LaunchPoint: Jazzy Artisan

Daniel Rodriguez merged his love for music with his passion for manufacturing.

Videos From: 3/12/2014 Modern Machine Shop

“LaunchPoint” is a new series from the Edge Factor Show coming in May 2014. It will air on TV on Cox7 Arizona. The show’s creators offer this synopsis of one of the episodes:

When Daniel Rodriguez’s older brother Luis needed a bass player to complete his high school garage band, he looked to his younger brother. “Luis got this crazy idea of teaching a little, scrawny 8-year-old kid how to play a bass that was twice his size,” said Daniel in his LaunchPoint interview. Music became Daniel’s greatest passion until he discovered manufacturing in high school. 

As an Engineering Academy student at Hawthorne High School in Los Angeles, Calif., Daniel explored the world of manufacturing through Project Lead The Way’s hands-on learning projects. “PLTW learning focuses on authentic, meaningful content aligned with high-demand postsecondary and workforce opportunities for students,” says David Dimmett, senior VP and CEO of PLTW. “Through PLTW, students learn to identify problems, design solutions, create prototypes, and test and refine their work. PLTW fosters important skills, including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.”

At Hawthorne, Daniel dove into 3D computer design, CNC machining and robotics and became just as excited about manufacturing as he was about music. Understanding the difficulty of being successful in the music industry, Daniel planned to pursue a career in manufacturing to fund his musical hobbies. Determined to learn more about machining, Daniel graduated from Hawthorne and only a week later enrolled in his first classes at El Camino College. That summer, Daniel met Eric Carlson, instructor of the class, “Machine Tool 101.” “El Camino equipped Daniel with the theory and skills training to succeed in the workplace,” says Eric.

Things changed for Daniel when he found his dream instrument, a fretless bass guitar. He began to research companies that manufactured an affordable version of the product and that was when he came across Rob Allen Guitars, a small custom guitar maker. He reached out and connected with Rob in person, and soon after, Daniel found himself working at the shop, using cutting edge technology to manufacture high-end guitars. “I really love music and I really love manufacturing, and the two worlds had just met in my life,” Daniel says. “I’m only scraping the surface of what I can do. The possibilities are endless.”

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