Jan.16, 2013

David Long worked for a startup in Los Angeles as a Community Manager before he jumped into the Maker world. After losing his office job in the summer of 2011, he was forced to rethink his career trajectory. The "knowledge" he learned didn't secure him the future he was expecting. He decided to focus on building the fundamental skills: how things work, what their potential can be with the help of the latest technology.

At TechShop in San Francisco he spent two months taking every class from wood working, laser cutting, CNC machining, 3D printing, CAD, welding, and everything in between.

These are the skills that would enable him to create, develop or repair something useful or essential. "In a span of several months I flipped the switch from being an interested onlooker to an active participant." says David Long.

David Long launched his first project OpenROV, an open source underwater robot and community of DIY ocean explorers around the world in June 2012 and successfully raised $111,622 of its funding goal $20,000.

What I thought was an insurmountable disadvantage of never having used a soldering iron, turned out to be a phantom obstacle. Now, my biggest concern is how we're going to fill all the orders for the robot kit I helped develop. It's a much better problem to have.

 

And believe me, I'm the last person who ever thought I'd be singing this tune. Having labeled myself as mechanically incompetent and manually illiterate, I presumed that my relationship with devices would always be strictly utilitarian.

 

But the biggest surprise was the discovery that my experience is entirely replicable. Thanks to new rapid prototyping technologies, the tools of making are easier than ever to access and learn. All across the country and beyond, the maker community is self-organizing to create fab labs and makerspaces, which serve as cheap and accessible DIY classrooms. It doesn't require a major life change (like losing a job or facing a similar crisis) to get involved. These are skills you can develop on part time basis - a few nights a week or a weekend here and there. In fact, no matter what your day job may be, you'll find these new skills can be complimentary and helpful in your everyday life.

This is how he begins a new project ZERO TO MAKER for getting as many new makers involved as possible.

"Learn what you need to make just about anything – a product, an invention you've been dreaming about, or even a Maker business."

ZERO TO MAKER project is launched on Kickstarter and it will include:

1. The ZERO TO MAKER book: All backers will be part of the team to make the book "an excellent physical product (in addition to a great resource) - something you'll like holding in your hands."

"It's going to be a year-long digital and physical tour of this curious Maker world. I want to show you all the delightful little corners, the inspiring characters, and immense opportunity. "

2. Maker Interviews on G+: a series of eight live interviews on Google+ On Air Hangouts will be organized.

3. Maker Fellowships: For David Long, DIY is all about DIT (Do-It-Together) - "the DIT experience wouldn't be complete unless we actually get our hands dirty and MAKE STUFF." He is teaming up with TechShop, The Mill, and other makerspaces around the country to create Maker Fellowships, a two-month program and introduction to making. Each location will accommodate up to four Maker Fellows. It starts with a maker weekend as follows:


Then you can choose any three of the following classes:

  • Metalshop
  • Woodshop
  • Shopbot CNC
  • Autodesk Inventor 1, 2, 3 (TechShop Locations only)
  • CAD to CAM
  • Vinyl Cutter CNC

Excited and inspired by this program? There are different ways to get involved in this project. You can pledge either for the book ($10-$20) or one of the Maker interviews on G+ hangouts ($100), or the Makerbot Fellowship ($1,100) in different locations (San Francisco, Austin, Detroit and Minneapolis). Check out the Kickstarter project here.

 

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Posted in Hackspaces

 

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