Ely Makers hosted its Family Fun Day last Sunday at the City of Ely Bowls Club near the Paradise Centre. The event, which was open to Ely Makers and the public, attracted over 60 people with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Electronics and Maths) and art whether they were total novices or professionals in their field.
Various stalls offered a range of activities and demonstrated projects ranging from autonomous robots, a 3D printer, an electronic harpsichord, a miniature steam engine replica to a hi-tech sewing machine where children and adults were invited to make their own pencil cases. One of the most popular activities of the event was building lego cars and racing them down a ramp.
The event was supported by parents with children attending various schools across Ely such as The Lantern, Ely St. Marys, Spring Meadow, and Ely College as well as the Ely Library Code Club.
The Family Fun day was also supported by local hi-tech firms and their representatives. Simone Bonanni from Thorlabs in Ely brought a couple of his personal electronics projects including an electronic harpsichord with 3D-printed keys, playing accurate sounds through advanced digital signal processing. Renowned replica steam engine builder, Dave Clark, also from Thorlabs, brought an exact scale miniature model of a historical steam engine. Thorlabs very kindly donated prizes for the raffle which made £49 for the benefit of the Lantern Primary School Library.
The local business The Innomech Group (GB Innomech and Nexus IE), who recently organised a robot competition which was held at Ely College also donated raffle prizes and Adrian Brown from the company also attended the event.
Arvind Shah, who founded Ely Makers in 2016, donated a 3D modelling and printing course. “Ely Makers provides a network for both experienced and inexperienced makers and those who might be looking for a future career in STEM subjects. We are more than happy to offer advice for those looking for information about where to start learning about robotics, electronics, coding and in other areas. For more experienced makers the group can offer inspirational peer support and a way to share their expertise and motivate younger and less experienced makers.”
Ely Makers have twice competed in the robot competition Pi Wars which is held in Cambridge in the spring-time. “We have received lots of encouragement and support from parents and families who are now able to tap into our network to find out about ways to get into science and technology”, said Arvind.
The atmosphere was one of curiosity and fun, providing opportunities for questions from people of all ages enjoying a science quiz walk, raffle, with free home-made cake and drinks.