Fab Lab Instructors
A recent transplant from Silicon Valley, Henry Ancker is a self-labeled "tech-junkie." A graduate of Harvard University, Henry works in the design of next generation electronics with a variety of industries ranging from defense contractors to consumer electronics. A true "maker," Henry is always working on new projects and his search for a laser cutter and 3D printer led him to the FabLab where he now can collaborate and share his experience with others.
George comes from an engineering and manufacturing background and has always loved working on wood projects. With a modest workshop at home he learned to continuously innovate in order to build furniture, cabinets and other projects. In recent years his knowledge has increased through the synergy with colleagues, students and other instructors at the Fab Lab. He loves to share these skills with others and work with them on their projects. Join him in WW Basics, WW Beyond the Basics, Exotic Box Building, your one-on-one project, and more.
Michael Bianco has been teaching Drafting and CAD in the Fab Lab at the Fowler Center since 2010. Currently he designs and fabricates scenery and displays for a variety of clients in the theater and Christmas Display markets. Michael also fabricates Medical Simulation Devices, which allow medical professionals to practice on rubber and plastic human body simulations, instead of having to work on cadavers or animals. He is also a Fine Art Fabricator and creates resin sculptures for artists. Michael started in Technical Theater over 30 years ago and has a Master's Degree in Technical Design and Production from Yale University. The beauty of the Fab Lab is its ability to bring current technology of design and fabrication techniques to any student. In the future Michael will be continuing this effort by bringing new classes involving Mold Making and Casting.
Jeffrey Boerner retired as Director of Fab Lab in 2020, but remains on the teaching staff. He came to Northampton in 2011 after having been president and owner of a successful architectural woodworking company for nearly 30 years. Jeffrey has grown the Fab Lab from a small space on the third floor of a six story college building into a 4000 square foot facility that houses many manufacturing processes. Jeffrey also founded a luthier school that is an important component of the Fab Lab certificate programs. Anyone, young or old, can learn to build guitars. Boerner earned the Colonel Holt Business Owner of the Year Award from the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce in 2004. In 2010, Boerner finished a novel entitled GoneAway. In 2011 the novel was option by a well-known movie production company. In 2013, Jeffrey was awarded Northampton Community College's Excellence in Non-Credit-Instruction Award and that same year, the Bethlehem Fine Arts Award on behalf of the Fab Lab. Boerner holds his 50 ton Coast Guard Captains license and has captained several extended ocean sailing voyages.
Ken Burton has been working with wood professionally since 1984. He is spectacularly over-educated for a woodworker holding an Associate of Arts degree in Fine Woodworking from Bucks County Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts Education from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
In addition to teaching at the Fab Lab, Ken owns and operates Windy Ridge Woodworks (www.wrwoodworks.com), a multi-faceted endeavor that reflects Ken’s ongoing interests in art and fine craft. At the heart of the operation is the design and construction of studio furniture, custom cabinetry, and sculpture. He is the author of five woodworking books and numerous magazine articles about the craft. He is also currently employed as a senior editor with Woodcraft Magazine.
As for teaching, Ken spent 26 years in the classroom teaching Technology Education to high school students in the Boyertown Area as well as summer classes at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vermont and at Peters Valley School of Arts and Crafts in Layton, NJ. At the Fab Lab, you’ll find him teaching any number of classes including chairmaking, furniture making, turning, and more.
Design, 3D Printing
Timothy Dodge, president of Dent Design Hardware, Ltd., grew up building sand castles in the Foundry sand pile of his father's company, which he now owns. Educated at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa. Tim obtained his BS in 1995 majoring in Mathematics and in 1997 Computer Science. He then went to work in Germany doing airplane flight control software engineering at Sophist Gmbh in Nuremberg. He graduated from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2001 with a MS in computational engineering with specialties in Fluid Dynamics and software verification. After returning from Germany in 2002, Tim spearheaded the 3D CAD and 3D printing effort at Dent's engineering department beginning with Solidworks and a Zcorp 3D printer in 2003 and later a Stratasys 3D printer in 2006. Tim has modeled over 5,000 different CAD designs and successfully printed over 10,000 3D prototypes and components.
After a 25-year career with FedEx Express in International Operations management, Tighe took his passion for all things guitar and started Guitar Fuel Performance Products in 2008. Partnering with a South Korean manufacturer, he created a line of battery powered You Solder, EZ Solder and No Solder guitar amplifier circuits which launched a cottage industry of custom mini amp builders. Tighe has also developed many other products under his Tone Monster brand name including on board preamps for acoustic guitar and bass, effect pedals, magnetic and piezoelectric pickups, active tone circuits and passive electronics. He walked into the FAB LAB one day back in 2016 hoping to create a laser cut enclosure prototype for one of his amplifier circuits and ended up an instructor. Tighe's classes include Cigar Box Guitar & Amp, Build a Mini Guitar Amplifier, Build Your Own Cajon, Electrify your Acoustic Guitar or Ukulele and Electric Bass Building I.
Brian Feldman has backgrounds in mechanical engineering, programming, database development, and electronics. He has combined these disciplines to become one of the top robotics consultants in the world specializing in Arduino. In 2009, he started Feldman Consulting Enterprises. Brian has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State and a Master's Degree in Engineering and Technology Innovation Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Brian holds US Patent (7,616,012) for innovations involving an advanced capacitance paddle developed while working for General Electric. Brian is involved in the development of the SeeSawTM, a device to retrofit table saws to indicate when the blade is still spinning to enhance safety. Brian is a licensed private pilot and enjoys wine tasting, travel, robotics, and volunteering at math competitions. He was heavily involved in building and exhibiting TOBOR, the gigantic robot arm at the 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire and the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.
Sean Kernan arrived to the Lehigh Valley in late 2015. After spending four years in industry as both a field engineer and a design engineer for a major equipment manufacturer, Sean decided to pursue an opportunity in the Lehigh Valley. Upon taking his first class at the Fab Lab, Sean realized the potential of the space and was immediately drawn to it. The Fab Lab and the special individuals who teach there inspired him to branch out and start his own Engineering and Design Consulting Company. Specializing in Mechanical Design and Solidworks, Sean teaches various 3D modeling courses and is always eager to learn new things. Sean earned his Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University. His focused switched to Mechanical Engineering post-graduation and his passion is in 3D modeling. He aspires to teach others the power of 3D modeling and to help people visualize and materialize their ideas every day.
Michael LaVigne is a Mechanical Engineer at a local analytical instrumentation company. He received Bachelor and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in 2008 and 2010, respectively. As part of his current position, Michael now acts as a CAD specialist with experience in Solid Works, Solidedge and AutoCAD with a focus on manufacturing and CNC machining. His down time looks a lot like his up time, as Michael enjoys designing, fixing (or breaking), and reverse engineering anything he can get his hands on.
Matthew Lieb's guitar obsession began in 2004 after he purchased a semi-hollow body 6-string on an internet auction. Several years and several guitar purchases later, he discovered the art of making Cigar Box Guitars from an issue of Make Magazine. After creating an arsenal of homemade 3-string guitars, he found the Fab Lab where he was able to hone and expand his luthier skills to include solid-body and archtop designs. Born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, Matt draws inspiration from various sources including hot rod cars and the Golden Age of Piracy. He is also a professional land surveyor, cyclist, beer enthusiast and father of two.
Gerald K. Millheim, DMD, began assisting and teaching at NCC's Fab Lab in 2013. More specifically, he has been working in the Luthier program which is located in the Fowler Center. His background includes more than 20 years of woodworking experience making reproduction 18th and 19th century furniture. He has taught dental residents at Muhlenberg Hospital for more than 30 years and also has taught at Temple University Dental School. The attention to detail is a similar requirement for both his profession and his hobby of woodworking. This especially relates to guitar building since there are many technical requirements aside from basic woodworking skills. He attempts to instill these skills in his students as they watch a procedure, do the procedure and then if possible, teach the procedure.
The first Bil Mitchell guitar was built in 1979. That very first guitar began a life-long journey in education, consistency, expression, and refinement. Bil Mitchell Guitars are created entirely by hand in his workshop in Pennsylvania. What separates his guitars from the rest is his extensive abilities in all aspects of guitar construction from engineering to unique artistic expression. He currently serves as the Fab Lab’s lead Luthier Program instructor, teaching both instrument construction and repair and maintenance. He also provides part-time technical support for all Lab facilities.
Joe Mixon has a Master’s degree in Music from Combs College. He is a professor of music at Lebanon Valley College, Kutztown University, Moravian College, and Northampton Community College. A touring musician, he is a featured concert jazz and blues artist, as well as a published song writer, arranger, and composer. His music typically includes jazz, blues, classical, and world guitar. He is a multi-instrumentalist performing guitar, Caribbean steel drums, vocals, keys, bass, uke, and percussion. He is the founder of a Bethlehem studio for recording, private lessons, and artist development (mixonmusic.com). He performs locally with The Artisan Jazz Trio, The Big Wahu Caribbean Band, Ginger and the Schnappes, Emmitt Harris & Joe Mixon, The Blues Professors, and Joe Mixon Solo.
Kevin Weiner is a Lehigh University graduate and currently works as an independent software developer and consultant. After an early stint in newspaper systems, he returned to Lehigh where he managed campus computing and networking services, most recently as Director for Advanced Technology. A life-long guitar player, Kevin came to the Fab Lab one day to build a guitar -- and never left. He brings many years of experience in audio, video, and animation, having worked with many leading US musical instrument manufacturers and content producers.
Ed Youtz turned his first bowl as a sophomore in high school. There followed a 40-year gap while he taught high school physics. Retirement in 2002 brought him back to the lathe. He trained under members of the Bucks and Lehigh Valley Wood Turners, David Ellsworth, and other members of the American Association of Wood Turners. Ed turns full-time now selling his work at craft shows and in galleries. He is a juried member of the PA Guild of Craftsmen and teaches turning at the WoodCraft Store in Allentown, The GoggleWorks, Philadelphia Wood Works, and now in the Fab Lab at Northampton Community College. Ed's motto is, "Your needs in turned wood: I'll make it for you or teach you to make it for yourself."