DEARBORN, Mich. — Thousands of people showed up to enjoy the 8th annual Maker Faire Detroit this weekend at The Henry Ford. It’s described as the greatest show and tell on earth.
Most of the make and take activities were free of charge. Visitors could make their own baskets inside the build bazaar tent sponsored by Crossroad Weavers, a chartered guild of the Association of Michigan Basketmakers. Kids had a chance to build their own wooden bird houses and bird feeders at the tent sponsored by the Michigan Regional Chamber of Carpenters.
“I didn’t know what to expect, it’s my first year here,” said David Pehrson, president of Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 687. “We’ve been pretty busy all morning. It’s free for the attendees. We’re having a blast, this is a very nice event. I think that we’ll be back next year.”
The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s college of engineering and computer science showed off their autonomous snow plow vehicle. It was a project that took about eight months to go from start to finish. However, the snow plow is continually improved each year.
“It’s part of a competition that takes place each year in St. Paul, Minnesota,” said U-M Dearborn student Benjamin Pollatz. “The concept is to build a vehicle that can clear an area of snow sized to a driveway or sidewalk autonomously. Instead of having to get up and shovel, you can push a button and have your autonomous robot just clear the driveway for you. We do a lot of testing at the school. We used the driveway of our building, the IAVS, we have sidewalks all over the place.”
There were several activities for the adults too. Alex Long and Drew Zemper from Three-Ring Brewery were on hand to explain the science behind home brewing.
“Today we’re focused on the process of brewing and what goes into it,” said Drew Zemper, head brewer at Three-Ring Brewery. “Some people are asking about the chemical process which is cool and just showing how easy it can be for people to do it at home. Right behind me is a Stout that we just made. It’s about 10 gallons of a really dark, good solid beer. I just found out today there’s been a few beer makers in past years as well.”
Alex Long, the brewery’s marketing and community outreach person, added: “We’re both science teachers so we’re interested in the chemistry and the process in particular. Of course, the reward of what you make with our own two hands. The goal is to take it a step further and combine our love of brewing with science and our education background and start a small educational brewery where other people can come and learn about the process.”
There was a $25 fee for kids to make paintings using hair dryers…who would have thought? Kids also made marshmallow shooters out of PVC pipes for a minimal charge.
“There’s a lot of cool things so yeah it’s fun,” said attendee Richelle Michalak. “We were thinking about making a basket. We have played a few games that people have made. I’m taking two math classes and four science-based classes for my senior year.”
Once again, 3D printers were prevalent at the Maker Faire. There were several tables inside the Henry Ford Museum with printers making all sorts of different things.
“There’s a lot of things that I wouldn’t have thought people could make,” added Alessandra Crabtree. “It’s interesting to see how smart people can be to put things together and see all of the different people here. I tried putting together that little boing thing and tried making it in. I am taking a lot of science classes to get a feel because I like science a lot.”
There was a large “Star Wars” display inside the museum featuring characters from the 501st legion and a row of BB-8 robots from the movie franchise.
“Usually when we think of technology, we don’t really open it,” said attendee Geetika (Gigi) Guha. “At the Maker Faire, we can see the technology being opened and explaining it to us. It involves a lot of sciences like physics games. It really changes ourselves.”
Visitors also had the opportunity to view the classic and antique cars they are on permanent display inside the museum. Attendees were also able to watch the model train layout during the Maker Faire.
GE digital was the presenting sponsor of this year’s Maker Faire Detroit.
For more information about the Maker Faire Detroit, visit http://detroit.makerfaire.com/