Bob Gusek one of those people you meet and never forget. With a broad smile, he’ll tell you all about his love for glassblowing at The Olio, his foray into 3D printing, his operation of ham radio, or any number of his other hobbies and interests.
We love seeing someone with this much enthusiasm for making — and for living! Here’s a bit from Bob, one of our newest supporters.
What do you do?
I’m currently an application developer at Inmar, providing support for the pharmacy reconciliation application. My hobbies (in no particular order) are electronics, robots, software development, microcontrollers, 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing, coffee roasting, astronomy, Jeeps, motorcycles, ham radio, remote-controlled airplanes, cars, and quadcopters, and probably some other things I’m forgetting. I’m pretty much attracted to anything you can do with your hands or power tools.
How long have you lived in Winston? Where are you from originally?
I actually just work in Winston, and I live in High Point. I’m originally from Chicago, and aside from my service in the Air Force I’ve lived in the Piedmont Triad area since 1978 when our family moved down here. My father worked in the textile industry and frequently made trips to the Triad to visit the mills as part of his job as quality control manager for Hart Schaffner and Marx. I have lots of really good memories of the times my Dad would take me in to work for bring-your-son-to-work days. I really enjoyed seeing what he did, and he actually pushed his company to use their computers for more than just accounting. He worked with the computer people to set up ways to track the quality of the materials they received from different suppliers and was able to generate reports giving information about the quality of the suppliers, and how it affected the quality of the plant manufacturing.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
My favorite has been 3D-printed litho panes. Litho panes were originally carved out of ivory or other materials in the 1800s to create a picture that was visible when held up to light, and making them with a 3D printer is awesome. The pictures are amazingly detailed, but you can only see them when they are held up to the light, otherwise they just don’t reveal anything. It is almost like magic how the pictures will appear when you hold them up to the light, and I’ve made a few gifts for some friends by making a litho pane and then using my CNC router to create a wood case for it, mounting LED lights behind it and using a fluorescent light fixture cover as a diffuser to spread the light out.
What are your maker goals?
I want to be involved in teaching others, but specifically kids, and inspire them to get involved in science, technology and making in general. I have several ideas that I’d like to make happen once we get our space up and running. A few of them are a class to build your own RC airplane for about $125 that is made out of Dollar Tree foamboard, and a class on microcontrollers, teaching people what they are, how easy they are to use and then doing various projects together as a class like a weather station, a Twitter or email display, light controller, garage door opener controlled by your phone and perhaps even a home automation system using a mesh wireless network. I’d also like to teach a more advanced class on how to design/build/fly your own quadcopter either out of inexpensive materials from Lowe’s or Home Depot or even Walmart or a 3D-printed frame for the quadcopter.
What’s something you want to make in the future?
My latest project is a laser cutter. I’ve got quite a few machines at my home workshop, 3d printers, CNC Router, standard power tools presses and so forth, but a laser cutter will be a very nice addition to my toolset which will allow me to cut materials very quickly for projects that can be made from flat pieces. I am building one based on the plans and wiki at http://buildlog.net and I finally have gotten all the components and am ready to start the assembly of it. I even have my ‘Big Scary Laser’ sign from United Nuclear already up on the door to my workshop, and of course my four pairs of laser safety glasses. http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29_60&products_id=585
The next project after I finish that is to finish up my racing FPV quadcopter, I’ve got all the components and just need to begin the assembly and testing of everything. Once it’s finished it will be an amazingly inappropriately fast FPV quadcopter that I can fly using a 7″ lcd screen that I’ll have mounted on my transmitter.
Why are you a part of MIXXER?
I’ve been involved in a lot of the maker spaces in the area and I really enjoy meeting all the people with different skill sets, and sharing the knowledge that I’ve accumulated with all my time spent playing with my toys and hobbies. It’s so much fun when someone says ‘I’d like to do ‘X’ but it’s just too complicated’ and then I’m able to show them that it really isn’t and I love to help empower people with new skills.
What are your hopes for MIXXER?
That we become a focal point for local creative people and artisans who want to build really cool things and share the experience with others, and share the knowledge with kids and get them excited about making and what is possible with just a little imagination and some resources that Mixxer can provide.
How do you think MIXXER can help people?
Being the place for people to go when they want to try something new, but don’t know where to get started, having not only the technical and making knowledge that people will share, but also a place to safely learn new skills and techniques that someone necessarily wouldn’t be able to do on their own or at their home.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Winston?
My family is originally from Europe, and I love the food at Finnigan’s Wake, especially Sunday brunches!
Bob shared photos of some of his favorite projects and events!