Makers Forum

Some Thoughts on Making

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Welcome to the “Maker” movement.

Mankind’s traditions in making—in fabrication—are strong and deep-rooted.

From the earliest days when mankind walked the planet, he was a maker. We see it in the tools uncovered from archeological sites of lives lived tens of thousands of years ago. Whether piercing tools for hunting or sewing, grinding tools for preparing meals, chopping tools for building, vessels for carrying water and grain, or digging tools for farming, our ancestors made and used them all.

Then, as now, among the most respected professions, I’m certain, was the tool maker—the maker of things that allowed others to go about their business—whether it was as a hunter, a clothes-maker, a builder, or a cook.

Today’s maker has tools available that have been refined over thousands of generations: the knife, the hammer, the awl. Though some of the tools we’re familiar with were invented only in the last few decades—the portable drill, the computer, the computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine, the robot. The truth is, we stand on the shoulders of the giants that went before.

There’s something immensely satisfying from making things. Maybe it’s ingrained in our genetics. Maybe it’s “what we’re inclined to do” as humans. I don’t question that there are other soul-satisfying endeavors—healing the sick, creating artwork, getting lost in song, or cooking the to-die-for meal.

It isn’t a competition. It’s a choice of which skills you wish to develop.

As the great American scientist, entreprenuer, and statesman Benjamin Franklin said: “labor at something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“The mission before you, should you decide to accept it …” is to build a computer-controlled desktop device that will move about in 3-dimensions and can be extended in many ways to do any number of useful jobs. Along the way, you’ll delve into mechanics, electronics and programming and reach new levels of understanding of each of them.

The type of machine you’ll build—a robot—is used in manufacturing, in food-preparation, in the arts, in medicine, and in science. If you choose to go further, the skills you’ll learn in building and working with this machine will serve as a solid foundation for whatever you care to create.

May your journey be safe, fruitful and, above all, a happy one!.

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