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A warm welcome to Ben, Make: Labs’ newest recruit!  Although still a senior in high school, Ben has plenty of experience in making, and has lost no time in acquainting himself with the plethora of tools in our Lab. A favorite of his is the laser cutter, which he used to make his Big Button (shown below).  He is also enrolled in the new Project: Make class, and made his favorite project to date, the circuit bending keytar, as an assignment.  According to Ben, the class is “a great opportunity to learn more about the maker’s spirit.”  He has certainly brought that spirit to the Labs with him!


"What could be cooler than a laser that cuts anything I put in its path?" Not much!

“I saw Stevie Wonder live,” reminisces Ben, “and his keytar solos caught my attention. When I saw the prices online, however, I was a little shocked. Then I realized: I could make one for myself!”

[Photos by Gregory Hayes]


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Comments

  1. Joe Pitz says:

    Way to go, Ben, What a great opportunity for a high school student, to get a change to be an intern with Make. Can’t wait to hear about some of his adventures in print.

    Thanks

    Joe

  2. Joey says:

    Ben – you are so lucky! have fun!

  3. bob says:

    Congrats Ben. Enjoy every minute of it.

  4. Hank says:

    Just to be a curmudgeon about it someone unplug Ben’s fancy-shmancy lazzor and hand him a whole sheet of acrylic, layout tools and a coping saw. Nowadays just anybody can use a computer. Let’s see if he can really make…

  5. Urb Anwriter says:

    Ben: go for it. Learn everything you can, let curiosity lead you where it may, enjoy the trip.

    Hank, hopefully someone will hand you a rock, and suggest that you make iron ore, smelt it, turn it in to ingots, build a Bessemer, roll the product of the Bessemer. Then reprocess that product – quite likely by re-smelting, and adding appropriate alloying elements (watch that struggle around carbon content, oops, I forgot, you’ll need a metallurgical lab for that, so build that first) and then make a coping saw. Oh, and as a bonus assignment Hank, do a complete work-up of the petrochemical industry and whip out some acrylic. I mean, really, show us how much of a maker you are.

    1. Hank says:

      Urb, thank you for your utterly useless sarcasm. I have seen an awful lot of young makers Ben’s age, or younger, who head right for the CNC or laser and never learn that there are other ways of making things. Ask them if they know the proper method for chiseling out a flat-bottomed pocket in a piece of wood. Ask them if they know how to layout and bend a pan out of sheet metal. Ask them if they now how to design and build a pantograph engraver for their Dremel. Ask them to show you how to properly use a coping saw. Of course CNC and lasers have their place in a well equipped shop but to bypass a solid education in the manual forms of making is, in my opinion, doing young makers a great disservice.

      1. Urb Anwriter says:

        Hank,
        I’ll assume some responsibility for sarcasm but just how much ‘manual’ education would you have these younger ‘makers’ get? I served my time, as a machinist-fitter, and I can run virtually every machine tool in the shop – bar CNC. I can use a coping (read jeweller’s) saw without breaking 00 blades. I can pocket a tenon just fine, and I can lay out, and make a pantograph. On a good day I can even spell pantograph. But do you want to know what I can’t do? I can’t make ‘real’ SMD stencils by hand. I can’t laser-engrave letters that are under 0.01 mm in height. I certainly can’t make any number of physical artifacts that are ‘only’ practical if done on CNC, if they can in fact be done manually at all.

        In a broader sense, and I’m absolutely on-side with ‘trades’ training, but what would we teach them? How to use a hacksaw? Trust me, people I work with foul it up every time they use one. But then they do interesting things with DNA… and I’m sure I’ve messed up my own DNA already…

        If you’d like to continue the discussion privately, and in all due seriousness, a little imagination will find me a t gmail. And at home? At home I love using files, on steel, on silver, on brass. And, yes, they’re all separate sets of files.

        Urb

  6. Logan says:

    Great Job Ben!!! and @hank Thats a really nice thing to say…not

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