The countdown to Maker Faire Detroit is on! We’re really excited to be bringing the Faire to the home of American making, and we hope you’ll join us at The Henry Ford on July 31 and August 1. We recently caught up with Matthew Switlik of Detroit hackerspace i3 Detroit to chat about what he’s bringing to the Faire and what drives him to make.
1. Tell us about the project(s) you’re bringing to Maker Faire. I’m building a few musical instruments and a few arcade games. I’ll have a foam dart shooting range with targets that pop up and down when hit [pictured below] and a full-sized skeeball machine [pictured above], both powered by Arduino compatibles.
2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate? I heard about the Faire through MAKE magazine. I really enjoy getting feedback from people and seeing them enjoy the things I make.
3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations? My father collects historical artillery so I grew up around a lot of machinery. I saw him milling out parts in his basement shop and have always considered “do it yourself” to be the norm. I get a rush from fixing things and it’s a bit addicting.
4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job? My day job is as a PHP developer so currently it’s a hobby with a little overlap. Although I have increasing interest in renting out things I make for parties, events, and the like, I just haven’t taken the time to hash out the business aspects.
Arduino skeeball in action, with the camera angle taken from the ramp as the skeeballs are thrown.
5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently? Easy home desktop manufacturing. When everyone can print off replacement parts for their broken devices, the world will be a better place.
6. What is your motto? Work smarter, not harder. Use “off the shelf” parts as much as possible.
7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started? Start saving money. Life is better when you can be your own capital investor by age 30.
8. What do you love most about Detroit? Detroit is getting better and I have the opportunity to help that continue.
Thanks, Matthew! Can’t wait to check out the projects in person and meet the i3 Detroit crew. There’s still a week left to get advanced pricing on tickets, so be sure to get them before July 15th and join us!