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Maker Spotlight: Brent Chapman

Name: Brent Chapman
Home: Mountain View, CA
Makerspace: My garage
Day Job: Army Officer


Woodworking : Electronics : Security

Captain Brent Chapman is a researcher for the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), where he looks at ways to protect against future warfare aspects. This often brings him into the maker world, designing projects like a Raspberry Pi-powered drone-disabler. In his spare time, he continues his making endeavors, often with more traditional techniques.

Make: How’d you get started making?
Brent: I’ve been making in one way or another as long as I can remember.  One of my greatest influences was the TV character MacGyver who convinced me that it was OK to disassemble all of my toys because it meant that I gained a better understanding of how it all worked.  I continued making and breaking things well into my adulthood and it’s still a huge part of my professional and personal life.

What type of maker would you classify yourself as?
I’m definitely a hybrid maker.  I enjoy woodworking, building circuits, scripting and coding, writing and photography.  I often combine skills for projects, like:

LED macro ring ligh

– Adjustable standing desks (overview; additional details

The Vault, a teaching tool

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
My child, a future maker himself:


As for projects, I love my joinery bench. It was a very challenging project because of the skills and materials I used, but it was totally worth it.

What’s something you’d like to make next?
I’d really like to get into metalworking. It looks like a lot of fun, plus its a chance to learn something new.

Any advice for people reading this?
The best part about being a maker is that there is always something to learn while you’re creating. There’s no such thing as a failed project either. I make a mistake on nearly every one of my projects and then I find a really clever way to use that mistake as a ‘feature’ or learn from it and make it better next time.

It’s also important that as makers we share as much as we can, both in terms of what we make (I love giving gifts) as well as how we did it.

Who else should we profile?
Scott Hanselman and Stephanie Santoso.

Follow Brent on social:

Inside Brent’s home workshop.
Brent's Adafruit Trinket-powered Knight Rider-style bike helmet lighting rig. How to here.
Brent’s Adafruit Trinket-powered Knight Rider-style bike helmet lighting rig. How to here.

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Mike Senese is the Executive Editor of Make: magazine. He is also a TV host, starring in various engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, doing amateur woodworking, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza.

View more articles by Mike Senese