Westfield High School junior John Warns’ mind is always clicking.
“Invention and innovation have been a huge part of my life ever since I was introduced to 3-D printing my freshman year,” Warns said.
Warns’ latest idea won the fourth Westfield High School Shark Tank competition March 21. The event is sponsored by the Westfield Chamber of Commerce.
Warns’ idea was one of five pitched to the audience, which then voted on the winner, who received a $1,500 check. The total includes $500 cash the student can spend on whatever he wants, WHS innovation specialist Joel Bruns said.
“The other $1,000 is to invest in their project and will stay with the school and we can purchase items to further their business project,” Bruns said.
Warns convinced the audience that his Cyclone spring mount was the best idea to back. It’s a 3-D printed spring mount for measuring gears and other cylinders.
“Cylinder parts and gears need to be quickly and accurately measured by laser and probe machines,” Warns said. “The possibilities of it are endless.”
Warns has sold a more simplified version of the mount.
“The spring mount, I was waiting for the funds to really launch that,” said Warns, who displayed information that Chrysler was interested in his mount.
Warns plans to use his prize money to seek a patent protection for the mount.
“Then I could sell to Chrysler and General Motors and other manufacturers who use cylindrical parts around the country and the world,” he said.
Warns, 17, also won Shark Tank as a freshman with his cake-cutter design. He has a patent pending on it.
“I’m developing better versions of it for selling,” Warns said.
Warns is planning to study architectural landscaping at Purdue.
“I want to be able to work with 3-D printing but also be able to work with plants,” he said. “I like the ability to design things even though I can draw.”
Warns is a regular at the WHS Idea Farm, a makerspace with 3-D printers.
“Previously, we were just an extracurricular club,” Bruns said. “Now, we’ve been running a small class called Innovation by Design in the makerspace.”
Bruns said the Shark Tank presentations give the students a chance to practice pitching ideas.
“John has been laser-focused on this project for the last two months,” he said.
The other students, all seniors, with their presentations included Patrick Ryan’s True North Consulting, a positive impact marketing and consulting firm.
Sydney Green and Owen McGraw had an idea for a makerspace designed to bring the community together in many ways. Veronica Galles’ project was Look on the Bright Side, which are handmade wooden frames with positive quotes and messages to spread optimism and encouragement to consumers.
Nick Svendsen and Luke Bainbridge presented Project Power charger for a phone.
Bruns said he would like to see Noblesville Chamber of Commerce and OneZone (Carmel/Fishers) hold similar Shark Tank events for high school students in their area.
“Then we would all come together for a final pitch competition,” he said.