Maker Feature – Jeff McLeid
Today’s Maker Feature is about Jeff from Twisted Scenic. We’ve heard from Jeff before when he shared about his Bonnaroo sign build. Today, we get a look behind the scenes to hear more about his personal maker story and background.
Q: Tell us a little about your background as a Maker.
A few years ago I was a “flying director” for a performer flying FX company. My job was to build the fly systems, rig it to the building, and choreograph the flights. I mainly did musicals such as Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka, etc. While onsite in Seoul, South Korea, I suffered an injury that forever changed my life. I developed a neurological disease called CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) in my dominate shoulder, arm, and hand. My brain fires to my pain receptors 24 hours a day, telling it that I’m in a level 6-8 pain. CRPS is one of the, if not the, most painful chronic pain ailments and there’s never a true moment of relief, and no cure.
With that being said, I had to find a way to still maintain being creative and finding something financially lucrative. I started a theatrical scene shop that focus’s on props, sets, and scenic elements for tv/film, music festivals, theatre, and corporate events. Within this journey I’ve had several limitations that make building things very difficult so I started going down the CNC road. After owning a smaller CNC I was in need of something that could actually do 4×8 sheets. This is when I discovered the Maker Made CNC. This machine has helped me continue to create and gives me the ability to do what I once could easily do but no longer can. I still have to digitally draw, program, assemble and finish but this product allows me to be accurate with minimal effort. I can’t thank the makers of these machines enough for giving me back what I once assumed was forever lost.
Q: What was the biggest struggle in getting your Maslow set up? How did you resolve it?
Jeff: Calibration was my biggest struggle. After trying to troubleshoot it myself and searching for answers, I just emailed you all and someone walked me through what I needed. Top notch customer service.
Q: How often do you use your Maslow?
So far we’ve used it 3-4 times but have plans to use it significantly more often in the very near future.
Q: Is there anything unique about the way you use your Maslow?
I own a scenic shop for entertainment production. We’re constantly making off the wall one-off pieces and it can be from just about any material. When we first set our machine up we cut a piece of MDF just to see if was accurate. Next we decided to throw a piece of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) on there and it cut like butter! The material is soft yet super dense, think outdoor playgrounds and cutting boards. Next I cut a piece of 3/8″ polycarbonate, 1/4″ plexi and 1/4″ high density PVC. At some point I will run sheets of foam for routing out wall panels for sets/haunted houses/Christmas experiences.
Q: What is your favorite project you’ve built?
Since we’ve not had ours terribly long (just over a month), I’d have to say the infinity mirror Bonnaroo sign for their “Sanctuary of Self Love” section of the festival. It was several layers thick and everything had to line up perfectly.
Q: What is a dream project you’d like to build?
Such a difficult question to answer; so let me paint a picture. Our shop is kind of like Tim the Tool Man Taylor and we believe in more power and doing things in a somewhat unconventional way. We’re artists that are fortunate enough to know how to build. So it’s not a project that I want to build per se as much as I want to run this machine in ways that will blow people’s mind that it came from a machine that cost less than $1000 (all in).
Thanks to Jeff for his time in answering our questions and being a part of our community. If you’d like to keep up with Jeff and keep track of his incredible projects you can follow him on Instagram @kilted_artist and @twisted_scenic on Facebook at @twisted_scenic and his website www.twistedscenic.com.