While Taste of Newton has its tried and true traditions, one group is making its first appearance at the event to spread the word that opportunities to design, engineer and create are alive and well in Harvey County.
Make Harvey, which was formerly called the Harvey County Maker Club, brings together people of all ages to learn hands-on processes like gardening, woodworking, electronics and more.
Visitors to the booth at Taste of Newton can pick up pancakes made using Make Harvey organizer Mark Glade's homemade computer numerical control machine.
"He made this CNC machine for $22 out of an old printer," said Mark's wife, Cassie Glade.
Members of Make Harvey gathered in the Glade's garage on Sunday evening to put the final touches on the process. Dot matrix printer parts coupled with a CNC controller were hooked to a pump that controls the flow of pancake batter.
"We 3-D printed the pump itself," said Eric Herbers. "Everything else is all used components."
"Eric put together the valving to turn the batter on and off with a little servo motor," Mark said.
The group found, through trial and error, that the pancake batter needed to be thinner than usual to flow through the tubing and onto a waiting hot skillet.
"The right cooking temperature matters," Mark laughed.
It takes about a minute for the machine to put out pancake batter in the shape of the words,"hello world" — a nod to computer programming tradition.
"Typically, when you write your very first program, you program it to print out something on the screen that says, 'hello, world,'" Herbers said.
"Any programming book you pick up, that's the first thing you program," agreed Tim Collins.
After completing the words, more batter is added to the skillet to make a complete pancake. This difference in cooking time makes the lettering stand out in a deeper shade of brown.
"We're going to have this rolling and Eric has another CNC machine that we're going to put food-safe markers on and we're going to draw on sugar cookies," Mark said.
The cookies are shaped like the letter "N" for Newton or like a light bulb, which the Make Harvey group uses for their logo.
"We 3-D printed the cookie cutters," noted Michelle Ramer.
Through the event, the group wants to encourage more participation from makers in the area.
"We're looking for people to get involved, that's the thing," Mark said. "We're building our community first so that when we do finally get a space and equipment and everything, we're doing what the community wants."
"We're just getting the word out for people to see the stuff; see what's possible and hopefully get their wheels turning a little bit," Collins said.
Collins said he had been involved with Wichita's MakeICT.
"I just didn't know there were many makers around here, so thank goodness Mark started the group," Collins said.
Make Harvey wants to add to its membership and hold a variety of classes for children and adults.
"Next year, our hope is to do a maker series," Cassie said. "Each month, we'd focus on a different field of interest. ...The more people we get, the more we can do age-specific classes."
Through Make Harvey, members have networked with each other to share ideas and resources.
"If somebody needs a 3-D printed part, they know to come over to my house. If somebody needs some wood, we know to go talk to Mark. If we need some electronics, we go talk to Eric. If we need some kombucha, we go talk to (Michelle)," Collins said. "Everybody's got something, a skill. It's pretty awesome. And I like them, too. They're pretty cool people."
Make Harvey meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak.
"It's sharing your knowledge and sharing your skills with everybody, that's something that's sort of starting to be lost," Collins said.
Make Harvey will be at Taste of Newton from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the 500 block of Main Street.
For more information about Make Harvey, visit https://www.facebook.com/makeharveyks/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.