Photograph by Max Maruszewski
Learning to use an oxyacetylene torch was just the spark Max Maruszewski needed to set his interest in building things afire. Now, when he’s not working on a school play or racing around a parking lot in the “wheelchair” he and a buddy made out of a shopping cart, this 16-year-old’s almost certainly “coming up with crazy stuff to build.”
Boredom can play a large part in a teenager’s life, but for Maruszewski, it’s often his muse. Take, for instance, his Lego PlayStation conversion. “The PlayStation box came from pure boredom, late at night when my friend Doug West came over,” he remembers. “Mainly I just get bored and decide to go make something weird.”
Maruszewski’s interest in making things started when he was a youngster, hanging out in his father’s bicycle shop in San Francisco. From there, he was lucky enough to find a venue for learning often-neglected maker skills. “It really started to pick up when I started a machine shop class at Petaluma High School,” he says. “I learned how to use an oxy torch and how to use lathes and such. These skills motivated me to acquire some more ‘hardcore’ tools.”
He’s now working on a remote-control ” shopping bot” that he and a pal hope to send down to the local 7-11 for chips and salsa. “It will hand the cashier a credit card and get the receipt and bring it back. It’s going to be quite a challenge,” he predicts.
Maruszewski continues to take machine shop classes, and after school he’s earning his second-level credential with the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). The NIMS credentials will allow him to apply for a degree in CNC machining later on, something he’s very keen on doing.
For now, he’s content to continue his schooling and have a little teenage fun. “Doug and I like to go to the local [grocery store] and get a train of carts attached to the back of the wheelchair. We zoom around the store grabbing coupons, then leave really fast.”
Ah, the vagaries of the youthful mind. Maybe next he’ll build coupon-dispensing robots.
>> Maruszewski’s Projects: makezine.com/go/maxm