Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our makerspace.
Glenn Piwowar has been a registered Professional Engineer in the Yukon for more than 20 years and is a proponent of the Maker’s 3Rs: “Repair, Re-purpose, Re-create.”
Glenn, what’s your role at YuKonstruct?
I help host the Repair Cafe held on the fourth Friday of every month. I am also a Director, and a member.
What made you want to join YuKonstruct?
I have always been a tinkerer, and loved to fix things. Also, for a long time I have wanted to do more physical, hands-on things so I set up a shop in my basement and subscribed to Make magazine. As soon as I heard about the possibility of a local makerspace, I wanted to get involved. I hoped to meet and collaborate with like-minded folks, and learn from some of the very talented people in our community. I have to say – it’s been a hoot!
How did you get involved?
At an early stage I decided I wanted to be active in YuKonstruct, and I mentioned that fact when I filled out a survey at one of the early kickoff events. As a result I was approached (initially by Amelia) to help host the first Repair Cafe event. Later I was invited to serve on the Board of Directors.
What do you like most about YuKonstruct being up and running?
It’s great to have some stability in the operation, including a full suite of tools, so that members can concentrate on making, rather than organizing and setting up.
Why should people become YuKonstruct members?
There are a number of advantages and privileges available only to members, like many of the introductory training courses. However, another reason to become a member is to “vote with your wallet” and show your support for this great initiative.
What do you like to make and tinker with?
I hate to see good things go into the landfill, often for a simply for a lack of minor maintenance (like cleaning and oiling), or not understanding how it works. I like to take favourite old appliances that are on the verge of heading to the dump, and with a little time and imagination give them a new lease on life.
What has been your favourite project so far?
My favourite repair project at YuKonstruct so far has been getting the ceiling paddle fan working. A supplier sent the wrong replacement part for the speed control, but with some help from Dan, another regular at the Repair Cafe, and some hints we gleaned online, we were able to wire it up and make it work!
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while making something?
During the first Repair Cafe, I disassembled a large floor fan. It turned out that there nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t know how to turn it on! The cover was gone from the control dial, and once I had it apart, it became clear which positions were “On” and “Off”.
What are you working on now?
We are hoping to get a garage sale (antique) Geiger Counter working – I think we are just about there! It will be a cool link to the heyday of 1950s mineral exploration in the Yukon.
What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?
“Just do it!” Even if you don’t have a project in mind at the moment, come on down to see what others are doing. You can talk to folks, maybe help on someone else’s project. There are lots of things to learn, from using tools properly and safely, to the principles of mechanics, programming, high and low tech… there’s a whole spectrum.