Featured Maker: Tom McGuire

Posted: February 17, 2016 2:03 pm
Tom McGuire, MakeICT's makerspace director.

Tom McGuire, MakeICT’s makerspace director.

This month, our Makerspace Program Director, Tom McGuire, is MakeICT ‘s Featured Maker. We asked him about MakeICT and his favorite personal project.

“I don’t get a chance to really work on it too much, but the foam cutting machine is my primary project right now. It can take a drawing that you make on a computer and cut it out of 1/4 inch thick Styrofoam sheets,” McGuire said.

He has six machines now and is working on two more.

McGuire started the foam cutter back in 2008 when he was asked for help working with foam. The project continued to evolve into other projects during the years since.

He has used the resources at MakeICT to help him further refine the design and function of the foam cutter.

Tom working on his CNC foam cutter.

Tom working on his CNC foam cutter.

“I’m still working on it and MakeICT is a big part of the progress, both with software development and seeing how other people like to use the thing.” McGuire added, “Dominic is working with me to make the software better. It’s looking good.”

McGuire says that giving other makers advice about starting their own foam cutting projects has been problematic.

“It’s always been too complicated to expect other people to try to do. Someday I hope to tell them to go to Instructables.com and learn everything they want to know to make one. That’s still in the works, but the advances we are making on it will make that possible.”

McGuire has been tinkering with things since he was very young.

“I never did mess with cars too much, but I did get hooked into electronics and made a career out of it. Now I work at WSU showing students how to learn and make things.”

McGuire is also thinking about future projects.

Project wall at Tom's house featuring various foam objects made on his machines.

Project wall at MakeICT featuring various foam objects made on Tom’s machine.

“When I retire I want to build a machine that makes some of the strangest and most beautiful music.”

When asked about MakeICT, McGuire says, “It’s always fun to be a part of something that is growing. I make friends there that I never knew existed before. It’s like a big flower pot full of really good dirt.”