About

Introduction

Hello, I’m Dan Meyer and my pronouns are He/Him and They/Them!

I am a:

Manufacturing Technologist

who helps...

Humans
Optimize Designs
for
Manufacturing

Personal Background

I was born in and currently live in the city of Chicago with my spouse Jet (pronouns They/Them).

Dan and Jet

Experience

I have been helping humans optimize manufacturing since 1991. That’s about 29 years. I love design and fabrication and enjoy experiencing the process flow that connects them. I have worked with almost every manufacturing process there is, but I am world expert in die casting, a high speed metal casting process.

Education

I have a Bachelors degree in Manufacturing Technology and Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before that I received an Associates Degree in Manufacturing Technology from Prairie State College in Chicago Heights Illinois.

Fabrication and Community

I have been a connecting people in Chicago’s fabrication and maker scene for over a decade. Chicago’s makers come from a wide range of communities and spaces. There seems to be a long history of mashing up art and fabrication here in Chicago, and Fab Labs and Hackerspaces have accelerated connecting people from these diverse and often separated communities to collaborate together.

In 2011 I hosted the first Maker Summit connecting makers to each other in the Chicago regional area. This led to one of my core responsibilities to be communications and connecting. I am closely involved with Chicago’s two hackerspaces: South Side Hackerspace: Chicago and Pumping Station: One. I have advised on the startup of many of Chicago’s maker spaces. Recently I have been advising new Fab Labs opening in Schools across Chicagoland, especially schools in under-resourced areas.

Fab Lab Senior Manager 2011 - Present

Wanger Family Fab Lab at the Museum of Scinece and Industry, Chicago

Photo of Dan with the MSI Team in their Fab Lab

Above: The MSI Chicago Fab Lab Team. Left to Right: Liz, Jen, Patrick, me, Eric, Gerard, Kyle

I am currently the Senior Fab Lab Manager at the Wanger Family Fab Lab at the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago.

Our Fab Lab serves the following people in order of priority:

  1. Students (Public High School in 3 mile radius)
  2. Educators (Chicago Area)
  3. Guests (Museum Patrons)

The MSI Chicago Fab Lab was installed in 2007-2008 by the MIT CBA and the MSI with help from NSF, DOE, Argon National Labs, U of Chicago and IIT. The Fab 4 (or 5?) conference was hosted here. In 2011 I became the Fab Lab Manager and was tasked with increasing the use of the Fab Lab. Over past 10 years my team has optimized our fab lab, with the powerful support and legacy of the MSI behind us, to better serve the community it operates in. In 2011 we had about 900 people visit our Fab Lab to design and fabricate something. In 2019 we had over 12,000 people design and make something.

User Statistics

Bar graph showing 900 visits in 2011 increasing to 12,452 by 2019

Professional Digital Fabrication 1991 - 2011

In 1991 I had graduated high school and entered my local community college, Prairie State. Here I studied Manufacturing Technology. I learned manual machining and welding. This was coupled with learning Computer Aided Design and manufacturing as well as robotics. Eventually I progressed to Computer Integrated Manufacturing. It was awesome! Now I could command computers and machines to build almost anything! I spent long hours lost in the depths of every detail of small training robots and coding g and m code by hand for CNC machines. My final project was programming a small automated work-cell that contained a robot, conveyor and CNC lathe. The robot would unload and load the lathe that CNC machined small chess pawns of my own design. My instructor informed me that I was the first student to exhaust all the exercises in the manual that came with the training work cell… and I wished there was more.

During my studies at Prairie State College I paid my tuition by working in the metal casting industry. I started in sand casting as a machinist, welder and eventually foreman. then entered the highly automated die casting industry. I worked at several die casting companies over the years as a process engineer, and project manager. I then shifted to the non profit world working for a manufacturing trade association the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA). At NADCA I was a design engineer working on research projects with the DOD and DOE as well as developing and teaching courses on die casting design and die casting factory operations.

Add photos of NADCA die caster and desinner couses Here

Link to NADCA Design website.

Dan with sister showing how a large boxy machining center works via a crt screen an array of buttons and knobs and dials below the crt Above: Showing my sister how a Mazak CNC Machining Center Works, 1993