2017. Ron Maki with current works.

2017. Ron Maki with current works.

 

(Any work with an * by the title is sold or in a private collection, or otherwise unavailable).

If interested in purchasing any of his works, or commissioning a work, or just saying Hi, contact Ron at the email address below. Prices range from his very small works about $150 to the very largest work about $1500. (Everything in life is negotiable).    Ron Maki lives in Troy Michigan,   Email him at: ronmaki99@gmail.com

Ron Maki has been an artist ever since he could pick up a pencil.  He's been a craftsman and maker ever since he could pick up and use his Dad's tools.  (It takes a while to become a real craftsman however!). In earlier years he did a lot of freelance illustration, company logos, pencil drawings, cartoons, and architectural drawings of homes and businesses. He's made and repaired "stuff" his whole life. (See the menu item "cool stuff").  Creativity takes many forms - he believes that true craftsmen are artists. ---  For more about my thought processes see the section on "My Artist's Signature."

Ron has a BA in Fine Art from Wayne State University  (1980)  in Detroit.  He is a member of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and the South Oakland Art Association. He's been in numerous art shows and competitions, winning a number of prizes and selling a fair amount of work. He's retired from the U.S. Postal Service where the last half of his career was as an MPE-9, a Mail Processing Equipment tech,  maintaining and repairing the multitudes of million-dollar machines that the P.O. has to cancel, sort and move the mail.  The last building that he worked at - the Metroplex, in Pontiac Michigan, (which handles most of the mail for all of southeast Michigan ), was one-million square feet of space and 800,000 square feet of it was filled with high tech machinery.                    

 ******* Tales of The Modern Mechanized Post Office  *******     

I think that if most people walked into a modern postal distribution center they would not believe their eyes.  They are huge buildings filled with amazing machines.  (See below for a few pics).  Some of the machinery we had:

 ----  AFCS (Automated Facer Cancellers) that took the mail from incoming sorting conveyor belts and machines and faced it  (put it all one way so the addresses were all up etc.) and then cancelled the stamps on them. We had 17 of those.

----We had DBCS Machines (Dual pass Barcode Sorters) that sorted the mail to the specific house in the order that the carrier walked his/her route. Two people could run one of those.  We had 60 of them at one time.

   ----We had FSM (Flat Sorting Machines); varying numbers of those as that technology improved with better and much bigger machines  (the last one I saw was 2 stories high and as big as a small house).  They sorted flats (mail usually larger than 8x11).    

 ----At our old building we had ----  LSMs (Letter Sorting Machines) they became obsolete in the mid 1990's and we scrapped all 6 of them out.. tore them down and put it all in huge dumpsters.  They also were as big as a small house.  It took eighteen people to run one of those monsters.  They were invented in the late 1960's, so the technology was real old. 

 ----SPBS were Small Parcel Bundle Machines. The machine was big, I think it took about 8 people to run one of those.  It sorted small bundles and small packages.  Then there were variants of the DBCS machine that could read handwriting, not just barcodes.

----There also were variants of small machines that dumped mail onto different types of conveyor belts, I called them "Hamster Dumpsters" they dumped hampers full of mail

---- Then we had the huge conveyor system that ran above it all and covered about half of the building.  Also we had small movable conveyors on wheels that we could move around.  We had all kinds of other machines too.

----"Strappers" that put the plastic strap around trays of mail so it could be shipped out.  Also we had various Hi-Lo machines to move machines and mail too.  Tons of cages on wheels to move mail between post offices on semi trucks.  Tons of mail racks on wheels to hold the sorted mail.  etc. etc.  I'm probably forgetting half the stuff we had there.   

It was a very interesting place to work, I learned a lot of useful skills, it wasn't always easy  - they sent us to  the Technical Training Center in Norman Oklahoma for training on the various machines. It was/is affiliated with Oklahoma University.  Lots of classes and there is a mountain of info to learn. When I retired I had schematic manuals and troubleshooting manuals for every machine I was taught to fix.  My stack of manuals was 6 feet high, no exaggeration.  Plus I kept my own notebooks for each machine that I worked on so I would remember the problems and failures that each type of machine had so that I could repair them faster and more efficiently. 

I loved going to Oklahoma, it was like going back in time to a simpler place.  The people are wonderful, there are lots of wide open spaces.  Great places to sight see and  things to do on the weekends.  And no heavy traffic.  Norman OK is a fairly small college town.  Usually the classes were 2 to 3 weeks, with special classes in IES - (Industrial Electrical Service) so we wouldn't electrocute ourselves! --High voltage in a lot of those machines!  I can truly say that I enjoyed going to work most days.

 About a thousand people worked at the Metroplex, most of them various types of clerks or mail handlers.  We had around 125 people that maintained the machinery and the building - 24/7/365.   Yes -- Christmas too!

Ron lives in Troy Michigan 

E-mail me at ronmaki99@gmail.com

 Plein air painting at Cranbrook Oriental Gardens, Bloomfield Hills MI

Plein air painting at Cranbrook Oriental Gardens, Bloomfield Hills MI

 The DBCS Machine: we had 60 of these in our building, each one is 50 to 60 feet long. They sorted the mail in order of how the carriers delivered it. It saved the carriers a couple of hours every day, and saved the P.O. millions, if not billions of dollars. Fun to work on until the smoke comes pouring out. One thing they taught us at the Technical Training Center in Norman Oklahoma is that once the smoke gets out of a circuit board, you can't get it back in !!! This type of machine probably had well over a thousand circuit boards and two computers in each machine. One computer ran the actual machine, the other one was for the complicated sort plans.

The DBCS Machine: we had 60 of these in our building, each one is 50 to 60 feet long. They sorted the mail in order of how the carriers delivered it. It saved the carriers a couple of hours every day, and saved the P.O. millions, if not billions of dollars. Fun to work on until the smoke comes pouring out. One thing they taught us at the Technical Training Center in Norman Oklahoma is that once the smoke gets out of a circuit board, you can't get it back in !!! This type of machine probably had well over a thousand circuit boards and two computers in each machine. One computer ran the actual machine, the other one was for the complicated sort plans.

 Sunday early afternoon, before the mail arrives.

Sunday early afternoon, before the mail arrives.

 Part of the massive conveyor system.

Part of the massive conveyor system.

 Machinery everywhere, 800,000 square feet of machinery ! Some of it bigger than your house!

Machinery everywhere, 800,000 square feet of machinery ! Some of it bigger than your house!