Name: Daniel Zimmerman
Home: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Day Job: I’m an engineering manager who’s desperate to still feel like an real electrical engineer.
How did you get started making?
Oh gee, that was a while ago. I’d have to say, although I didn’t realize it at the time, that my dad provided some hidden encouragement. Like he gave me a used DVM when I was about 10. He was also a “fix-it” sort-of guy and I always held the flashlight when he worked. I was lucky enough to have intersected with other engineering minded “upper classmen” in grade school. They built a freakin’ robot in eighth grade! From then on, I always knew I would be an electrical engineer.
What type of maker would you classify yourself as?
Someone who’s curious, thrilled to learn new things, and shares back when something clicks.
My projects usually include a Raspberry Pi or Arduino, some C Language or python software, and some circuit design and systems thinking. Sometimes I aim at solving a real problem and other times I’m just trying to make something fun.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
Automating my charcoal grill with controlling dampers and small fans was great fun. Combining i2c based thermocouple temp measurement, servo control, PWM fan speed control, 16×2 display/buttons, and PID (that was using an Arduino) into a working system was very satisfying. Machining some parts and some mechanical integration capped off the fun. Real charcoal fires are hard to control :-0
What’s something you’d like to make next?
I have to get going on my aquarium automation project! I always forget that the water is running while topping off the water level, doh!
Any advice for people reading this?
Definitely! There are so many smart, experienced, and generous people on the web and in the community. There is also a lot of noise, so avoid the loud and vexatious of spirit. Find a few trusted, constructive sources and benefit from their generosity. And be sure to contribute your learnings back to the community. They’re worth more than you think.
Daniel will be showing off his basement tech projects at Maker Faire Milwaukee, which is happening September 23 & 24, 2017 at the Expo Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.
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