Mike Moyer is one half of the blogging and YouTube-ing duo, Mike and Lauren. With their passion for Maker culture and commitment to living a DIY lifestyle, they’re hitting the road and making their Maker dreams a reality.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the blog?
My name is Mike Moyer and together with my wife, we run a blog and YouTube channel called "Mike and Lauren" where we document our travels and DIY projects. We're currently transitioning into a new phase of life, living full-time in our 40-foot motorhome towing a 24-foot complete mobile workshop. We're visiting fans to help them with their DIY projects!
How did you become interested in DIY culture?
Lauren and I discuss this question occasionally when we come across photos of a project we’ve completed in the past. Currently the earliest project I can remember is a club house I built in my parent's backyard around the age of 10. It had a roof, electricity, vinyl siding and a ladder. Before that, I was always helping my dad (a carpenter) around the house with various household fixes.
My current passion for Making has transitioned from traditional home improvement projects to more "inventive" endeavors. I love the challenge of making something that has never been seen before. If I can combine multiple disciplines in one project (wood working and electronics, for example), even better!
Who and/or what influences you?
YouTube has completely changed the Maker community in a good way. Content doesn't need to appeal to the masses anymore. YouTube "personalities" can take risks, show their mistakes, and make things they're passionate about without a network or editor curating their content. This has been a huge inspiration for me. I might, for example, stumble across a video about silicone mold-making and suddenly have the knowledge of a new technique that could be useful in a future project.
Tell us about your recent DIY RV renovations. What made you decide to tackle this project?
About six months ago my wife and I decided we wanted to make a living doing what we love. We knew we wanted to travel and of course make things. Our solution was to buy a motorhome and build the ultimate mobile workshop to tow behind us. We've always been very frugal so this was a big jump. We bought a 17-year-old Class-A RV that needed a little work to make it our own. It's proven to be incredibly rewarding and frustrating at the same time. There are so many different systems on an RV – it's been quite a learning curve.
We're happy to report that now our RV is almost exactly how we want it and the mobile workshop is just a few weeks away from completion. We're going to hit the road and visit our YouTube fans to help them make fun, unique and interesting things.
What's the one tool you couldn’t live without?
We recently visited Costa Rica so I decided to try a couple of hand tool-only projects. To my surprise everything was relatively enjoyable except one thing: drilling. A sharp handsaw is a joy to use. A sanding block and file can more or less replace their power tool equivalents. But drilling consistent, accurate holes by hand is incredibly difficult. From then on I knew if I were ever stranded on a desert island, I would be sure to take my cordless drills.
How do you incorporate Dremel tools into your work?
I think the key to success with any project is using the right tool for the right job. The right job for my Dremel rotary tool is anything that requires extreme precision in a tight space. With my most recent project, I used a Dremel rotary tool with the Flex Shaft attachment to grind and smooth interior corners in a concrete casting. I've also been dabbling with wood carving which a Dremel rotary tool is perfectly suited for.
What are some tips you can offer people who want save money and take on more DIY projects at home?
I think it's important for people to accept that your first few projects might not save you money. There are tools to buy and mistakes to be made. You might even (gasp!) end up spending more money on an inferior product, not to mention you'll be completely frustrated. That's a normal part of the process. Don't get discouraged! Eventually you'll start making things that are at least as good as professional or store-bought. Then suddenly you'll wake up one day and realize you can make and fix things better and cheaper than you can get at the store. Suddenly it's an inconvenience to just "call the guy" to come take care of it. You're that guy (or girl) now! That's a good feeling.