‘Crazy Duct Tape Girl’ and Mr. Chompsalot

By on April 9, 2014
Crazy Duct Tape Girl

Crazy Duct Tape Girl
(Photo by Laurie Knowles Callanan)

They call themselves “makers.”

What that means, quite simply, is people who make things. It could be anything, from cigar box guitars to remote control airplanes.

More than 15 makers gathered Saturday for the first Mini Makers Faire at the Lititz Public Library. They included a grandmother who writes children’s stories, a local couple demonstrating the start-to-finish process of spinning yarn from the fleece of their alpacas, and a middle school student who makes duct tape wallets.

“I started making wallets and other things maybe three years ago,” said Sara Heavner, 13, WMS seventh grader. “I’ve come to be known as the ‘Crazy Duct Tape Girl’.”

Heavner discovered the magic of duct tape at a craft store. Most of us are familiar with classic gray, but this famous adhe-sive comes in all sorts of colors and prints like red, yellow, green and blue, and pickles, kissing lips, soccer, stripes and even bacon!

One of her wallets has a Duck Dynasty theme, or more accurately, Duct Dynasty. She also learned how to use zip bags as change purses within the wallets.

“They keep change from falling out all over the place,” said Heavner.

According to Sallie Rihn, community relations director at the Lititz Public Library, the idea of “making” focuses on reusing items, and recycling them for other uses. That’s how a cigar box becomes a guitar or styrofoam takes to the skies as a motorized airplane.

“There is a lot of emphasis on technology,” said Rihn, adding that Mini Maker Faire is a STEAM-powered event in that it will encompass Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

Rihn also pointed out that the Lancaster Berks Makers group exhibited Arduino controlled robotics, a USB volume control, an animated cartoon-type display called flipbook, a scroll saw wooden bowl, a 3D printer and printed items and Internet connected devices all based on the electric Imp platform that includes ePaper display, LED strip lighting, wearable electronics and temperature monitors.

However, it was the hands-on exhibits that captured the most attention, like the robot alligator that snapped its jaw and wagged its tail. It was made by Linden Hall students Eva Hain, 10, Trinity Misavage, 10, and Anna Berns, 12.

“We made the whole alligator with Legos,” said Misavage, adding that their teacher Mike Renfroe encouraged them with their project.

Renfroe heads Linden Hall’s robotics club and the three girls were happy to show that girls are interested in science, engineering and building robots. They named him Mr. Chompsalot, and warned visitors to keep their fingers away from the soft plastic jaws of the friendly alligator.

Few exhibits could be more hands-on than that of Michael Luckenbill of Mount Joy. A retired teacher and administrator, Luckenbill used his musical talents to create whimsical musical instruments from found objects.

That included electronic bagpipes that came from a rescued bagpipe set. Luckenbill kept only the drones and chanter, filling the space with an electronic bagpipe programmed to play loud or soft. As the sounds of “Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond,” “Danny Boy” and “Amazing Grace” filled the normally quiet library, it seemed everyone had been transported to Scotland.

Then the musician took them to Nashville with country rock ‘n roll on a guitar made from a cigar box, and to Hawaii with the sounds of a ukulele from a lap steel guitar fashioned from a skateboard, and to the West with Native American style flutes made from PVC pipe. There was also a guitar made from a tennis racket that produced a bluesy New Orleans sound.

Children asked Lukenbill if he had patterns for his musical instruments, as he noted that he designed them on a whim, experimenting with producing the sound of the real thing.

“Musical instruments can be expensive,” said Luckenbill, showing how an old paint can and two yardsticks could produce music.

Musicians Gerry Thompson and Pat Miraflor of New Jersey also played music on makeshift cigar box instruments during their library mini-concert.

Other makers included Jasmine Esbenshade, 10, with her chalk pastel portrait of her dog, Abby; Liam Blevens, 13, with his program for Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-sized single-board computer; and Phil Oles with his model steam engines that operate on compressed air; and Carolyn Kleinman with her collection of cuddly stuffed toys and animals known as Bear Mitzvah.

“It’s a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness,” said Rihn.

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