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Make: Asks is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: What is an example of a project you have worked on where you’ve had to learn a new skill or done something outside your comfort zone?

I once made a dance pad game that involved a whole mess of wires coming to a single switch. I carefully learned the fine art of cable management.

Post your responses in the comments section.

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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Comments

  1. barleyhollow says:

    I’m currently welding a handrail for my carport. Had to learn welding to do this project. So far, so good. The hardest part has been coordinating time in a welding shop. ;-)

  2. For me, learning how to solder and de-solder was very hard, since I have a programming only background… At this point I was amazed that I was able to get this LED light http://www.adafruit.com/products/880 to work, as it was really detailed soldering…!

  3. Ken Norris says:

    If you don’t learn something from every project you tackle, you should be teaching it to someone else. :-)

  4. jamesbx says:

    With the occasional exception, I won’t build a furniture project without adding a new technique. My on-going project has hand carved (CNC roughed) corbels and fluted millwork. Same goes for lampworking marbles: my last batch was electroformed with copper and bronze. But I like to pay for all these hobbies, with hobby revenue. So for my blacksmith work that I sell on etsy, I mostly just strive for faster and better, with only the occasional new design based on what sells.

  5. chuck says:

    Last year I designed and built a 14′ sailboat. There was a lot more engineeringand math involved than in my usual projects and every step had to be planned with following steps in mind. I also had to learn to use fiberglass and resin and the sail and rigging design was challenging. I was convinced it wouldn’t float properly. When I finally tested the hull in the rivier it was a relief. When the sails were done we took her to Fort Desoto and spent a weekend camping and sailing and I grinned the entire time. There is nothing more satisfying than challenging yourself and succeeding. Now I’m designing an 8×12′ pontoon shanty boat for weekend cruises and to work out the design kinks for a larger live aboard house boat on down the road.

  6. I am just starting to use a oxy/acetylene torch and I am still a little afraid of exploding myself. I haven’t had any problems yet, so I know it’s just practice, practice, practice. I love to challenge myself though, so this is perfect.

  7. Thomas Pell says:

    Machining my cars’ combustion chambers out to a new bore diameter gave me a bit of pucker, never having used the chinese mill in that fashion, and having no spare heads to replace them if things went wrong.

    Or perhaps it was replacing the legs on a 50′ fire lookout tower, once you start the chainsaw there’s no going back!

  8. Alan Dove says:

    Replacing the hard drive on my clamshell iBook – which was my primary work computer at the time – was pretty tense. I had backups of the data, but peeling and prying stuff that was clearly glued to stay, on a machine I couldn’t really afford to replace, definitely got my pulse pounding. When it was all back together and I heard the Mac “bong” startup sound and saw the happy Mac face, my reaction was “holy crap, that actually worked!”

  9. Greg Ketell says:

    Recently a friend asked me to help her build a Reverse-Geocache-Box. It was all about firsts for us: our first wooden box, first arduino project, first coding of any sort in 20 years, first time reading GPS data, first time using SD card readers, etc. A great challenge!

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