- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Headwaters Park was alive with activity Saturday and Sunday for the fourth annual Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire. Jet engines screamed, rockets blasted into the air, a guy on a motor bike regularly putted through the wide aisles, “Star Wars” characters meandered about and a recumbent pedal/battery-powered vehicle resembling a torpedo occasionally cruised through.

Tinkerers, engineers, artists, computer geeks, creative welders and makers of all ages gathered to show off their inventions, ideas and entrepreneurial products. Three-D printers were busy both days as they turned out a variety of interesting items. Rube Goldberg-inspired contraptions fascinated onlookers, and people crowded in close to watch a computer-controlled pumpkin-carving robot etch designs into the fruit.

Visitors could try welding, soldering, making sand castles, setting up a table of gears and turning them with a hand crank, building a simple motor and fashioning art from scrap wood to riding a mini bicycle, controlling robots, creating smoke rings by shooting a smoke cannon, peddling a giant two-wheel 6-foot-tall bike, experiencing the water swing and riding on a seven-person party bike. Some paid $5 to have Fort Wayne’s Nathan Morin of Death By Lavender create their own custom perfume by mixing a number of organic scents.

Greg Jacobs, president of event sponsor TekVenture, told The News-Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1uDgzRS ) that “the Faire brings science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics together to create cool projects.”

TekVenture, which has been operating in a 50-foot trailer across from the Allen County Public Library and recently moved into its permanent home on Broadway, was among the first in the country to sponsor such an event.

New this year was an exhibit of classic and antique bicycles by the Bicycle Museum of America from New Bremen, Ohio. One item that at first looked completely out of place among the bikes was a pedal-powered trolling motor that could be affixed to a rowboat. According to museum volunteer Jim Elking, the machine was actually built and sold to fishermen in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Alex Vandiepenbos of Goshen and his wife, Kayla, hope to make and sell their punkinbot. They introduced their pumpkin-carving prototype at the Detroit Maker Faire a year ago, and it has been the subject of a segment on the “Daily Planet” Discovery Channel show in Canada. They’ll be taking it to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, next month to carve pumpkins during the museum’s annual Halloween celebration.

On hand and eager to explain their two aerodynamic human-powered vehicles were five engineering students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. They’ll be competing on both coasts in the prestigious American Society of Mechanical Engineers races against entries from schools across the country.

Vacuum cleaner expert/collector Robert VanOver’s booth featured antique vacuums from his extensive collection dating from 1912. He’s been engaged by TekVenture to restore the many vacuums left behind in TekVenture’s Broadway building by former shop owner Dale Skaggs, who died late last year. He’ll help set up a vacuum cleaner museum in the building.

Event producer Jane Applegate, who was pleased with attendance at Maker Faire, said the number of exhibitors and visitors has grown each year.

“Our goal is to expand by getting new people involved in the Maker movement and introduce them to TekVenture. We also want to expand and develop the creative community by offering space and tools at our new location on Broadway to anyone wanting to work on their projects and inventions. We have the only public workshop in the Fort Wayne area where creative people can put their Maker mentality to work developing things that make daily life better, more efficient, greener and faster.”

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Information from: The News-Sentinel, https://www.news-sentinel.com/ns

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