People I admire…

Some of you may have noticed I like to make stuff. Or at least talk about making stuff. Regardless, the ideas are there.

Being a sharing person, let me show you the sites of some people I admire for their skills and abilities, and why I admire them:

  • Mike Harrison – http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/
  • Kenneth Maxon – http://www.users.uswest.net/~kmaxon/
  • Tatja Van Vark – http://www.tatjavanvark.nl/index.html

Let’s start with Mike. Mike is the kind of guy who picks up a discarded high speed camera from the late 1980s and tries to get it working again. Having not received the control panel, he finds a picture of it and tries to guess how the control panel would talk to the main unit. He has some success, but is thwarted by the fact it records onto an esoteric data tape format, and the tape drive it came with is broken. Not to be put off easily, Mike builds his own controller and power supply, complete with direct driven LCD panel, and puts it all in the original box. He also has a bunch of other pages on his electronics projects..

Next up, Ken, or K’Max as he seems to call himself. His page is nominally about his robots. But if you look closer, there’s a huge series of writeups on all of his tools, including his home-built automated injection moulder, and some pages about things that he actually gets paid to do, which seems to be designing avionics systems. There are hundreds and hundreds of pages on tools, machining, electronics and more on his site.

Finally, Tatja Van Vark. She doesn’t actually maintain this site, but it’s pretty amazing. She’s built an improved clone of the Enigma Machine, reconstructed the navigation system from a cold-war era bomber and lots of other cool stuff. Some of the things she’s built, like the Harmonium and Antikythera Mechanism, are so complex I don’t even know what they do, let alone how they work.

So there you go.