I am a Maker

Some people ask me why I make and repair things?

“Why not just buy a battery charger”, they ask when I decide to build one from some spare parts I had down the shed. “Who invests their time and money in building a toy?”, “Why spend hours coding an Arduino when you could be relaxing?”

My answer to them is:

“This is what I do! This is me! This is my relaxing!”

I’ve always been a maker

At a young age I was given some Lego, and before long I was attempting to build the tallest tower that I could with my bricks. It was not a pretty tower, no thought had gone into selecting colours and shapes for their visual appeal, this was about getting the tower as tall as possible. The tower build was not to get famous and get into a record book, this was just to see of I could.

Later, I asked for an electronics set for my Birthday. Bendy springs allowed you to wire the components up in different ways to create things such as radio. It took quite some time wiring up the detector circuit and two stage amplifier for that simple AM radio and at the end I barely listen to it. I was not interested in listening to the radio, the process of construction was much more fun. So it was all ripped apart so I could make something else.

Whilst I was at Imperial College, I bought an old Raleigh single gear bike from Brick Lane market. The route from my house share to college was relatively flat so I did not mind the single gearing. It was cheap, simple and much less likely to get stolen. After college I decided to strip it down and rebuild it for my Dad. This was a messy, time consuming process and likely cost me more than buying a new one. But at the end I had a working bike that could just manage the Cumbrian hills. My Dad never got used to the quirky 6 speed hub gears I’d put on but he did use it for a few trips into the local town to collect provisions.


Since I’ve moved into my current house I’ve gained a shed. That’s allowed me to expand the range of things I can make and I’ve tried out casting, leather work, machining and welding. My woodworking skills have also improved and I’ve tackled bigger and more complex projects.
My few projects have ventured into the embedded electronics realm with micro-controllers powering stepper motors and servos.


These project have in turn has lead to new opportunities and projects. I’ve had a lot of support from the community over at Element14, Roadtesting, completing design challenges and the fun mini projects in the form of Project14. Also, HackSpace magazine has been a great support. They’ve sponsored my projects and got me thinking about how to document a project as a tutorial.

I’m really excited about my latest project which is the “Element14 Enchanted Objects Design Challenge”. I’m taking a weather house and replacing the simple catgut mechanism with a new servo driven one. The system moves the people in and out of the house based on weather reports from the internet, a local sensor provides a backup. I’m writing the whole thing up with a storybook back-story about Hans and Matilda the amateur meteorologists in the form of blog posts on the Element14 electronics community. There’s a lot to learn and I’m sure there will be some stress and challenges along the way but I’m loving every moment.