Featured Maker – Jeff Cotten!

Jeff is probably one of our most well-known members. He has been involved since the very beginning, and has been involved with a wide variety of projects and events in his time with us. Click through to learn more about this illustrious member! If you’d like to nominate a member to be a featured maker, please email blog@makerslocal.org with your suggestion!

Maker Cred: I am proud to say that I’m one of the ten members that founded Makers Local 256 nine years ago.  I was first exposed to the idea of a hackerspace at the 2600 meetings, where attendees were passing around floorplan sketches of what their ideal hackerspace would look like.  I myself had just graduated from UAH, and was losing access to my student IEEE laboratory space.  My desire to have a coworking space and a place to share tools meshed well with their vision, and not long after I was scouting property for us.

Area of Expertise: My area of expertise would be software development.  Professionally I am a C# developer, but my favorite is embedded development.  I really enjoy seeing components light up, move, and physically interact with their environment.  I love watching what can be done in 15 minutes with an Arduino or a RaspberryPi that used to take me hours with an MSP430. When I’m not working on an embedded project, I try to hone my craftier skills.  I really enjoy cooking, and lately have picked up leatherworking.  I’m by no means an expert, but I could get someone started 🙂

Current Project: My most recent project was building a custom spoon rack for my wife Michele, a project we did together.  Ever since we moved into our new house I could see how excited she was at the prospect of getting to display her collection, and her excitement for the project was contagious.  I am horribly beginner-level with fabrication, so my favorite part of the project was learning how to use countersink bits.  I’ve drilled a LOT of awful looking holes, and it was fun learning how to make them look more intentional.   The biggest challenge was visualizing the spacing of where to put the rows.  We wanted to make sure we didn’t crowd the area, but also maximized usage of our available space.

Fun Fact: I have a collection of over a dozen puzzle boxes, each housing a secret compartment with a unique implementation for opening.  I started collecting when I was young, and hope one day to make one of my own design.

Favorite Shop Event: My favorite shop events are the skill sharing sessions we do throughout the year.  I love that I can ask someone to teach me to fix my bike, weld, use a lathe, stand up a telephony system, or brew a beer, and someone is willing to share what they know in a one-on-one session or in a small group.

Talk to Him About: I really like discussing personalities and human interactions.  Everything from the Myers-Briggs indicator, G. Champan’s ideas on the languages of love, to the designs for user experience in software.  I also like talking about cooking.  I’m still at the follow-a-recipe stage of my culinary arting, so I love hearing about what dishes other people have cooked up.

A Photo For Reference: One of our earliest members, Justin Richards, taught me how to develop my own film.  This was shot on a 35mm camera, and with his teaching I developed it myself 🙂  Pictured here is the test strip I used to get the exposure time correct, and the final product.


  1. I am Jeff’s momma and I like him a lot.

  2. I am not related to Jeff and I think he’s all right.

  3. Jeff thinks we are related, but he is mistaken. It’s ok though, he’s not a bad person.

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