Maker Spotlight: Peter Rifken

Name: Peter Rifken

Location: Boston, MA

Day Job: Software Application Solutions Engineer at Quick Base

Makerspace: While not currently associated, I have belonged to, taken, and taught a few courses at the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA.

Editor note: this Maker Spotlight becomes part of a Quick Base and Make: collaboration

How did you begin making?

I caught the bug in my last year of college, when I invested the much better part of the summer season helping a coach of mine with some significant building renovations. The front entranceway and cooking area of the residential or commercial property had been degrading for several years, and we required to scrape back the bad paint, re-plaster old walls, and re-paint. Other jobs consisted of re-glazing the period windows and a great deal of time with a heat gun. I discovered the happiness of requiring time and care to plan and carry out on a job, the frustration of things not going rather as planned, and obviously the complete satisfaction of assessing a job well done and lessons discovered. I likewise found out that the ghosts (flaws) of every job haunt you for eternity.

How would you categorize yourself as a maker?

Making for me has actually constantly had to do with the journey of creating services to significant issues just beyond my convenience zone. I enjoy the procedure of diving deep into an unknown world in pursuit of understanding, moving quickly to discover a quick win, and laying the bricks on the foundation up until I’ve gotten to mastery. As I’ve gotten older, the focus of this procedure has actually developed. As a kid, it was endless drawings of how I believed robotics operated in a sketch book. As a teen, the focus was mathematics. In college, it was engineering and home enhancement projects. Over the last 5 years, I’ve had the opportunity to mentor high school trainees in structure actual robots! Making has actually constantly been for me about ignoring each job with a somewhat much better appreciation for how the world works along with somewhat more ready to solve the next, more difficult, and more gratifying problem.

Inform us about one of your preferred tasks?

A few years back, I asked our robotics students to develop a Tee shirt Cannon robotic for the functions of raising awareness of STEM/Robotics at the school however more importantly since it was a friggin’ cool way to get trainees hooked on robotics. We needed to learn how to safely consist of and launch extremely high-pressure air, and there was a great deal of trial, error, and version prior to we finally fired our very first effective long-range chance ats a school occasion. I enjoyed this task due to the fact that of the cumulative discovering it made it possible for, the pride the trainees felt seeing their effort settle, and the motivating impact the show had on the audiences.

What would you like to do in the future?

My hope is that I still enjoy and am rewarded by the work I do as much as I am today, and that I have a bigger store with bigger machines that enable me to resolve more interesting problems. Ideally this store is in Maine along the water.

Any recommendations for other makers?

One of the difficulties of the Maker Motion is that some people believe that a Maker is somebody to end up being, and that you’ve just shown up when you have actually developed a robotic wiz-bang including LEDs and a customized CNC enclosure. There are some incredible jobs included at Make occasions and in the publication that probably influence some to delve into the fray and certainly scare others away. “That’s not for me”, some may believe. The truth is, being a Maker is just exercising our intrinsic human imagination. It constantly makes me sad to hear somebody say, “I do not have an imaginative bone in my body” and my remark is “Yes, you do, and I’m sorry somebody along the method led you to think otherwise.” Success as a maker isn’t in making something outstanding, rather that you have actually done something that put you “in the zone” (you know, that place you go to do something imaginative that makes your forget time for a few hours).

My guidance is to:

a) Attempt not to compare your maker journey to those around you.

b) Base on the shoulders of giants. YouTube is an unbelievable resource for any issue you are attempting to solve. Take advantage of the online neighborhoods as there is someone on the planet that has lived your discomfort and can help you through any place you remain in the task.

c) Work as difficult as you can to break jobs into small parts. Take one part and make it as simple as possible, then work and repair like mad till you have your “Hello World” moment. The enjoyment of winning and the fulfillment of making progress will provide you the inspiration to keep going. Every issue can be broken into manageable, bite-sized parts!

d) Always exercise your imagination muscles (Yes, you have them!). Keep a sketch pad or journal at hand, and even when you face a stretch where work, household, and life keep you far from serious making, take ten minutes to doodle a scene and color it in.


Peter took his passion for making and integrated it into his full-time career where he’s making throughout the day with Quick Base, a custom-made application building platform that does not require professional coding abilities. If you can work in an Excel spreadsheet, you can develop applications with Quick Base!

Inspired by Peter’s story? Find out how to build like him with a free Quick Base contractor license. Anybody can develop a complimentary Quick Base Builder Program account, from workplace issue solvers and tech professionals to trainees. Participants in the Builder Program access to Quick Base’s user-friendly platform as well as educational resources to assist them discover how to construct their own apps. Unlike traditional designer programs, which are meant for expert software application developers, the Quick Base Contractor Program is created for workplace problem solvers interested in developing the skills and knowledge necessary to create effective custom service applications.

You can meet Peter and our other Quick Base maker magicians at Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA from May 17-19,2019 Register for a session with a Quick Base specialist at the event– you’ll leave with an application constructed and tailored just for you in just 30 minutes! Declare a session time here

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