Good Makers Make Good Neighbors

I was just starting to feel smug about my proficiency with the handheld router, when Phillip Huizinga, my neighbor across the street, introduced me to his CNC (Computer Numerical Control) cutting machine. Cue the Crocodile Dundee gifThat’s not a router… This is a router.

Large enough to hold a 4×8 sheet of plywood, the CNC router fills Phillip’s entire garage. It reminds me of the Harrow, that fiendish instrument of torture from Franz Kafka’s The Penal Colony. It also helps explain how Phillip is able to make such beautiful functional things in his music production studio, Good Tomato Audio.

Here’s the entry to Phillip’s studio above the garage. He made all the trim work, including the acoustical panels on walls and ceiling. That white LEGO City-looking thing leaning against the keyboard is a sound absorber made using the CNC machine.

Here’s a sound absorber in progress.

I don’t know much about music, but I suspect the absorbers soak up sound that comes from here, when Phillip is producing.

Check out this custom cabinet, which Phillip designed with CAD (Computer Assisted Design) software and the CNC router, to hold his microphone collection…

…and this handmade amp case with precise finger joints where top and side panels meet.
My favorite thing in the studio is the sign. When I ask Phillip how he made it, he says it was easy: Wood, Christmas lights, CNC router.

To my eye, there’s nothing easy about that router—or the multiple 3-D printers in Phillip’s garage. If I know anything about computers, it’s Garbage In, Garbage Out. CNC tools can do only so much without competency in software and hardware, to say nothing of creativity.

So I ask Phillip how he learned to do all this, and he blames the broken heater on an old Datsun station wagon. His dad was an engineer who wasn’t willing to pay someone else to repair the car, so he entrusted his 11-year-old son with the job. Phillip says, “He handed me a bucket of plumbing supplies and said, ‘Fix it.'”

For more information about Phillip’s custom cabinetry and music production, visit Good Tomato Audio on Facebook.

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