Guest Blogger Joshua Munchow: Oh, to be a Maker, Part I

“The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking. The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I would have become a watchmaker.” – Albert Einstein

The Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT) guest blogger for this week, Joshua Munchow, is a professional model maker who has worked on a variety of fabulous projects for many years.

He is employed as the Technical Development Lead for Formation Design Group Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.

They are a product development firm focusing on new product innovation and have won numerous design awards and patents for their innovative design solutions.

Josh is a trusted friend of Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT) and his writing and perspective will be featured in this space this week as well as next week. Conflicts exist everywhere, even in the field of applied design and the fine arts, and Josh has a unique perspective based in international travel, a rapacious curiosity and a continuing desire to be the best.
Plus, he’s the only person that we’ve met in our travels around the country who is a passionate watchmaker.
Please take the time to read Josh’s words and perspective and follow him on Twitter @JoshuaMunchow. By the way, we here at HSCT want to emphasize that Joshua’s words and perspective either here in part 1 or next week in part 2, reflect the views, policies or approach of Formation Design Group, Inc. They are his own and we appreciate them.

Please take the time to contact Formation Design Group, Inc. for all your product development needs.

Formation Design Group
555 Dutch Valley Road
Atlanta GA 30324 U.S.A.
T   404.885.1301
F   404.885.1302
Twitter: @FormationDG
Watch Parts
I am a maker.
I am a creator of objects, a fabricator of ideas, and solution seeker.
When I say I am a maker, I don’t mean it in the current pop-culture sense.
I do not consider myself to be a part of the maker movement ideology.
I do not make things in my spare time, and it is not a hobby.
I graduated from college with a degree in modelmaking (read: learned to make anything you have to) and am currently working for a design and engineering consultancy as the shop manager and lead prototype developer. I make things for a living.
Making things in whatever regard sets you apart from a majority of other people simply because you look at problems differently. This is why when it comes to finances a CPA would view a problem with the deductions for a coffee shop much differently than me as it is their area of specialty.
For me, my entire life has been and will continue to be about making things and everything that goes with that. This inevitably leads to a problem.
When a majority of your skills are in an arena that many people don’t relate to, or as the designers I work with have to contend with, skills that seem superficially easy to a client wanting to make or save money, communication problems can arise.
With communication issues comes conflict for the entire creative process. We (the makers) need to earn a living and someone needs to have something made. Anyone who has ever been hired, contracted, commissioned, or lobbied to create something for another knows that the greatest struggle is trying to communicate the reality of how things work, what is possible and more often, how much things actually cost.
In my line of work, I utilize CNC machining, CAD/CAM drafting, and an array of other tools that make my job seem very cutting edge to those on the outside. But what many fail to realize is the extensive time and manpower that will inevitably be called upon in the development process.
Clients in this field have a tendency to want twice the work for half the price because they believe we can simply program the machine to do it. In the big picture, that can be an accurate generalization for some aspects of developing prototypes, but it falls short of a thorough understanding of what it can take to create something from an idea. CAD data needs to be created from quick sketches, parts need to be designed, programmed, fabricated, tested, revised, remade, and finally finished in a way that the idea can be communicated without any loss of clarity.
Most inspiring, however, the general knowledge of how things are made and the techniques used today are growing every day, but that growth can develop a misunderstanding. I blame this on short articles that appear in dozens of general interest magazines. For example, try picking up an issue of Popular Mechanics/Science without reading about 3D printers.
The general public and even those in the industry tend to read articles (aimed at an almost completely uninformed population) and derive the idea that making, designing, or manufacturing things is pretty easy now. And cheap. This leads to the biggest challenge with communication and conflict between clients and agencies: Describe the real world without sounding condescending to someone who might lack your depth of knowledge but is willing to pay you.
Then try doing that while also trying to convince them that your way of doing things is probably better too. There are many talented people who completely understand their business but might have never needed to know how their part would be injection molded and how much it should cost. This then becomes a truly difficult task and one that I have had to recently begin dealing with more as I become more involved with the entire development process.
Next week: Part II
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Mediator/Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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