A podcast from Make: founder, Dale Dougherty
exploring ideas, tools and people behind the maker movement

Dorothy Jones-Davis Moves to KID Museum

Dorothy Jones-Davis has been Executive Director of Nation of Makers for six years. She recently announced that she is leaving to join the KID Museum in Bethesda Maryland as Chief Impact Officer. In this episode, we talk about how Nation of Makers got started, some of its accomplishments and where it might go. I also asked Dorothy how working in this role has changed her as a person as well as in her career.

Jason Pohl: From Designing Video Games to Orange County Choppers and Beyond

Jason Pohl calls himself a “pretengineer” because he’s self-taught. Trained as artist, his design work has taken him from creating video games to actually designing and fabricating parts for Orange County Choppers. Jason moved into CAD design and working with CNC machines. He has boundless energy and enthusiasm as someone who is doing what he always wanted to do — make things that are real. 

Winners of the Amazing Maker Awards 2022

Meet the winners of this year’s Amazing Maker Awards. Our top winners come from the US and Canada, Turkey, Japan, and Germany and they are as young as 14. Their projects represent social impact, art, technical achievement and education. This is an audio recording of our October 4 Live Showcase in which I talked to our top winners about their projects.

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The Wherewithal to Change Things Through Making

I’d like you to meet Amy Zell – mother, librarian, grief counselor, and maker. In this episode, she talks about the power of making to change things, to change people. She credits Casey Shea, a Sonoma County maker educator with telling her about “maker empowerment” at the Fab Institute in Pittsburgh in 2018. She understood “maker empowerment” to mean the wherewithal to change things through making, and she applied it to her own life to move forward after suffering the loss of her son. Now she works with others who have experienced loss and trauma and she is weaving making into mental health practices.

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A Better Way to Learn Calculus

Author/Educators Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron join me to talk about their new book, Make: Calculus, which takes a different approach to teaching and learning calculus. This book, like their previous book, Make: Geometry, relies on creating visual models created with Legos or 3D printers to teach Calculus concepts that can be hard to grasp from equations alone.

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Finding Maker Town

Susie Frazier created the Maker Town platform for makers and artists working in Cleveland and Northern Ohio so that more people can find them and learn about what they make. Susie is a maker, creator and artist. Her own journey led her to Cleveland, Ohio, where she began developing her own functional and decorative art, working with stone and then organic materials. She hosted a TV show. Then she wrote a book called “Designing for Wellness.”

Humanmade SF

A refugee from TechShop in SF, Ryan Spurlock took what he learned there and applied it to a new makerspace called Humanmade, located in the design district of San Francisco. Two things stand out about this makerspace. One is how it was funded: a local developer whom the City required to set aside funding for community development worked with Ryan to locate a space and build it out. Second, Humanmade has worked with the City of San Francisco to establish a Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing training program.

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The Magic Never Died

Maker Faires are slowly coming back. After not happening for two years, Maker Faire Long Island took place in June at Port Jefferson Village’s Explorium. Everybody was happy to come back. said co-producers of Maker Faire Long Island, Angeline Judex and Lisa C. Rodriguez. Angeline is the Explorium’s Executive Director and Lisa is in digital media marketing for the science center. They share that with the makers back and families gathered, the magic was back.

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Wyoming's Maker Access Pass

Tyler Kerr runs the Innovation Wyrkshop, a makerspace at the University of Wyoming. During COVID, state officials saw the potential for makerspaces in vocational rehab and developing skills in local communities. And so they are funding the build out of a network of makerspaces throughout the state. Tyler and his students set out to build a safety pass, the Maker Access Pass that would allow students to be trained in one makerspace and work with machines in another makerspace.

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Playification - The Makey Makey Story

Makey Makey, a creative platform for children of all ages, turned 10 years old this month. In this episode, we talk with Jay Silver, the creative technologist behind the platform, and Jay Melican, formerly of Intel who runs the business. Jay Silver talks about creative play and learning, and the community that has grown up around Makey Makey.

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Shop Talk & Tips with Gareth Branwyn

DIY lifer Gareth Branwyn has compiled a new volume of his series, Tips and Tales of the Workshop, Volume 2.  He shares some of his favorite tips he has found. He talks about the aspirational quality of tips and how picking up an idea from someone can help us improve. Learn more about Frankenstein prototyping, that things aren’t perfect in the vaults of a Gothic Cathedral and that details layer one on top of another.

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Making is So Elementary

Julie Darling, author, educator, and, librarian, talks her book “Social-Emotional Learning Using Makerspaces and Passion Projects: Step by Step Projects and Resources for Grades 3-6“. She is a Media Specialist at A2 Steam in Ann Arbor, CA. We talk about getting fidgety kids engaged and excited. She explains that a Makerspace can be a creative place for students and an opportunity to develop social-emotional learning, which are both personal and social skills.

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Mike on Make:

Mike Senese has been the Executive Editor for Make: for almost nine years. He started on volume 36 and leaves now after wrapping up issue 81. Mike joins Dale Dougherty to talk about his experiences at Make: and Maker Faire, as well as working with the maker community. See ya soon, Mike Senese.

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Determination: Makers in Ukraine

Determination seems like the best word to describe the collective response of Ukrainians as they fight for their country, for their home and their freedom. One month ago, I spoke with Yuri Vlasyuk and Svitlana Bovkun who live in Kyiv. That was the day Russia invaded Ukraine. I knew them because they were producers of Maker Faire in Ukraine. I wanted to find out how they are doing and what the maker community was doing during the war. A month later, one month into the war, we talked again to find how determined they are to do anything they can to help others and resist the invasion.

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Fearless CNC

You might say that CNC is like a stepchild in the digital fabrication family, not the friendliest or easiest tool to get to know in the maker-space. Yet CNC is not something that most makers should be afraid of, especially as new software allows you to see in simulation what the CNC machine is going to do before you press go. In this episode, I’m joined by Anne Filson and Gary Rohrbacher, co-authors of Design for CNC.

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Share the Repair

My guest on this episode is Wayne Seltzer who is lifelong fixer himself. He started the U-Fix-It Clinic in Boulder, Colorado to help others learn to fix things. Wayne helped put the “you” in Fixit Clinics, making sure they empowered people to learn to do the repairs themselves rather than having an expert do it for them.

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Kiddy Copter - A Family Affair

Charles Helmholdt of Grand Rapids, Michigan designed and built a Kiddy Copter, based on the Bell 47 helicopter from the M.A.S.H TV series. In this episode of Make:cast, we talk about the how and why to build this ride for kids. What does stand out is that Charles likes to build things and he does it with and for his family. Kiddy Copter first appeared in Make: V76 in a Made on Earth article written by Mike Senese.

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Maker's Knowledge

William Gurstelle is the author of many popular technical books, including Backyard Ballistics and the three-volume Remaking History. He has been a contributor of projects to Make: Magazine, and currently writes the Remaking History column, which features a historical invention that you can recreate at home. The concept of maker’s knowledge comes the history of science and represents the idea that the maker of something comprehends how it works better than anyone else.

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Smaller is Big: Eben Upton of Raspberry pi

Over nine years ago, Raspberry PI was created by a small team, led by Eben Upton as a kind of academic side project. This single board computer was a PC without a keyboard, a monitor, any kind of enclosure, an inexpensive board that could be connected to power and other USB devices. For Volume 79 of Make: Magazine, our board’s issue, Executive Editor Mike Senese talked to Eben Upton of the Raspberry PI Foundation. They mostly talk about the technical details of the new Raspberry Pi’s.

Will We Be Better Prepared Next Time?

This preview of Respiracon II featured Robert Read of Public Invention and Leith Greenslade of the Every Breath Counts Coalition. They are starting a conversation around open source medical devices and how makers can work more productively when the next pandemic or other emergency happens.

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Leveraging Biology to Make Things

Julie Legault and Dr. Justin Pahara are the Canadian co-authors of “Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero,” a hands-on guide to biotech experiments for the classroom, home and makerspace. Justin, a Cree scientist-entrepreneur with a PhD in biotechnology from University of Cambridge, lives on a farm in southern Alberta. Julie is a graphic designer from Montreal and an entrepreneur with a degree from MIT Media Lab. Together they started AminoLabs and wrote this book on experimenting safely and ethically with genetic engineering.

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The World's Largest Makerspace in a Town of 10,000 or Less

FabLab ICC is located at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. It’s a small town of less than 10,000 people in southeast Kansas. Yet for a town of that size, FabLab ICC with 15,000 sq.ft. of space is large. Jim Correll is the Director of FabLab ICC and Tim Haynes is the Manager. In this episode she talks about how their FabLab serves not just students, but also the community at large. Two of their programs are the Food Fab Lab and a Guitar Fab Factory.

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Innovation as a Material Practice

Making stuff, engaging in some form of material practice, is essential for students who are to become innovators, says Dr. Ann-Louise Davidson. She is an Associate Professor of Education and Concordia University Research Chair in Maker Culture in Montréal, Canada. She is the Director of the Concordia University Innovation Lab. She is also Associate Director of the Milieux Institute for Arts, and Culture and Technology. Her work focuses on maker culture, social innovation, inclusion and innovating with advanced pedagogical approaches and digital technologies.

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Best Maker Schools - Kent State University

Kent State University, the Design Innovation Hub is a central resource on campus that provides makespace access and connects to the other makerspaces on campus. What is unique is its focus on fashion, design and art. In this episode, I talk to J.R. Campbell who is the Executive Director of the Design Innovation Initiative and Andrea Oleniczak who manages the hub. Campbell believes that a makerspace provides the on-ramps and off-ramps for a student to explore their interests outside of major. Oleniczak sees the opportunity to create an ecosystem that includes the larger community outside the school.

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Best Maker Schools University of Maryland College Park

Makerspaces are becoming a fixture on college campuses. In this episode. Rick Blanton manages Terrapin Works at the Clark School of Engineering. Dr. Bill Pugh is a retired professor of computer science who established the Singh Family Sandbox makerspace in a new computer science building, built with a donation from the founders of Oculus. Last year, a group of makerspace leaders on campus formed the Makerspace Initiative and began sharing knowledge and safety training protocols. They produced the 2021 Makerspace Impact report.

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Explaining Electronics with Charles Platt

Charles Platt, the bestselling author of Make: Electronics, talks about his background as a writer and how he wanted to explain electronics through hands-on demonstrations and full-color diagrams in his Make: Electronics book, which is coming out in a Third Edition. It’s a book he wished he’d had as a kid.

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The Making of A Scientist/Maker/Teacher

I met Dr. Steve M. Potter at Maker Faire Atlanta, which was hosted by Georgia Tech, where Dr. Potter was a professor of neuroengineering. His experience at Maker Faire led him to take a maker sabbatical and explore makerspaces around the world. He has written a book for educators, “How to Motivate Your Students to Love Learning“. The book emphasizes engaging students in real-world problems. In this conversation, we explore how Steve became a scientist, maker and teacher.

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Making A Customizable Tool Roll

A tool roll is a way to store all kinds of things that you might want to carry with you. Parker Thomas has created a customizable toll roll called the Tego Adventure Kit and it more kit than an end product. You can decide which kind of pouches or pockets suit you and what you want to carry with you. In this episode, Parker shares how this idea came to him, how he got it made and how he cultivated a community around it that added to his original idea and helped make the product better.

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A Better Way to Teach Geometry Using 3D Models

Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron, authors of Make: Geometry, explain how to use 3D models to teach geometry, which can help students visualize and grasp the basic shapes. Joan describes herself as a recovering rocket scientist who worked at JPL. Rich was an early RepRap 3D printer enthusiast. Together they have created a practical, hands-on approach to teaching geometry. Make: Books editor, Patrick DiJusto talks to Joan and Rich.

The 5% Solution For Right to Start

Victor Hwang organized the Right to Start movement that seeks to open doors for more people to become entrepreneurs and create an ecosystem in America that supports entrepreneurial activity. After many years of leading entrepreneurship efforts at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Victor started his own organization built around the belief that becoming an entrepreneur is a fundamental right that anyone can exercise. 

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Fixing Broken Machines From the Amazon Return Bin

Debra Daun’s superpower is fixing broken machines, such as 3D printers. She runs the MakerLab at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois. She has figured out that she can get used and abused machines that have been returned to Amazon. She bids for them at auction and then repairs them or adds the odd parts to her boneyard. She’s been able to add more machines that she uses to teach students 3D printing in the makerspace. 

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3D Modeling for Makers

Lydia Sloan Cline is the author of Fusion 360 for Makers, which is out in a new second edition. She teaches 3D design and fabrication at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, where she began as a drafting professor with a degree in Architecture. She talks about how 3D printing first came into the community college where she taught drafting and how it became an aid for students visualizing objects. 

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Emotion and Empathy Are Glue for Makers

In 2020, Dr. Andreea Gorbatai and two co-authors published a research paper in the journal Organization Science titled: “Making Space for Emotions: Empathy, Contagion, and Legitmacy’s Double-Edged Sword.” It’s about the maker movement and what holds it together. It turns out, it’s not skills and tools as much as it is emotions and empathy — they are the glue for community.

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Making and Thinking Big in Tulsa

In episode #22 of Make:cast, I learn about the new building for Fab Lab Tulsa from its Executive Director, Nathan Pritchett. The new building is under development and scheduled to open in 2022. The project had started well before COVID-19 but has stayed on track even during the pandemic. Overall, the future of Fab Lab Tulsa is bright. “I’m just really bullish on the future of fab labs and maker spaces,” said Nathan. Tulsa has a lot of talent in the community but the makerspace needed more resources to keep up.

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When An AI Nose Knows

Like many of us during Covid-19, Benjamin Cabé was baking sourdough bread at home in France. He wondered how he might tell if his dough was done proofing. He began working on an artificial nose that uses physical sensors to detect gas but also uses machine learning to identify the smell. His project is on the cover of Make Magazine, v 77. In this conversation, we talk about how his nose works, how it knows what it does and the limits of what it knows.

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The What, How and Why of CO2 Monitoring with Guido Burger

CO2 Tech Guru Guido Burger from Germany joins Dale Dougherty to explain his research into monitoring CO2 and show how to build his CO2 traffic light, which can warn if the level of CO2 is rising. We look at how CO2 sensors work as we go through the hardware and software that make up a CO2 device and graph the data it produces. These are devices that students can learn to build and create a full-featured Internet of Things application.

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You CAN Get Started 3D Printing

Make: books editor, Patrick DiJusto talks 3D Printing with the authors of Getting Started with 3D Printing, Liza Wallach Kloski and Nick Kloski. Liza and Nick run HoneyPoint3D, which started in 2012 as a small 3D printing shop in Northern California. Explaining 3D printing to many people was the motivation for them to write this book, whose first edition came out in 2016 and is just now updated in a second edition.

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Everything In Its Own Jar

Mark Zalme had an idea how to organize everything in clear jars that could be mounted on pegboard in his garage in Asheville, North Carolina. Over 3-4 years, he developed this idea into a product called WallWerx, a workspace organizing system. In this episode, we talk about Mark’s product but we also learn about the process he went through to prototype, manufacture, assemble and distribute that product. This process wasn’t easy, and a lot of what happened along the way was unexpected; a lot of trial and error. 

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Mister Rogers - a Maker and More

A new book out looks at the learning science that Fred Rogers used to develop an understanding of the “inner needs of children” and then construct Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to reflect those needs. The book is called “When You Wonder, You’re Learning” and its authors, Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski who are with the Grable Foundation in Pittsburgh. We talk about the ideas behind the work of Fred Rogers and why they are still relevant for today’s learners and young makers.

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Build It and See What Happens

As a result of a $50 million grant to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2017, the Maker Library & Innovative Learning Complex of the Future is under construction on campus. The new $17.5 million building will house a makerspace open to all students. The man behind the largest donation ever to RIT is Austin McChord, an entrepreneur from Connecticut who has a surprising success story. In this conversation with him, I learned that he wasn’t the best student in high school or college. He had his own ideas, which he worked on while not doing his homework. He started a company after graduating from RIT because he didn’t think anyone would hire him. 

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