Category Archives: Meet the Makers

Meet the Maker: Rob Miller

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Meet Rob Miller. He’s from Monroe, Mich., a member of the Great Lakes Garrison and a contestant on FaceOff. Rob is joining our Tinker.Hack.Invent Saturday activities this weekend and we’re excited to have him. Learn more about Ron and what inspires him as a maker.

Tell us about the your experience on Face Off.
I have always been a fan of the show since season 1. Each and every season many friends and family members hounded me to try out, but I never did. I never thought I of all people would have a chance to make it for an interview let alone be on the show. Seasons 2-6 came and went, and one night during season 6 my family and I were watching the show. My boys, Alex – age 14 and Zach age 12 have always told me I should try out for the show, and this time when they told me, I began thinking perhaps I should try out. What pushed me more than anything to go for it wasn’t just my boys, but my daughter Riley. Riley is 9 years old and was born with Down syndrome. Riley was watching the show with us as we all do, and during one of the episodes, she ran into my workroom and brought out a mask I made, and ran up to the TV and pointed to my mask I made, and then to the TV. She then said, “Daddy, you do it!” That is what started it all – my children. They have sat with me over the years sculpting with play doh, clay, painting, drawing, airbrushing, coloring, anything art related. They made me realize that I do have what it takes. So, I applied. I received a phone call 3 weeks after I applied and the next thing I knew I was on my way to begin filming the show! My experience on Face Off was amazing to say the least! I met so many talented artists who created things in so many different ways. We all learned different/new techniques in mold making, painting, fabrication, application. We all helped, taught and supported each other. In simple terms I honestly have to say it was a Special Effects boot camp! It blew my mind to have everything that I needed at my fingertips! To be able to try new products, techniques and to have my work critiqued by leaders in the Special Effects industry was truly an honor. I had to work under some tight time constraints. My days consisted of working anywhere from 12-20 hours each day. I was constantly on the go! I was the “Dad” of the group, as I was the oldest contestant and I truly was amazed at how a show can put 15 complete strangers together, take away all sources of outside media, and those 15 people truly become a family!

What is the inspiration for your current projects?
I often try to keep up with what is popular. Currently, Zombies, horror, Sci-Fi, and Video Game Characters are many areas that are really trending at the moment. I conduct a lot of research on what I want to create. I have to give each of my creations a back story, give them character, a purpose.

How long does it take to make your creations?
There isn’t no real set time. It all depends on what I’m making. A fabrication suit could take anywhere from days, months or even years. Sculptures are the same way. When I was on the show, I had to have my creations completed within 3 days. As for how long it takes to make my creations .. it also depends on the deadline I’m given by my clients.

As a Maker, what inspires you?
Technology, Industry, Science Fiction, Horror. I try to incorporate a plethora of genres into my work. I’m inspired by other artists work, and I visit a lot of museums, I often ask people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram what they would like to see me create, and if they suggest something that appeals to me, I make it.

What are you looking forward to most about this weekend’s Tinker. Hack. Invent. Saturday?
I actually am looking forward to speaking to everyone that stops by. To be able to inspire a young artist to never give up on their dreams, and to answer any questions that someone may have will be an honor in itself. I love to see the reactions of the public when they view my work. I am very honored to be able to attend this event and to bring the things I have created for everyone to enjoy. It’s going to be a great Saturday!

Ben’s Encore Returns to Maker Faire Detroit

Premier event photography by KMS Photography

It’s that time of year again – time for Maker Faire Detroit. Once again the event will showcase more than 400 makers. One particular group, Ben’s Encore, promises to have a special appeal to young, aspiring musicians.

Ben’s Encore strives to provide opportunities for aspiring musicians and music education in Detroit and its surrounding areas. The organization started a few years ago, as a tribute to Ben Borowiak of Detroit, who passed away due to complications from epilepsy that developed after being hit by a drunk driver. Ben wore many hats; though professionally an accountant, he was known by his family and friends as a multi-talented musician and philanthropist. Continue reading

Meet the Makers: DIYpsi

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We’re pleased to have the team behind DIYpsi curate another craft fair within Maker Faire Detroit this year. This is the group’s second year curating our craft sales vendors and there’s a great group coming in to show off their goods to our guests.

We asked DIYpsi members Cre Fuller, Marcy Davy Haywood and Sherri Green what inspires them and what they’re looking forward to at this year’s fair. And we’ve got the lineup for their crafters, too. Continue reading

Meet the Maker: Gabrielle Farina

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your duct tape prom attire.
Ryan and I are both students at the University of Michigan, where he’ll be a freshman and I’ll be a sophomore this fall. We knew we wanted to enter Duck brand’s Stuck at Prom contest as soon as we heard about it, because we knew it would make for a fun and memorable prom. As we discovered about halfway through the process of making our outfits, our 1920′s theme matched perfectly with the prom’s Great Gatsby theme! Our outfits won third place in the Stuck at Prom contest. Continue reading

Meet the Makers: Stacy Burdette and Hacker Gals

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and The Hacker Gals.
I graduated from the MBA program at Western Michigan University (WMU) a year ago and have been excited to be a part of the startup community in Kalamazoo since then. In the fall/spring of 2013-14 I continued in school under the Rhetoric and Writing Studies program and also was accepted into the WMU Starting Gate student business accelerator.

Hacker Gals is a community group of women who meet in a common space to work on projects. Each of the Gals contributes to the resources of the community through sharing knowledge and teaching classes. We have been able to utilize the WMU Starting Gate space for the meetups and I have access through August 2014. The projects we work on include writing a book, building a robot, job searching, learning to crochet, and making old T-shirts into a trivet, coaster or rug. Continue reading

Meet the Maker: Bubba Ayoub

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and Close Encounters of the Synth Kind.
My name is Bubba Ayoub. I’m an engineering student, voracious consumer of media, amateur historian, a student blogger for the Bob Moog Foundationshameless Sriracha over user, and I play guitar and modular synthesizer in ThreeHives and solo as Juggable Offense. Close Encounters of the Synth Kind is a celebration of all things synth, with a focus on modern day modular systems that encompass all the major developments in the last 50 years of synthesis. Continue reading

A Passion for Wheels

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We’re so pleased to welcome Siemens PLM Solid Edge software to The Henry Ford as a sponsor of OnMaking and Maker Faire Detroit 2014. Crazy Cart creator Ali Kermani will be on hand to share his innovation story. Learn a little bit more about his journey below.

Ali - HeadshotFrom big wheels to business school, Ali Kermani, Product Designer and Brand Manager, at Razor USA, and former professional skateboarder, has a passion for wheels and having fun that has driven him to achieve great success. Ali recently delivered a keynote speech at Solid Edge University 2014, in which he shared his journey from young high school student and skateboarder working as a “product tester” and member of Team Razor to his most recent accomplishment at the company: Introduction of the Crazy Cart. This past February 2014, one day before Toys R Us presented Razor with their 2013 Vendor of the Year award, the Toy Industry Association awarded the Crazy Cart a much sought after Toy of The Year award (T.O.T.Y.), naming it the 2014 Outdoor Toy of the Year.

Meet Ali Kermani in person at Maker Faire Detroit, on Saturday, July 26th at 1:30 p.m., where he’ll share his inspiring story, a story which will most certainly resonate with makers far and wide. Continue reading

Meet the Maker: Inventables

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and Inventables.
Inventables is a small startup company in Chicago. We sell all the tools and materials you need to make pretty much anything, including digital manufacturing tools like 3D printing and 3D carving, and laser cutting.

What was the inspiration for the Shapeoko 3D Carving Machine?
The Shapeoko 3D Carving machine was created by Edward Ford, who ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. He wanted a DIY, affordable carving machine for his home and figured that other people did too. The response was immediate and very enthusiastic. Edward joined forces with Inventables to bring Shapeoko to a wider audience and has been selling the kits since 2012.

How long did it take to create your project?
Shapeoko was created in 2011, and version 2 was released in 2013. We released the companion Easel software in March of 2014, to make it easier for anyone to get started making their own ideas out of real materials.

As a maker, what inspires you?
Everyone on the Inventables team is a maker, and we all come at it from different angles. Some like to make jewelry, others build musical instruments and electronics, some build skateboards and go-carts and miniature rollercoasters. We’re constantly tinkering in the workshop and helping each other with our ideas.

What are you most looking forward to at Maker Faire Detroit this year?
We’re really looking forward to letting people try their own hand at 3D carving! We’ll be running hands-on demos all weekend to let people make their own bottle openers out of wood and aluminum. And also we’re fielding our own go-kart in the power wheels racing series.

Meet the Maker: Kidpreneur®

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and Kidpreneur Entrepreneurship.
Thanh Tran is a serial entrepreneur who founded Kidpreneur®, two software companies and D-NewTech, an organization which aim to inspire Detroit’s startup growth. The idea for Kidprenuer® came about when he realized there were not enough opportunities available for young children to learn about entrepreneurship and new technologies; especially computer programming. He believes that starting young could build a life-long interest and creates future job creators.

kidpreneur_logo3Kidpreneur® teaches kids aged 13 and under about entrepreneurship and the latest technology including coding, app development, game design, web development, robotics programming and more. The goal is to educate kids about technology and how they can build businesses using the technology they like. Continue reading

Meet the Maker: Maker Works

The Nerdy Derby in action at Maker Works.

The Nerdy Derby in action at Maker Works.

What is Maker Works doing at the Maker Faire Detroit this year?
14410101780_af9e842617_oMaker Works, a makerspace in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been at every Maker Faire Detroit so far, and we wouldn’t miss it! In years past we’ve helped with the Learn to Solder activity and demonstrated various tools from our shop. But we’re always on the lookout for fun, new things to bring. This year we’re excited about bringing the Nerdy Derby to Maker Faire Detroit. We’ll have a 30-foot long, three-lane track for racing small cars down, cars that visitors will make and decorate themselves right in our exhibit space. “No rules.” Think the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby meets Mad Max (and minus the explosions, we hope).

Every clamp in the Maker Works wood shop was put to work getting the Nerdy Derby ready for last month's Open House at the shop.

Every clamp in the Maker Works wood shop was put to work getting the Nerdy Derby ready for last month’s Open House at the shop.

Why is participating in Maker Faire Detroit important?
Maker Faires are important because they expose visitors, especially kids, to the fun and power of STEAM–Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Maker Faires, museums, maker meet-ups, and makerspaces all provide opportunities for kids to learn about the world and how they can have an effect by making. They may start off making things to address their own specific wants and needs, but it’s not far from there to figuring out how to meet the wants and needs of others (perhaps for profit–a business!–or to make the world a better place). Maker Faires in particular are extraordinarily inspiring. The creator of that two-story bike over there? She’s not a professional bike builder, just someone who learned to weld and wanted to make something cool. The tiny satellite next to her? Built by amateurs exciting about the possibility of launching their creation into space. One of the best messages of Maker Faire Detroit for us is, “You can make cool things too.”

What do you find most inspiring about Maker Faire Detroit?
The creations of younger people, and the acceptance and celebration of their creativity among the visitors. It really is an appreciative crowd for a young maker to exhibit or demonstrate their creation.