Maui Makers: Made on Maui

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Jerry Isdale, Maui Makers
Maui Makers founder Jerry Isdale works on an Arduino microcontroller-powered Game Show button + LED project for a local magician. No, we don’t know what that is, either. Visit Maui Makers, and Jerry will tell you.

“It’s been bootstrapping its way up,” says president Laura Ulibarri, a fan of 3D printing who has printed everything from a Technicolor ‘ukulele to a bust of her husband’s head that won a prize at the Maui Fair. “Everything’s been donated, it’s all volunteer, and it’s focused on the community and what the community wants a maker space to be.” Founder Jerry Isdale, a techie whose recent projects have included wearable electronics, says, beyond education and camaraderie, the group’s mission is wide open. “The focus here is on whatever members show up to do,” he says.

For Mishkin Derakhshan, it started with electronics. “I wanted to learn about Arduino [an open-source electronics programming system], and program a flashing-light thing for one of my kids,” he says. But after completing the high-tech “puzzle box” for his four-year-old, Derakhshan stuck around. He’d long been intrigued by woodworking—especially building with hand tools—and had been learning about it on YouTube. Now he was inspired to try making something on his own. He started by building a craft table for his kids, and went on to make picture frames, a toolbox, and props and puzzles for Maui Escape Rooms, of which he is co-owner. “I’m an amateur, so I’m still honing my skills,” he says.

maui table saw equipment
Maui Makers isn’t just about electronics and 3D printing. Mishkin Derashkin uses the organization’s table saw on a variety of projects.

Derakhshan signed up for a sharpening class that inspired him to work with chisels and a hand plane. He loves having access to experienced builders who are always on hand to offer a second opinion when he’s struggling with a project. But, he says, the biggest advantage to joining the group was getting immediate access to a workshop full of tools that would have taken him years to assemble. “Once you’ve proven yourself and shown you can use the tools safely, you can be approved for after-hours access,” he says. That’s been a boon to this father of three, who loves spending time in the workshop at night, after his kids are asleep. “It’s my moment of peace and Zen.”

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