Name: Sam Millar
Location: Norman, Oklahoma/ Whittier middle school.
Day job: student/young maker
How did you start making? I joined the maker movement last year in the sixth grade. It all started when I picked up a copy of Make magazine in the school library. After looking through it i realized that there was a way for me to follow my dreams of being an engineer and making things. What amazed me was how much I could do at this age. After reading that magazine I made it my mission to learn everything i needed to know to become a maker. I asked for electronics parts and tools for christmas and I watched videos and read articles about how to solder and code. By the end of the year i had made my own small workshop in my garage and had taught myself how to solder, code, wire, design things in CAD, and so much more. I started designing and building original projects and the more i built the more I learned.
My love for making really took off when i found out about the makerspace at my school. I spent hours working on projects there and it was a place where i had freedom and means to really make some larger scale things. In one year after becoming a maker i had designed and built my own fm radio, an rc car, a digital watch, an ultrasonic levitator, and many other small projects.
I learned everything i know with no help from adults or teachers and I built every project without any instructions. Everytime i would pick up a copy of Make magazine my imagination would run wild with ideas that were more possible than I ever realized.
What type of maker would you classify yourself as? I am a dreamer and a builder. I am someone who will think of a super ambitious project, put a lot of planning into it, and then actually go through with building it and making it work. Many times I have plans for large projects that are very difficult, for instance, the levitator. I had been planning it and gathering parts for it since the beginning of the year. All of my friends and relatives had known about it but most of them had their doubts that it would be a success. And after a few months of having it on the backburner while I worked on smaller projects, I came to school with a large box. inside it was a working, custom built, fully functional acoustic levitation machine. I do not give up easily, once I start working on a project I will do everything in my power to make it work, no matter the difficulty and that mindset has worked very well for me. Most of my projects are electronic based, but I also do digi-fab and woodworking projects. Mostly I do low budget projects and try and keep them made from as many reused parts as possible.
What is your favorite thing you have made? My favorite creation is probably either the levitation machine or the rc car. The levitator was great because it took a lot of time and work, and it was nice to see it all pay off. The remote control car was my second favorite because even thought it was made from all reused parts and it only took about a week, but it was a lot of fun. I really like anything remote control, they are simple but captivate me by how fast they can be. I really enjoy soldering projects because they are usually low cost and very interesting.
What is something you would like to make next? I am always planning projects and always designing things, but my main project i am planning right now is building a fixed resistor tesla coil, i am working on it with my friend who also enjoys making things. I am going to explore some ideas in 3D printing and more advanced electronics projects.
What is your advice for people reading this? My advice is for any young maker across the globe: you are never too young to become a maker. No matter what people say, no matter how impossible you think it is, no matter how many times you are told you will never make anything that matters, you can and you will. You can change the world, it is people like you that put people on the moon, it is people like you who explore the oceans depths, and build planes that can fly faster than sound. you are the future and you will change the world, all you have to do is imagine. You don’t need to be an adult, anyone can be a maker. If you can dream it you can build it.