Last year, Andrew Klein attended a Make48 event in Hartford, Connecticut. He repeated his tool tech role this year in Wichita, Kan., at the national competition. Andy was excited to see what the teams were going to come up with this season. “I have high expectations for the level of creativity and how well thought out the prototypes that we're going to be building are. I think that toys focused around STEAM education is a very interesting concept. The toy aspect allows it to be a bit more fun, but still kind of sciencey, which is really nice. It's a great topic, and I can't wait to see what they're going to have us build.”
Andy came into the challenge ready to build anything the teams asked of him. A maker, entrepreneur and inventor, Andy was a tinkerer at a young age and has always had a curious mind. “Woodworking is really what pulled me in originally. I would also say house DIY projects were the real start.” Andy began remodeling rooms and began to see what was required to build nice pieces of furniture, with a high level of precision.
“I consumed a lot of YouTube videos and magazine content and got myself to the point where I felt like I could do interesting woodworking projects. And through the course of that, I turned into kind of a tool geek. I conceptualized some tools that got attention and I started to go down the path of tool development, and that continued and evolved into where I am now. So as a maker, I can do woodworking as a core competency, but I'm also fairly well versed in 3D printing, metalworking and welding.”
Prior to becoming a maker Andy graduated with an Engineering (Chemical) degree and worked as a chemical engineer in the agricultural industry for 20 years. Two years ago, he left his job and began a new career with Magswitch Technology. Andy is the Vice President of the Colorado-based company that specializes in switchable magnetic technology. “Magswitch has the core technology where there is a permanent magnet that can turn on and off. There is a lot you can do with that.”
Since working with Magswitch full-time, Andy has been discovering new ways to use the magnets in a variety of industries, including woodworking. “There's a whole lot of opportunity for the magnets in the woodworking field. I'm working on and coming up with new ideas to use the core technology to make workflow in the woodworking shop more efficient and safer.”
Magswitch Technology have patents pending to increase safety, productivity and speed in multiple industries including automotive, welding, manufacturing and more. “You can add the magnets to the end of a robotic arm for an assembly factory so Ford can make cars more efficiently. Or you can pick up big pieces of sheet metal. You can set things up for precise welds. And you can also anchor featherboards to table saws for woodworking.” They have a number of interesting product solutions coming up. “Let's see, what can I tease? So I can say the real benefit of a Magswitch featherboard is that it's fast to set up. The downside is that since it's magnetic, it does not work with an aluminum top saw. And there are a lot of aluminum top saws out there.”
“We have something coming out that is going to be nearly as fast as the magnets, but will work with aluminum. If the price point was a bit of a challenge or if the compatibility with a cast iron tabletop was a problem for you because you have a job site with an aluminum saw, we've got something for you. And it'll be safer and more accessible. I'm really excited about that.” See more of Magswitch Brand Technology products and applications at https://magswitch.com