An edited version of this article originally appeared in The Conversation. It was also translated into Polish by Mateusz Siemiński.
One evening when I was young, my father confiscated my radio because I was playing it too loud (I wasn’t). Fortunately, I had a bunch of broken down receivers in my room, so I built a new one. This was probably the start of my maker’s carreer.
The Maker movement has recently been gaining a lot of momentum, as evidenced by the number of events, Maker Faires, popping up around the world—Sydney is hosting its first Mini Maker Faire this Sunday at the Powerhouse Museum. Yet, in many aspects, makers have been around for a while, from amateur radio operators adjusting their rig to allow clearer communication with more remote contacts to software hackers rewriting their printer’s driver so it works the way they want it to, not forgetting the casual DIYer building a vertical garden out of found material.
All share the common trait that they had a need but, rather than asking somebody else to address it (buying a better radio, printer or, well, bigger house) they took matters into their own hands, and fixed it. As it turns out, it’s not that hard and quite rewarding—a study recently found that people value IKEA furniture more if built by themselves than by anyone else, imagine what it would be without the pre-cut boards, or instructions for that matter!