Introduction to DIY: Becoming a Maker | Mark Frauenfelder | Skillshare
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20 Lessons (1h 52m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. What is Making?

    • 3. Inspiring Projects

    • 4. Why I Make

    • 5. Why Be a Maker + Examples

    • 6. The Flowchart

    • 7. Getting Started

    • 8. Getting Unstuck

    • 9. Different Ways to Make Things Now

    • 10. Practical Steps: More Collaboration

    • 11. Problem and Solutions

    • 12. Design and Prototyping

    • 13. Introduction

    • 14. Materials

    • 15. Components

    • 16. Components (continued)

    • 17. Tools and Workspaces

    • 18. Tools and Workspaces (continued)

    • 19. Conclusion

    • 20. Explore Creative Classes on Skillshare

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About This Class

What would you make if you had no limits?

A decade ago, you needed passion, expertise, and money to transform even the simplest ideas into real objects. Now you just need passion. We have unprecedented access to collaboration, materials, and knowledge, and the desire to actively create in the world has never been stronger.

But where to start? In this class, Mark Frauenfelder—legendary maker, creator, and founder of Boing Boing and MAKE magazine—introduces the fundamental world of Making and guides you in transforming your curiosity into a DIY project that makes, modifies, or repairs an everyday object in your life.

While this one-hour class is structured for a true beginner, you'll find a wealth of ideas no matter your background or knowledge. Filled with countless example projects, personal anecdotes, creative-thinking prompts, tool know-how, and a peanut-butter project that has our mind spinning, this class is designed to inspire and spark conversation.

It's a class for everyone who believes in possibility, in practice, and in fun.

Now, what will you make?


What You'll Learn

In 5 self-paced units, learn how to think, create, and build like a Maker.

  • Introduction. Start thinking about what it means to be a maker, and try out some creative-thinking prompts for interacting with everyday objects.
  • The "Why" and "How" of Making. Learn to approach problems with a maker mindset using a 5-step flowchart, uncover strategies for pushing your imagination through creative blocks, and learn about the latest companies and developments that make right now the Golden Age of Making.
  • How to Make Something. See the maker process in action with one single project: an automated peanut butter jar mixer that combines a number of solutions.
  • Maker Tools. Familiarize yourself with the physical materials, components, tools, and workspaces that can help you transform your concept into a real-world thing.
  • Conclusion. Learn how to find in-person hackerspaces, maximize online collaboration, and grow in your skills with core recommended resources.


What You'll Do

  • Deliverable. Create one project that makes, modifies, or repairs an everyday object or process.
  • Brief. Challenge yourself to progress one level further than where you begin. If you've never tried making before, share a drawing, sketch, or description. If you already have an idea, build a prototype and share pictures, video, and diagrams of your first plan. If you already have several prototypes, share your work as a case study (showing your process and how you improved on each version). If you're an experienced maker, try your hand at Mark's peanut butter stirrer project (files provided).
  • Specs. Communicate your project in the way that makes the most sense for others to learn and share feedback. Consider drawings, diagrams, descriptions, photographs, video, programs, or more.

Interested in More?

To learn more about Arduino (the easy-to-use circuit board mentioned in this course), check out Mark's complementary class, Introduction to Arduino: Creating Interactive Projects.


1. Trailer: Hi, my name is Mark Frauenfelder, and I'm the founding Editor in Chief of MAKE Magazine. The introduction to DIY class is really important for students because it helps them understand how the design world around them works, and let them become active participants in making things, rather than just buying things. The skills I'm teaching in the getting started in DIY class, helped me understand a whole bunch of stuff about the design world around me. I'm going to show students how to come up with ideas, the tools that they need, the components that they need, what to do if they gets stack, and how to take their projects is the next level. 2. What is Making?: Hi. I'm Mark Frauenfelder, and I'm going to be teaching this Introduction to DIY course. First of all, who am I? I am the Founding Editor in Chief of a magazine called Make Magazine. Make's a technology project magazine that's been around for 10 years now, and we cover all sorts of things in Make Magazine. We're not focused on one kind of thing. We appeal to what we call broad-spectrum enthusiasts, and by that, I mean people who are really interested in everything. They want to get a sense of the design world around them and how they can be an active participant in that world, and make, modify, and repair the things that they use in their day to day life, as opposed to just buying a solution to every problem or thing that they want to have in their house or use with them. So, in this course, I am going to show you what it takes to become a maker. The great thing is, in recent years, makers themselves have created all sorts of really cool techniques and systems to help people who have no skill whatsoever in making, become makers. It's amazing, the level of sophisticated things you can actually make if you want to. For not a lot of money and not a lot of technical knowledge or skills, you can start making really cool things, and the only limits right now are your imagination. So, this class what I'm going to do, is I'm going to help you with a mental toolkit, the way that makers live and think, and how becoming more observant in the world around you will make you a better maker. How you identify problems? How you think about approaching solutions to problems? How you design and build solutions to the things that you want? Then, we'll get into the actual nuts and bolts and look at the physical things that you need like tools, materials, components, those kinds of things that you want to have with you to make things. I'll also talk about ways to get inspired, resources, ways to get information, ways to get materials. Then, what we'll do near the end, is I will go through my process of designing a peanut butter mixer. We'll get into that more but you can either make the same peanut butter mixer I made, I will include complete plans for downloads so you can make it, or you can just see the process that I am using to make this peanut butter steerer so that you can apply that process to whatever it is that you want to make. So, one of the first things I thought I would do, might be fun, is show you some of the things I've made and that I've had fun making and it might inspire you, and give you an idea of what making is all about. 3. Inspiring Projects: All right. Here's something that I want to show you, I call it Sisyphus sign on a stick. If you remember the old legend of Sisyphus, he was his punishment was to roll a ball up a hill, and as soon as it rolled up at the top of the hill would roll down and you would have to roll it back up the hill forever. So, the reason that I built this was that I wanted to look at the concept of feedback. So, what I have here is a little light sensitive resistor that can detect how much light is hitting it, and then I have an LED here, that's a light emitting diode, then I have a foot on a stick a little dolls foot, and then a servomotor, and then this is an electronic circuit, that will sense the interruption in light when a ball rolls down. It might be better for me to just show you what happens, when I roll this down here. You can see that as soon as the ball interrupts the light hitting the photoresistor there, it gives an instruction for the servo to kick the ball. Give it a good hard kick that time not that right off the ramp. But anyway, so this is a fun little project that I did, and sometimes they take it to schools, and give it show it as a demonstration of feedback called sisyphus sign on stick. So, here's another project that I made. This one I made with my 10-year-old daughter Jane, and we call it the friend's instrument. You can see it's a little craft box, and she's decorated it with some of her favorite characters, and it's got two pennies on the lid there. So, what you really are supposed to do with the friend instrument is play it with a friend. So, one kid would put their finger on a penny, and the other kid who put their finger on the other penny, and you can hear that. So, when the other kid puts their finger on there, you can touch the nose of the other kid or the ear, or grab their other freehand, and the more pressure you use in the most surface area, will change the tone. Let me see if I can do a little bit here. So, it's really I'll also give you a little peek inside here, is very simple, it's just got a few components in there, a small speakers, some transistors, resistors, and a little battery pack. It's a really fun thing to do, and it's a good example of learning from your mistakes. So, one of the things that this originally turned out, my original intention was to make a lie detector bracelet, that kids could do when they were playing it, like truth or dare or something. They could have this little bracelets for their fingers on it and would measure how moist their fingers were. That's a lot of lie detectors work is the galvanic skin response. The resistance through your skin changes as your skin becomes more moist, and you sweat when you're telling a lie. That's how lie detectors work. But anyway, I wasn't really getting a good, I couldn't figure out how to incorporate these components into a bracelet in an interesting way, but I thought this might be something fun to do is have something where kids can make music together, and play together. I have not seen something like this before, and so it's an example of makers coming up with something and making something because the market isn't offering them a solution to it. So, let's take a look at one other thing that I have here. All right. So, another thing that I enjoy making is musical instruments, especially ones that don't really exist. This is something that I made from an old wooden leg to a kitchen table that was falling apart. The actual frets are just match sticks. Then I have an electronic card pick up inside, and I've used an old yardstick to hold the whole the audio output Jack. The other thing that I made, out of a cigar box here, you can see this is an old cigar box is an amplifier, so that I can play this amplifier. I'll give you example of what it sounds like here. Various adjustments here. So, this is tuned in a special way that it's really easy to play pleasant melodies without even really being a musician. Somebody way a fun little thing, a little easy musical instrument, and an amplifier. The cool thing was that I just went online and found there's tons of schematics online that you can find to build amplifiers very simply and without a lot of money. So, it's really easy to go online and search for what you want. The chances are that somebody's come up with a solution for what you're looking for already. That's one of the great things about making is that makers are very happy to share their knowledge with you what they've built, share their plans online, and if you are interested you just go on to Google search for it, you can find these plans and you can even usually email these people, who put their plans online and asked them if you're running into problems. They'll be more than happy to help you make the thing that you want to make. Then it's especially cool if you put your own spin on it, and put it in your own kind of kit case decorated your own way, and you contributing to this maker body of knowledge. That's really where a lot of the fun comes in in making as it stops becoming do it yourself, and it starts becoming do it together. Where people are collaborating on the ideas, there cross pollinating their discipline, somebody might be really good at woodworking, somebody might be really good at electronics, they combined forces either online, or in person, to come up with something that's novel and unique. So, what we're going to do now is really start to look at a maker mindset. What it means to be a maker, the thought process of being a maker, and just the daily routine that is important to start adopting If you want to get into the world of making. The good news about it is that there's a lot of fun actually to, it's not like work, it's not going to feel like work, it's going to be a new way of looking at the world. So, that will be the next step. 4. Why I Make: So, I'd like to talk a little bit about what inspired me to actually become a maker. I've always been interested in do it yourself media, I've published themes, I've been in bands, I've done websites and blogs and things like that. Physically making things, I never really got into until about 10 years ago and that was when I started coming into contact with people that I call alpha makers. People who make these incredible things that look beautiful, and are really cool and have a sense of style and function. It's impressive and so I expected these people to just be like these amazingly talented people right out of the shoe, as if they were born with some kind of innate skill or something. But the fact is, that their superpower is that they aren't afraid to make mistakes, and to me that was like a real eye-opener. It wasn't that they knew all about wood how to finish it and all that, they may have learned that along the way, but what they really are able to do is say, "I'm going to pursue something I've never done before. I realize I'm going to make mistakes and I'm going to learn from those mistakes and have them be teachers to me." So, they aren't setting out intentionally to make mistakes, they're really trying to do things right, but they are aware of the fact that they're going to make mistakes and that mistakes are inevitable and that the more mistakes you make, the better your finished project's going to be especially if you can shake those mistakes out early on, and just do a lot of iterations at the beginning and start to refine it and then as the thing because more perfected and more functional, you will have made those mistakes and it's this evolutionary process and you'll end up with something really good. Once I started realizing, "Hey, it's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to screw up," it opened up a whole new world to me. I think one of the reasons people are so afraid to make mistakes is that when they're going to school as children, mistakes equal bad grades. Nobody wants bad grades so therefore, nobody wants to make mistakes. So, we are trained to be afraid of mistakes, and that is a huge problem and so overcoming that is one of the most important steps in becoming an alpha maker. 5. Why Be a Maker + Examples: So, what does it mean to be a maker? That's a question that people ask me a lot, and my best answer is that makers are what I call broad spectrum enthusiasts. You've heard that term broad spectrum maybe with broad-spectrum antibiotics because it covers a wide range of microbes that might be in your system. Well, broad-spectrum makers are interested in a wide range of subjects. The reason is because they're curious about the human design world around them. They want to understand how furniture is made, how the electronics in their house, and how the electronics that they use every day are made, how they work out, how the systems that feed them and clothed them and educate them. All those things work. So, they have this curiosity. They want to learn how it works and they also, really importantly, want to be active participants in this design world around them. They don't just want to buy solutions to their problems, they want to solve the problems. In some cases, that could be because you want to save money. But really what it is, is that you gain this self-efficacy when you start making things yourself, and repairing things yourself, and modifying them to suit your needs. What I mean by that is self-efficacy is that, once you are successful at doing something, say, re-wiring a lamp in your house or even gluing together a favorite cup that's broken apart, you will want to find out or what can I do next? How can I challenge myself again? So, as you acquire new knowledge and skills, you'll start to raise the bar and challenge yourself to do something else, is even more difficult. So this kind of making is is infectious and you will start to have these things in your house that become more meaningful to you. Once you start to make your own things or repairing your own things, they have a story to them, you understand them. If they break, you're going to be able to fix them because you have more intimate knowledge of them. There are so many things in our lives today that we don't have much control over. We really don't have much control over the economy, over politics, over so many things that are happening, but we do have a sense of control over some of the aspects in our lives that we are intimate with. For example, food is a big maker topic. A lot of people really get a lot of reward from making their own food, making their own yogurt, they're own sauerkraut, having their own honeybees, raising chickens. All of these things I've done. I have bees in my backyard right now, and I'm going to be harvesting honey in a couple of months. So, this is what making is about. It's about taking a level of control of your life that you have typically been outsourcing to other people. Instead by having this sense of control, it is a rewarding experience that you really can't replicate in any other way than by using your hands and your opposable thumbs that you have been equipped with to start using them to make really cool things. There's some good examples of how makers solve their own problems. I have a friend, his name is Larry Cotton, and one of the things he likes to do is take pictures of songbirds who are eating food out of a bird feeder that he set up hanging off of a tree in front of his house. So, he put the bird feeder out there and then he would stand in his kitchen, shooting pictures out of his window of the birds. But as Murphy's Law would have it, the birds are always behind the bird feeder so that it was like hard to get a shot. So, he would go outside to get around, to try to get a better angle and the birds would see him and naturally, they would fly away. This was really frustrating for him but he was thinking like, "What can I do to solve this?" Well, one of the things that Larry does is he flies model airplanes and he is familiar with a certain type of motor that I'll get into later. It's called a servomotor, and you can control the rotation of a servomotor by using a remote control. The same remote control you would use in a model airplane. So, what he did was he put that servomotor at the top of the bird feeder, and then he would have his remote control in the house, and he could actually rotate the bird feeder while the bird was on it. So, he could rotate the bird for the perfect viewing angle and then he would take pictures of the bird. Then, he thought, "I can actually take this another step because my remote control has two channels on it. I can add another server and have it act as the finger, act as my finger on the shutter button of my camera." So, he put his camera out in the yard on a tripod with another servomotor, really close to the bird feeder. So then, he is just inside his house controlling, spinning the bird feeder and snapping pictures. He's got some amazingly cool photos of birds and we'll include these in the video. I'll have links to them so that you can check out Larry's bird photography. But this is like an example there was not a market solution to what he wanted, but he took his skills and experience from being a maker, and he put two and two together: his love of photography and model airplanes and combine them together to come up with something really cool. Another quick example, I have a friend and he goes by the name Mister Jalopy. He lives here in Los Angeles and every Saturday, he goes garage sailing. He calls it deep-sea suburbia because he feels like he's kind of diving into that world of people's garages and finding all these cool things. One of the things that he buys is old LP records, and you can get them for like $0.10 each. So, he stocks up on them. He comes home with maybe a couple of dozen LPs from his garage sailing on Saturday, and he's got an old 1940's Hi-Fi Stereo console, and he plays that records and then he puts the albums away. He was thinking, "Maybe there's a way I can improve this experience of listening to these LPs that I have with technology." So, what he did was he bought a Mac Mini and he put it inside the cabinet, and then he put a flat screen monitor on the lid of the Hi-Fi cabinet, and wired it up. He put an iPod on there, wired up the buttons. So now, what he has is what he calls the world's largest iPod. It's a system where you put a record on, play the record. When the record plays, it converts the music into MP3 so it digitizes them into MP3s. It looks up the songs on the Internet, figures them out. So now, every time he place an album that he buys at a garage sale, it's automatically digitize stored on the hard drive of the Mac Mini. Now, he's got like this huge jukebox of songs that has all the songs that he spotted on the garage sales, thousands and thousands of songs. This again, is something that did not exist. He wanted to combine two things that he like. He loves listening the music on his iPod, he likes buying the albums in garage sales, it was a cool way to combine them. So, I have one more very quick example. I have three cats, and they're always jumping on furniture, they're jumping on beds and they shed all over the place, and it's like a mess. My wife and one of my daughters is allergic to it and so, how do we keep these cats from doing that other than like following them around the house and telling them to get down or lifting them and putting them on the ground every time we catch them? So, what I did was I got one of those little monkeys that are like little toy monkeys. They're holding cymbals, and they slam the cymbals together and they screech. Well, cats don't like that very much when you turn one of those monkeys on. So, what I did was I hooked up a motion sensor to one of the monkeys. A cheap $10 motion sensor and use a couple of electrical components. So now, I can set this monkey on a bed and it's just waiting there like some kind of guardian. If the cat jumps on the bed, the monkey can sense that motion and will start banging the cymbals and the cat scrambles up the bed to seek a quieter resting place. Again, this is something that I didn't see for sale anywhere, but it was a combination of a problem that I had that I recognized that there was cats jumping on furniture and shedding fur all over them, and a fun solution so that we could keep the cats from doing that. So anyway, those are all examples of how makers solve problems and look at the world around them, think about what they need, what they want, and come up with unique solutions that are fun and personal, and are really fun when other people come over and you show them what you have, and it inspires them. It's a great way to live being a maker. 6. The Flowchart: One way to conceptualize what living like a maker means is, to think of this circular five-step flow chart that we've come up with. So, there are five stages to it and like I said it flows around in a never ending cycle. So, the first one is, as I've covered before the identification of a problem or a need or something like that. What is it that you need in your life? You want to take better pictures of birds. You want to keep a complete digitized collection of your LPs. You want to get the cats off your bed. So, the next stage after you identify that is to really just think about it. Use your mental design software to visualize ideas. I think one of the best ways to actually do that is to go outside and go for a walk, and not bring an iPhone with you or anything to listen to, just walk and just think in your mind. It's amazing when you do that how ideas will start to put themselves together, and the more you do it the better you get at it. It's like you're putting snapping Lego pieces together in your mind. So just keep on thinking, what can I do about it? How can this work? Then once you arrive at a solution you probably get a little light bulb in your head like, "That's it." The next step is to take it home and put it to paper, use a pencil or if you want to use some design software that I'll describe later you can do that as well. Draw it out and see how it looks, and sometimes sketching it out will help you and you'll be able to improve on your design in your head. Keep on sketching it out, and then once that feels like you've got something there, then it's time to put it together. In this early stage what you want is a very early proof of concept, something that is not refined or polished, quick and dirty. Is your idea going to actually work in the real world? Proof of concept means, is the concept in my head going to be able to actually function in the real world physically? So, go ahead and make a simple proof of concept, see if it works. Like with the peanut butter stirrer, I just wanted to see if my idea of using a Servo Motor to rotate the peanut butter jar, would work, if the Servo was strong enough to rotate a jar of peanut butter. So, once you have that proof of concept done, you can go ahead and iterate on that and continually improve it. Learn from your mistakes, get better and better at it and then once you finally arrive at a solution that you really like, then what I recommend is that you share it with the rest of the world. That's not because it's a great thing to be altruistic and share things like that, the real reason, I mean the selfish reason to do it is that you are going to get feedback from people. People are going to comment on it. People who know a lot more than you do about electronics or woodworking or mechanics or materials or sewing or food making, they're going to tell you what they like about it, what they don't like about it, how it can be improved, if what you've got is promising they might want to collaborate with you. You're going to get all this amazing feedback. It's like having and research and development team at your disposal for free. So once you have that happen, then you can incorporate that into your project. Then you can let your mind start working, where can I take this? What can I do with this? Can I improve on it? Can I make something that's a lot different but uses some of the same basic principles behind it? The whole five-step process starts over again and you will just keep on continuing in the cycle your skills and your knowledge will improve, you can raise the bar, you can challenge yourself to do greater and bigger things. So, that is the five-step cycle of living like a maker. At the early stages of making, it's important to think about certain things but it's also equally important not to think about certain things. One of the most important thing is not to think about is, perfectionism, because if you are trying to be perfect that means you are avoiding making mistakes. We actually have a fear of making mistakes. You should always try not to make mistakes but you should realize that mistakes are important and inevitable teachers that are going to help you make something really good. So, if you're obsessed with perfectionism to the point where you don't want to move forward because you know that you're going to make mistakes and that is the biggest mistake of all. That's the one mistake you should avoid. So, at the early stage of making it's all about inventiveness, creativity, playfulness, experimentation, trial and error, those are the things to be concentrating on. 7. Getting Started: A lot of times I get asked the question what's the difference between a hobbyist and a maker? I have a pretty good answer that I've developed over the years of thinking about it. A hobbyist is the someone who is narrowly focused on a single subject. So, maybe they are interested in model railroads, maybe they're interested in bonsai trees, maybe they're interested in pottery. So, they go very deep into that. There's nothing wrong with that. I think that's like a really noble pursuit to go deep. But a maker is a little bit different they are broader. Like I've said before, broad spectrum enthusiasts. They like to try a lot of things and they're really not only interested in and everything but how they're connected together. So, they they might be interested in model railroad, they might be interested in bonsai trees, they might be interested in in pottery, and they'll start to look at the ways those things might be able to connect in some way? Is there a way to make little tiny living trees for model railroad set? Is there a way that you could make railroad cars remodel railroad out of ceramic pottery? All those kinds of things. That really is the difference, it's looking at the whole world around you as a hackable platform. How can I make modify and repair all of these things around me to kind of personalize my world for myself, my family, my community, and beyond. So, there's a trigger point for when it's time to start making something. It's kind of important to recognize, because I think that one of the problems that a lot of people starting out with making is that they're afraid to get started, they keep on thinking. "Well, maybe it could be better" I don't want to do it until I really have this idea of exactly how it will work. That's like, "That's not a good approach." The approach is, as soon as you come up with an idea that you think might work, put it into practice, bring it into the physical world and see what happens. The chances are good, it's not going to work. That's not something to be disappointed about say, "I give up, it didn't work" That's just a starting point, that's like "Okay, it didn't work, why didn't it work?" Or it kind of worked and this is the thing that made it so that it wasn't going to work or here's the part that worked a little bit, let me fix that. So, it allows you to get start. It's like planting a seed and then you can start trying different things out. So, that the trigger point is you have an idea that you think might work, go for it, that's what I say. As time goes on, you might- as you become a better maker, you might want to give it a little more time to think as you've built up your skill set and your knowledge, so that you can like role more things around in your head for a while. But when you're just starting out, just go for it. The fact that you're just using your hands really activates your brain and your creativity. So, the sooner you start using your hands, the better. 8. Getting Unstuck: So, a lot of times when you are trying to come up with a solution to something, you don't have an answer, you get stuck. It is similar to writers work, and it's just like there's no way that this is going to work. So, there are several ways to actually get yourself unstuck, and one of them is to go online and see what other people have done. It's amazing how many people have documented their projects online. So, you can go to websites like, or my own website,, hackaday, or even just go to YouTube too. Type in your problem, take a look and see if someone has come up with a similar solution. It's really an interesting way to see what other people have done, and don't be afraid about copying someone else's idea. The reason that people put their projects up there is because they want you to do it. Now I'm not saying that you should steal their idea and say that, "Oh, I invented this," if someone else invented it, what I'm saying is, it's there for you to use and modify and adapt on. Believe me, when you take somebody else's project and do it yourself with your materials, you're going to learn things from doing it so you're going to customize it and you're going to make it different than the way they did it. It's just a natural part of it, it's an expression of your personality, just like if you're trying to copy someone else's drawing or painting, it's not going to look the same, it's going to have your own style in there, the same thing with making, so don't be worried about doing that. There's another really fun way to help you get unstuck that I've found to be really useful, and it is Brian Eno's oblique strategies card deck. So, Brian Eno is a really well-known musician and music producer. He produced a lot of U2's albums and he's just really an innovative musician. But he's also just a very brilliant person in a lot of other ways. So, as a creative person, he's struggles with creative block as well, and so, what he did was he came up with a deck of 113 cards. This is in the 1970s and he called them oblique strategy cards. When he found himself in the recording studio with a problem not being able to do something, he would shuffle the deck and randomly draw a card and faithfully do what the card told him to do. So, some of the strategies we're: can you make it simpler? What happens if you turn it upside down? Is it made of sections? How can you change the transitions? How about trying to honor your error and celebrate the error that you've made? Other one is try faking it. Those kinds of things are really interesting to look at when you're applying it to a design problem or a proto-typing problem. Take a look at these cards are really like it kicks your brain into another place that it hadn't been before. So, you can buy these card decks either from from Brian Eno's website, sometimes they'are for sale on eBay or Amazon, and there are even some web-based versions and mobile phone versions of them. So, it's called Brian Eno's oblique strategy card deck, a wonderful tool for getting unstuck. 9. Different Ways to Make Things Now: So, there are different ways to make things. You can make things at home, in your backyard and things like that. But one of the really fun places to do it is at makerspace or also known as a hackerspace. These are places that are all around the world now and basically, you join them like you join gym, where you would pay a membership fee and they're generally between 25 to $100 a month. What you get is, you get access to a place that has a lot of different tools that you would need like, sharp tools, laser cutters, 3D printers, soldering irons, computers, signal processors, all these things so that you can come in. A lot of them are open 24 hours a day. But really, the most important thing about makerspaces is that you get access to other people, other people who are also makers who are interested in doing the same things you are, who have different skill sets, who can share their information with you, you can collaborate with them. Cool things happen when people get together in hackerspaces and makerspaces. I'm thinking, for an example, a hackerspace in Los Angeles and a hackerspace in Tokyo, combined forces to make a small radiation detection system that they gave to drivers in Japan to put in their cars. People put these little things in their cars, they are called the bGeigie and they drove all around Japan just as part of their normal life, driving to and from work, driving their vacations, business trips and it was constantly recording radiation levels all over every couple of minutes and sending that data via wifi signal back to a central location so that this data was tagged by the location and the radiation monitor. They've soon had a map of Japan, all over Japan with the radiation levels showing the Fukushima hotspot and where that radiation was spreading. This was something the Japanese government was not providing, was information that they weren't getting and yet these hackers were able to get together and do it because they were connected together in a physical space, sharing their knowledge and a passion for doing something. So, great things can happen in hackerspaces and so, what I recommend is that you go to a place called and you can see a map of hackerspaces all over the world. I guarantee that there's one near you within driving distance or biking distance. So, a lot of times people ask me, "I want to make something and someone has already done it online. I just don't feel right about copying what they've done." My answer is, "Copy, just take what they've done and do it." First of all, the reason that they put it online and put the plans on there is because they want other people to do it. They're doing that because they want to see how other people create, express their original invention, is really fun. If I make something, I put plans online, I'd love seeing how other people put their own vision and spin on things, is really a fun thing to do. So, don't worry about doing that. Don't steal the idea and say you did it if you didn't. But go ahead and copy. It's a great way to learn, is a great way to progress and advance and contribute back. Once you've built your thing, put it online say, "So and so did something. I was inspired, here's my version of it. Now, let's see you do your own version of it." So, go ahead and copy. 10. Practical Steps: More Collaboration: Another great way to get information and get inspiration is from the other students on Skillshare. There is a student project section and the chat section where people can collaborate, ask questions of each other, find out things. When I started working in Make Magazine, 10 years ago, the magazine was really about people making cool things and instructions on how you can make them. That's what Make is about now, but also, we have followed where the Maker movement has gone and where they've gone is that makers themselves have started creating all sorts of really great tools for other makers, for other people to become makers. So, it's easier than ever to make electronics projects. It's easier than ever to design things, to make prototypes, to get things manufactured, to even sell things if you want or get funding to create things. Really, makers have created what has been called the end of the organizational advantage. If you think about it, like 15 years ago, if you wanted to make a cool piece of consumer electronics, it would take a company the size of Sony or Panasonic to make it. But now, there are great low cost and very useful tools for people to make very sophisticated electronic things that look like a large organization made them, but really what you're doing is you're leveraging the power of the Internet than other people to make things, so that you're using things like the Arduino prototyping platform, that I'll talk about a little bit later, to emulate electronic circuits without being an electrical engineer. You're using places like Shapeways and Pinocchio to manufacture your 3D designs and cut them out in laser or 3D, print them on a variety of materials where before, it would've been like prohibitively expensive to do that kind of thing yourself. So, making is becoming easier, the tools are becoming less expensive, they're easier to find and source. The community of makers is bigger, they're very generous community who likes to share information and collaborate with people. All these things add up to this kind of golden age of making, where someone who just has a passion can make something cool. Before you needed passion, expertise and money to get something done. Now really, all you need is the passion to make something. 11. Problem and Solutions: Okay. So, let's now go through a maker project step-by-step, and see what the the processes of making something from problem to solution. The one that I wanted to show you was my peanut butter problem. First of all, here is a jar of peanut butter, and it's the same kind of peanut butter that I use when I make sandwiches for my kids in the morning. The problem when I get new jar peanut butter is that I get this natural kind of peanut butter and the oil is always separated from the solid part. I don't know if you can see that, but there's probably a half an inch or more of this amber colored peanut oil, and then below that are the solid peanuts. So, I get up in the morning and I'm like here is this oil, and I've got to stir it up, and it's not easy to do. I'm groggy in the morning, and there's a good chance that some of this peanut oil is going to spill out over the top, or splash on my clothes, and if you get peanut oil on your clothes, forget it, it's a stain that never goes away. This actually is like an even- a lot of peanut butter even harder to deal with than this. The peanut solids are like rock hard, and it's very hard to mix and takes a long time. So, anyway this was something that I thought, I wonder if there's a way that I could make it so that peanut butter was mixed, and I was thinking, do I have some a paddle in there that spins, but then I would need to maybe drill a hole through the lid and have this contraption constantly steering it. I thought, well, if that's the way to do, it I'll do it, but I was willing to give it a little bit of time. But I just had a feeling there might be something better to do. Right before I was about to go ahead and try the paddle one, I came across a website on Wired called Wired's how to Wiki. There was a fellow by the name of John Kelly who talked about mixing peanut butter, and he said the way he did it when he bought a brand new jar of natural peanut butter was every 24 hours, he would just flip the jar over like that, and what would happen is the oil being lighter than the solid part would slowly work its way to the top, and as it did so, it would soften and mix up the solid part, 24 hours later, flip it again, every 24 hours. So, he would just put it on top of his refrigerator, and when he saw it he would do that, and I thought that's a really cool idea but maybe there's a way to automate it so that I don't have to remember, because I always forget to do things like that. So, would there be a way to flip it? So, I thought about it for a while, did my walk, like I said ideas going in my head. So, I thought a servomotor might be good to solve this problem because you can control the amount of rotation that the servomotor has. So, I decided to first test and do a proof of concept prototype, what I wanted to do is prove that the concept in my head would actually work in the real world. So, I made a simple setup using basically something that looked like an erector set, and attach the servomotor to it, and then basically used a tape and wire to just stick a peanut butter jar onto the end of the motor, and then control the servo so it turned, and I just want to make sure that the servo could actually turn it and it wouldn't break, or put too much leverage on it. It seemed like it was fine. It worked well. So, the next step is could I refine this prototype a little bit more and make something that was a little more like a real-world application, something that I could actually use with a servomotor in it? So, I'm going to show you that next. 12. Design and Prototyping: So, this is the first beyond-proof-of-concept prototype, I would call this prototype number two. You can see here, this is the servo motor and it rotates as you can see. I just prototyped it in scrap wood. These are just pieces of what I found around, these are drywall screws are used to attach it together. This is based on some sketches and measurements that I did using pencil and paper, making sure that the peanut butter jar would clear the legs, that it wouldn't tip over, things like that. So, some of the things I learned was that the peanut butter jar can slip out of this piece of wood even though I had it attached with velcro so I put a piece of sandpaper on there, that helps a little bit. So then, the idea is I have these pieces of velcro here and then the peanut butter jar fits and every 24 hours, this just rotates like that. Then 24 hours later, it rotates the other direction. So, it actually worked. I had this hooked up to an Arduino and every 24 hours, this would turn like that and then it turned a little bit back like that again. You can see its slipping a little bit and so I thought that's not a good thing, the way that this jar slipped, do you see that? The way it slips? So, eventually, I thought it might just fall out all the way. So, what can I do about that? So, I started thinking about all of these things. Obviously, this design's clunky, I think it's too much overkill, the wood is too thick. So, I went and used a service called, and they will laser-cut your designs for you that you design on flat pieces of wood or plastic or other materials. They'll cut it out on the laser printer and send it to you. So, that's how I made my third prototype, that's what I will show you next. Let me just go grab that stuff. Okay, so like I said, I went to and I gave them an Adobe Illustrator file. Adobe Illustrator is a popular software application that lets you draw shapes in software and Ponoko takes Adobe Illustrator files. Instead of drawing them or printing them on a piece of paper, it prints them with a laser on a material such as wood and that laser is so strong that it actually cuts the outlines. Where on a printer, it would draw a line or print out a blank line, it actually cuts it. You can see here, what I did was I designed a sheet of wood because the size of whether they have as big enough for four peanut butter mixer set-ups, I went ahead and laid out the components so that we can have a grid of four. You can see that the pieces just fall right out of the template. You can see this black part here is where it's burned, that's the laser burn marks. So, I had it printed out in bamboo, there's a wide variety of materials, and they cover it with masking tape so that when you peel it off, you have a nice unmarred surface there that looks good. So, I had these peanut butter stirrers now, and I'll take the tape off of this one here so that it fits and I'll show you how it fits together. I originally designed this peanut butter stirrer using a program that's free called SketchUp. You can download it online, it's absolutely free. It's a 3D modeling program and it's a really great way to make 3D models that's easy to use. They have really great video tutorials. I outputted that file to a format that Adobe Illustrator could read. But the reason I did it first in SketchUp was because I wanted to see what it looked like in three dimensions. So, I made these little slots and I made them tight and that's were a hammer will come in handy. We have a super tight fit now, that is not going to come off. Now, we have the peanut butter base and I was really lucky because this actually worked the first time out of the chute. I was surprised actually that it works. So now, I have this nice base with an overhang here so that the peanut butter jar could hang there. Here is actually one that I have completely assembled. I took a little bit of sandpaper and sanded it around the edges so that I don't have that burnt stuff because it will come off on your finger if you rub it because it's basically charcoal. So, anyway, here's the peanut butter stirrer. You can see that it's much more lightweight than the second prototype. So, this is my third prototype here, it's got the same kind of servo motor but it's a much smaller footprint. I think it's a more elegant look. I have an Arduino on it so let's talk about the Arduino and how it works on here. The only thing it's doing is it's sending a signal to the servo motor and it's telling the servo motor to spin a 180 degrees every 24 hours. So, once a day, at a certain time, it just rotates and flips the jar over. It's equivalent to just taking it and putting it on its opposite end every 24 hours. That's all it does, I don't have to think about it and I'm going to reset it just so you can see what it looks like when it spins. So, that's basically all it does, its very simple but it gets the job done. It's not like an essential product that everybody has to have in their kitchen but I thought it was something that would be fun for me to make, that was fun for me to try out Ponoko's laser cutting service. Now, I'm thinking what other things can I make with Ponoko. You could make some really cool enclosures, you can make furniture out of this, you can make all sorts of boxes and containers. But let's take a look and see what the peanut butter looks like. I've had this thing running for a few days. The other thing is you'd notice that the jar wasn't slipping out. That was because I put some things called glue dots on the inside of the velcro to grip the peanut butter jar so that it won't slip and that really helped a lot to keep it from slipping. So, let's take a look and see if this peanut butter has been mixed better. I do not see any oil on there that separated. There might be a little run here at the top but it's premix, that's good enough to make sandwiches with right there. So, I would say this thing works. Now, is it good to go? If I wanted to sell this thing on Etsy or something, would I be able to? I don't think so. That's why I always say you need a certain number of prototypes to make it work. Let me just unplug this so I can explain what would a fourth prototype be. First of all, we have this exposed Arduino and if this was in a kitchen, you would not want water to get splashed on it. All appliances are eventually going to get splashed by something; a hose, a sink hose. So, it would need some kind of protective covering on that and possibly on the backing of the servo motor. So, that's one thing that it really needs. The other thing that I'm still not happy with, I don't like the way it looks or necessarily functions. It's just this velcro strap and sandpaper to hold the jar in. My next prototype would really have to address this, I think this is a problem. Maybe there is a 3D printed piece of plastic that would allow you to snap the peanut butter jar and so it would just go click and click into place and then you would just not have to worry about unstrapping it or the glue dots or the sandpaper. This is a kludge, this is a workaround for a problem that's out there that I need to think about and solve. So, maybe my next step is to release this plan online so people can build it and that's what I'm going to do to you so that you can build this if you want and come up with a solution. Help me figure out a way to make it so that it's easy to snap this thing in and also, potentially a way to moisture-proof the electronics in the back. I think once that's taken care of, what I'd like to do is have maybe a demo button just so when friends come over, you could press a little button there and it would turn just so they could see it in action because otherwise they'd have to wait around 24 hours to see it work. It can be fun to just show them right away, just have it spin and go back. The other thing is have it programmable so that it could work with different kinds of peanut butter. Some peanut butters take different kinds of rotation. Some work, I noticed that it takes three hours for it to mix, some take maybe two 24 hour cycles and then you switch it over to eight hours cycles. So, maybe a knob or something to adjust or program how often it turns. Maybe that was the fifth iteration. But anyway, it's going online and we will see what the community of makers, including you, now that you know a lot more about making than you did before, will do with something like this. 13. Introduction: Okay, so now we are going to really get into the nuts and bolts literally of what making is about. In the earlier sections, I explained the maker mental toolkit that you need. Now we're going to start looking at the physical toolkit. We're going to be talking about materials, components, tools and your workspace, all the things you need to actually take your concept and physically make it in the real world so that you have something. So this is going to be a really fun section, and I'm going to have things to show you and explain to you. 14. Materials: So, now, I'm going to talk about some maker materials and there's a difference between materials and components, at least in my mind. A material to me is something that is consumable and can be modified beyond its original shape. A component, for example, would be like a motor. You probably aren't really going to modify a motor too much. You're going to use it as it's. But a material, like wood or leather or plastic, is something that could be shaped, moulded, cut, sanded, painted. You manipulate it, you pour it out, you mix it. Materials are a really important part of making because different materials have different properties, some are resistant to weather, some to heat. You need to think about what materials work for your application. So, I'm going to run down some of the most common maker materials, and where you can get them, and what you can do with them. The first one is wood. I've got a piece of wood right here in front of me, a sheet of plywood. I use this as a a work surface. I actually do not use a workbench. I prefer working in the house. I have a nice light in here. It's fun having my kids come watch what I'm doing, help me do things. So, I get a piece of plywood. I do work on it when it gets dirty and scarred and things like that. I use it for some other project and get a fresh piece of wood. Wood is great because it's very easy to sand, it's easy to cut, you can use it as a really great prototyping material. It's got strength to it. It's easy to fasten together with screws or glue. I use drywall screws when I put wood pieces together because they're easy to use. They have a good grip and wood is just a great material. You drill holes in it. There are so many ways to use wood. There's a lot of people who say 3D printing is like the future and it may be. But I first, generally, like to prototype things in wood because I got great maker material and where can you get wood? You can buy it at a lumber store and things like that, but it's really easy to scrounge wood. Earlier, I showed you that little stringed instrument I made and I said that I pulled that off of a table that had broke and that we're about to throw away and I said, "Oh, I could use this for something." Scrounge wood, sometimes, you get things sent on shipping pallets. Use the pallet wood for stuff. There's wood all over the place. Go to construction site, grab the wood. You never run out of wood. Once we had a storm in our backyard and a tree branch fell off, and I use that tree branch to curve tons of wooden spoons. I just whittled all these wooden spoons, gave them away as Christmas gifts. So, wood is all over the place, it's cheap, it's easy to shape and form great stuff, a great maker material. Another excellent maker material is plastic, and I'm going to really basically talk about one kind of plastic. There are plastics that work in 3D printers, there's plastic that can be heated and bent and things like that. That's great for sophisticated projects. For beginning makers, there's one plastic I recommend. Excellent prototyping material, it's Lego. Lego bricks are great prototyping tools. You can snap them together, you can make a variety of shapes. Lego has an incredible array of different kinds of things like axles and gears. You can make some pretty sophisticated mechanisms out of Lego. I saw a guy who made a Rubik's Cube solving robot out of Lego. It used Lego Mindstorms pieces and Lego pieces to look at a Lego brick, see where the colors are manipulated, and could solve a Lego cube in about 30 seconds and get all the colors right. Lego is great. You can glue the pieces together using superglue. The one objection you might have to Lego is that they're expensive. I won't argue with that. Lego is expensive. But a friend of mine, his name is Mark Devink, has a great solution. He goes around the garage sales, lots of garage sales. People, kids have moved out of the house and the parents are like, "What do we do with these Lego? We're going to unload a bucketful, a crate of Legos for like two bucks." So, he buys those Legos. Sure, they're grungy. They've got junk on them from kids playing for longtime. He takes the Legos he buys at garage sales, dumps them into a mesh bag, and throws them in the dishwasher, and washes them, and they come out sparkling clean, and you have now a whole bunch of Lego that you bought for like three bucks, a big five gallon bucket of them. You can use these for a huge variety of projects. Just go on onto YouTube, check on Google, project using lego. There's a lot of books about using Lego. It's prototyping materials. I highly recommend Lego as a plastic prototyping material. So, I've talked a little bit about gluing wood in Lego together. Glue is good stuff to have. There are four kinds of glue that I recommend. First is superglue and that's really great for using to snap Legos together. It's great to put certain kinds of plastic together. If you want something to hold together quick and it's a fairly non porous surface, superglue is a great way to attach things together. Then, you have just ordinary white house or school glue. This is great for putting together pieces of paper. It's a variety of substances. You can put together foam core, all sorts of things. It's just great to have some white glue. I also recommend wood glue, which is similar to white glue, but it's perfect for gluing wood together. You put a couple of pieces of wood together with wood glue in between, clamp it together, it's not going to come apart. I use wood glue to glue my skateboards, long board skateboards, that I make. The different plies of wood together, it holds up. It's really good. You can get it so that it's waterproof, so that that rain won't hurt it. So, make sure you have that. Then, the fourth kind of glue that you want to have is a five-minute epoxy. It's not really a glue but it's an adhesive, and so, epoxy is a two-part adhesive and you mix together two liquids. Stirred up and you have five minutes to stick something together. Once something's epoxied together, it's not going to come apart. So, this is kind of once you like have everything fit together and you like the way it looks, use epoxy and you've got yourself a nice permanent bond. There are other kinds of adhesives. There's duct tape, that's a great way to put things together temporarily. There are different kinds of duct tape that you can get. Some are more heavy duty than others. Black electricians tape is also important for wrapping around wiring if you want to insulate it, and then there's also a painter's tape and masking tape for temporary attachment of things. So, keep glues, and adhesives, and tape on hand because you're going to be using them an awful lot. So, then there's metal. A lot of people imagine that making involves lot of metalworking, cutting metal, welding things, shaping it, bending it, I do not recommend metal as a beginning maker material. It's more difficult to work with the tools to manipulate it, or more expensive. The metal itself can be expensive. It's something that really use plastic instead, use wood, there are plenty of other ways to get around making something without resorting to metal right away. If you're interested in metal, sure, go for it. We're not going to cover it in this course because I don't consider it a beginning maker material. So, finally, we have molding compounds. Wood and plastic, as I've said, are great for making shapes, putting things together. Molding compounds let you get smooth organic contours, filling in cracks, molding things. These moldable plastics are really useful for making like handles on things. There are two molding compounds that I would like to talk about and recommend. The first is called Sugru glue that spelled S-U-G-R-U, and it is an air dry compound. It comes in a little foil envelope. Once you open it, you have about five to 10 minutes to mold it. It's like modeling clay. It's got that same feeling as like sculpy or something, and you can mold it around anything you want. It sticks to anything and then in about 24 hours, you have a air-cured hard but flexible rubber. So, it's really great if you want to, like I've repaired headphone sets, I've repaired zippers on my luggage, I repaired components in my dishwasher. Sugru is like this wonder material. I'm always using it. It's a little bit expensive so what I generally do is if something breaks around the house and I know I can fix it with Sugru, I toss it in a box or I make a note on my computer. Once I get a list of five or six things that need Sugru on it, I go ahead and open up an envelope and fix them all at once. Comes in a variety of colors and a variety of sizes of packages. Great stuff. The other stuff that is really cool to use is called shape block. Shape block comes in a plastic bag of little milky white plastic pellets. You take some of the shape block and you pour it into a bowl of warm water, I think 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the melting temperature of it. So, you just let it soak in there for a while and when it changes color from a milky white to a transparent clear color, that means it's good. Then, you just pour the water out and you can squeeze it and mold it like clay, and you can mold all sorts of shapes out of it. Once you mold out a rough shape for it, then you can sand it, cut it, grill it, paint it, do all those kinds of things. Also, the cool thing about shape block is it's reusable. If you don't like what you ended up with, just dump it into a bowl of hot water and you can start over again. I recommend getting a supply of shape block and a supply of Sugru grew to help you with things that you aren't quite able to make using wood or Lego. The shape block and the Sugru will get you there. I think with those four compounds: wood, Lego, shape block and Sugru, you could probably make 80 percent of whatever it is you would want to make. So, those are the four essential maker materials that you need. 15. Components: All right. So, we've covered materials, now, let's take a look at components. Like I said before, materials are something that you use up, or manipulate into different shapes or otherwise transform in some way. I like to think of components as something that is part of your project that does not really change, they're hard, they're fixed things. So, what we're going to present today are a number of electronic components that are very common, and useful in maker projects. These are the kinds of things that they're not very expensive, and they're not hard to use, and you will find yourself using them more and more. The good thing about them is that, in a way, you don't really need to understand how they work on a very low level, just on a high level. It's good to understand what they do, and when you look in instructions online on how to make a certain kind of a circuit or something, you can identify what component is what. So, we'll give a little visual overview and how components work. There's a way to break down components into three different things. On a larger view of it, all projects have three things going on with them. There's an input, something that goes into the project, something that the projects senses or detect. Then there's the processing of that input signal, and then there's an output. So, let's look at Larry Cotton's Bird Feeder Project that we talked about the rotating bird feeder. Let's think, the input is a bird, and the project itself processes this bird, processes by turning the bird feeder, so that the bird is in view of the camera. Then the output of the project is a beautiful picture of a bird. So, that's an example of input process output. Then Mr. Jalopy's world's largest iPod, the input is an LP, the processing is converting it into digital signal and the output is MP3s that he can listen to on his iPod. So, the components that do this, there are certain components that are input components, there are certain components that process those input signals and then there are certain components that output the process signal. So, let's start with the beginning, let's start with input components. So, an input component, like I said, is something that is detects is as a change in the environment. So, think of the simplest kind of input component would be a push button and change in the environment is somebody taking their finger and actually pushing down on the button. So, that is an input signal that the circuit says, "Oh, there's been a change in the environment, I need to process that signal." So, besides a button, you have a variety of pretty common input components. This one is called the potentiometer. What it does is, you can rotate it, you can see in almost every electronic component that involves volume or brightness of light or something has a potentiometer on it. So, by turning this, what you're doing is you're varying the resistance through this electrical component. So, say this is on a radio and you want to increase the volume by turning that, you are decreasing the resistance, so that more electricity can flow through it and send more power to the speaker, so that you can increase the sound of the speaker. So, that is your input. Another input device, and this is something that I used on my monkey couch guardian, is a motion sensor. This is called a passive infrared motion detector. You really don't need to understand how it works, what it's doing is it's detecting the heat from a body, like a human body or a cat's body and it will send a signal, an electrical signal saying, "Hey, there's something that's warm that's within ten feet away." So, that's the input, but really you don't need to know how it works, you just need to know that this thing detects motion and it's a great input device if you want to do motion detection. This is another input device and this is actually a proximity detector. So, it's a little bit like a motion detector but what it's doing is it's measuring the distance that an object is from it. So, if you are walking towards this, it will send a signal how close you are away from this. So, cars have these in the bumpers, it's in a lot of modern cars, so that if you're backing up or getting close to another car, it will start to beep, your car warns you that you might be about to hit something. So, there are lots of different sensors. Another one that I showed you on my sisyphus on a stick that further kick the ball. This is called a photoresistor. It's a very cheap component, you can get them as cheap as a dime on eBay. What it does is, as light hits the surface of this photoresistor, it changes the resistance. Kind of like a potentiometer, your finger is changing the resistance by rotating it, in this case, how much light is hitting this, changes the resistance going through it. What are the kind of input sensors out there. There are temperature sensors, humidity sensors, sound sensors, radiation detectors, all sorts of environmental sensors, carbon monoxide sensors. All these things are detecting signals from the outside world and sending a signal to your circuit, so that it can be processed in some way, and then later on output. So, now, we've talked about input devices. If you have a project that calls for one of those, you can just type in; light sensor, sound sensor, humidity sensor into Google and see what components are available to buy. Let's talk about about how these signals are processed now. So, there are typically electronic components that you can use to change these signals. I had mentioned resistors when I talked about the potentiometer and the photoresistor, but a true, just plain old fashion resistor is something that looks like this. These are resistors that I have in a card of a book of resistors. What a resistor does is it restricts the flow of electricity. For which you can think of a resistor is like kinking a garden hose, we have water flowing out of your garden and you want to reduce the flow. One way to do it this, is grab the hose and bend it and the more you bend it, the tighter the kinker, less water flows out. Well, resistors have different values. So, a very low resistance resistor like say something with 10 Ohms of resistance, really doesn't put much of a kink in that electrical flow but if you have something like a 500,000 Ohm resistor or even greater, a million Ohm resistor, then you're really going to restrict the flow of electricity. You can actually tell how much resistance a resistor has by looking at the color codes- you can tell how much resistances is in a resistor by looking at these little colored bands on the resistor. So, the different colors correspond to different values of the resistor and there's a little, usually they have a guide here, you can see black means that it's zero, brown is one, red is two, orange is three. So, the first two bands gives you the first two numbers and the third band gives you how many zeros follow that number. It's a little complicated and easier way to detect the resistance, is to just use a multimeter. I'll show you one of those in a little bit, it's something that you hold onto either end of the resistor and I'll show you the resistance value. So, this can process the electrical signal going through a circuit. Resistors are very common; every single electrical circuit is going to have some resistor in it. 16. Components (continued): The other important electrical component is called the capacitor, and they come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Here's a pretty colorful one. Unlike resistors, they have different values. They're measured in farads. So, what does the capacitor do? You can think of it in a way as being like a little battery that can charge very quickly and discharge very quickly also. So, when current is flowing through it, what will happen is that it will build up that current on two little opposing plates inside there, the positive and negative charge, and then it will just dump it out really quickly. These are useful for controlling certain kinds of electrical signals if you want to modify a variable AC, typical electrical sine wave, and turn it into a DC or direct current, you can use a capacitor to do that. Capacitors and resistors are used in conjunction to change the timing of signal so that you can send out pulses of signals at certain intervals, and that's very useful in certain kinds of circuits if you want to send out a timed pulse, like controlling a servo for instance. We'll get into that a little bit later. So, those are the two most common electrical components, and I really don't expect you to start using those right away as a beginning maker unless you're just kind of following directions exactly. What I do recommend though is something that kind of takes care of a lot of electrical components by combining them all into a single, little kind of project card. This is called an Arduino, and it's become a very useful prototyping tool. It was invented originally in Italy as a prototyping tool to add interactivity to projects for designers and artists. So, you don't need to be an electrical engineer. You don't need to know a lot about electronics to produce electrical, to add interactivity. The cool thing about an Arduino is that you have these little rows here of holes. What you can do is you can put different things in them. You could put a potentiometer in there, a motion detector, a proximity sensor, a light detector. You can plug those things in as inputs and then it has a small computer that can process those signals for you and do something with them and then output them so that you can make it ring a buzzer, you can have it light up an LED, you can have it send a signal to the Internet. These are very useful. They're inexpensive. You can get an Arduino for as low as $25 or $30, and you can literally emulate thousands of different electrical circuits that would be otherwise very difficult to design if you didn't know a lot about electronics. The programs are easy to write and they're really easy to use. In another Skillshare class that I'm teaching introduction to Arduino, I'm going to show you all the cool things that you can do with an Arduino and some step-by-step projects, and indeed, a lot of the projects that I've used use Arduino. The peanut butter stirrer, I'm going to show you later, is an Arduino powered peanut butter stirrer. I could've made the circuit using a traditional electrical circuit but I was able to do it in a fraction of the time using something like this. So, I've mentioned outputs and I wanted to just show you a couple of output components. The most popular is called an LED or a light emitting diode, and you've seen these. They're on almost every piece of electrical equipment that you can imagine. They're either red or green or yellow or blue or white or amber, and they're kind of like little light bulbs except that they only accept electricity flows in one direction. It won't work if you put them in the wrong way. That's why they're called a bi-directional component. But this is an example of an output device. So, think of the simplest example that you would have a push button and then when you push the button, you could have that as the input for an Arduino. The Arduino would process that signal, would say, when the button is pushed, make the LED blink, one blink a second. So, you have input button, processing is the program to make it blink once a second, output is the blinking of the LED. So, you have an LED as an output, you can also have something like a buzzer, you could have a microphone, you can have a motor as the output, like we have with the peanut butter stirrer, and you could have a signal being sent to the Internet. Some people use the Arduino to have the output be a tweet. So, you can make an object that would tweet itself. For example, say you had a radio that you always are accidentally leaving outside, and what the thing could do is you could have a light sensor on the Arduino and have this attached to your radio. When it gets dark, the Arduino would be able to tell that it was nighttime and it would actually tweet to a Twitter account, ''I've been left outside at night. Please come in and get me'', and then you would read that tweet, or you could have it send you an email or something. So, combining Arduino with input and output components, you can make all sorts of really cool things. You're really only limited by your imagination. So, I've talked a little bit about materials and components, and what you need now is the tools to be able to manipulate these materials and put these components together in a way that you have a useful project. So, we're going to get into the toolbox next and we'll go over the tools one by one. 17. Tools and Workspaces: All right. So, we've got our raw materials and components. Now, let's take a look at the actual tools that you will use to put those materials and components together to make a useful project. I have a toolbox here and we're going to take a look at what I've got. The things I have in here are really not very expensive, and they will help you get a lot of things done, not everything but an awful lot you can do with what I have right here in this box. What we don't have in this box, you could probably find at your local hackerspace or makerspace or you can even rent a lot of tools that you need. One thing that it might have been good to mention earlier but could be considered a tool is this, is a solderless breadboard. What it does is it allows you to put together electrical circuits without soldering. You can see that it's got a lot of little holes here. What you can do is you can stick the leads of electrical components in there like the resistors leads and LED leads and things like that. It's a really easy way to quickly try something out without having to solder together and then if it doesn't work, unsolder it. These are inexpensive, they're just maybe $5 or something, and you'll find yourself using them an awful lot. In fact, Projects Online will often tell you where to put the pins according to these little letters and numbers. So, for example, let's say stick one end of the resistor in whole number F5 and you would find column F, row five, and then another one in the ground rail. So, solderless breadboards, you've got to get a couple of these. They even come with an adhesive backing so that you can stick it into an enclosure and it won't come off if you want to semi permanent solution. So, that's one thing. All right. Let's go through some of the projects, I mean, some of the other components that we have here. I'm going to take this off, and since we talked about solderless breadboards, let's talk about soldering, because that is the image that people often first think of when they think about electronic is solder and a soldering iron. So, a soldering iron is really just a piece of metal that gets hot by plugging it into the wall. It gets very hot and it gets to a high enough temperature that you can melt the solder, which is a combination of tin and lead. When you melt that together, it basically glues electrical components together so that you can take an LED and a resistor and glue the metal leads together and they won't come apart. If you do a good soldering connection, it's really hard, you won't be able to pull it apart with your bare hands, and that's what you want to do. It's not hard to learn to solder. I've taught kids as young as seven or eight how to solder. Yes, you can get burned a little bit because the tip is hot but I've never seen anybody really seriously injured. I've never seen anybody have anything happened to them where they need more than a Band-Aid. So, solder and a soldering iron, you could probably get these inexpensively online for $15 for beginner's set. You probably would also want to have something called soldering wick, let me see if I have some here, which will help you absorb extra solder when you want to inevitably unsolder something. It's a little piece of braided copper that when you heat up, the solder liquefies and this absorbs it almost like tissue paper or something, and it's a great way to remove solder. So, if you have these, you can easily start soldering, and there's a lot of great guides online for soldering. I'm going to link to Mitch Altman's comic book guide to soldering, which is a great way to learn how to solder. So, that will be in the show notes for this. Like I mentioned before, electrical tape is very handy to secure wires together, to insulate wires that may have been stripped too far. You can never go wrong with having some black electrical tape. This is called hookup wire. I have three different colors here, and a hookup wire is great stuff for your solderless breadboard or for soldering projects. I think what I can do is show you some of the other components here, some of the other tools here and using some of this stuff. So, you can buy this is just called hookup wire. RadioShack sells it. You can get it online. You want the solid kind of a wire. I'll show you what it looks like. I'm going to take some wire strippers here which are another essential tool for the maker toolbox. Wire strippers let you cut the insulation off of a piece of wire and expose the copper underneath. So, this is 22 gauge wire, and the wire strippers, there are little numbers next to these notches here that correspond to the gauge of the wire you want to strip. So, I'm going to put it in the 22, and you simply pinch and pull and then you can see you have the exposed wire there. What I wanted to show you was, this wire is not braided wire or it's not filament wires. Sometimes, the wire underneath consists of a bunch of strands of very thin wire. That's more difficult to work with. This is easier to work with especially if you're using a solderless breadboard because it pokes in lot easier. The other component that I used without telling you are this pair of wire cutters. They're very handy. This also come with wire cutters down here but I find these to be better. They make a cleaner cut. So, let's strip off this, and and I just want to show you how they would fit into a solderless breadboard. You just take the exposed end and you poke it into a hole you want, like that, take the other end, poke it into the other hole that you want, and then you have an electrical connection between this column, called the ground rail, and this row, which is row number 7. So, that's how you would use this wire in a solderless breadboard project, but you can also use it just to solder components together directly. So, I could use this to solder to a resistor and an LED or a motor or something like that. So, you really do need to get yourself some hookup wire, wire cutters, and a wire stripper. Okay. Here's a very old well-worn calculator that I got 30 years ago. I use this all the time. I've never change the batteries. I can't believe the batteries have lasted 30 years in it, and I paid a dollar for it I think. I use it. It's handy when you're away from a computer to quickly calculate values for if you're measuring things, adding up measurements, if you want to figure out, combining different values of resistors in parallel or series. It's always good to have the calculator. Screwdrivers: There are two basic kinds of screwdrivers. There are Philips head like this and the type of screw that they fit in is the cross-sectional screw. I mean, you see a little X in the top of the screw. That's what Philips head screwdriver is. So, get some of those in various sizes. They're great for taking things apart. Then for the slotted head screws, you use the slotted screwdrivers that just have one straight across edge like that. Again, get various sizes for those. Now, if you are opening smaller electronics, what you're going to want to get is a kit like this where you have a lot of different bits. Besides the Philips head and a slotted head screws, you have hex head, torques heads, security bits, all the different kinds of bits that will help you open hard to open packages. So, a lot of electronics companies don't really want you to open up the electronics, so they use types of screws that you couldn't open with Philips head or slotted screwdriver, so you need to get a kit like this so that you can get access to them. So, this particular kit I got from iFixit, they make really great repaired tools and they also have free guides online to repair almost anything you can imagine. If you want to fix your laptop computer, you want to fix your iPhone, any of those kinds of things, iFixit has free guides that are really useful and they sell good tool. So, I find myself using them more and more. 18. Tools and Workspaces (continued): So, a lot of these things that I'm looking at are quite small so I tend to keep different kinds of magnifiers with me. This is a photographer's loop and what it's used for is putting down on small photographs of contact sheets of photos and then you can inspect them by looking through this magnifying lens here. The way that it's elevated, the focus is perfect for whatever you're sending it on. So, if I'm like looking at something I want to see if a component is really connected to another one are soldered together, I can use this. I also bought this inexpensive illuminated loop that lights up with a very bright light and it's super powerful and I think I got it for a few $ on Amazon and that's really great for inspecting small components too. These kinds of things come in really handy especially when they're illuminated like that because we're talking about a lot of very small components. So, magnification is a really good thing. Solder comes in various gauges this is a thicker solder than the other one. You might want to use that for larger components. This is called a square and it's really great for making straight lines when you're cutting wood. You've got this perfectly 90-degree angle here and it kind of overhang, so I'll set it down on my piece of plywood here and you can see that I have a perfectly perpendicular line to this edge, so I can draw right along there. Related is a metal rule if you want to draw a longer straight line, a metal rule is great. You can also measure distances with it. For longer distances, you want to get a tape measure, this one's been out in the rain and got rusted but it still works and this is for longer distances, longer projects. If you wanted to measure the full length of this piece of wood, is exactly four feet long, works really well and it comes in a compact size like that. These are called needle-nose pliers and they're really good for if you're unsoldering something, you can hold these and pull a component off as soon as the solder melts, bending wire. They're really useful for a lot of different things. They also come with cutters so you can cut wire if you need to in a pinch. They typically have textured faces so that they get a good tight grip on things. You can bend metal, you can bend wires with them. An all around essential tool. So, there's a very useful tool that I have come across and it's a center punch. It's spring loaded and this is really great when you're drilling holes and you want to make sure that the drill drills exactly in a spot where you want. So what you do is you make a pencil mark on a piece of wood and then use the center punch. I have this piece of scrap wood here I'm going to show us an example and let's just say this is exactly where I want to drill, is this spot here. Take the center punch and you just press until it makes a click and then you have a nice hole there and it actually works on metal as well because it's a hardened tip and so when the drill starts there, it will not stray. Is really good and you can get one for like five bucks. I highly recommend one because makers do a lot of drilling. A magnification device that I forgot about that I wanted to show you, I found in the bottom of my toolbox here because we're almost done, is something that's called the helping hands and it's really great for soldering. You've got a magnifying glass and then you have these two alligator clips and you can hold two leads of the component together for soldering and then you look through here and you can easily see exactly where to apply the solder. Again, these are inexpensive. It's got a weighted bottom so won't tip over. They're probably $5 or $10. So, along with your loop and your other illuminated magnifying glass, get a set of helping hands. As I've mentioned before, when you're gluing two pieces of wood together, it's great to have spring-loaded clamps. These also double as hands, as you can see they're really strong springs in here and it's great for clamping wood together when you want to glue them together. Talking about clamping and pinching. Talking about clamping and pinching, these are locking pliers and so what you can do is if you want to hold a couple of things together, you can pinch it together until they lock in this screw adjusts the locking distance. So, this is a great way to clamp something together and have a hold temporarily, very useful. A cordless driver with various Philips head, slot headed drill bits, is super useful for drilling holes when you're outside or in hard to reach places, and if you're just not doing a lot of heavy duty drilling work, one of these will do the trick. So, I don't need to say much about this everyone knows what it is, it's good to have one. Hack saws are really great for cutting pipe, cutting metal, cutting plastic, you can get a new blade when you want to. If you want, you can take that blade out and then stick it through a hole in a piece of wood that's already there and then attach the blade back on and that way you could do things like cut square holes and do all sorts of other cool things, that's very useful. This is something that I really like. Again, it's a piece of equipment I've had for probably 30 years or more. It's a self-healing cutting pad. With a regular $1 utility in that you cut paper, you can cut plastic, you can cut things and the cool thing is, you can just cut and cut and this thing never wears out like I said, I've had it for 30 years, I've literally done tens of thousands of cuts on it and it still works. For some reason I think the materials compressed really tightly so that it is self-healing and you can't even see the cut marks, pretty amazing stuff. This is a digital multimeter and it's used to measure voltage, resistance, and current in electrical circuits. You can actually even plug this into a wall outlet and you can see the 120 volts AC coming out of your wall or you can measure batteries to see if they're fresh or you can see what the resistance value of a resistor is. These again, vary in price, you can get them for as low as $3 or $4 if you look online, or you could pay hundreds of $ for really sophisticated one. This one's about a $20 model. So, there is a couple of other things in here, very quick, pair of scissors, pretty indispensible and a flashlight, of course you need a flashlight to see things. So, that's it for the tools but there are a few other things that I always like to keep on hand when I'm making things and that safety equipment. I've got safety goggles so that things like pieces of metal, plastic, or wood that I'm drilling or cutting don't fly into my eye, or solvents and things like that or superglue, a respirator mask if I'm painting things or sawing things and I don't want dust or aerosols. It's really nice to have one of these. Then it's really important to have a first aid kit. Something to staunch bleeding. Something to deal with cleaning up cuts and scrapes, things like that. Invest in a nice first aid kit. With all of these things, the tools, safety equipment, components and materials, you really have everything you need for a maker space at home. Except let's talk about the space itself. What do you need for a good workshop at home? Well, believe it or not, I don't have a workshop. I do my work here in the dining room, on the dining room table, and I put a piece of wood down to protect the surface, I like the light in here, I like being at home, I like my family running around, helping me, watching what I'm doing. So, all you need to do is have a nice place that's ventilated and has good light and has electrical power so that you can plug in electrical components like soldering irons and drills and saws and things like that. You can get most of your stuff done. So, if you have a small apartment, you can be a maker. It just kind of limits the size of the project you can make. I don't expect you could make a car yark in a small New York apartment. You could try but think about the space you have limits the size of the things you can do but it doesn't really limit what you can do. You can always form things out too if you want to build something big, you can design it at home and send it out to have someone else make it for you. That's one of the things about being a maker, there's no shame in like everything doesn't have to be handmade by you alone. You could design it, you could make some of the components but you could have other people help you with it. You could pay other people to help you do part of it, that's fine. Whatever your comfort level is, whatever you monetary resources are, whatever your time is, do what works for you, don't feel that you have to prove something to anybody else, the goal is to have fun to get something interesting and useful made that you can use. 19. Conclusion: So, in this class so far, I have showed you how to build a conceptual toolkit, how to build an actual toolkit, walked you through the design and prototyping process of a project. Now I just want to show you some other resources to really help you get on your way of becoming a maker. So, one of the biggest recommended patients I have for you is to find a hackerspace or makerspace in your area, and join. They usually have like an open house night once a week or once a month where you can attend, meet people, and find out if it's for you. Often, the larger town will have more than one makerspace. So, find one that works for you. Some are more craft-oriented or kid-friendly. Some are more hardcore and nerdy. So, find one that works for you, and sign up for it, go there. You can start out usually with a small or minimum membership of like $25 a month which will allow you to go during open hours. You might not have full access to everything but is a good starting point. Go in, check things out, meet people, learn from them. That's really where you're going to find out so much. Ask a lot of questions. It's a great place to get started. So, hackerspaces and makerspaces, that's my number one recommendation for becoming a maker and going down this path. Now, say that there's not a makerspace in your area, or you're not quite ready to join the makerspace because of time problems, or you've got little kids in the house, and it's hard to get out of the house, the next step is go online. There are great online forums where you can ask questions and find out things. Hackerspaces often have their own messaging centers where you can join in even if you're not a member and ask questions if you have questions about Arduino, or Servos, or any kind of tool that you're interested in using, go on there. There are other great places. Let me tell you about them. There is, which is the website that make magazine started. We have makers forums there where you can ask people about how to make things., my website, has a lot of stuff about making and DIY. You can find out great projects there. You can ask questions in our BBS. You can go to places like Instructables and see other people's projects. They have great comments at the end of projects, where you can learn a whole bunch about all sorts of technologies and things like that. Another one that I would recommend is called This is electronics kit company started by a woman named Limor Fried. Limor has a really great Saturday evening YouTube show called Ask an Engineer, where you can ask her questions live about any questions you might have about electronics. There's no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to Ask an Engineer. If you're a rank beginner, go ahead and ask the question. She's more than happy to answer the questions. Also, they sell really great electronics kits, and their website has tons of really good tutorials on them too. So, those are basically good places to get started. I should also mention that Skillshare has tons of really good videos and forums where you can learn how to do a lot of different things. So, check out Skillshare as well. So, we've got hackerspace. We have websites. So, another place is books. There's some really good books out there that will teach you how to make things. One of the best is called "Make: Electronic", that a friend of mine wrote. His name is Charles Platt. It is a guide to electronics for people who have never touched a resistor or a capacitor in their life. It is the best book on electronics I've ever seen. It's a full-color guide to making projects out of electronics that will teach you everything you need to know to really become proficient at electronics and understand electronics on a really deep and fundamental level. It's like a college course, but it's accessible to everyone. I love that book. There's a really great book called "Getting Started" in Arduino by Massimo Banzi. He is the co-creator of Arduino. It's a short, simple book, with charming hand-drawn illustrations in it. He walks you through the process of learning how to do neat things with the Arduino. It's an excellent book for understanding and appreciating what the Arduino can do for you. Also, I have a class here on Skillshare where I walk you through the Arduino from the very beginning. You don't have to know anything about electronics, or components, or programming, or anything. By the end of the class, you'll be doing really fun things with the Arduino, like controlling servos with a potentiometer, making sound that changes by how much light is hitting a photo resistor, and a variety of other projects and suggestions for getting you started in going in different directions. So, I think with these books, and websites, and hackerspaces, you can really take your making to the next level. The more you make, the more you become observant of the world. Let's say you made a piece of furniture like a chair for the very first time. It's probably not going to be a very good chair, and that's okay. But what it's going to do is it's going to make you more observant of the way that furniture is made because you are going to sell. So, that's how they attach the legs. They did it this way. That's how they braced it so when you sit on it, it doesn't collapse. It makes you see the world in a new way with new eyes, how furniture is made. Anytime you make anything like that, you start to observe how those things are made. Not only does that make you become a better maker, it makes you more appreciative of the world around you. It makes you more appreciative that someone has taken the time to make a great chair for you to sit in, that doesn't collapse when you sit in it. This new appreciation that you gained for the world makes your life more rewarding and better. That's just like a cool side benefit of becoming a maker. I think God making also improves your ability to make decisions, and improve your critical thinking skills, and improves your creativity. It stretches your imagination. It does so many positive things for your brain. Using your hands there is a direct connection between your hands and your brain. There are so many nerve connections, and people have learned that really one of the fastest ways to change your brain in a good way is to do things with your hands that are complex and require you to do new things as rewiring your brain in a positive way so that once you master something, you ready to take on something new, ready to take things to the next level, do more complex things, more challenging things, be more able to express yourself creatively. This things that you make, not only are they good to have in your own house so that you can see them and use them yourself, but they make excellent gifts because when you give these as gifts, people recognize the amount of embedded time and care that you put into them. It's so much better than giving someone something that you bought. If I give this to somebody, they may not find it to be like the most useful thing in the world, but they realize that I put a lot of work into it, and that it's not something that I easily just paid money out of my pocket to buy something at the store, but this is something that I put time into and is unique. There's nothing out there like that in the world. People appreciate that. I've learned that. Like I said, I keep honeybees. When I give people little jars of honey as a gift, they think it's great and they always comment. They really take time to taste what the honey is like because they're curious what backyard honey tastes like compared to store bar honey. So, this kind of appreciation for the world around you is one of the great side benefits of being a maker. I am really excited to see what you're going to do when you finish this class and go into making yourself. Feel free to post things in the comments. I'll be there answering your questions. I'm really excited and eager to see the kind of things you make. I expect that I'll be learning as much from you, if not more, than you've learned from me in this video. So, thanks a lot for taking the time and happy making. 20. Explore Creative Classes on Skillshare: