If he lived in Charlotte – instead of Springfield for “The Simpsons” – it’s a sure bet Professor John Nerdelbaum Frink Jr. would have a note tucked into his pocket protector that reads “Charlotte Mini Maker Faire, Saturday, Oct. 10 @ Discovery Place.”
He would be among the tinkers, inventors, innovative crafters, techies, educators and others who are gizmo-intrigued. The event is Charlotte’s first “maker fair” – a family-friendly day showcasing unexpected creations.
More than 70 exhibitors will be participating; of them, more than 50 of those “makers” will show their innovations at stations on all three levels of the museum.
Event hours Saturday are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there are on-the-hour workshops.
▪ A 3D-printed life-size Shelby Cobra, a replica sports car collaboratively created by the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and TruDesign that shows the potential of 3D printing for automobile manufacturing.
▪ BotHockey, from Carolina Combat Robots, where you can practice the perfect hat trick, and then watch a pair of mechanical gladiators duke it out in the Robot Combat arena.
▪ The “world’s first” 3D-printed kayak, created by GrassRoots Engineering founder Jim Smith.
▪ The musical Tesla Coils, with thousands of volts of electricity producing sparks up to 2 feet long. (Musical? Yes: Different tones are created by different voltage levels.)
The creativity of exhibitors is wide and varied.
Some inventions are quite practical, like the Gyro Bowl, a spill-resistant kids’ gyroscopic bowl with lid. It was created by a team at Edison Nation.
You can learn about home front high-tech from Dan Thyer, whose home automation system uses four different microcontrollers to operate 30 objects around his house, including a water gun and spooky holiday decorations.
Get the full schedule at www.cltmakerfaire.org/attend/schedule-2015.
Creativity displayed at Charlotte Mini Maker Faire is not limited to high technology. Some innovators adapt that for their work in fashion design. (On a related note, The Scrap Exchange is bringing barrels of do-dads, trinkets, etc., you can assemble into something cool you can take home).
One area family will show how they’ve built everything their own beekeeping operation requires.
Additional displays and a performance stage (as well as food trucks) are outside Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St.