Meet the Maker: Douglas Henley

Meet Douglas Henley of ‘’Doo-Rite Robotics”

GHMMF: Tell me what your project/exhibit is about.

img_0009DH: My exhibit will show that I give new life to discarded or forgotten objects. My sculptures average two-feet in height and have a humanoid likeness or that of a robot.  The exhibit will display my creations and visitors will be able to identify many household items found in my sculptures.

GHMMF: What inspired you to start working on your project?

DH: I’m an avid HO model train enthusiast with a layout in my basement.  A typical layout can take many years to complete and because of the details, kit building, wiring, etc. some never get to the stage of completion.  I guess I wanted to complete something in a short amount of time and display it.  I also wanted to make something that others could display in their homes or offices, so that the joy that I had making the item could translate to someone else, somewhere else.  Ironically as I think about what got me inspired it was my wife that always saw a face when looking at the front of a car, this became a cool activity for us to see if the design of a particular car had eyes, a nose, a mouth etc. Then one day when I was about to discard an old Apple wireless router, I held the piece up and I saw a face or a face saw me…….I showed my wife and we agreed that this old piece of computer equipment had an expression.  I then found a body (an AT&T router), I had an old handle of a portable steamer hose and when split apart it became legs and with these pieces I put together my first robot and named him, Johnathan.

GHMMF: What do you hope to do with your project in the future?

 DH: I hope to always be able to find inspiration in the treasures that I come across in my daily travels and continue to create new robot sculptures.

In addition, I am currently the Director of Facilities for CREC and the CREC Magnet Schools and I would like to inspire my schools to get more involved in the maker movement.

GHMMF: What inspired you to start making? img_0015

DH: My inspiration to begin making anything especially my robots can be traced to my grandfather.  As a child I watched him make something he needed utilizing whatever materials he had on hand.  While spending sunny afternoons in his backyard I would learn to take apart things and I had an endless supply of items to dismantle.  I have an early memory of sneaking tools out of his workshop in my mission to open up a typewriter to later use the parts and pieces to make something or another. The typewriter and so many other items were available from the back of the red pick-up truck of the junk-man that lived across the street.  I guess like my grandfather, I had a knack for repurposing what was considered junk and making something useful.  I suspect that his generation born out of the depression had no choice but to reuse what they had.

GHMMF: What do you think is the biggest misconception about makers?

DH: I think the biggest misconception about makers is that there is no diversity in this group. I hope that I can be an example to other African American makers and hobbyists who enjoy the endless hours at a work-bench, passionately working on their creations.

GHMMF: Is there anything you would like to share about your project or yourself?

DH: My childhood nick-name is Doo-Rite so my wife dubbed my creations Doo-Bots as a spin-off of my nick-name and because they resemble robots.  When the inspiration hits me, there is no better feeling then to go down to my workshop, look through my (25) Rubbermaid tubs divided by body part and layout the pieces on my workbench to see what speaks to me so that I can bring to life a robotic sculpture.  Therefore, this passion of mine to create Doo-Bots is really a passion that allows me to reminisce and relive the childhood days that have swiftly passed.

 GHMMF: What is the best way for people to get in touch with you?

My webpage:

My Facebook page:

My Pinterest page:

My Twitter page:

My Instagram page:

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