Who are the makers and how do you become one?
The first thing you should know is, that all of us can become makers. Actually we all already are in some ways.
When your hear about makers today, the focus tend to evolve around people who make things with power, electronics, computers, programming etc.
But makers come in all shapes and sizes and so does the things they create.
Makers make many things
Being a maker is really just about making things. All kinds of things
From sewing clothes to building robots – making it makes you a maker!
We make things because because it can feel empowering to make things ourselves. Because we are curious about how things work. And because we want to learn more about the world around us through experiments. We make because we can.
Many makers are also driven by a passion for learning and sharing. And some might get tons of new ideas each day. They simple cannot not make.
What we think about as the makers and the maker movement today is somewhat new. But the same passions and motivations has always been a big part of the human history. We experience things, learn things and make new things. Sometimes the new things even turn out to be valueable for more than the maker who made it.
How to become a better maker
So how do you become a better maker? Or how do you even get started?
The first lesson to become a better maker, is to learn that the thing you make is not the goal. It is the process and what you learn from it, that will make you a better maker.
This also means that any project i valuable!
Do not focus on whether what you make can be used in the end. Whether you will keep using it for a long time, or if someone else has already made what you are making. Making a LED blink for the first time or building a house of Legos is super cool. It makes no difference that millions of people have done it before you.
Focus on what you want to learn more about. Write down any project idea you get no matter how silly or brilliant it is, and just start making something.
Examine how different things work by disassembling them. Try making something and then read up on the theoretics afterwards. And remember to share you experiences with others.
How to get started if you are totally lost
Okay so you get what I am saying, but still have a hard time getting started? No problem. Here are some basic ideas to get you started.
Legos are very popular among kids, but these little bricks are really a valuable learning tool for people of all ages.
If you have a hard time finding the maker project you want to start on, then start with Legos. There are no prerequisits to building with Legos, which makes this a good starting point for aspirering makers.
At first you can just assemble some of all the cool models from the boxes in the stores. When you have had some experiences with all the different things you can build with Legos, collect all your bricks in one big box and try to invent your own models. And remember it is okay to start small.
Learn from other makers – visit a Fablab / hackerspace / makerspace
There are fablabs, hackerspaces, makerspaces etc. all over the world. Some you can visit and use for free, and some you have to pay to visit.
These places often have many different machines and tools which you can use to make things. 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines and other cool machines which can be too expensive to have at home.
When you visit these places you can get a feeling about how the machines work, and what they can be used for. Most often there are also other makers at the facility, who are happy to share what they are working on and how they got started.
Learn from children
Children are really some of the best makers!
They are naturally curious in how almost anything works. So grab you kids, younger siblings or grandchildren and build robots out of recycled materials, disassemble and assemble their bikes and explore how things work.