NORTHFIELD — Lakes Region manufacturers are opening their doors to the public this week with a series of open houses to showcase their advanced manufacturing capabilities.
The week-long celebration kicked off on Saturday with the "Day of Play at EPTAM Plastics," a fun event designed for families in which children were provided with all kinds of recycled materials and craft supplies to create whatever their imaginations envisioned.
Eptam Plastics is a leading manufacturer of machined plastic components for industry and medical equipment device manufacturers.
Among those taking part were Forrest Weaver, 6, and his brother, Charlie, 5, who were there with their parents, Brian and Cori, of Concord.
Forrest was building a glider while Charlie was fabricating a popcorn machine.
Brain Weaver said that his family was there to participate in the cardboard challenge, an international event being held in 43 countries, and hold found out from the Internet and a YouTube video that a regional event was being held in Northfield.
The art director for MAARK, a Boston strategic marketing firm, Weaver said that the worldwide event was organized by the Imagination Foundation, which is working to build project-based learning and STEM-focused curriculum in schools.
''They were inspired to start this by a 9-year-old boy who spent all of his summer in 2011 building a cardboard arcade in his dad's used auto parts store. Somebody put together a YouTube video of it calling it Caine's Arcade. It became a big hit and inspired what you might call a flash mob of visitors, which has since led to the Global Cardboard Challenge and the Global Day of Play.'' said Weaver.
He said that his children, both of whom are bring home schooled have been inspired by ''Caine's Arcade'' and that it has helped them feel comfortable in being creative.
On Monday Titeflex Aerospace and Aavid Engineering in the O'Shea Industrial Park offered tours and today, 3M in Tilton, which manufactures electrical insulation papers, and NH Ball Bearings, Inc. (NHBB) a leading manufacturer of precision bearings and complex bearing assemblies for the aerospace, defense, medical, dental, and high technology markets, will offer tours.
On Wednesday, Scotia Technology will offer tours of its plant in the Lakes Business Park in Laconia at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Scotia Technology is a supplier of tube assemblies for the aerospace and aircraft industries.
Anyone interested in learning about local educational programs in the advanced manufacturing field can attend two open houses on Wednesday, October 9. At 8 a.m. the Huot Regional Technical Education Center (located at Laconia High School) will showcase its Pre-engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs. From 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, Lakes Region Community College will run an open house for their new Advanced Manufacturing certificate and degree programs, which just launched in September.
Six-year-old Forrest Weaver of Concord works with his dad Bryan on building a glider and his brother Charlie, five, works with his mother, Cori, building a popcorn machine in the cardboard challenge competition held at Eptam Plastics in Northfield as part of the Day of Play held worldwide to celebrate children's creativity. (Roger Amsden/for the Laconia Daily Sun)