The Maker Mom blog began as ArduinoMom.com (wait. What? I’m still paying for that url?), my intent was to learn to use the Arduino micro-controller and make and document cool electronics projects. I quickly realized it was a bit too niche, too obscure. So I stepped back, broadened my mission and launched The Maker Mom to share information and resources to help parents raise awesome, STEM-loving, Maker-friendly kids while also documenting my own technology projects and learning. Yeah, that last part never quite materialized. Happily, that was because this site took off in unexpected ways. I was busy keeping it running, coordinating STEMchats, and taking on other assignments that came to me as a result of my work here. It was a good trade-off, but still.
During the past year, I spent a good bit of my time working as a member of the launch team of mHUB, Chicago’s new innovation space for physical product development and manufacturing. I ran social media and assisted with communications projects, like press releases and website development. Alas, all good things come to an end. I knew from the beginning that my gig would end once the organization began staffing up. The gig is over.
Being part of the mHUB team is special. People don’t leave. They transition and find new ways to stay involved. For me that means taking on a residency there. As The Maker Mom-in-Residence, I will finally get to do what I set out to do years ago. Only, instead of working in my dank basement or on my dining room table, I have access to an amazing
playground high-tech prototyping space filled with $2 million of equipment (that I hope I won’t break).
I’m going to
play learn, make, and share insights from the process.
I’m also excited to highlight some of the cool stuff and interesting people at mHUB, as well as highlight makers and women in STEM from around Chicago, likely through Facebook Live interviews that I will host on Thursdays. In fact, just one week into my residency, I already have a lot to share. I’ll catch up here eventually. If you want real-time updates and color commentary, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
In addition to the interviews mentioned above, I hope to accomplish the following during my time as Maker Mom-in-Residence:
Become proficient in design software like AutoCAD, TinkerCAD or SketchUp. (TinkerCAD is the most likely because it’s free and easy to use because it was designed for kids. But mHUB members have access to a full suite of Autodesk software, including AutoCAD, so that’s a possibility.
Complete at least one project using the laser cutter.
Complete at least one project using the MakerBot or Dremel 3D printer. mHUB has several other, higher-end 3D printers, but those are like eye candy to me at this point.
Improve my candy mold. (You’ll understand this when I post more about it.)
Make a more complex Carvey project, like a box or cheese board, or the missing board holder that is missing from our Rummikub set.
Get better and more comfortable using Arduino or similar micro-controller.
Make at least one project in the plastics lab.
If we’ve learned anything from season three from the Netflix series, Grace and Frankie, it’s that it’s not easy being an older woman in a high-tech innovation space filled with young people (see episode two). I feel my age, my lack of skills, and, you know what? Most industrial equipment is not designed for people like me who are five feet small. But I like to learn, mHUB has a patient shop manager and helpful community, and there’s more available space in my brain than I realized (though, admittedly, it’s quite cluttered with passwords and the infuriating, but “sticky” content of Trump’s latest tweets), so great things, or at least new things are ahead!