Stemiverse 0054 – Doonie Benton discusses life-long learning, taking charge, motorcycles and golf 

 January 23, 2019

By  Lina Alexaki

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In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Doonie aka Geoffrey Benton.

Geoffrey was born in Frankston in 1948 when they still shoed horses in the stables near the railway station. Geoffrey attended Tech school and became an apprentice as a plastic die-maker/toolmaker.

He worked as a maintenance fitter and in later life he became a policeman, then a truck driver and has also owned several small businesses.

He retired in 2012 and went on to discover a range of activities that keep him interested and, sometimes, frustrated! These include filmmaking, short story writing, making model boats and generally beavering away in his shed for days at a time. He recently discovered the joys and frustrations of learning how to use a laser cutter and has since filled the house with tiny wooden boxes.

Then, he was bitten by the electronics bug in the form of Arduino and is now trying to combine all of his skills to one end.

He has had a lifetime love affair with motorcycles including building, restoring, racing, and touring. In the shed at the moment is a home-built 920cc V twin solo and a 1500cc Kawasaki V twin with a sidecar and trailer.

Geoffrey lives in country Victoria with his wife and two cats.

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 54.

Stemiverse podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to techexplorations.com to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and electronics.

Show Notes

  • [00:00] Introduction – Introducing Doonie Benton
  • [02:23] Greetings
  • [03:36] Doonie talks about his background
  • [05:28] Being a classic maker
  • [08:14] Being a person of “the bush“*
  • [09:00] Doonie’s favorite tool: The laser cutter
  • [09:26] Doonie describes his design – CAD 2D software
  • [10:04] Solving problems sideways and looking for alternatives
  • [12:31] Doonie’s retirement experience and motorboat making
  • [16:24] Building stuff based on instructions vs. designing plans of his own and converting freely available plans
  • [18:55] Doonie’s ideal workshop
  • [19:43] About motorcycles
  • [21:01] Doonie’s resourcefulness is both a result of innate abilities as well as life experience
  • [22:07] Camping in the wilderness
  • [23:21] Doonie’s undertakings with electronics and Arduino
  • [25:31] What is Arduino?
  • [26:27] HyperCard, a programming tool for Apple Macintosh, 1998
  • [27:55] What has Doonie found most challenging with the Arduino?
  • [9:24] Peter comments on Doonie’s craftsmanship
  • [30:44] Doonie’s other hobbies; Short story writing, filmmaking
  • [33:58] Moving to Briagolong, Victoria (Australia), getting involved with the community and making a movie
  • [38:12] Learning things on the fly – Taking charge and getting the right people to do the right things
  • [42:18] The difference between pre and post-retirement activities, and knowing how to retire
  • [45:58] Rapid Fire Questions
    • [46:11] Donnie’s Favorite Author: John Sandford
    • [47:22] If you could put one line on a billboard, what would it be?
    • [49:06] What advice would you like to give to your 12-year-old self?
  • [55:11] Doonie’s Contact Information: EmailFacebook

*Australian idiom referring to the wilderness (Wikipedia link)


Life-long Learning, Maker, Makers, Podcast, STEM, STEM Education, Stemiverse

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