Meet the Makers: Eliza

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Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our makerspace.
Awesome engineer and outdoors guide, Eliza Boyce, is an active YuKonstruct member and is always happy to help out. Read on to find out why she thinks you should join in too.

Eliza, how did you get involved with YuKonstruct?

After working as an engineer, I’ve been taking a break and doing outdoor guiding for the last couple of years. I moved up here for the winter, and was really surprised that there’s such an awesome makerspace. I got all excited about getting back into making things, wandered in without any projects in mind, and now I have lots of inspiration!

What do you think will be YuKonstruct’s biggest challenge?

Engaging people with limited experience. I think that a lot of people want to learn how to make things, but they don’t have a project in mind or aren’t sure where to start. I think that the workshops are a great start for getting people going, and I’d like to see YuKonstruct add project brainstorming nights or similar events.

Why should people become YuKonstruct members?

Being able to access all of the tools and equipment is great – it’s been really fun for me learning how to use the laser cutter, and of course most people don’t have space for all of this stuff in their houses. Just as important for me is being part of a community of makers: meeting fun people, talking about projects that we’re working on, and getting inspiration and tips from other people.

What has been your favourite project so far?

A few years ago, I created a project for the Vancouver mini maker faire that was really fun. I’d always wanted to mechanically animate a living plant. I took a houseplant and a nitinol wire (shape-memory alloy) building kit, and wired up the backs of the leaves with nitinol joints. The plant would bend and curl its leaves, and because the wiring was all hidden it looked like the plant was moving on its own. Shape-memory alloy creates an unusually organic looking motion, so it was perfect for the project. The best thing was that the effect was quite subtle, so people walking past the table quickly didn’t realize there was anything unusual about the plant. Then they would see it out of the corner of their eye and do these great double-takes.

What are you working on now?

This is so nerdy! I’m trying to figure out how to computer generate a set of Tengwar (Lord of the Rings Elvish script) characters to laser cut into a circular inscription around an acrylic mirror. Then I want to fill in the letters with glow in the dark epoxy and set it into a wooden frame.