When Estefannie traded her knitting needles for a soldering iron, well, watch out world.
It’s likely you once made a gingerbread house and you probably helped eat one, too. But if you’re Estefannie, you made one with a solar powered roof and colorful lights that blinked in rhythm with the Christmas music. Little gingerbread people danced via tiny motors.
“I could control it with my iPad,” she said. “I was building more and more on top of the little house and that was my favorite project.”
One of the latest projects for this Houston Maker is a pair of glasses adorned with 88 LEDs. Imagine how you’d feel after you 3D print the glasses and then soldered the 352 tiny joints of those 88 lights and then discovered the glasses don’t work. If you are Estefannie, you keep working at it until they do. It took her weeks.
“These glasses have a lot of abilities. I want to program a lot of patterns and colors and it’s an ongoing project.”
The self-taught Maker of the smart gingerbread house, the glasses, a 3D Printed Daft Punk Helmet and dozens of other projects will be speaking at Maker Faire Miami coming to Miami Dade College April 6-7. Estefannie’s message to Makers-in-the-making: “Don’t give up. Don’t feel like you don’t have it in you. There is no such thing as you aren’t born with it.”
Estefannie’s talk will be titled Makers Gonna Break.
In making, breaking things is part of the learning process, she said (she once burned her kitchen island — oops). And about that helmet: “I broke a lot of things, I made a big mess, but I was able to make it,” Estefannie said. “My talk will be about hopefully inspiring people to start making things or continue making things and not being afraid of making mistakes along the way.”
By day, Estefannie is a software engineering lead for a tech company developing a self-driving drilling rig. “It’s a very cool job and very hard on its own. I needed some outlets for my creative self.”
After hours Estefannie goes into her Maker zone – Estefannie Explains It All – and unlike for her day job, no degree required. She taught herself with the help of Google and YouTube. She’s also learning about video, staging and lighting because she shares her projects and processes with the world. On weekends it can be all-consuming, but it’s her passion.
“I think I always had something in me, I’ve always liked to do things with my hands. I used to knit, but when I learned how to solder and learned more about electronics I realized I liked it more than knitting, I find soldering as soothing as knitting.”
What’s her next frontier as a Maker? “Bigger and scarier” projects. “I would like to keep going with what I’m doing — but more.”
Estefannie won’t give up the goods when asked about her current project: “Let’s just say it’s a project I have never done before, it’s one of the biggest projects that I have made, I can bring it to places with me, it involves a lot of woodworking I have never done before and electronics stuff and it’s part of the music industry. That is all I am going to say.”