Class was in session for the first time at Decatur Makers this Summer! It all started with an email to our maker community asking who’d be interested in learning about the Basics of Electricity… The response was huge. Then other members with mad skills stepped up to teach on a wide range of maker-y topics including Basics of Electricity, Laser Engraving, Woodworking 101, and Apartment Homebrewing; Sharing, one of our core values, at its best.
The kickoff class was taught by Bill Sandidge, an electrical engineer and one of our Founding Members. As he worked with others on a couple of projects this past Spring that required wiring, power and LED lights, he got the sense there were folks who wanted to learn about what he knows so well. And that was clear as dozens of people attended his class. In the almost two hour session, Bill touched on a lot from volts, amps and flow to Edison, Tesla, and Frankenstein. He also had a Jacob’s Ladder demo, answered questions on batteries and shared stories like the origin of the word “electricity”. And what better way to end the night than with door prizes!
After Bill’s class, Trevor Taylor offered to teach one on Laser Engraving. He had set up and played around with the laser engraver in our space, practicing on an anniversary gift idea (that was a big success!) among other projects, and became the resident expert. All the while, he had lots of people asking him questions! His class covered creating files to print, materials that could be engraved, different parts of the machine, safely running it, and ended with an engraved demonstration on a piece of wood.
Wood is of great interest to many of our makers, so Chris Goode, another Founding Member, held a hands-on Woodworking 101 class. After finishing a beautiful floor speaker he’d built from scratch (Chris is an amazing musician), he offered to show us how to use the table saw and the jig saw to create a strong box. Safety first, so the group watched a you-tube on how to keep fingers, eyes, and bodies from danger before donning goggles and getting started. Makers of all ages took turns measuring and cutting wood with the table saw, and then cutting notches into the ends with the jig saw to build a square box. The group left confident they could crank up these machines on their own without doing much damage.
From solid to liquid, the next class offered was an Intro to Apartment Homebrewing. The first in a possible series to include more advanced topics, this toe-dip into brewing one-gallon batches covered the basics including the four ingredients of beer, how each one affects the final outcome, methods and the process of homebrewing. Taught by Hank Dee, a student at Georgia State University and one of our Maker Scholars, it was clear this young man was knowledgeable and passionate about every aspect of brewing at home. Admitting his experiences included many mishaps (something embraced by the maker culture, btw), he also had many unplanned successes. His years of brewing taught him many things, which we hope he’ll share in a follow-up class where folks get hands-on to brew their own beer.
Thanks to all these teachers and mentors for being the first of many to share their maker passions. Stay tuned HERE to see upcoming events including future learning opportunities that might just get you excited enough to go back to “school”.