Meet the Maker: Mark Fraunfelder

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As the editor-in-chief of MAKE Magazine and co-founder of Boing Boing, Mark Frauenfelder knows what separates a good project from a great one. When it comes to finding inclusive, family-friendly projects, things can get a little more difficult. We sat down with Mark to find out how to get your kids more involved in Making and what it takes to create a project the whole family can get excited about. 

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into Making and DIY culture? Was Making a big part of your life growing up or something you discovered as an adult? 

My father and mother were and are makers and they are an inspiration. I watched my dad make stained glass windows and lamps, hi-fi equipment, jewelry, and leather vests. I watched my mother sew and paint. But I was not much of a maker until I became an adult. I'm a late bloomer! But once I got bitten by the bug, there was no turning back. 

What lead to you writing your book, Maker Dad? Did you run into any unique challenges coming up with the projects? 

I wanted to encourage my daughters to get started in making earlier than I did, so I came up with projects that we would enjoy doing together. My older daughter loves to paint and draw, and is making a shack in the backyard. My younger daughter makes sculptures out of polymer clay and makes video games using Scratch, a nifty kids' programming language. 

As far as challenges, I learned that it took at least four tries to make something work the way I wanted it to. The first time I made something new, I discovered all sorts of major problems with the plan I had sketched out (often just in my head). The second attempt took care of the big problem, and revealed minor problems. The third build unveiled opportunities for improvement, and the fourth prototype was sometimes good enough. 

What do you take into consideration before taking on a project as a family to make sure everyone ends up happy? 

We like making things that are 1) somewhat challenging, 2) give us the opportunity to learn about a new skill, tool, or material, and 3) have a purpose. If a project hits all three it is usually a lot of fun to make and use. 

Are there certain types of projects that you would you encourage people to do with their children? 

Food-based projects are great. A lot of people don't consider food "making," but we do. We make yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha. We also raised chickens. We loved the chickens and the eggs. They were eaten by coyotes, though. I see coyotes about three times a week in our yard here in Los Angeles. 

How do you incorporate Dremel tools into your work? 

I have been using a Dremel rotary tool for many years. I bought one when I was about 12 years old to remove the flash from molded metal parts in model car kits. I've been using them ever since. They are great for repairing things, and I use them when I make cigar box guitars and wooden spoons. 

Do you have any tips for encouraging Making as part of the family routine? 

Expose your kids to all kinds of making. You never know what will capture their interest and later become a passion. 

What's the best piece of advice you could give someone who is interested in doing more collaborative work with their family? 

Celebrate your mistakes! Accept them as learning opportunities. It often turns out that mistakes take you down a path that leads to something unexpected and often better than where you initially intended to go. 

To see more of Mark's work, check out his website. 

Enter To Win: Win Your Own Custom Indian Motorcycle

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Win a one-of-a-kind Indian Scout Motorcycle engraved by Hank Robinson and other cool Dremel prizes! 

Dremel and Indian Motorcycles are co-sponsoring a sweepstakes that will give one lucky winner the chance to own a one-in-a-million ride. Hank from Hanro Studios will personalize an Indian Scout Sixty motorcycle unique to the winner’s own interests and style. 

The sweepstakes runs through September 30, 2016, and fans can enter online at www.DremelMakeYourIndianMotorcycle.com. Those entering the sweepstakes in May also have a chance to win Dremel Idea Builder 3D40. The 3D40 is the next generation Dremel 3D Printer that continues the Dremel heritage of reliability and ease-of-use while bringing the convenience of Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile interaction to the world of 3D building. 

Congratulations to our March winners, Karen P. and Deb M. each won a Dremel Micro 8050 last Month. John O. was our big winner, taking home a Micro AND a piece of engraved artwork by Dremel Maker Hank Robinson of Hanro studios 

The Dremel Family is Expanding: The Velocity Multi-Tool is Here!

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Tool users can put their circular and reciprocating saws in storage with the Dremel brand’s release of a completely reinvented multi-tool, the Dremel Velocity. 

True to its name, the Dremel Velocity is nine times faster than traditional oscillating tools due to a unique five-degree oscillation angle, allowing users to make plunge cuts, remove grout and finish sanding with ease. Velocity also has an unmatched 7.0 amps of cutting power, best suited for cutting a wide variety of materials in kitchen and bathroom remodeling such as plywood, drywall, conduit, PVC pipe and 2x4s. The combination of speed and power makes for a truly multipurpose tool that eliminates the need for multiple tools on the jobsite. 

In addition to increased speed and power, Velocity is low-dust producing, perfect for finished spaces and smaller, enclosed areas. These tight spaces often have poor ventilation, so a low-dust-producing tool is essential. 

We're also introducing two new cutting blades, designed exclusively for Velocity. The first is the VC490 Panel Blade, an ideal accessory for making long, straight rip cuts in plywood, cement board & drywall. The second blade introduction is the VC494 Pipe & 2x4 Blade. Its extra-wide edge is designed for cutting pipe and thick materials, such as 2x4 studs. Users can tackle PVC, conduit and copper cut offs with ease. 

The Dremel Velocity is available online now and can be found in store at Lowe’s beginning May 1, 2016. 

For more information, click here. 

3D Corner: Introducing the Dremel 3D40

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The new second generation Dremel 3D printer is designed to expand opportunities for 3D printing technology in the classroom. 

Last year, Makers and educators discovered how 3D printing with the Dremel 3D Idea Builder can encourage communal problem solving and activate imaginative thinking. The new Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer is designed to nurture these same skills while providing even more support for integrating 3D printing into STEM instruction. 

Bringing 3D printing into the classroom has never been easier. 

The Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 makes 3D Printing more accessible than ever. Advancements include USB and WiFi-enabled printing, active filament monitoring and automatic leveling. A larger building platform also enables greater flexibility in designing and scaling 3D models. 

To provide students the freedom to design 3D objects remotely, the Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 is compatible with the new Dremel 3D App for iOS and Android, available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play on April 29th. The printer can also be used with Print Studio software, enabling students to optimize object design and make modifications based upon functionality. 

The 3D40 is also an integral part of the Dremel Dreams program, a digital ecosystem that promotes a student-driven learning environment for 3D printing. The program equips educators with a comprehensive toolkit for classroom support, including 3D-specific lesson plans and intuitive design software and hardware. 

Interested in learning more about the Dremel Idea Builder 3D40? Visit https://3dprinter.dremel.com/3d40-edu-printer-benefits 

Dremel Impresses at SX CREATE

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30,000 Makers of all ages rolled through SX Create. We showed them what Dremel tools could do. Then they showed us what they could do.

More than 1,200 leather bracelets made by attendees. More than 500 micro-derby cars. Countless items made from scratch on the Dremel 3D Idea Builder.

The Dremel booth at the South by Southwest Create Expo in Austin, Texas was a popular place to stop and create. Our focus was on making sure the next generation of Makers knows how much fun it is to create something with just your hands and your imagination. And maybe a Dremel Rotary Tool.
Designer, artist and TV host Jimmy DiResta also brought his expertise to the Dremel booth, helping guide the young Makers as they transformed ordinary blocks of wood into imagination-powered vehicles.

 

Away from the SX Create booth, the Dremel Maker MeetUp hosted a silent auction of artwork created with Dremel tools. The event raised about $2,000 for an area Maker-space, the Austin Tinkering School (ATS).

Throughout the month of March, Dremel worked closely to provide more than 10,000 ATS students with access to tools, including a long-term plan to implement 3D curriculum.

Meet the Maker: Introducing Gabriel Dishaw

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When you’re a self-proclaimed “junk artist” you start to look at everyday ephemera a little differently. Gabriel Dishaw has made waves in the Maker world by re-purposing discarded electronics and typewriters into pop-art masterpieces. This month, we picked Gabriel’s brain to learn more about his work and how to incorporate upcycled materials into projects. 

When did you first become interested in making? 

I’ve always been an artistic individual and was enrolled in advanced art classes in school. But I truly found my passion for this particular art form in 9th Grade. My teacher posted 30 or so art project ideas on the chalk board for us to choose from and make it our own. One of the items listed was “Junk Art.” To be honest, I had no idea what that was so I did a bit of research then went into my dad’s garage and began to tinker. That’s one of those moments you look back on and think had the art teacher not offered that particular project; I don’t know I would have emerged an artist in this genre. 

Have you always tried to incorporate upcycling into your work or have you also created pieces with more traditional materials? 

I did use traditional materials prior to the project in 9th grade, but I found my sweet spot with this type of material and never turned back. I do draw a bit here and there, mostly with a pencil. 

Do you start with an idea for a finished sculpture in your head and then seek out the right materials for the job? 

It really varies. Sometimes I have an idea or a theme in mind and I work really hard to find the right pieces or parts that align with that. Other times I let the material do the leading and let the creative process take over. For example I was taking apart an adding machine and this one part looked loosely like a horse’s head, this sparked an idea and then I worked to create a full sized rearing horse to fit the scale of the head I created. Once finished this piece stood over six feet tall and took about one month to complete. You can see the finished piece on the link below. 
 

How do you collect materials for your projects? 

 

I get them from all over but, mostly from family/friends and my local antique/flea markets. I have even had instances where people have dropped stuff off at my door step knowing that I will put good use to something they don't want to see end up in a landfill. 

The materials you use for your art seem like they come primarily from old computers. Why are you drawn specifically to upcycling electronics? 

I do use other materials, like adding machines, typewriters and anything mechanical, but you are correct I use a lot of electronics mostly because they are so readily available. Technology is advancing so quickly in this area that this stuff is replaced every few years. 
 

Your work covers a lot of ground in the realm of popular culture and mass-media, from video games to science fiction films. What inspires you and what themes do you like to touch on with your work? 

 

I get a lot of my inspiration from the things I’m passionate about and or enjoy. I grew up on Star Wars so that has influenced my work heavily. My art is generally created for me, that may sound counter intuitive, but I create things that I love and enjoy. I hope that others share my passion and enjoy them even more. Instagram is also a great resource for inspiration. I follow a bunch of great artists! 
 

Do you have any advice for artists and Makers who are interested in upcycling to create their own “junk art”? 

 

I love the process of taking things apart and understanding how they work. That, in part, is what keeps me so hungry for what I do. Everyone is different, but my advice would be to start there, by taking things apart. The second part is a creative exercise that I find myself doing all the time. I look at an ordinary object and reimagine it as something different. This takes a bit of practice, but you apply this approach when taking things apart and the creative juice will start to flow. 

What are the tools that you always have at your workbench? 

These are my go to tools that I use every day. In fact, these are always lying out on my bench as they never get placed back in their spot on the wall or toolbox:
Cordless Dremel rotary tool
Channellock pliers
Carbide-tipped scribe
Left cut and center tin snip cutters

How important is your Dremel rotary tool for a typical project? 

My rotary tool is essential for molding the upcycled pieces to fit my vision and breathe life into the sculpture. I primarily utilize my Dremel rotary tool to cut, grind and polish. It especially helps me to break down materials into smaller components that I then sort. Once this is accomplished the creative fun begins. I used to use a large table grinder, sander and band saw. I can't tell you the last time I turned those stand-alone machines on. I have a number of Dremel rotary tool models, cordless and wired, and these do the job of all three of those stand-alone devices and more. 

Do you have a dream project? Assuming money and resources were no object, what would you create? 

I’ve always thought about doing a large scale (life size) African watering hole with a range of animals, zebras, giraffe and a few lions all created out of wire, typewriter parts and computer parts. 

To see more of Gabriel’s work, check out his website and follow him on Instagram 

Accessory Highlight Dremel MM731

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We came, we saw, we contoured.

The new Dremel MM731 Contour Sanding Tubes are the answer to those impossible-to-reach nooks and crannies on wood furniture, stair rails, spindles and more.

Each package contains nine tubes – three 80-grit tubes, three 120-grit tubes and three 240-grit tubes. They are for use with the sanding contours included with the MM730 contour sander accessory (shown below), which fits all Dremel Multi-Max oscillating tools.

For more sanding options, please visit the Dremel website.

Dremel at Maker Faire Bay Area: Why Do You Make?

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Have you had the weekend of May 15th circled on your calendar for a while now? And did you make that calendar yourself? If so, you'll want to see what Dremel has in store for Maker Faire Bay Area.

This year marks the 10th annual Maker Faire Bay Area, one of the Faire's flagship events. Held at the San Mateo Event Center, San Mateo, CA the family-friendly event is rapidly growing, becoming a launch pad for imagination and ingenuity. Throughout the show, Dremel will invite Makers to share more about why they make and what inspires them to create, through brief video captures. Dremel will bring selected stories to life on a larger scale, through a video profile series, "Why I Make" to be hosted on the company's social channels this summer.

A number of products will be available for use in the Dremel booth, including the 3D Idea Builder, a new vacuum-powered rotary tool and the Micro 8050. From building your own derby car with 3D-printed wheels to personalized leather bracelets, booth visitors will enjoy a variety of hands-on activities. Thanks to a partnership with HP Sprout, visitors can also bring their photo selfies to life.

All visitors will have a chance to win the Dremel 3D Idea Builder, just by signing up in the booth. Even if you're not able to attend the Faire in-person, stay tuned to our social media channels for an exciting announcement from Dremel. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Maker Faire Bay Area is open 10-8 on Saturday and 10-6 on Sunday. To purchase advance tickets, click here

Enter To Win: Win Your Own Custom Indian Motorcycle

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You can enter online for your chance to win a one-of-a-kind Indian Scout Sixty Motorcycle engraved by Hank Robinson. 

If you missed your chance to see the custom engraved Indian motorcycle at SX Create, we’ve got news: you’ve got a chance to win one of your own. 

Dremel and Indian Motorcycles are co-sponsoring a sweepstakes that will give one lucky winner the chance to own a one-in-a-million ride. Hank from Hanro Studios will personalize an Indian Scout Sixty motorcycle unique to the winner’s own interests and style. 

The sweepstakes runs March 11 through September 30, 2016, at www.DremelMakeYourIndianMotorcycle.com. Other prizes will also be up for grabs during the sweepstakes, so keep your eyes on the Dremel and Indian Motorcycle Facebook pages for more details. 

Congratulations to our March winners, Karen P., John O., and Deb M. They each won a Dremel Micro 8050. John also received a piece of engraved artwork from Dremel Maker Hank Robinson of Hanro Studios. 

Those entering the sweepstakes in April also have a chance to win a Dremel 4-pack of tools that include a Dremel 3000 rotary tool, Saw-Max multi-saw, Versa-Tip butane torch and a Moto-Saw scroll saw

Dremel at SXSW Create: Dremel Makes SX Create 2016 Unforgettable

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This year at SX Create, we wanted to give Makers a one-of-a-kind experience while celebrating creativity and new technology. Here’s a look at what we had in store for our fans down in Austin. 

Thousands of Makers packed the Palmer Events Center this year at SX Create for a celebration of creativity and revolutionary technology. 

The star of the show was undoubtedly the partnership between Dremel and Indian Motorcycles. Two of our favorite makers, Hank Robinson and Paul Niemeyer, were hard at work doing a live etching and engraving session on a custom Indian Vintage Motorcycle. The finished bike will be unveiled at the Indian Motorcycle display at the 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Maker event without the opportunity to roll your sleeves up and get some hands-on experience with the latest and greatest Dremel tools. Visitors had the chance to customize their own leather luggage tags with a Dremel 8050 Micro to commemorate their trip to SXSW. 

SX Create goers also got an early look at our new, second generation 3D printer: The Dremel 3D40 Idea Builder. The 3D40 was featured alongside the HP Sprout and gave attendees a chance to see the impact 3D printing can have on STEM education. 

For more pictures from our experience at SX Create, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Meet the Maker: Introducing Chelsea Foy

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Chelsea Foy isn’t just a Maker: she’s an adventurer. While traveling the world, she’s found plenty of inspiration for her craft and DIY project. This month, she has a few tips to share with our fans. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog? 

I'm a wife, mom, and maker, living in my home state of California. In my past lives I was both a music teacher and a stage performer, so you could say that creativity runs in my veins. Whether it's music, art or crafting projects, I'm pretty much always making something. My blog, Lovely Indeed, focuses on all the simple ways you can build a lovely life, which to me range from DIY projects to food to travel. My husband and I met while performing together on a touring show and ever since, travel has been a large part of our story -- we take off every chance we get, and our travels have enriched our lives in so many ways! 

Do you have any advice for people who are just getting into making their own DIY crafts/home décor? 

Don't get overwhelmed by starting with a project that's over your head. Start small, with attainable projects until you start feeling comfortable with your creativity and making skills! With each project, you'll be able to branch out a little farther, tackle new tools, and solve new problems. Also, use the internet! There are so many really wonderful DIY blogs out there who provide in-depth tutorials for creating just about anything you can imagine. 

You have a really chic esthetic to your handmade items. What tips do you have for someone looking to achieve a similar look? 

You've got to start with the right materials, and tools that will have the project looking clean and professional. My favorite DIY projects are the ones that look like they were purchased in a shop. Hunt for materials with fun colors, pretty finishes, or unexpected touches. And while you're working, always take the extra time to make the finish look neat and tidy. It makes all the difference! 

What are some essential DIY/crafting items you’d recommend a Maker always have on hand? 

A good glue gun, a sharp craft knife, good scissors, an all-in-one tool (like a Leatherman), and a versatile multi-attachment rotary tool, like a Dremel 4000

Has traveling extensively influenced the work that you do? Is there a special place that inspires you? 

As an avid traveler, you can't help but be inspired by the places you see. I've crisscrossed the United States (and been to all but 7 states!), worked in Asia, spent summers across Europe, explored in South America, and more. I truly believe that traveling can open your eyes to so many things -- not just different people and places, but colors, patterns, sounds, tastes, and more. Travel is refreshing for the senses in so many ways and it can inform your creativity as a maker. Of all of the places I've been to, I think that Paris tops the list. It's a city that's so artistically and culturally rich. So many great minds have passed through the city. 

Do you know where you’re headed to next? 

We've actually been dreaming of another European home exchange! A few summers ago we traded homes with a family in Paris and it was the best trip I've ever had. Now we've got some kids in tow, so we're on the hunt for a house abroad where we can all shack up for the summer and take short trips to nearby cities. 

Do you have any tips for creating a piece to commemorate a trip? 

While you're traveling, collect bits and pieces from your favorite experiences! Anything is fair game - photos, ticket stubs, menus, pressed flowers, rocks, pamphlets. Once you're home again let the pieces inspire you to create something new. Maybe it's a collage, maybe it's a decorated frame for your favorite photo, or maybe it's just a scrapbook filled with all of your favorites! 

Out of all the work you’ve done, what’s your favorite piece that you’ve created and why? 

For travel, I think maybe my favorite project was an anniversary lock – it was a surprise for my husband. I loved it because it was so simple to create but played a major part in our travels and has such good memories surrounding it. We were in Paris on our anniversary, so I surprised him with a lock that had our wedding and anniversary dates stamped into it. We locked it on the Pont des Arts and threw the key into the Seine on our anniversary. Cheesy? Yeah. But awesome? Totally. 

To see more of Chelsea’s work, check out her blog Lovely Indeed. 

Meet the Maker: Introducing Crystal Driedger

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We never get tired of hearing stories about passionate Makers who are (literally) carving a name out for themselves. Crystal excels at transforming ho-hum wood canvasses into intricate works of art. Pair that with fresh pops of color and a whimsical aesthetic and these work pieces quickly liven up any surrounding. Here's a look at Crystal's extraordinary woodworking chops and her personal tips for breaking out of a creative rut. 

Can you tell us a little bit about how you became a maker? 

I initially started my career as an illustrator focusing primarily on traditional media like painting and drawing. I've done a lot of licensing work (gift bags, greeting cards, wrapping paper designs, etc.) so my work grew increasingly more whimsical and colorful. When my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family, I made a commitment to grow my art business from a home-based studio. 

What sort materials and tools do you find yourself using the most for your work? 

I've always had an interest in textured art and had been looking for something organic and interesting for backgrounds. My husband's chisel and mallet set had been sitting around the house unused for a couple of years so I picked it up one day and just randomly decided to carve a tea-set out of a left over piece of wood from a carpentry project. I loved the look of the background and was instantly hooked on carving. 

My first Dremel Rotary Tool was a Christmas gift from my dad who wanted to help speed up my process. I had spent all of my life up until that moment being absolutely terrified of any power tools and was reluctant to use it, but after I started my first carving my career changed dramatically. I doubled my carving speed and increased the intricacy in my work. Looking back at my career, I see a time in my life when I could have gone the digital illustration route, but I've always enjoyed working with my hands - manipulating materials and tools. I will probably continue carving for a very long time because the happy, passionate part of me wants me to create projects that are involved, intricate, planned out and take a bit of physical effort. 

What are some of the unique challenges of essentially carving your own canvas out of wood and what compelled you to move away from more conventional painting? 

My biggest hurdle is having to create my canvas from scratch. There's all of this time involved in making sure all of the elements are perfect before I can apply paint to it. Unlike other artists, I can't just pick up a canvas from the store and start painting as soon as I bring it home. I actually have to special order my wood blocks, cut, glue, clamp and then sand them even before I can start transferring my sketch on it. With a painting on canvas I can also fix anatomy issues or completely repaint someone's face if I didn't get it right on the first try, but with a carving the elements are carved out and for obvious reasons I can't shift anything around, so the sketch part of my process becomes very important. If the sketch is flawed and I transfer it that way, it's going to be flawed all the way through until the painting is done. So, sometimes I just live with a few quirky elements here or there. But that's completely part of the charm too. 

Not many other artists out there create relief carvings like I do; at least not in my style. I am by no means a master carver and still have a lot to learn in terms of technique and what my tools are capable of, but that's definitely part of why I moved away from painting on canvas all of the time. I love the challenge of figuring out something new and exploring an area that I haven't mastered yet. 

When you pick up a carving and run your fingers over all of the grooves, ridges and round edges - feel the weight of it in your hands - you can almost feel all of the love, time and soul that got put into it as the artist worked on it. 

What inspires you? 

On weekends as a child my family would sit around my grandmother's dinner table doodling pictures of ladies together. We'd doodle girls in gardens with bright red lipstick surrounded by poppies and sunflowers and, not surprisingly, a lot of my favorite pieces I've created as an adult feature women. I grew up in a log house that my parents built and spent my summers running in the forest in bare feet, collecting frogs and discarded bird feathers while inventing stories about the secret lives of animals that lived there. That's probably why I still love drawing animals and often incorporate quirky smiles and silly clothes in my pieces. I now spend summer vacations hiking in the Rocky Mountains (which aren't that far from my home) and running down paths in the parks which has inspired a landscape series. 

So, I find inspiration in memories and in the things I love. Little pieces of joy, like beautiful clouds and cats hiding under cars. Being outdoors is incredibly inspiring. Visiting art galleries is incredibly inspiring. Following incredible artists on social media is inspiring. Every single day something little triggers something inside of me that makes me want to capture it, draw it, put my own spin on it. 

What's your creative process like from idea to finished product? 

Once I have an idea for what I want to create, I make a series of sketches and doodles on the theme and, if it calls for it, I collect references based on the doodles I like best. After that I create a final, crisp sketch with all lines exactly as I want them in the final piece. Often times this part of the process involves a lot of tossing out of ideas, reworking angles and ideas until I'm happy with it. I think a lot of beginner artists underestimate the value of the sketch stage. It's probably the most important part of the process and it's almost invisible. 

I have to create a basswood sheet to the size I want my piece (special ordered, then I cut, glue, clamp and then meticulously sand every edge of the piece) and then transfer my photocopied sketch to the board. This is where my Dremel Rotary Tool comes into the picture. I spend the longest amount of time in the carving stage. First, I etch deep outlines for everything. Then I make a mental map of which objects are going to be in front and which are going to be set in the background and will switch back and forth from hand carving tools to power tools depending on what kind of marks I want to make and how quickly or slowly I need to be creating the different elements of the piece. 

When I'm satisfied with the carving, it's sanded in all of the spots I want to be smooth and rough and gritty in the spots where I want texture. The piece gets sealed and then gets to go into the painting studio. Since I've spent 15 years illustrating and painting, this part of the process comes the most naturally to me. I love seeing the colors and little secret details I've been planning from the beginning come to life, like the flower pattern on someone's dress or a tiny lady bug hiding on a flower leaf. 

Do you have any tips for beating writers block (or Makers block in your case)? How do you dig yourself out of creative ruts? 

You have to get yourself into a routine, which I understand doesn't sound very creative, but once you build regular, consistent and frequent "creation time" into your schedule you'll get used to creating even when you "don't feel like it". 

Make it a habit to collect things that inspire you. Photograph pieces of the world that you see on a daily basis (beautiful clouds, a plant growing through a crack in the sidewalk, your kids left over Cheerios, whatever you think looks neat), create lots of Pinterest boards, keep a sketchbook with you and doodle in it during boring moments (I keep mine in my purse. I only buy purses that will fit my moleskin in them!). 

One way to motivate you to get around a "makers block" is to make yourself a deadline, or sign up for a show with a deadline. There's nothing better than the pressure of people counting on you to get yourself to sit down and start brainstorming and sketching! 

If your job is making art and you're already spending the majority of your time creating, you have to book time where you're not allowed to do your art. Market your art (hello social media obsession!) and talk about it. It truly revives your passion once you can return to your work after stepping back, even if it's just one single day out of the week or once a month. 

To see more work from Crystal, visit her website and follow Dremel on Facebook

Register Your Tools and Win Big With Dremel

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We know how exciting is to bring home a brand new tool and start tackling that long to-do list. Before you roll up your sleeves and dive in, take a moment a register your tool. You just might win even MORE tools. 

Congratulations to Michael Carter of Saint Peters, MO and Barry Harris of Monroeville, NJ! They were recently awarded $500 in Dremel tools and accessories simply for registering their purchases last year. 

Michael registered the Dremel 4000 rotary tool he received for Christmas. It turned out to be the gift that kept giving. 

"I was shocked. I had no idea there was a registration sweepstakes. At that point I told my fiancé that she's really good at giving gifts!" Michael said. 

Barry was in disbelief at first as well, but he's already putting his prize pack to good use. 

When we spoke with Barry he told us "I've already started using the Oscillating Saw and I love the quick change blade. I also love the Dremel 4000 and like the easy way to vary the speed. As a self-employed Carpenter for 16 years I know tools and can tell a good tool from a bad one. These are good tools." 

To register your tools, visit the Dremel website or simply drop your registration card in the mail. 

Visit Dremel at SXSW Create

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Are you heading down to Austin next month? Make sure to check out SX Create presented by Dremel. We're debuting the latest in 3D printing as well as teaming up with the folks at Indian Motorcycle to give one lucky fan the opportunity to win a customized Indian Scout Motorcycle! 

Join us this year on March 11-13 for SXSW Create at its new home at the Palmer Events Center in Austin. You'll have the opportunity to get your hands on a variety of Dremel tools and see some of our favorite Makers in action. 

This year Dremel is partnering with Indian Motorcycles to customize an Indian Chief Vintage motorcycle with a little help from engraving expert Hank Robinson of Hanro Studios. You'll also have a chance to enter to win your own Indian Scout personalized by Hank as well see him put his skills to the test live. 

Keep an eye on the Dremel Facebook page for more details. You won't want to miss out! 

Dremel 3D Fuels the Maker Movement in Education with the 3D Idea Builder

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Dremel is heading from the workshop to the classroom. Find out how we're making an impact by putting the power of 3D printing technology in the hands of students and teachers.

To learn more about how the 3D Idea Builder can help enhance student learning, click here or visit Dremel Education on Facebook

Get Comfortable with your Tools and Better Results on your Project.

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If you're reading this, you've probably been bitten by the making bug. Congratulations on your new addiction! By now you realize that you will need some tools to bring your projects to life. Before you get to work, there are still some things to think about. 
 

Many new tool users over-look their own comfort when starting a project. User comfort will play a big part in getting your projects looking professional. This may be as simple as getting a chair or stool if you will be working in one place for very long. 
 

Make sure you're at a comfortable temperature as well. You might need a fan or air conditioning or, in my case, a few extra layers of clothing and another log on the fire. 

 

Now that you're ready to start making, it's time to think about how you are going to perform your work. Can you lean or rest on your workplace, or will it affect your project? Have you secured your workplace? You don't want it to move around while you're working! 
 

When using handheld tools, the quality of your work comes from a sure steady hand. This isn't the time for indecision or self-doubt. You have got this! Decide what actions are needed to perform your task, and brace yourself, both mentally and physically. If you need to move around while working, make sure your path is clear from obstructions and that you can move while maintaining full control of your tool and workplace. For more detailed jobs, I like to rest my elbows on my work table and brace the hand holding the tool with my other hand. 

 

While the idea of user comfort may seem basic, it is the key to producing great results. Now is the time to make something! Let's make 2016 the year of the Maker! 

Keith Hahn creates furnishings and art using iron and wood, and specializes in high-end custom log furniture and decorative ironwork. He lives in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, which never fail to give him inspiration. 

To see more work from Keith and the rest of the Makers in Residence, follow Dremel on Facebook

Dremel Derby Days are Racing toward the Finish Line!

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We're still on the lookout for the best Pinewood Derby cars in our annual Derby Days Design Contest. If you haven't had a chance to attend one of our Derby Days clinics at Lowe's or submit your design, there's still time to take the checkered flag! 

Don't worry if you missed our first Pinewood Derby Days demo. We'll be back at your local Lowe's on February 6th to show you how to build a winning Pinewood Derby Car with a little ingenuity and a Dremel rotary tool. 

Customers are encouraged to call their local Lowe's store in advance to confirm dates and times. For official rules and restrictions, or if you just want some help getting started with your race car, visit the official Dremel Derby Days website. You'll find a detailed, step-by-step construction guide, design templates and more. 

Once you finish your derby car, post a picture with #DremelDerbyContest. You could have your Pinewood Derby car featured in-store at Lowe's and win cool #Dremel prizes including a 3D Idea Builder! 

3D Corner: 3D Printed Canadarm Model

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Our friend Jon over at Instrucables is back with another space-inspired 3D printing project. This time it's a miniature 3D printed Canadarm robot arm just like the one used for retrieving satellites and knocking ice off the MIR Space Station. 

 

For step-by-step instructions for building the Canadarm Model, click here. 

For more information on the Dremel 3D Idea Builder, click here. 

Meet Celina Muire, Maker in Residence

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Celina Muire is an Austin based pyrographer and woodworker who juggles creating beautiful kitchenware and bed frames with running her own business. We spoke with her to find out where her inspiration comes from and how she turned her hobby into a job she loves. 

Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your work? 

I work with a variety of mediums, but woodworking is by far my favorite. It's very challenging to sculpt and change something that has been growing wild in nature for half a century. I like to use woods that naturally have a beautiful grain and texture. I mainly work with the maple and walnut family for my home wares. Carving these hardwoods exposes some really interesting colors and grain. For my geometric wall art, I base my designs off of the reclaimed wood I have in stock. I always try to avoid staining or painting reclaimed wood as I feel that manipulates the natural patina that originally gave the wood beauty in the first place. Age, wear, and exposure to natural elements contribute to really beautiful distressed blues, oranges, and greens. I feel like when I find those pieces I hit the jackpot. 

Although woodworking can be difficult and sometimes frustrating (maybe a grain suddenly decides take a sharp turn east, or I end up accidentally chiseling off a handle of a spoon), I respect the fact that these materials have lived far longer on this earth than I have. When I successfully come out with a final product that is a combination of my own design and nature's composition that, to me, is the biggest reward. 

What sort of tools do you find yourself using the most? 

I have always heavily used a Dremel rotary tool for sanding all the awkward places in between handles of spoons and cutting boards. I also build bed frames for people here locally in Austin. This may be surprising but I have put together a dozen bed frames without a drill. People think I am nuts. I hand-screw everything together, but I pre-drill all the holes with my rotary tool, which helps me out a great deal. I could be the only woodworker on earth who doesn't own a drill, but for right now my rotary tool is the jack-of-all-trades. I also love the Dremel Saw-Max and miter guide. It's great for quick and accurate miter cuts when I don't want to break out the bigger miter saw. 

It seems like you've found a way to balance your unique approach to making with some cool, time saving shortcuts. Is it safe to say that a big part of being an efficient maker is finding what works for you specifically and sticking to it? 

I'd say so. There are a thousand different ways to do something; the process is just as unique as the final product. I had to learn that quickly with woodworking because experienced woodworkers and 'internet woodworkers' (as I like to call them) LOVE to have an opinion and comment on why I should have done something differently. I don't chalk that up to showboating. I just remind myself when someone is passionate about something they are bound to give you their two cents. But the more the merrier, right? 

You're in a place now where you get to do what you love and make a career out of it. Did you grow up a Maker or discover your passion for creating later in life? 

I've always liked making stuff. Growing up my room was a disaster all of the time. I had different projects in various stages scattered all over. Nothing's really changed in that aspect, except now that I'm an adult I can just buy whatever materials or tools I want instead of using random unwanted objects from the garage or garbage bins. 

I'm still frantic at this age when I see someone throwing something out I shout "No! I can use that for something!!" And then it just sits in my workshop with the rest of the 'rescued' items. Some people may call that hoarding, but I like to use the word "resourceful." 

Being a Maker can be a job, a hobby or something in between. Do you have any tips for making time to make more or turning your passion into your career? 

I think discipline is important. You don't become a woodworker, welder, or successful oil painter overnight. It's going to take a lot of practice and the right tools. Set time aside every week and learn something new, if you're passionate about something the talent will always follow. Don't even try comparing your work to anyone else's, that's just a slippery slope of sorrow no matter what way you look at it. 

If you are someone who wants to pursue something creative you have to leave all your doubts behind. That was by far the hardest thing for me. There is literally no time for fear in the creative industry. Doubting your abilities, ideas, or risking embarrassment from the public will only hold you back, and someone else with more confidence will end up swooping in and accomplishing it first. If you are thinking about delving into a craft, put your fear in a jar, seal it tightly, and only re-open when you decide to quit. If you're persistent (and a little bit stubborn), that fear should remain where it is and never see the light of day. 

To see more work from Celina and the rest of the Makers in Residence, follow Dremel on Facebook. 

Dremel Derby Days are Back, Makers, Start our Engines!

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Dremel has once again teamed up with Lowe's to help you build the ultimate Pinewood Derby race car with your family and win some amazing prizes.

Dremel Derby Days are just around the corner! Our 2016 Derby Days clinics will be held at participating Lowe's retail stores nationwide on January 9th and February 6th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We'll have our Pinewood Derby experts on hand to show you how to get the edge on race day and build a winning derby car. 

Once you've designed and built your derby car, you can enter the design contest (#DremelDerbyContest) where the best-looking cars will win some amazing Dremel prize packs, including a 3D Idea Builder and a chance to have your derby car featured in-store at Lowe's! 

Customers are encouraged to call their local Lowe's store in advance to confirm dates and times. For official rules and restrictions, or if you just some help getting started with your race car, visit the official Dremel Derby Days website. You'll find a detailed, step-by-step construction guide, design templates and more.