Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub technician Adam Kittrell will be Make48’s lead Tool Tech in North Little Rock. Adam runs the metal and wood shop at the North Little Rock makerspace and will help the teams and techs get around. In anticipation of the upcoming challenge, Adam flew out to Indianapolis to see first-hand what they’re getting into. After speaking to Tom Gray, Adam signed up and spent the weekend as a tool tech at Fishers Maker Playground. Adam fell in with the crew like an old friend. Here are a few things to know about the Maker and what he and the AR Hub are excited about for the 48-hour competition.
M48: How did you end up at Fishers Maker Playground as a Tool Tech?
Adam: Since Make48 is coming to our makerspace in a couple of weeks, I wanted to come in and see the whole process from start to finish. It’s nice to see it beforehand and see what we can do to make it run smoothly.
M48: What is the AR Innovation Hub excited about for this upcoming event?
Adam: Different people are very excited about different aspects of it. I'm very excited about watching the process and helping in making all of the prototypes. I enjoy making things in general, but specifically, I like to make things that are not your average project. Having somebody else get to watch an invention that they've created come to life is awesome.
M48: How did you get into making and how did you get involved with the Innovation Hub?
Adam: Throughout my life, I’ve been a maker. Even as a child (we grew up on a dairy farm) it was always fix it, don't buy. I learned how to build using all the basic tools at a very young age. Then in college, I had a scholarship in theater, and in the department I would build sets with them. After that, I just continued making different things and learning how to use different tools.
I was a member at the Innovation Hub a year before I started working for them. I was in their wood and metal shop doing something almost every day. When the position opened they asked if I was interested because I was there all the time and knew everybody who worked there well. I jumped on it. I already knew how to do most of it, but being in that role has expanded what I can make. A lot more education has come with the role.
M48: What advice would you give someone who wanted to get into making or get into woodworking?
Adam: Don't be intimidated and just start. That’s the hardest step. But come up with a project. The first project is really tricky because you don't want it to be so big that it's overwhelming and you get in it and in the weeds. Go with a simple project.
The second build is easier and you can just continually grow from it. Just get in there. Learn how to use the tools. Don't be intimidated. Your first one might not look great, but you've done it. The second one is always going to look better than your first. Just go in, have fun and try.
M48: What's one tool that you couldn't do without?
Adam: Table saw will probably be the big one.You can do almost everything with it. It’s like the heart of every wood shop.
M48: What do you think sets the AR Innovation Hub apart from other makerspaces?
Adam: In Arkansas, we've been around the longest and I believe we’re the biggest one around. We also have a wide variety of tools to use other than wood and metal. We have a full ceramic studio, a full screen printing studio, software, general art (watercolors paints, charcoal, sketching, etc). We have staff and general members that are always willing to talk to anyone who comes in. It's the atmosphere more than anything else, the atmosphere of everyone's there to help each other.
Even if they don't work there, everyone is still willing to help. And we really encourage that atmosphere. It's a big thing and I’m really impressed by that in the shop. I want people to be able to ask for help because everyone needs a little bit every now and then. I think that just having the people there that are willing to lend a helping hand lends more than any of the tools out there.
M48: Final question. You’ve seen how this process works. If you were on a Make48 team, who would you want to be on a team?
Adam: It's hard to say but it’d be people I know. Depending on the skill sets and the challenge. I've known Joel Gordon (MatterHackers) for several years. He would definitely be there because he's good at coming up with ideas and being able to push them through to completion. There are several people I know that are local to me that I know would definitely have to be there. But there are several people I've met here so far (in Fishers) that seem like they would be just golden members to have on your team. That’s the great thing about this competition. Getting to know each other and all the interesting things. It’s been great and fun.