Saturday, September 14, 2013

Maker Faire: A Tinkerer's Dream!

We made it the the Maker Faire in Fort Wayne, sponsored by Make Magazine and TekVenture, a public art and technology laboratory (SUPER COOL). My mom gave my husband a subscription to the magazine a few years ago. We knew it had COOL stuff in it to try and do and suspected the Faire would as well. I learned about it from a local new media artist, Sarah Soriano. I also found a Groupon, which made it an even better deal!

Let me first say, that I mostly would not consider this a "nature" event; however, it was superb and we did find nature!

These chain saw carvings below were done by an artist near Ft. Wayne. I loved the mushrooms and natural themes!

I also found a family team from Goshen that has a neat, automated pumpkin carving machine--the punkinBoT! They're carving on a fall fruit or veggie (which is it? FRUIT!), so I call it nature. I enjoyed talking to the son who shared good resources for Goshen. They actually have a group that gets together on a weekly basis with free space to work on these types of projects in Goshen. They mentioned sharing their vision with others as they worked on their prototype and others would offer suggestions and ideas to make it happen. Makerspace: Goshen meets on Thursdays at 5:30pm at The Local, which is it's own unique space!

We also were able to try out telescopes and received more in formation about the Ft. Wayne Astronomical Society. It's a bit of a drive for us on a regular basis, but they meet on clear skied Saturday nights for star gazing and meet at St. Francis University's Schouweiler Planetarium every third Tuesday of the month at 7:30pm.

I had just seen a swing similar to this on Pinterest this morning. It is hooked up to some type of programming that understands gravity and the timing of swinging. If they swing at the normal intervals, they shouldn't get wet as they swing through the air, with water dripping from above. Pretty fascinating! Water=Nature! 

We also saw GEEK chocolates from Sweets So Geek. They have an Etsy shop and ship easily! I saw recycled bird feeders, sensors that could change light based on the color of fruits while connecting the circuit, and turkeys made out of welded found metal items from Black Sheep Welding. I thought it was SO neat that my six-year-old actually welded his own metal sculpture with their help! Thanks for this experience! I saw others making butterflies and flowers--nature! They also were selling dragonflies and pigs. 


Other cool finds . . . several 3-D printers--this was from Allen County Library! I had not seen one of these, so it was fascinating to see in action. There were other objects made of "found"items, put together in unique ways. There was also an antique printing press--what neat machines! 

There were ROBOTS everywhere. This exersaucer with toddler in tow, was remotely driven by a nearby adult. How amusing to see a young child whizzing by! It might be easier than asking the older boys to bring the baby to me. There was also a twinkie shooting mobile! There were also Lego robotics courses. My oldest is in a club at school for this. It's fun to see the possibilities! The boys could have stayed all day at the remote controlled race car track.


There were so many exhibitors with unique activities. I saw wooden pieces glued together for sculptures, the metal welded sculptures, and then rockets as well. There were electronics, textiles, 6-seated bicycles (yes, six!), and more! I've actually seen whole families of six ride ONE BMX style bike while on a mission in the Dominican Republic about 15 years ago. Mom was on the handle bars with a baby, another was in front of Dad on the seat, and two were on the pegs on the back wheel. This would be handy for them. 


Everyone really enjoyed the Cirque Amongus! There was a rope to try tricks. I loved how willing this guy tried different techniques. My husband showed off his mad juggling skills. They had huge wooden balls to stand on, throwing sticks, tiny bicycles, unicycles, hula hoops, and more!


This was a huge marble run from many different parts and pieces. Way to recycle! We also were intrigued by Touching the Impossible, a carver who works with the Mobius Band. As of right now, he has made 701 beautiful sculptures/optical illusions around these principles. The Mobius Strip can be found in nature, too! 


This is another business out of New Paris. Te Maak makes a spin casting machine in many types of shapes. 

They enjoyed making their cookies! We also explored home made airplanes.

We also liked the BMX show! What fun to see people flying through the skies, doing flips on bicycles! will say that I saw heightened creativity in the kids while we were there immediately. This young guy became intrigued with his shadow, much more than I've seen him in the past. He was experimenting with all types of ways to move his body to see how his shadow reacted. Well worth it! I did the standard "butterfly" after he was being a contortionist! We had a great time!