Biscuit Joiner Tips and Tricks
The Coolest Cutting Board Ever?
Workbench Tool Storage Solutions
Bevel-Up Jack Planes are a Workshop Workhorse
Drawbore Your Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery
Mounting Knife Hinges in Curved Doors
The Essential Tool Chest
A Woodturner's Guide to Chucks and Jaws
Speed Up Handplane Honing with Your Ruler
Customize Your Router for Centered Mortises
Hinge Mortises on the Tablesaw
Simple Tape Trick for Tight Fitting Through-Mortises
Capture More Dust from Your Router Table
How to Sharpen Hollow Chisel Mortising Bits
Smoothing Plane Tips and Techniques
Gadget Camp: Instilling Pride in Manufacturing Amongst Today's Youthcomments (0) August 29th, 2011 in blogs
How will the "makers" of the next generation get their start?
Lighting the creative spark in young people is difficult work. When you try to teach kids that designing and building unique furniture, crafts, and home solutions for consumers can be a viable career you encounter even more obstacles.
One very ingrained hurdle is the association of manufacturing with repetitive and dirty work. Another barrier is the pervasive assumption that it’s “men’s work.”
This summer, the Gadget Camp program is trying to change that perception.
A recent New York Times article, “At This Girls’ Camp, Crafts Take a Drill Press,”takes a look at a Gadget Camp workshop in suburban Chicago, one of nine camps sponsored in part by Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs, the Foundation of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, Intl..
Writer Motoko Rich followed a group of 16 girls, ranging in age from 11 to 15, as they learned a combination of basic technical skills and problem solving while designing and building pieces such as a cat feeder, a candy dispenser, jewelry, and music boxes from various materials. For example, one student wanted to make a lamp with a spinning lampshade. She explored different options for creating the lampshade, learned how to wire a battery, and affixed a motor properly so she could complete her project.
The sponsors and teachers hope the hands-on experience will show the participants that manufacturing isn’t always monotonous and that girls can do this kind of work, too. The goal is that someday these students will fill a critical need in American manufacturing. Rich writes:
Although the economy is wobbling and nearly 14 million people are looking for work, some employers are still having a hard time finding skilled workers for certain positions. Manufacturers in particular complain that few applicants can operate computerized equipment, read blueprints and solve production problems. And with the baby boomers starting to retire, these and other employers worry there will be few young workers willing or able to replace them. … Since the fragile recovery began, manufacturing is one of the few sectors that have added jobs. But the image of manufacturing as an occupation of the future has been tarnished by the exodus of factory jobs to foreign sites and the use of machinery to replace workers. Younger people, especially, see more alluring opportunities in digital technology, finance or health care.
Food for thought ...
There is a world of difference between custom artisanal and industrial manufacturing. Creative design, unique solutions, and problem solving are central, not peripheral or incidental, to custom work. Unfortunately, popular assumptions about any kind of manufacturing are more heavily influenced by industrial processes than by custom work. As long as working with your hands and using tools are perceived as menial, boring, and the exclusive province of male workers, there will be fewer custom artisans in future generations. Projects like Gadget Camp that try to reach young people, instill a sense of pride in manufacturing, and emphasize its inclusive potential for success can help make a difference.
Do you know of other people or projects trying to spread the word about custom manufacturing? Leave your comments and let us know.
This article is by CustomMade.com, the internet's largest marketplace for custom made goods.
posted in: blogs, manufacturing, youth
Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking
Become a Better Woodworker
About The Pro Shop Blog
Thinking about going pro and selling your woodwork? Or just want some advice on how to market your business and make it stand out in the marketplace? Well this blog’s for you.
A joint venture between Fine Woodworking and CustomMade, The Pro Shop will give you tips on selling custom furniture or just getting started in the business.
Questions for our bloggers? Post a comment here and we’ll try to address it in an upcoming post.
About Fine Woodworking: Your source for expert advice on woodworking and furniture making since 1975.
About CustomMade: An online marketplace designed to help serious craftspeople sell their wares and help customers locate a custom maker.