From Sketch to Reality: Metalwork at the Generator

I get a unique makerly kind of satisfaction from imagining something, sketching it, and then bringing it into reality. And I think it is this palpable satisfaction that is behind the rapid spread of makerspaces worldwide. At the moment I am getting a lot of this makerly satisfaction from my metalwork projects at the Generator. I teach a TIG welding class on Wednesdays and other days I enjoy constructing furniture for the makerspace. The makerspace doesn’t yet have the ventilation and electrical requirements for welding, so I’ve donated use of my garage as a metal workshop in the meantime. I have two oxy-acetylene torches, a TIG welder, a chop saw, a table saw, a drill press, a bench grinder, and an angle grinder in addition to assorted clamps and files and implements of construction.

So far welding students Ben and Thaddeus have constructed a cart for the makerspace. They are currently working on a “tall bike” for our Grand Opening and for the Ithaca Festival parade. We may also have time to construct a plumbing-inspired “robot” for the Grand Opening. After we finish the class next week, the students can continue working on their own funky bike projects on Wednesday afternoons. We welcome guests any Wednesday 2pm to 4pm. And I encourage anyone who wants to use the makerspace’s “welding annex” to sign up for the next welding class and thereby become certified to use the tools.

So far I’ve constructed four workbenches for the makerspace: imagine, sketch, weld; imagine, sketch, weld. Very satisfying. And next on the metalworking agenda: bicycle framebuilding. I’ve recently purchased a massive framebuilding jig from local bike guru Glen Swann. The jig holds the tubes that make up a bike frame so that they can be precisely welded or brazed. The framebuilding class begins next month.

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