Classic Woodworkers, a Musical Fountain, and a Paraglider Simulator

Classic Woodworkers, a Musical Fountain, and a Paraglider Simulator

Dennis Page Fountain

Motor City’s fourth annual Maker Faire Detroit is taking place July 27 and 28 at The Henry Ford, and the excitement is building. Makers are putting the finishing touches on the projects they’ll be bringing to share, and the event crew is working hard to make sure a good time will be had by all. The makers who will be exhibiting at Maker Faire Detroit are as diverse as the title of this post suggests, and the series of Meet the Makers interviews on the Faire site give insight into the makers, their projects and inspirations. Here is a sampling of three. Head to the Maker Faire Detroit site for all the information you need to join them!

dennis page fountain2

Dennis Page’s Musical Fountain

What was the inspiration for your project?
My family began vacationing in Grand Haven in 2001 and it became a family tradition to visit the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. In 2004, I began to wonder if it would be possible to create a working scale model of the fountain as a good father-son project. We met fountain operators and maintainers. We were given tours of the fountain. We obtained the original William Booth patent and drawings. We visited local hardware stores and home improvement stores. Eventually, we figured out the smallest scale possible using off-the-shelf parts and identified every component that we would need. We began building the fountain in 2007. While we were building the fountain, Grand Haven created a website that allowed the public to choreograph shows. My son developed a passion for choreography and created over 20 songs for the fountain. We planned on playing his choreography on our model fountain as well as the shows that run nightly in Grand Haven from May to September every year.

What are you most looking forward to at Maker Faire Detroit this year?
I would like to talk with other makers and exchange ideas, show my project to the public, and possibly inspire young people to wonder how things work.

Read more about Dennis.


Mark Deseck’s Powered Paraglider Simulator

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the Powered Paraglider Simulator.
My name is Mark Deseck, and I live in Saline, Mich., with my wife, Geneva, and son, Trevor. I work as a project planner in the defense industry, and I have a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering.

One of my passions is flying a powered paraglider (more commonly referred to as PPG). I’ve been flying them for nearly 15 years and have over 1,500 flights in my flight log. It’s one of the most fun, economical, portable, and safe methods to fly. Launches are accomplished by foot-launching the glider or with a wheeled trike. The paraglider wing is very maneuverable and generally flies at a speed of around 25 mph.

A paraglider wing is a two-surface elliptical glider which has no rigid primary structure. It’s a specially designed form of ram-air parachute, with openings in the front to allow air to pressurize and inflate the glider. Forward motion will inflate the glider, causing it to become a rigid wing, and it will provide lift to the pilot suspended underneath due to its aerodynamic design. Once airborne, a paraglider is very easy to fly as the pilot simply turns the glider left or right by use of hand loops (also known as toggles or brakes). These are also used to flare the glider for landing. A paraglider is also controlled by weight shift (leaning left or right in the harness) which will turn the glider in more efficient manner than using the brakes. A paraglider has to be flown off of a hillside or be towed aloft; however, with the addition of a motor on the back of the pilot (hence, a powered paraglider), it can be launched from almost any open field. The glider and motor are very transportable as the glider can be folded down to the size of a backpack and both can fit into the trunk of a car.

The Hang-Time paraglider simulator does a great job reacting to the brake, weight shift, speed bar, and throttle inputs, both physically through the controls, and virtually through the software. The controls are actual paraglider brake handles, and along with a swinging frame for weight shift, speed bar attachment, and custom throttle grip, they all do a great job translating the physical inputs to your simulator computer model. The brakes are weighted and the throttle is spring loaded which gives them an appropriate response. You can feather the throttle and brake for low altitude ground skimming, porpoise the wing over objects by pumping the brakes, perform spirals, and do massive wingovers. The computer model converts the paraglider potential energy into kinetic motion and inertia, just like the real thing. … [Read more]

What are you most looking forward to at Maker Faire Detroit this year?
I look forward to participating as a maker for the first time at a Maker Faire event, and I hope to bring a sense of what it’s like to fly a paraglider to those who wish to give it a try.

Read more about Mark.

Woodworkers Guild

The Michigan Wookworkers’ Guild

Tell us a little bit about the guild.
The Michigan Woodworkers’ Guild is a non-profit organization of approximately 300 members who enjoy making projects in wood. Members range from beginning woodworkers to professionals, primarily located in southeastern Michigan, who meet monthly to share their knowledge and to inspire each other to expand our woodworking skills. We are excited to be selected to participate in the 2013 Maker Faire to share our interest in all facets of woodworking with Faire attendees.

What will you be doing at Maker Faire Detroit?
Our guild will bring a variety of demonstrations of woodworking techniques as well as finished project displays to share with Faire attendees. The displays will range from projects that required months to build to some that can be completed in less than a day and range from the size of a canoe to size of your hand. Demonstrations will include furniture building techniques, inlay methods, wood turning, and canoe construction with eight demos scheduled each day to supplement continuous manned project displays. A children’s project opportunity to build their own toolbox/toybox for a small materials fee is also planned.

The Faire provides a great opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and to find people who share our interest in utilizing the beauty of wood for their personal enjoyment. We welcome new members of any skill level to build their woodworking knowledge through our meetings and special seminars on a wide variety of topics. The guild also offers mentoring opportunities to individual members to teach techniques and safe practices for woodworking. Our website provides additional information about our guild and the upcoming meeting locations and times.

Read more about the Michigan Wookworkers’ Guild.


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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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