About Me

Hi, my name is Nathan.  I’m a guy who enjoys making things, whether with wood, fabric, metal, or electrons.

I think my renewed interest in making things has come from an overload in the digital side of my life and a realization of the transience of that work: as a programmer, sometimes it feels like everything I work on can be erased by a blip in the power grid. So I head for the shop or clear out some space on the floor or dining room table and start making something with my hands.

I’m lucky in that I came from a very DIY family.  We built things and fixed things ourselves, so that always just seemed normal. I was taught how and encouraged to use the power tools, and I learned to sew at around ten years old (and promptly forgot it for the 24 years following).  Now, I’m teaching myself electronics.  After that, hopefully metalworking.

I strongly believe that not knowing how to do something isn’t an excuse to not do it, it’s a reason to learn. Treat that condition as the beginning of a journey, not as a dead end.

About This Site

I didn’t think the grandparents wanted the family blog filled up with random constructions and hacks when they only came to see baby pics, so I started this site at the end of 2009 to serve as a place to share my projects. Some of the projects might have a “how-to” component, but not all will.

5 Comments on "About"

  1. apple says:

    Hey Nathan, first off I want to say you’re incredibly talented and creative! I just found your site from your pumpkin tetris project, which completely blew my mind.
    I totally agree with the last part of this About section, “that not knowing how to do something isn’t an excuse to not do it, it’s a reason to learn.” Though do you have some tips on how to get started? I’m really interested in learning more about electronics but I’ve never started out of a fear for the financial investment it poses for a total novice (what if I fry an Arduino because I have no idea what I’m doing? That would be sad.. and expensive!)
    Basically, was there a kit or guide that you used when you first started? Thanks a bunch!

    • Nathan says:

      Thank you!

      I’d recommend something like this “Getting Started with Arduino” kit from Make. It includes the Arduino and enough LEDs, resistors, and switches to get started. You can find everything separately for cheaper, but if you figure in your time and energy to track it all down, it’s a wash. Be sure you add the “Getting Started With Arduino” book, too.

      Your first project will probably be something super-simple like just making an LED blink, then you’ll add a switch to control how fast it blinks, and bit by bit you’ll build up to bigger and more exciting things. The funny thing is, though, that even making that LED blink the first time is pretty darn exciting. Don’t worry too much about frying the Arduino—they’re very robust, and by the time you’ve worked up to a project that might damage it, you’ll hopefully have had enough experience not to.

      For more general electronics theory, I liked the “Make: Electronics” book by Charles Platt. It presents everything in an easy-to-understand progression. You don’t need it to get started on the basic Arduino stuff, though.

      • apple says:

        Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! I would definitely start jumping across the room if I could get something to light up at the flip of a switch. I hope to get started soon!

  2. Laura says:

    I am in love with your brain. Good job at being awesome.

  3. MJ says:

    Fantastic projects! I grew up much the same way that you did, it’s great to be able to make stuff!

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