How to Build Stuff: A Free Short Course on Making Prototypes by Entrepreneur Dan Gelbart

Dan Gel­bart, a Van­cou­ver-based elec­tri­cal engi­neer, helped cre­ate a com­pa­ny called Creo, which Kodak bought in 2005 for rough­ly $1 bil­lion. If you read Gel­bart’s short auto­bi­og­ra­phy here, you can learn about the arc of his career: About how, dur­ing his ear­ly years, he start­ed work­ing for a tech com­pa­ny that pro­duced high-speed film recorders. And about how Gel­bart told the com­pa­ny that he could build a bet­ter film recorder, at a cheap­er price. And he could do it in the base­ment of his home. He explains:

After a crash course in optics, I changed the design [of the recorder], but sur­pris­ing­ly man­aged to deliv­er a ship­pable pro­to­type in 12 months with only one per­son work­ing with me. I had a small met­al­work­ing work­shop at home, many of the machines home-built, and this allowed me to fab­ri­cate most of the parts for the pro­to­type myself.

I now have a won­der­ful CNC machine shop at home, but I don’t have the bound­less enthu­si­asm of those days. How­ev­er, I still build all my pro­to­types myself, find­ing it to be faster than send­ing out draw­ings and wait­ing for parts.

Above, you can watch what Gel­bart calls “A Short Course on How to Build Stuff,” a series of 18 videos designed for stu­dents and sci­en­tists who want to build pro­to­types very quick­ly, using machines that are easy to mas­ter. Writes Make mag­a­zine, the “series begins by demon­strat­ing how to use and mod­i­fy his favorite shop tools, and reveals all kinds of enlight­en­ing short­cuts that make com­pli­cat­ed assem­blies triv­ial to pro­duce. There is a true art to uncom­pli­cat­ing things, a rar­i­ty for some engi­neers.”

You can access the com­plete playlist here. Indi­vid­ual top­ics include:

1. Intro­duc­tion
2. Safe­ty
3. Water­jet
4. Bend­ing
5. Spot Weld­ing
6. Coat­ings
7. Press­work
8. Enclo­sures
9. Mate­ri­als
10. Flex­ures
11. Non-met­als
12. Plas­tics Form­ing and Cast­ing
13. Large Struc­tures
14. Braz­ing
15. Mill and Lathe
16. Machin­ing
17. High Accu­ra­cy
18. Design

Gel­bart’s course will be added to our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

via Metafil­ter

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