I’m a Fan: MAKE

make_cover

This will definitely bring out the kid in you… Someone described MAKE as a cross between WIRED, American Woodworker, Popular Mechanics and Scientific American. Published once a quarter, each issue features four very detailed DIY projects, along with short descriptions and general guides to a few others. Combined with the DIY info, there is the usual mix of opinion articles, political commentary, news summaries, letters, articles about crazy DIY-folk, also called “makers”.

But for my fellow industrial designers, be forewarned: Makers are not necessarily industrial designers or manufacturers–slick and finished is not what a maker does. Makers are about function, not form.

So why feature this mag on a blog for industrial designers?

Because most of us probably spent some significant portion of our childhoods taking stuff apart because we were curious about how the worked, how they were put together, how they were MADE… And stuff like this can really let you get in touch with your inner geek.

Plus, there’s a lot you can learn by just watching other tinker, and wire, and experiment (although it’s more fun to do it yourself). Sure, most of the stuff isn’t pretty–a lot of it border’s on the Frankenstein meets Rube Goldberg. But there’s some real ingenuity and inspiration in them thar pages. The projects featured in each issue are usually funky, weird stuff that only a tiny fraction of the readers will actually build– most of the projects are simply not that useful. But just because they’re not exactly useful doesn’t mean they aren’t cool.

One other thing: Perhaps some of these projects could be actual products IF the right industrial designer came along. Hmmm… Maybe some of this crazy stuff could be good fodder for new product development… or your portfolio… just a thought…

For example, you can build your own little robot (his name is Makey)…

make_makey

But he’s basically constructed out of sheet metal… Seriously, doesn’t Makey just beg or a little styling? Doesn’t he deserve a little industrial design love?

Keep in mind: a subscription to MAKE isn’t cheap. It’s about $35/year (for 4 170+page mags). But right now they’re running a special: 5 issues for $30. The best thing you can do before subscribing to it is to visit their website watch their free weekly video podcasts and PDF that show how to make a project from the magazine. or check out their Projects page. The weekly projects range in difficulty from easy to hard, but they will give you a glimpse of what’s in the magazine. About a month ago, they showed how to mold concrete flower pots using scrap styrofoam.

C’mon… geek out a little… I know you wanna…

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