Week #2 Reflection: The Origins and Future of the Maker Movement

Class Reflection

This past week allowed us the opportunity to gain exposure to not only the 3D printing revolution, but also the Maker Movement as a collective whole. Despite taking a course in high school through which I was able to tinker and play with design software like AutoCAD and Inventor, we never learned about other parts of the revolution. Through Jeff Ginger’s presentation, I learned about how the movement is making a tangible impact on the local community. The Fablab and the tools made available there to the public present endless opportunities to exercise creativity. This also relates to this past week’s readings, in which Dale Dougherty touches on the need for the Maker Movement as a form of creative learning in his article “The Maker Mindset”. Dougherty states, “The biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for the Maker Movement

This also relates to this past week’s readings, in which Dale Dougherty touches on the need for the Maker Movement as a form of creative learning in his article “The Maker Mindset”. Dougherty states, “The biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for the Maker Movement is to transform education.” Through reading his piece, I learned the enormous value that Making can have with regards to education. While in today’s society the majority of a student’s success is largely determined by his or her ability to perform well on standardized tests or to submit themselves to thinking in a very specific and rigid manner, the Maker Movement offers students the ability to be successful in more creative, outside-the-box types of ways. A specific example that Dougherty cites that I found to be particularly insightful was the Jet Propulsion Laboratory case, in which the company realized that recruiting students who had spent their childhood tinkering or building various widgets was far more beneficial than hiring students who had solely been the most successful by academic standards.

In the article “How to Make Almost Anything”, the author Neil Gershenfeld argues that we live in a highly materialistic society, one in which we are taught and raised to purchase and consume the basic things that we need. This, as a result, contradicts our inherent nature of being creative, of being self-reliant, and of providing for ourselves. I was completely unaware of all the capabilities that 3D printing and the general Maker Movement could have before reading this article.

Everyday Object Challenge

For the everyday object challenge, I specifically looked at Thingiverse, as I found this sharing site to have the most expansive variety of model options to download and utilize. The four objects I analyzed were a door bolt, a Pokemon toy, a GoPro stick, and a tube squeezer.

Door Bolt: I would definitely use this item from Thingiverse. It is incredibly practical and otherwise can only be found at specialty home improvement stores like the Home Depot. Thingiverse allows something that can be hard to find much more accessible. I would also include the files for the screws needed for the product, as the directions seemed a bit confusing.

Pokemon Toy: This toy was actually what I printed after class last week, and it serves as a reminder that the Maker Movement does not necessarily have to revolve around creating new, inventive products or bringing a solution to a greater problem. While it definitely can be utilized for those purposes, it can also be used to create simple toys and help children to explore their more creative passions. I would improve this product by giving it more defined features.

GoPro Stick: The GoPro Selfie Stick is a great example of how 3D printing can help disseminate the latest trends. For example, if you saw a new gadget at a convention or conference, you could instantly print it out to show your friends and family. Personally, I would make the stick extend a bit larger.

Tube Squeezer: While this may not be the most advanced product on the Thingiverse website, it is a perfect example of creating extremely practical inventions. Prior to seeing this on the Thingiverse site, I had no idea something like this existed. However, it is definitely a simple yet incredibly useful idea that I would definitely employ. The only change I would make would be to increase the size of the handle, as people with larger hands may find it difficult to gain a good grasp.

5 thoughts on “Week #2 Reflection: The Origins and Future of the Maker Movement

  1. I too believe that the Maker Movement will make a tangible impact in our societies and particularly in the education industry. Instead of children just memorizing how stuff is made, in the next 15 years they will have the opportunity to exercise their creative part and build products which shape society. The Maker Movement is going to go a long way and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  2. Chase, I thoroughly enjoyed your analysis of the Maker Movement as not only a community of tinkerers but as a collective group of people teaching and learning how to question the products that we are so used to buying and accepting. Instead, the movement has now expanded to countries all over the world and even in our own backyards, like in the FabLab. The idea that 3D printing is not only used for intricate objects and can be designed to simplify daily life caught my attention as I never really looked at it as a way to make mundane tasks like the toothpaste squeezer so much simpler. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to look at 3D printing in a new light.

  3. Hi Chase,

    I found your point about the entire Maker Movement as opposed to just 3D Printing to be especially relevant. Through Jeff’s presentation, I was convinced that there definitely is a “Maker Mindset” and that the movement definitely has a community feel to it. I also wrote about the creative thinking and learning aspects of making, certainly an important concept as it begins to revolutionize education. As for the benefits of tinkering and making as a child, do you think it has a place in elementary schools? What do you see as the biggest challenging to implementing it?

  4. Hey Chase,
    I think the Pokemon Toy is something that if quite “cute” and in a way useful. Growing up, I love Pokemon figurines and remembered my parents spent a lot of money on them. I think that making your own Pokemon Toy would save so much money and it would be just as effective for children. I also agree that the Maker Movement is a way to challenge ourselves creatively and challenges us to rethink what is a necessity and what is a desire.

  5. Hi Chase,
    Really nice analysis! I completely agree that prior to completing this week’s readings and attending class, I was unaware of the full span of initiatives that can be achieved through 3D making — one really cool example was provided in the Fab Lab presentation, where they teach children to make their own backpacks from start to finish, while incorporating technology to serve as turn signals on a bike. From the items you posted above, it seems like you are interested in objects that simplify/resolve issues that you come across in your daily life (as opposed to highly specialized objects.) I particularly like the toothpaste squeezer — you make a good point that how “advanced” or technical a product is does not necessarily indicate its utility. I suggest checking out the iPhone charger shelf and car mounts as well — these are both simple products that simplify daily operations.

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