appropriately called “The Yard”, we were next to heavy-hitters with The Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society and Peninsula and Geology Society showing kids how to polish gemstones to our left and the Bay Area Garden Railway Live Steamers to our right. Curiosity Hacked was a few spaces down while the popular Marshmallow Shooter station anchored the northeast corner (sadly, PancakeBot was not one of our neighbors).

We’ve never seen so many kids engaged in making things out basic household items. Everywhere you turned kids were making stuff like spaghetti and marshmallow towers or purses out of old blue jeans. The noise alone raged with the wind-blown tent as if the sheer power of imagination would launch us into space. Removed from the frenzy of the main expo hall brimming with 3D printer movers and shakers, we were nonetheless inundated with hundreds of curiously anxious 5 to 12 year-olds, who happened upon us as they lined up to polish semi-precious stones or “see the real trains.”

logo_01Witnessing their responses to our humble N-scale models was the best part of the weekend, that and giving away 300 souvenir pins. One parent called his son, “trainsfixed.” 

Another child cried out as his father pulled him away, “Those are my trains!”

We made a few new fans and have a mother lode of ideas to take back to our kitchen table as we gear up for what will hopefully be our next Maker adventure at the World Maker Faire New York in September. Here are some of our favorite Maker memories.

Set-up Day: Preview, paella and cupcakes


MF_BA2014_D0_HorseChairs MF_BA2014_D0_LegoTrain MF_BA2014_D0_NeedleFeltDino MF_BA2014_D0_StructureConstruction MF_BA2014_PaellaParty_service MF_BA2014_PaellaParty_Cupcakes

Day 1: Kids of all ages

MF_BA2014_D1_DJ_showing MF_BA2014_D1_Darby_showing1 MakerFaire_D1 MF_BA2014_D1_mobileCupCake MF_BA2014_D1_HoolaGirl1

Day 2: Trains, arduino-based aquaponics and bubbles



Designing the GPMT logo – who we are in one image.

The Grizzly Peak Model Trains logo should evoke a playful nostalgia with a touch of mystery. It should resonate with the heart of our project: a love of rail travel, engineering, history and bears too.

We’re on our way to defining our identity, our purpose and vision. I’m not a graphic designer by trade so we’ll see where we end up, but one thing I know for sure: I want the logo to have a bear on it.  A bear on a train says “destination fun.” It embodies imagination, adventure and the wild frontier of 3D printing.

Logo study: trains Source: Google images

Logo study: train logos. Google images.

Logo Study: Bears. Source: Google Images

Logo Study: Grizzly Bears. Google images.

I found RailFonts.com for cool Roman fonts and train silhouettes. I’m looking at our upcoming models, image searching logo designs, train logos and bears and of course there’s plenty of tips (10 to be exact) from the pro’s:

The Ultimate Guide to Logo Design

Five Tips for a Successful Logo Design

10 Logo Design Tips for Beginners

10 Tips for Designing Your Logo, Even If You Don’t Know How

10 Tips for Designing Logos That Don’t Suck

10 Logo Design Tips for a Timeless and Creative Logo