Project Build Stuff stars a man in his shop making stuff. That man is Brad Allred, a Maker and master tinkerer. Brad has spent time with Make48 as a Tool Tech (2x) in Indianapolis. Originally from sunny California, Brad moved the family to Indiana in 2017 after getting the opportunity to teach engineering at the high school level. This year, Brad made the leap to be a content creator full-time, his hands busy on YouTube and Instagram. At Fishers Maker Playground, Brad was on site helping the teams building their ideas. Brad talks about being in a Maker Community and his time at Make48.
M48: We loved having you at the competition last year. What was your favorite part?
Brad: I really love seeing the creativity of the teams. Having such a short amount of time and they come up with incredible projects. Last year, every project was interesting and they didn't only accomplish the challenge that was given to them, but also exceeded it in some ways. I could see some uses in the medical profession that would really help people. The fact that people, in the span of two days, were able to not only come up with those ideas, but also prototype and create a presentation is incredible. A lot of work and time went into it in such a short amount of time.
M48: When did you first start Project Build Stuff?
Brad: I started Project Build Stuff as a side hobby in the spring of 2018. It was my first year as a high school teacher and I was feeling the stress. I was looking for something fun to do on the weekends. And it's grown to be much bigger and a full-time business now.
I like to call myself a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. I do a little bit of everything from woodworking to metalworking, 3D printing, CNC, laser cutting, you name it.
M48: What's one tool you couldn't do without?
Brad: I'm going to say if I only had one tool, I'd probably go with the CNC. If you had no other tools in your home shop but a CNC you could probably do most stuff.
M48: What project has meant the most to you?
Brad: I really like combining different mediums because I do so many different things. I've done a woodworking lamp with Epoxy inlaid into it. It had a cool ombre effect to it that did really well.
I'm also really passionate about helping new DIYers. I've done a lot of ‘around the house’ projects, which are great for me because it makes my house nicer, but also I've been able to share content with others.
M48: What does it mean to you being a Maker in this community?
Brad: The Maker community is awesome. I started in this community watching other people's content and videos, living in a college apartment with no tools to my name.
Now I can buy my own tools, have a little more space, and have met people all across the country. And it's not that we all build things, but I’ve met really good people and now have lifelong friends from this community.
M48: And what Maker inspires you?
Brad: I would say the first Maker that ever got me in this space and has been the biggest inspiration from the start is Bob Clagett from I Like To Make Stuff. His videos are some of the first ones I watched, and what got me into this community. I don't know if I'd be where I am today if I hadn’t come across his videos. I’d spend nights sitting at work, watching his videos on repeat and learning everything. So I think I have to give a nod to Bob.
M48: What advice would you want to give someone who wants to start making?
Brad: I think when it comes to being a Maker in general, just coming up with a project that you're passionate about is a first step. It can be something you want for your house. Find the tools and learn the skills you need to make the project. For example, if you want a coffee table for the house, figure out what you need to make that coffee table.
Once that's done, you've learned some skills and can move on to the next project. Now you want a bookcase. Figure out what new tools you need to make that bookcase. And as you make more things and you require more tools, that skillset grows and grows and eventually you can make whatever you want. But you gotta start small and just slowly work that up. Don't try to bite it all at once.
M48: This is your second event with Make48. If you were on a team, what Makers would you like on your team?
Brad: I was thinking about the challenges. You need someone that's very creative so my first thought goes to Izzy Swan. There's no one in the Maker community that's more creative than Izzy. I also want someone who’d be good at presenting so I think Char from Wooden Maven. Then I’m going with my buddy Bart Comer. Energy, incredible Maker and woodworker, jack of all trades like me. That would be a good group and we'd go a long way.