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The Secret Sauce Of Make48 Competitions

This secret has been unfolding for a while. Tool technicians make the magic happen at our competitions. Collaborating and building ideas together is at the center of Make48’s competitions and last year a record number of ‘Tool Techs’ joined the mission to give everyday people the opportunity to bring their ideas to life over the course of seven competitions. All together 49 prototypes were built in 2022, each planned and created at the host makerspace.

At Make48, we believe that everybody has big ideas but few have the skills needed to bring those ideas to life. That’s where our ‘Tool Techs’ step in. Since 2015, Make48 has brought in skilled technicians, from artists and CAD experts to master woodworkers and welders, from all parts of the country. A few have been volunteering since day one, while others have discovered the Make48 community by word of mouth or through company involvement. From local makers to YouTube creators, the techs work tirelessly building the prototypes and trophies, working late into the night to make sure everyone is ready to pitch to the judges!

Forty-eight hours isn’t a long time to plan, build and pitch an idea, especially if you’re not a maker or a brilliant 3D cad designer with years of experience. By pulling together these experts, a makerspace and a variety of mentors, the teams are given the keys to successfully making it happen in that short time frame. They are also some of the biggest cheerleaders. Meet some of the men and women who we consider to be part of the Make48 family.

Tool Techs From 2022 City Series


Airgas is the leading single-source supplier of gas, welding equipment & supplies, and safety products and has become one of the largest U.S. distribution networks in the packaged gas industry. With more than 1,400+ locations, Airgas can be found in all 50 states.

Here is a snapshot of some of our wonderful Airgas technicians who volunteered at the 2022 city events.

Thank you to the Airgas Technicians who worked tirelessly at the events. Josh Maska and Royce Altendorf (Wichita) Michael Becker, Robert Fassbender, Mark Kowalski and Larry Kiehnau (Milwaukee) Paul Jacobsen and Angela Busch (Madison) Tyler Plessl, Mike Burton and David Becker (Indianapolis) Justin Morris and Buddy Van (NLR) Ron Richter, Billy Bowlin, Chad Hess, David Torres, Grant Sandberg, Mike Whittaker and Tim Elliott (Beloit) and Ronald Weldon (KCKS).


Onshape combines CAD with data management and real-time collaboration tools, enabling engineers and manufacturers to improve their design processes to make better and more innovative products. In 2021-22, Onshape became Make48’s exclusive computer-aided design (CAD) tool. Teams and tool techs use the software at the nationwide competition series, enabling team members to access their documents from anywhere, on any device.

This year Onshape sent their CAD designers to support Make48’s nationwide competition series and educational initiatives. Their Onshape experts were in demand at every event. Thank you to all of these awesome designers! Katie Huffman and Courtney Roemer (Wichita) Matt Rohr and Mehul Gala (Milwaukee), Lindsay Early and Dan Kane (Madison) Kevin Cowles, Kevin O'Toole, and Ethan Keller (Indianapolis) Joshua Newth (NLR) Drew Bennett and McKenzie Brunelle (Beloit) Michael LaFleche and Domenico DiMare (KCKS).


The largest fastener distributor in North America has been an incredible supporter of Make48. Fastenal was founded in the late 60’s, distributing threaded fasteners to businesses in other small nearby cities. Fast forward to today, and Fastenal now operates in approximately 3,200 in-market locations, each providing custom inventory and a dedicated sales team to support local customers.

Fastenal blew us away at all our competitions with their dedicated volunteer staff. From delivering their ‘fast lockers’ to helping setup and teardown at each event, we’re grateful for all the help these awesome volunteers have given to us! Tyler Lund, Christopher Tuttle, Scott Harms, Jeromey Simonds, Bryan Grohskopf and Brian Shea (Milwaukee) Roger Huffman, Ron Gardner and Troy Parkos (Madison) Mike Connaughton, Justin Vela, Clayton Smith, Andy Khudaye and Jesse White (Indianapolis) BJ Hatton and Grant Harris (NLR) John Guinta (Beloit) Ray Randall and Thaddeus Rinehart (KCKS).

ShopBot Tools

ShopBot Tools is one of the largest producers of digital fabrication equipment for small-to-mid sized manufacturing, DIY, and education markets. The company also provides unparalleled support for its user community with forums, production support services, and specialized training classes.

Make48 has worked with ShopBot for a very long time. This year the CNC giant has signed on for another season! The CNC warriors have been a welcome addition at every challenge. A big thank you to ShopBot and their expert hands, Chris Burns, Aaron Brown, and Alex Hardison.

There are so many Tool Techs that helped the teams immensely over the 48 hours. Stay tuned for a look at the content creators and local Makers who made the 2022 City Series remarkable.

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