YOU NEVER MET A
MAKER QUITE LIKE
ME: Andrew Archer,
22, fronts the team at
based in Detroit and
Ann Arbor, Mich.
By Dale Dougherty
Young makers are seizing
breakout opportunities on the
wild frontier of Detroit.
Hobbyists. That was the keyword Andrew Archer used
in his help-wanted ad on Craigslist. Andrew needed help
completing a large robot he was developing for use in
auto factories. He wanted to target hobbyists who were
curious and willing to figure things out for themselves.
Jeff Sturges saw the ad and responded. Like Andrew, Jeff
had moved to Detroit within the last year.
Fab Lab. In Detroit, he was able to buy a house
for $500, and he rode his bike around town to
live on the cheap. Jeff, who grew up in the Boston
area, has a degree in architecture from Cran-brook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.,
Andrew was offering only $10 to $12 an hour,
but Jeff thought it was more interesting than
any IT job he might find. On the phone, Jeff told
Andrew about a community meeting for Maker
Faire Detroit at the Henry Ford Museum that
Sunday, and they agreed to meet there. That’s
where I met both of them in January of this year.
Jeff had moved from New York City, where he’d
been involved in the Sustainable South Bronx
Andrew had moved to Detroit from Duluth,
Minn., where he’d started his company, Robotics
Redefined. He was using off-the-shelf components to design new kinds of robots for factories.
He said he had a dozen contractors working for
him and had sales worldwide. I had to ask how
old he was. “Twenty-one,” he said. I immediately
thought that finding people like Andrew and Jeff
was a good sign for Detroit, and that makers
were already connecting with each other. >>
Photography by Brian Kelly
30 Make: Volume