Meet the Makers – Audrey Horst

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Tell us about yourself?
I’ve watched dirt track racing with my Dad ever since I was a kid, so I adore stylish cars that handle corners. I’m a member of the Milwaukee Makerspace and I aim to understand mechanical design, machining, and welding. However, I am not a mechanic or an engineer by trade–in 2011 I received a Bachelor’s degree in biology from MIT and then joined a heart development lab at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am currently attending Boston University to pursue a PhD in molecular biology. As a hobby, I also draw and paint whenever I can.

What are you showing at the Maker Faire?
I’ll be sharing Lotusaurus Wrecks, a modified C7 Corvette Stingray Power Wheels toy rebuilt for the Power Racing Series (PPPRS). This little go-kart, which was built for under $500, sports a rack and pinion steering assembly, dual rear wheel drive, and hydraulic brakes. Modeled after the fierce alligator Shala-Vette in the 1970’s cult classic “Death Race 2000,” Lotusaurus Wrecks has been successful in PPPRS competitions, winning a gold “YES” and a Bronze “NO” in heat races as well as an “OK” silver medal in the 75-minute endurance race. Lotusaurus Wrecks will be racing other Power Racers from across the country on the Milwaukee Mile at Maker Faire Milwaukee 2014.

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Why is making important to you?
For me, making is how I found the courage to learn new things and not be intimidated when a project really gets challenging. By working on Lotusaurus Wrecks, I learned that you cannot get better at machining and designing if you are not willing to fail and use what you learned in your next build.

What was the first thing that you made?
Lotusaurus Wrecks is the first moving mechanical project I’ve ever worked on. The first sculpture I ever built was a 7ft tall wooden replica of a (very disliked) sculpture that lives in the courtyard of my old college dormitory. Dorm residents were encouraged to spray paint the plywood parody in whichever way they saw fit.

Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
If money wasn’t a factor, I’d like to make a car suited for dirt track racing with my Dad. It’d be super cool to learn how to build an IRA Sprint car, or maybe even a LeMons car.