Maker Faire Review

A project log for Portrait Plotter

An interactive installation that takes your photo and paints it on paper.

christian-waltherChristian Walther 06/17/2018 at 12:500 Comments

Maker Faire Bodensee was fun and interesting, but not as overwhelmingly awesome as I had found Maker Faire Zürich in the past two years. Why? I can’t really say myself. While I like having some room to breathe, maybe spreading out over the large exhibition hall somehow diluted the maker spirit, compared to the crammed space in Zürich? What certainly played a role is that there were fewer visitors than I expected. Especially on Sunday, I sometimes spent 15 minutes or so alone at my booth, which was a bit boring.

This also reflected in the revenue from the portrait plotter – 8 portraits sold during the two days, little more than I had sold in three hours at the holiday market. I was hoping that the portrait plotter would pay for the booth rent, but I missed that goal by more than a factor of two. One visitor suggested that I might have sold more at a price of 5 Euros instead of 10. Could be that I had the Swiss price level in mind when I set that price and Germans are more sensitive there, but then the price is arbitrary anyway (as the marginal cost of one portrait is negligible compared to the cost of building the machine) and it does not feel too high to me for a piece of art.

The portrait plotter also appeared to be less of an attraction than I had expected, many people seemed to walk by without taking notice, in spite of its size. Maybe they did not understand what it did, or maybe it was not clear enough that they could try it on their own, without asking, for free? Still, feedback from those who did take notice was very positive, and I had some nice conversations with visitors and other makers. On top of that, I received a Maker of Merit award from the organizers, which was a nice surprise.

Technical insights from this round:

In summary, I won’t run out of things to improve until Maker Faire Zürich in September, for which I just signed up!