Meeting of Rovers at Maker Faire Bay Area 2019

The primary goal of taking Sawppy to Maker Faire Bay Area 2019 was to spread word of DIY Mars rover models to the greater maker community. But that was certainly not the only goal! There were many secondary goals, one of which was to meet [Marco] who has already received the word and built a Sawppy of his own.

Through Sawppy’s project page on Hackaday.io I learned of a few other rover builders who have built their own creations on top of my design. They are spread all around the world but I had never met one in person until Maker Faire. Even though we knew each other would be present, it brought a great big smile to my face when I saw [Marco]’s bright yellow Sawppy roll up to greet mine. We had hoped that we might see more rovers by builders that never communicated with us, but if any were present they had escaped my notice.

When walking through the area dedicated to educational maker groups, I had expected to see some sign of the JPL Open Source Rover but came up empty handed. If any completed rovers were rolling around I didn’t see them, and if any partial rovers were on table display I missed them. Though to be fair, I visited that building during one of the harder downpours so almost every attendee packed the indoor spaces making it hard to see everything with a rover underfoot.

But I did find members of the NorCal Mars Society rover project with a different focus than my project. They did not prioritize building a chassis that looked like Mars rovers, instead focusing on the control systems. There’s a camera feed for a remote operator and control system to run simulated Mars missions. Still, we were all part of the greater family of Mars rover enthusiasts and it was fun to have all the rovers meet up.

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