Thomie Timmons, innovation labs coordinator for Reynoldsburg City Schools, has a simple explanation of the maker movement:

"We start with what we have and dream of what it can become," he said.

Examples of that, highlighting digital design and creation, will be included in the first "MakerX 2018: The Columbus Maker Expo" at Reynoldsburg High School.

Everything from racing drones and battling robots to virtual reality games, 3D printing and laser cutting will be exhibited from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21 at the RHS Performing Arts Center at 8579 Summit Road, Reynoldsburg.

"It's a high-energy and fun event celebrating digital design and creation," said William Ball, scholar-in-residence at Capital University.

Tickets are required. There is no charge for ages 18 and younger, but tickets cost $5 for those older than 18. Tickets will not be available at the door, however -- they must be ordered at

Parking is free and food trucks will be on site.

Ball and Timmons were on the planning committee for the event, as was a host of educators from Columbus-area schools and universities.

"In the future, we hope to outgrow the capacity of this space and potentially expand to a more central location," Timmons said. "Like the maker movement, this is grassroots."

Ball said MakerX is not a "science-fair type event."

"This is a fun festival where people can learn about technology and how to use it," Ball said. "Virtually everything at the event will have started with a digital design and most things will have been created by computer-driven tools.

"We have also expanded the concept of 'maker' beyond just building hardware to additionally including digital design that stays in the digital world, such as virtual reality and game development," he said.

Timmons said he hopes MakerX will build a greater understanding of the "maker movement."

"Makers will find connections to other makers," he said. "Educators and students will find connections to like-minded schools. We hope for stronger connections across the community.

"We hope to create an environment where everyone, from exhibitors to casual participants, can learn from one another," Timmons said. "The excitement for innovation is contagious."

Ball said MakerX is an opportunity for anyone curious about the maker movement to become part of it.

The day also is a way to showcase student projects and school and community maker spaces.

"In addition to interactive exhibits, prominent speaker sessions led by digital fabricator John Saunders and artist Matthew Mohr will take place, along with programming workshops from COSI and Tech Talent South," he said.

More than 60 exhibitors are expected, including student groups from schools in Reynoldsburg, Gahanna, Pickerington, Westerville and Hilliard.

Other exhibits include underwater robotics from The Ohio State University; a fully animated R2D2 robot by Douglas Bickert from the R2D2 Builders Club; Lego Robot Battlebots from Robot Academy; and the "Proto BuildBar," described as "a mutant cousin of Build-a-Bear, fused with a fab lab and designed as a cafe."


MakerX 2018 participants

MakerGear (3-D printer manufacturer)

Midwest Connect Hyperloop from MORPC (Hyperloop technology for the Columbus Region)

Buckeye Current Racing from OSU (electric racing motorcycle)

The PAST Foundation (underwater robotics, FIRST/Lego robotics, drones)

Microsoft (mixed/virtual reality experiences)

John Saunders from NYC CNC / Saunders Machine Works (exhibit and presentation: “Manufacturing Entrepreneurship: Learn, Make, Inspire”)

Reynoldsburg Battelle FabLab from Reynoldsburg Summit High School (tours of the fablab, FIRST robotics)

Tech Studio from COSI (arduino workshop)

Lincoln Fab Lab from Lincoln High School (vinyl cutter and CNC demos, makerspace projects, mobile fablab, live car wrap)

Buckeye FPV (live drone racing)

Buckeye Education Systems (makerspace consulting and equipment)

National Robotics Challenge (robotics competition)

IEEE Columbus (learning and career enhancement opportunities within the engineering sciences)

IC3D printers (3-D printer filament giveaway)

Capital University (performance by the MIDI band, audio, video and theater technology demos, makerspace projects)

As We Are from Matthew Mohr (Presentation: “The Art and Technology of the ‘Giant Head’ Sculpture in the Convention Center”)

The Point at Otterbein University (makerspace projects, robotics team)

Modular Synthesis from Bbob Drake (experiment with electronic music)

Official R2D2 Builders Club by Douglas Bickert (fully animated R2D2 robot)

STEM Middle @ Baldwin from Baldwin Road Junior High School (makerspace projects, interactive music boards, robots)

UNDR[H2O] from Guessworkvr (virtual reality game experience)

Educational Robotics of Central Ohio (educational robots)

Underwater Robotics from Ohio State University (autonomous underwater vehicle demo)

Form 5 Prosthetics (3-D printed prosthetics)

Tech Talent South – Columbus (Learn code and do something big!)

Lego Robot BattleBots from Robot Academy (robot building and combat)

Noeldoubt designs (Ohio-themed laser cut products)

Micro-lessons for Micro-controllers from Alexandria Kalika (micro-controller and micro-computer demos)

Cloudhaus (makerspace projects and information)

Dragonfly LLC (Laser-cut jewelry & decorations)

The Read Read (assistive technology for reading)

Westerville City Schools (augmented reality sandbox experience, makerspace demos and projects)

Columbus School for Girls (FIRST robotics)

Giant Humanoid Robots from Choitek (interactive robotics demo)

Art and technology from Fuse Factory (digital media)

Columbus State Community College (educational robotics)

Proto BuildBar (a mutant cousin of Build-A-Bear fused with a fab lab and disguised as an awesome café)

VR maker technology from VR Columbus (custom VR controllers and software)

Dynamix Energy Services (environmental control technology)

Make It Dayton (3-D printers, maker projects)

Drone racing education from Safety Third Racing (drone simulations and test runs)

The Future of Drones from Infinite Impact (pro video drone demo, VR demo)

Marburn Academy (FIRST robotics)

STEM is Elementary (hands-on building)

Library Makerspace from Xavier University (assistive technology demos)

techARTeum (STEM crafts)

Autonomyhub (autonomous vehicles and drones)

CareerConnectED from Make:Springfield (design and modeling, maker projects)

IDEA Lab from Zane State College (manufacturing based maker space)

See3D (3-D printing for assistive technology and learning)

Spacely Guitars (Guitars, machining, 3d printing, and whatever)

HAMS Robotics (Vex robotics demonstration)

Tinkering with TECH CORPS (program robots and experiment with VR)

Max Welds (metal art)

Pre-Engineering from Hilliard Bradley High School (3-D printing)

Design it, Build it, Test it for Kids from OTEEA (hands-on building)

Pickerington High School (robotics and engineering)

The STEMcoding project (integrating coding into STEM)

Imaginations Applied (accurate replicas and fantasy creations)

EMC2 (FIRST robotics)

Moving from Human to Robot from Jack Brown (control robotic motion)

Isotower from Todd Barchok (tower building game)

R2D2 Learning to Fail from Josh Montgomery (R2D2 demonstration)

Deceiver from Evan Todd (pre-apocalyptic philosophical shooter game)

Technical Difficulties (FIRST robotics demonstration)

S.M.A.R.T. Net from Pyramid Community Development Corp. (utilizing Technology to provide Ladders of Opportunity)

East Columbus Maker Meetup (maker group projects)

Big Kitty Labs (wearable kits to teach about sensors and data science)

Industrial Badger Mixed Reality (augmented reality and artificial intelligence) (Robotic Soil Compaction Demo)