MadridCrafted Bathymetric Maps: i3 member projects at Maker Faire Detroit

Maker Faire Detroit returns to the Henry Ford on July 27th and 28th, and as always, numerous projects by i3Detroit members will be on display. Among them, Dan Madrid’s laser-cut bathymetric maps:

Dan Madrid laser cutting bathymetric maps

Dan Madrid works at the Bumblebee laser

For the past several months, Dan has been a frequent sight in front of i3’s laser cutters, making plywood representations of the lakes we all know and love. It started as a hobby project, but he soon started getting requests and selling his work, following a path familiar to many of i3’s members. He’s started a small business called Madrid Crafted LLC, and most of his work is Michigan-focused.

As an MTU grad and still a frequent visitor to the UP, Dan’s most popular piece by far is Lake Superior, shown here on the wall of the Keweenaw Brewing Company tap room in Houghton:

Lake Superior bathymetric map on the wall at KBC

Lake Superior bathymetric map on the wall at KBC

But Dan wasn’t always an i3Detroit member — as a Ford employee, his first experience with laser-cut art was at TechShop. “They had a great woodshop, but what really hit me was the laser cutters.” The experience was eye-opening, but short-lived. After TechShop closed in late 2017, he searched for another nearby makerspace, and found The Village Workshop in Northville, close to his home in Livonia. There, woodworking and laser-cutting went from a hobby to a real side business, but The Village Workshop likewise shut down in early 2019. Dan went on the search again and found i3Detroit, a longer drive but a totally different community.

“Techshop and The Village Workshop were great places, I don’t want to disparage them, but when I came here there was a much greater sense of community. There it was much more like a business transaction, like I pay you, and I get access to your shop. There wasn’t — at least when I was there — there wasn’t much of a community aspect. When I came here, people come here to do projects, but they also come here to build relationships with the other people here. I didn’t experience that at the other places. … I know I see other people working on things and I know I can ask, hey what’s that? And that sparks some curiosity and discussion.”

That community is what drove Dan to show off his work at Maker Faire for the first time: “Having started a small business, my goal this year was to go to one farmer’s market, fair, something like that. And the nice thing is, there’s a community aspect to this, so it’s not just me finding a place on my own and figuring it out, we get to do it together.”