Made2Glow was created by Chris (mBlade) based in Alberta, Canada in 2018.
My electronics/programming/crafting knowledge was 100% self taught. From as early as I can remember, I would take things apart to learn how it works, sometimes they get put back together, or just recycled. I was heavily involved with radio controlled models in 1990 until 2012. My dad and I built nitro powered airplanes and flew in a club for many years. I designed and built custom prototype models such as a ground effect plane, and later on a gasoline powered duel engine 4' long hovercraft found here .
When I left home, I worked two jobs a day for 5 years (sometimes even a third job helping local makers/artists) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. By day I was a manual silkscreen printer and by night I opened and run a small hobby store where I was the clerk and mechanic 4 hours until 8pm.
At the silkscreen printing factory I enjoyed being a manual printer over automatic printer position as I got to think on my feet and invent new ways to print weird items that the sales people would present with me. Even then, if the automatic machine broke down, I'd be the first to run for the tools to take it apart and repair it. My boss loved me!
I did not own the hobby store, the owner would come in on Saturdays to manage it. My first week customers were relieved that I 'the new guy at the time' knew how to fix their radio controlled models. During that time I honed in my skills with electronics and soldering. I was busy, I raced On/Off road radio controlled cars every week, went flying electric aircraft. It was a good life. However it wasn't paying very well.
In 2007 I quit my jobs to radically change my life. I became a oilfield roughneck and moved Alberta, Canada. I had no family in Alberta, no friends. It was a clean start. I sold just about everything I had and set off with two suit cases. This decision turned out to be the best decision I ever made! I only lasted 3 months on the oil rigs in northern Alberta until I left it to pursue a career as a Steamfitter-Pipefitter in the local 488 union. First job was at the Petro Canada Refinery in Edmonton for the RCP1 project. Everything moved so fast, I finished my apprenticeship by 2010 and finally became debt free. In 2011 I bought a house that I'm still living in today. There I started building up my dream shop in the detached garage. I love working with my hands and creating new things, so this was perfect!
In 2012 I discovered the furry fandom, and there my interest in the radio control hobby pretty much stopped. December 2013 I got my fursuit from DandyLions LLC and suddenly realized that an all white Akita character looks great in art, but in real life, its a lot of white fur! The fandom for me was also a big life changer, I only had like one or two good friends in Alberta before. Now I have huge circles of amazing friends! The raw talent in the fandom is so inspiring, I meet great people that create such amazing things! I'm just glad I found my 'art' with lighting. Ask me to draw art, and you get a stick figure!
One day in March 2014, I had my body suit hanging in my shop, and was playing with a 12V RGB LED strip I got from Costco. Looked at the LEDs, then at my body suit, then back... and thought, "I wonder what this will look like". So I hung the LEDs inside off the hanger, and it hit me, LEDS in my suit looked great! With all the radio control knowledge and parts available, I crafted a crude athletic mesh body suit and simply peel+stick the IP65 (Gel coated) LEDS onto the body. I put the IR controller inside of my right paw and somehow it worked going through the paw and my body suit.
I went to VancouFur in Vancouver to debut my crazy LED masterpiece wearing a old worn puffy 2200 mAh lipo used for my helicopter/tricopter. It was a fun event, however I discovered right away that LEDs break, and break often, I ended up buying more and more LED kits from Costco to replace 2ft lengths at a time. I wore that light suit for a year until I created V2 light suit.
In 2015 I discovered Arduino and Neopixels (WS2812b). I took all my notes I learned from V1 and created V2. I still use it today with a few mods here and there. It is now much more durable and safer.
Its now 2018, 3 years after, I have been honing my skills in wearable electronics and programming. I've had a great experience in meeting awesome people at various events such as furry cons, festivals, and Burningman. The oil industry here in Alberta is dead, so I decided to follow my passion and start this business.
I see a need for a company like this that can take peoples lighting dream and make it a reality. I enjoy talking to people and getting their idea out there. Its tough going, its not oil money. I am still part of the union and plan on working a shut down from time to time to keep current. But this is my first job, working for you guys!