Fort Wayne. The only Maker Faire in Indiana occurs in Fort Wayne.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Definitely smaller than what I encountered in Silicon Valley. Less crowded. Less overwhelming.
The flavor was the same. Some straight-up high tech items. Some arts and crafts.
A hot dog vendor contraption used an electronic arm to grab a hot dog, place it in a bun, and move it to automatic mustard and ketchup dispensers.
An entrepreneur of new LED and remote phosphor technology showcased his invention, the Eclipse. He uses different companies within Fort Wayne to produce the components. One of his lights is gracing the US facility in Antarctica. (How cool is that?!)
I spoke at length with a guy from Science Central who teaches school-age children how to create robots and think through programming logic to run them. I found myself getting excited at the idea that I could learn robots and programming through a similar project.
Guys were on hand to give demos of jet engines…engines which could be heard throughout the day.
Ah, yes. I learned how to weld. And how to solder. I was taught about motors…and was instructed on building a rudimentary one with a battery, magnet, and wiring.
I watched children swing on a swing set under a water spray…perfect for those hot summer days.
I listened to the guy who built a Rube Goldberg type contraption with balls that are lifted in buckets, roll down chutes, and trigger other items in a domino like effect explain all of the steps. And then watched the contraption operate.
I saw 3D printers. And drills that automatically carved pumpkins based on patterns uploaded to the attached computer. I saw a robot in the form of a large insect with wings that unfolded and eyes that glowed red. And a clock repairer of old style clocks and watches. I saw glass makers and stuffed animal makers (including those that made baby turtles with hearts stitched on their undersides. Yes, I had to look.)
A slew of human-powered vehicles, including one developed by students at Rose-Hulman, were on hand to try. Recumbent bikes with huge wheels. A bike with six people sitting in a circle facing each other. A human-powered Twinkie mobile that shot out Twinkies for the prepared to catch. (Unlike the others, this last one wasn’t available to test drive.)
And there was the obligatory R2D2 as well as people dressed up as Star Wars figures roaming the venue. Maker Faire would not have been complete without the presence of The Force.