Every New Year people around the globe resolve to get healthy by joining gyms, eating better and quitting the detrimental habits that we complain about for the remaining eleven and a half months. We applaud those efforts, but propose that in 2013, we don’t just work on our waistlines, but on our hacking, coding, soldering and making skills as well.
We’ve gathered 10 DIY experts to get their proposed New Year’s resolutions, including repurposing forgotten materials and 3-D printing less stuff. And documenting projects better, something you’ll hear from a few of them. Read up, then get to your workshop.
Here’s to an inspired and productive 2013.
Resolution: In the new year, makers should develop the new means of maker finance, distribution and publicity: meaning the likes of Kickstarter, Etsy and the tech-art and design blogs. Beware the focused interest of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and the Defense Department. They’re not your friends.
Bruce Sterling runs the locked account @bruces on Twitter
Resolution: I resolve to get MakerBots into the hands of creative explorers, innovators and inventors so they can innovate faster and make the world a better place. The industrial revolution is just beginning and we’ll see every industry affected in positive ways.
Resolution #1: We all need to create more tutorials and videos for learning. I love designing new products and releasing the “recipes” on how to make them, but one of the biggest challenges is how to document them *and* how to get people excited about learning. I know it will be challenging and there’s a lot ahead.
We’ve started a learning system which we think makes it fun and easy to learn, and we’ve just moved to a new 12,000 sq. ft. location in SoHo, NYC, where we will be livestreaming HD video more and more. Part of the goal is “teaching every kid computer science” with our Raspberry Pi WebIDE and the other part is making easy-to-follow curriculum accessible (and fun).
Resolution #2: Let’s get more kids involved. Older folks are sold on making, we need to get more kids involved, earlier. For our part, we’re going to do a kid’s online program called “Circuit Playground” — we worked with a Muppet maker and we’re going to see if we spark young minds with this effort, we even have badges to award kids when they complete lessons.
Limor “Ladyada” Fried is the founder of open source hardware company Adafruit Industries in New York City. Ladyada is an EFF pioneer award winner for sharing educational electronics and she recently was named Entrepreneur of the Year, 2012.
Resolution: Just about nothing saddens me more than seeing otherwise thoughtful people embrace mindless business jargon, without considering the agenda they take on board in so doing. So my resolution is this: Always remember that “disruptive” is entitled bullshit, that “creative destruction” is still destruction. We will find new ways of doing, thinking and being, surely, but I believe we can and must work toward these ends without fucking anyone over in the process.
Adam Greenfield is managing director of Urbanscale and author of the forthcoming The City Is Here for You to Use.
Resolution #1: Repurpose old technology to create new things: With tech, people usually want the latest innovation, but sometimes new things aren’t made as well as they used to be. I’ve started road-tripping on the East Coast to buy up unused vintage inventory left over in warehouses. My favorite find is gold-colored French thread from the 1930s that I discovered is conductive with very low resistance. I’ll be using the thread in a collaboration with Sparkfun in 2013 for embroidering circuits.
Resolution #2: Better document my efforts. I’m hoping to finally finish some of my domestic DIY projects, which include: making air plant “clouds” to suspend from our ceiling, finish sewing capacitor throw pillows for our couch, and building a moon bounce antenna on our rooftop (although this may get pushed to 2014). I recently acquired the domain name HackerHouseWife.com to help share projects — and motivate myself to get them done.
Diana Eng works to bring new innovation in fashion to market in her ready-to-wear designs at DianaEng.com. Most recently, she’s created a retroreflective scarf with subtle gray stripes that illuminates with reflected light when exposed to a direct light source.
Resolution: STOP 3-D PRINTING THINGS. Ahem. I mean, stop 3-D printing things. Preface: I want to 3-D print everything. I am that person that, when presented with a broken dish, nozzle, or just about any household object, will joke, “I can 3-D print that for you.” Seriously, I can.
Alas, this year, I will embark on a different tact and return to “traditional” forms of making. Here is my New Year’s resolution: when building models or prototypes, start by using an Exacto knife with chipboard and glue. If all else fails, 3-D print it.
Albert Chao is a NYC-based designer working at the intersection of architecture and technology.
Resolution #1: Make, Do and Mend More.
Resolution #2: At Superflux, we’d like to continue to expand our “making” skills and knowledge by experimenting with new technologies and processes.
Anab Jain is a designer and founder of the London-based design studio Superflux.
Photo and image: Courtesy Anab Jain
Resolution #1: Better documentation! Man, I am the worst at documenting. I would like to be able to release an archive of “How To Do (x)” to support each of my projects, since they have so many moving parts and so much iteration. I would really like to be able to put together a book on how each project came together, all the little terrible life-things that go into being creative, that go into getting past the wall of the mind.
Resolution #2: For others, I’d say straight up: Get to work! Seriously, it’s not hard to Do Things. Assume you’re creative already, and good at what you do, and the rest will follow. The confidence to try is really the hardest part, until the next hardest part, and the one after that, which are usually all just getting past the underlying fear of failure. Just because someone already did it doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to contribute. Get going.
Alex Leitch runs the Site 3 Colaboratory in Toronto and is working on incorporating colored flame into Super Street Fire.
Resolution #1: Other than making our fledgling company a success, and making more trouble in the tech industry, I’m going to make a personal resolution to make, build, mend and fix as many things as I possibly can in the next 12 months. I’m going to build games with my husband and kid: She’s already rolling and creating Dungeons & Dragons characters (she’s 4), so the next step is helping her to make some miniatures for painting. I’m going to build a greenhouse, mend all my buttons and broken things (or make art out of them) and fix the plumbing once and for all. Famous last words.
Resolution #2: I’m going to print something on our work Makerbot Replicator (1) at 80 microns. I’ve been told it can be done, with decent calibration, and so It Shall Be Done. Somehow.
Alice is CEO of MakieLab, a new toys-and-games company in London that this year produced MAKIES, the world’s first 3-D printed, poseable doll.
Resolution #1: Take time to work on my own projects, ranging from a dress I keep promising myself that I’ll finish, to a series of partially completed pop-up images. I think it’s important to show my daughters that I still make things for myself as well!
Resolution #2: Teach more. Recently, my four-year-old daughter and I taught a Squishy Circuits workshop at her school and I don’t know who had more fun: the kids in the workshop, my daughter “the teacher,” or me! One of the things that I find incredibly exciting about the maker movement is how many makers take the time to teach their skills to others. This can be by teaching a formal class somewhere, or by posting really great project instructions and answering questions about them. As someone who has benefited from the patience and wisdom of many formal and informal teachers, I hope to fully take advantages of opportunities I have to help others gain new skills.
AnnMarie is the director of the Maker Education Initiative, and mom to two daughters.
– Tim Maly is fascinated by cyborgs, architects, and our weird future. Read more by Tim Maly Follow @doingitwrong on Twitter.