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: We all have a variety of skills in our arsenals when making things, but of course, there are always new proficiencies we want to acquire. What is something you want to learn how to do that will help you in future projects?

I was able to dabble a bit in MIG welding while in college, but want so much to learn more. I have ideas for projects that could really only be implemented if I knew how to fuse metal together with the power of electricity.

Post your responses in the comments section.

Michael Colombo

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.

  • asciimation

    You could also learn how to fuse metal together with gas! Oxy acetylene is very versatile and I find it far more satisfying than MIG.

    I recently learned how to gas weld thin aluminium for a hand formed aluminium car body I am building. It’s not hard to do with some practice and something most people seem to consider a lost skill making it even more satisfying to master. Most people assume you use TIG for ali but in my case gas works better (and is the traditional method).

    I am then going to use my new aluminium welding skills to fabricate a housing for a London bus destination blind mechanism I built that will have an aluminium cover to resemble a Routemaster bus.


  • Kai

    I’m a welder and metal worker, I’ve dabbled in ceramics and currently leather working, but someday I want to become more capable in electronics and programming. I have a good idea about how electricity (and magnetic fields) works but not much understanding about making it work for me.

  • arieproduction

    Last year I did a one day course in welding, not the lack of idea’s, but the lack off time is the biggest problem, to start using and really learning this new skill. Would love to do more metal working: sheetmetal or on a lathe machine.

  • Donald

    I would love to learn to sketch and draw better. Getting ideas from my head on to paper, either for myself later, or to explain to other people, has always been a roadblock. Dave Gingery recognized this as an integral part of making.

    • Michael Colombo

      Yes! I’m good enough at drawing that I can get a simple idea across, know some perspective, etc, but that’s it. I love the story about how Richard Feynman taught himself how to draw during middle age. It’s never too late.

    • chuck

      I can’t recommend enough. They offer many kinds of customizable graph paper as free downloadable PDFs. I really like their dot grids that are like graph paper with dots marking the points of intersection rather than lines. They offer triangular , round and perspective grids as well. I’m no great illustrator, but the right graph paper helps a lot.