Scott Oram, aka Dad It Yourself DIY, traveled to his first Make48 event in Milwaukee from Whidbey Island, Washington to lend his skills as a Tool Tech. A retired Navy veteran, Scott traveled the world in his 21-year career and served in the Naval Aviation community as a chief aviation structural mechanic (safety equipment) technician. His first steps into making were model boat building and that has led him to build a 1/144 scale aircraft carrier. “It’s still a work in progress after 17 years, but it is functional and was built completely from scratch, using wood, foam, plastic, fiberglass, etc. What this project did was get me in the habit of building, making, and trying new things, and of course I had to buy tools, LOTS of tools. An addiction that I still have.”
Fast forward to 2019, and Scott was serving his final deployment with the United States Navy. Using the down time, Scott returned home in April of 2019 and started his YouTube channel where he dives into home improvement, woodworking, landscaping, shop projects, tool reviews, etc. In 2020, Scott attended his first WORKBENCHCon and was hooked. He’s continued to grow his Maker brand where his true love is being in his shop. Military shadow boxes are his passion and specialty.
After retirement, Scott went back into the construction field as a local handyman. Currently Scott is self-employed, where he makes his own schedule and feeds his YouTube habit. Scott spoke to me at the event about his first Make48 competition and what inspires him about the maker community.
Why did you sign-up to be a Tool Tech at Make48?
I've seen some of my fellow makers get involved at Make48 and it looked like a fun and great way to get involved in our community. In the maker community, we're really close and we’re all about collaboration. I saw it as an opportunity to participate with my friends and colleagues. And having been in the military, I'm very service-oriented, so volunteering has always been a huge part of my life.
What inspires you (as a maker) in the making community?
I like the before and after. I like the nothing to something, aka the reveal. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of that and it could be anything. Whether it’s building a cutting board or doing a construction project….it’s the same process. There’s a creative process with a result at the end.
I think each project I've done, whether it's as a maker or as a contractor, each has an individual reward. What I like about when I build things for people is how it makes their life better. On the woodworking/hobby side, I do a lot of shadow boxes and trophy cases for retirees. Seeing their reaction after you’ve summarized 20 or 30 years of their career is interesting.
Each of your shadow boxes are custom-made?
They're absolutely unique. No two are alike. They're all customized to the individual. and I am immensely proud of them.
What's one tool you couldn't do without?
Impact driver and a drill. If there's a tool I use every single day it’s a drill and driver set.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start as a maker?
I bought a tool as I needed it. I think a lot of people think you have to have all these tools to become a maker. I had a hand saw and a hammer. Then I needed a drill, and then I needed a saw. Get what you need for the job. It's an excuse to buy the tool you want, too. And then it becomes an addiction.
If you were competing on Make48, who would you want on your team?
I would want someone with a computer background and someone who is a graphic design artist. Someone who would complement the skills I have (woodworking, electric) so that we can work together doing and work with the other two on the marketing/sales side and feed off of each other.
Who are some of the makers that inspired you?
I really enjoy the folks on
I've been a huge fan of that show for 40 years. I’m a big fan of Brad Rodriguez, Jimmy DiResta and Bob Claggett. What I like about Bob is his willingness to try stuff he doesn't know. Everything he does is to learn a new skill set.
What was your first impression of MIAD and the space?
All the creativity. Everybody here has a creative side, and there’s so much mixed media. Whether it's the woodworkers, metal workers, or the textile lab, everyone has passion for what they do.
What do you think you’re in for in these next 48 hours?
A lot of work. I've talked to five of the teams and there’s a lot of excitement. I think we've done a really good job of educating them about the resources that are available. The skies the limit. They just have to open their minds up and just go for it.
Today they have nothing started, but in 3 days, on Sunday afternoon, they're going to have this thing that they thought of and made. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens and watching them go through this process.
What has been being a maker in this community?
That's interesting because I spent 21 years in the Navy. You're part of something bigger when you're in the military.
When I got out of the Navy, I struggled a little bit with that because I didn't feel like I had a sense of purpose.
When I became involved in the maker community I took proactive steps to become a part of the community like joining virtual meetings and going to conventions. I found my tribe within the maker community.
In the Navy, it was very competitive, and in most corporate America, it's very competitive. As a maker, I don't feel that competitive with makers. Everybody is helping everybody get better.
Would you do this again?