Maker Spotlight: Karl Stamm

Maker News
Maker Spotlight: Karl Stamm


Karl Stamm

Where are you located? 

Milwaukee, WI

What is your day job? 

Data Scientist at Medical College of Wisconsin

What kinds of stuff do you make? 

Musical Synthesizers, noise box and eurorack PCB. Also software, but custom business stuff is no fun.

How did you get started making stuff? 

I started playing with circuits to keep the programmer’s brain busy without spending any more time hunched over a computer. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, I found myself with more free time than spending money, and started seeing what can be built from scratch with open source schematics or Youtube instructionals. There’s a Youtube personality LookMumNoComputer who builds crazy electronics and ends every video with the quote ‘Don’t be scared to try it!’

What is something that you’ve made that you’re really proud of? 

Synthesizer frames and cases are quite expensive, so building one from scratch is a good feeling. I’ve made a few synthesizer parts available to the DIY community and have a handful of sales internationally. I don’t expect hand-made synthesizer parts ever to pay the rent, but it’s nice to have really made something that lasts.

What is next on your project list? 

I’m working on a noise-box and a revision of a printed circuit board for the seventh module in my eurorack brand

What is something you’d like to work with but you haven’t yet? 

I’d like to use more vacuum tubes, they behave so oddly in analog domains it’s something that computers struggle to reproduce. But they’re usually high voltage and hot… not something you play with lightly. Modern synths don’t have enough voltage, so that’s a hurdle to overcome.

Any advice for people reading this? 

Stay in school, find what you love to do. Really anything’s possible with the information superhighway at your fingertips. You can’t really do your hobby as a career because there’s a large risk you’ll get burned out, turning your fun time into work. What you can do is find complementary activities like “plumbing vs sculpture”, or “graphic design vs painting”. Physical things aren’t being outsourced or cloned.

Are you going to show off at a Maker Faire in the near future?

Maker Faire Milwaukee, September 25th and 26th, 2021

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Jennifer Blakeslee keeps the Global Maker Faire program running smoothly and has been a maker at Maker Faire since 2011. Among other things, she really likes to travel, write, cook, hike, make big art, and swim in the ocean.

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