Review Written by Nathan Wertheimer
Orlando, FL — Many people came and visited the 2016 Maker Faire Orlando at the Central Florida Fair Grounds. This year was a different experience than last year’s event at the Orlando Science Center. There was more excitement with some new ideas, products, visual fine arts, and science all in one place.
When traveling down to the Central Florida Fairs Grounds in Orlando was an easy ride. Plus, there was plenty of free parking. It is recommended to arrive early to get the best parking spaces closest to the event area.
Upon arriving at the outside entry point, there were ticket booths, will call, and media/volunteer check in tents for attending guests. Ticket price were reasonable for this type of event. Ticket prices range from $15 – $25 per ticket. Next year you’ll want to get in on the earlier bird ticket pricing before the event to save some money. Most people only attended for one day. This type of event is more of a two-day event. I was unable to see everyone is one day, so I had to come back the second day and see the rest of the event I did not get a chance to see. It is recommended you and your family will want to take your time to view just about everything. Plus, there are hands-on and interactive exhibits too.
At the Combat Robots Exhibit, inside the Pathfinder Pavilion, many people were attracted to this type of engineered machinery. There was a battle bot competition between two robots in an enclosed Plexiglas arena. These two robots would battle each other to see who could stand and last the most. There was finitely some sparks between the two competitor bots. This was just one highlight of the event.
If racing is your thing, than the Power Belt Sander Drag racing was a sight to see. Attendees had a chance to race the power belt sander down a wooden drag track. These power belt sanders were not cordless, but required a long extension cord attached to a power outlet. The kids had a blast racing and watching these power belt sanders go.
In the custom vehicles area there were two vehicles. One was a future looking sports car and the other was a Toyota Prius. The Toyota Prius, which I call it, a Prius Camino. It is a half car and half truck. The owner of this vehicle purchased the vehicle from a salvage yard for $800. The vehicle was in an auto accident. He then redesigned and configured this vehicle they way it looks today. This is just one form of recycling an automobile.
Another area was the Opportunity area which was inside the Commercial Hall building. This area had everything from 3-D printers, wood working, inventors, and learn to solder workshop area. I had the opportunity to participate in a Learn-To-Solder Workshop. It only cost $3 and one gets to a make a red Maker Robot pin badge with flashing lights. It is a ten minutes workshop, which you have one-on-one with a volunteer who helps you construct the small Maker Robot. At the end you get to take the completed Maker Robot home with from the day.
Many people were attracted to the Retro Arcade and Make-A-Shirt under one small roof. Once you walk in, you paid $5 to Make-A-Shirt with the Red Maker Faire Robot logo screen printed on either a gray or black t-shirt. There were Volunteers on hand to assist anyone wanting to make a t-shirt. After making the t-shirt, one had to let it dry. When it was drying people would play video games while they waited. Some of the arcade games on hand were pinball machines, vintage desktop computers with games, and much more.
The main exhibit hall had the Spirit Exhibits. This building had young makers, Legos, art, Steampunk, TV/Movie props, teapot racing, cosplay, model train set, and schools. In the prop area they had “The Time Machine” replica which actual was a battery powered vehicle. Also, there were Ghostbusters proton packs and other prop replicas. Star Wars R2D2 was on hand for photo opportunities as well. Also inside the building was a large model train set. Young and old loved watching these model trains move around the tracks. There was fine arts being sold inside the hall from comic books to illustrations. NASA was also on hand to give out information on their resources. Plus, the Orlando Science Center was on hand demonstrating their lightening electricity show. Many people were quiet amazed the light and sound effects.
Finally, there was just so many things to see at this year’s Maker Faire Orlando event. One needs to mark their calendar for next year’s event. For more information go to www.makerfaireorlando.com
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Photos courtesy of icflorida.com