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Real Name Matt Carpenter
E-mail Address
Slack Handle carpenma
Facebook carpenma
Steam carpenma

Vice-President of Onboarding: 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022
Board Member: 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022

Authorized to use:

Melodic Tapir
Perfect Whale
Powermatic 14 inch Bandsaw
SawStop Table Saw

Certified Trainer on: None

About Me

I (not so) recently got my bachelors degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue and moved back home to Michigan to take a job at Ford. I am currently in their FCG (Ford College Graduate) rotational program switching through various roles in the powertrain controls area.


I Know

  • Electrical Prototyping
  • Embedded Hardware Design
  • Embedded Programming
  • Non-Embedded Programming
  • CAD/CAM (Autodesk products specifically but interested in trying others!)
  • 3D Printing

I Want To Learn

  • Woodworking (seems fitting, don't you think?)
  • Sewing
  • Sketching/Drawing
  • Basic machining


My Tour Script

Just after signing the guests in, near the door

  • Have they ever been to a hackerspace before?
  • Backstory on i3 (founded in 2009, moved to this location shortly after creation, took over the second half of the building a few years ago etc.)
  • Explain how we split the space into zones based on skill/types of tools, each has a coordinator, check the wiki for details

Walking straight back from the A-side door

  • (Walking past large project storage) Explain how members can store projects they are working on at the space but that they must have valid parking permits
  • Talk about the CNC zone - The HAAS is incredible, it will cut anything but we mostly stick to metals since they don't spoil the coolant, is the most powerful machine in the space, and with great power comes great training (longest training routine of any machine, but it's worth it) Pick up a few expensive pieces of tooling like the face-mill and explain that we try to keep tooling and parts you may need regularly around but that there is no guarantee that they will be here or be in good condition when you arrive so for very delicate work you may want to bring your own
  • Tool crib: Explain how a lot of the tools we have are because members decided they would be useful. Explain how zones have budget each year to spend on new equipment and how pass-the-hats combined with zone funds are how we often get new tools
  • Machine shop: Talk about the giant band saw as an example of members deciding a piece of equipment (the old, tiny band saw) was insufficient and how a group found, funded, and moved in the new machine. Point out the drill presses, our bridgeport and lathe, the grinders and sanders and whatnot.
  • Point out the scrap bin, explain how pretty much every zone has one, you never know what you'll find in the machine shop one. Explain that if you find a piece of material around the shop check to make sure there isn't a name on it before incorporating it into your project
  • Old wood shop: Talk about member storage. Used for storing small-ish projects that you don't want to have to transport back and forth to the space. Don't need parking passes but the space does need to be reserved. There are fewer plots than members so we can't guarantee everyone will get one but we encourage people to clear their stuff out if they aren't going to be working on a project for awhile.

Cross over to B-side

  • Look at how big, open and clean B-side is! Oooh-Aaaah
  • Point out how much larger the new wood shop is than the old one and how much quieter the dust collector is. Show the saw-stop (hard [though not impossible] to hurt yourself with it) along with the other tools (don't forget the panel saw hiding outside the woodshop), including where the shopbot will go when we get it.

Walking up towards the B-side garage door

  • Talk about jewelry and kiln, how the kilns have their own calendars so people don't come down to the space to fire something and realize someone is already using them (Slack is also good for avoiding this problem). Grab the money box to show what they look like and explain how everything is on the honor system.
  • Stop at welding, talk about the Millermatic that makes you a waaaay better welder than you actually are (helper for noobs like me), we also have a plasma torch which is pretty neat!
  • Next to welding mention that we're going to get an auto zone with a two post lift soon!
  • If the group isn't too big stop in the B-side office to show the floorplan explaining where we've already been, how much bigger the space is now that we have B-side and how much larger the zones have gotten with the expansion

Cross back to A-side

  • Lasers: There are two big ones, they are the most heavily used pieces of equipment in the building because it only takes two trainings to be certified and you can make _really_ cool stuff with them! Prices for usage are very reasonable and marked right on the machines. There's also a little one. It's a lot less used because it has a smaller working area and is lower power. BUT when it's tuned right it gets incredible resolution (I like to hrab the map of middle earth as a show and tell)
  • Vinyl: We have a vinyl cutter and a selection of vinyl or you can bring your own. We also have heat-transfer vinyl and mug and t-shirt presses if you want to do that. Hopefully soon we will get a new vinyl cutter capable of doing stickers and we can use the plotters to make lots of stickers!

Into A-Side offices

  • E-lab: There's a lot going on in this room, let's start with the back wall. The shoeboxes contain interesting parts, some are stripped off of other hardware, some are boards that need to be stripped of components. There are Nixie tubes, "frickin lazers!", all kinds of crazy cool stuff! Next to that are the parts drawers. This started as every part you needed to do every introductory electronics project on the first few pages of Google search results and has expanded over time as people buy 2,000 of something when they only need 20 because the price is just too good to pass up! The bench closest to the door is for analysis, it has function generators, power supplies, multimeters, and an incredibly awesome scope that speaks basically every protocol. The other bench is for fabrication and rework. Soldering irons, hot air gun and hot tweezers are over here.
  • Craft room: Probably the densest on a users-per-sq-ft basis. This zone covers everything from fine art (point out paints and easel), to needlework like sewing (point to any one of several sewing machines) and even a CNC embroidery machine! Very cool. Because this zone is so small it often overflows into...
  • The Classroom: This room is used for smaller classes and events. Our meetings don't happen in here because they are too big but groups like Southeast Michigan Python users group, beaglebone groups, etc. will meet out of here. It's nice because it's heated in the winter (usually) A/C in the summer, and it's relatively well isolated from the noise out in the shop. The whiteboard folds down on a winch and has a sewing table on the back for when sewing uses the room (and so the rest of us don't spill drinks on the mat and destroy it :O ).

Back outside

  • The Commons: This is where we host(ed) our meetings. If you come in on a random night you'll find people hanging out here working on projects, playing games, or just hanging out and chatting. Some larger events will happen here as well. We have bunch couches (and had the before the Lego Movie)!
  • Fab lab: This is the last stop on the tour (be sure to close the door behind you so the cold/dry air doesn't escape) We have two types of printers, FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and SLA (Stereolithography) aka laser. If people don't know what the difference is I like to grab the demo parts from the bin next to the wall of filament and explain that FDM starts with the spools, extrudes it in tiny layers and builds up an object (pass around FDM object). The machines are relatively simple and inexpensive. SLA uses a puddle of goo and hits it with a laser, anywhere the laser touches the goo solidifies then the process continues (Pass around SLA part, have people run their finger along the Z-axis of the part to feel the difference in layer smoothness). These machines are more expensive and so is the raw material but there's no substitute if you need _really_ accurate parts. You can even make optics!

Final points

At this point I bring the group back out to the commons and answer any questions they have, give them the schpeel about how membership is $59/mo and there are scholarships if that's too much. How it's a big deal to be a member because we're trusting them to be in the space by themselves so there are two fairly rigorous membership scavenger hunts to go through. Advise them to join the mailing list etc to make it easier. If they are really excited and want to get started right then I show them how to get to the questionnaire (print them off a copy if we have time) and tell them to ask whoever they want. Then I cut them loose with a request that they not break anything and tell them I'm around if they have questions.

i3Detroit Vision Doc Ideas

Vision Statement: Creating novel, useful, and interesting things to influence our world is a foundational human undertaking that many don't even realize they are missing. i3Detroit introduces people of all walks of life to the joys of making, provides a community around learning and skill sharing, and furnishes the tools to build anything imaginable.

Introduction to Making

  • How do we introduce people to making?
  • What does a "successful" introduction look like?

Our Community

  • What does our community provide?
  • How does it achieve the goal of helping people go from "never used a screwdriver" to making their lives better/the world more interesting by completing satisfying projects?

Our Space

  • Tools for a wide range of activities to support all types of interests
  • Space for groups to meet and network