One of the most notable revelations I’ve had thus far working with the makerspace team is the value of open source software. As a young, naive undergrad and even during my professional duties as a writer/page designer at a small newspaper, I was often snobbish about having to use such open source software as Open Office - it didn’t work the way I WANTED it to. I was spoiled and, having never really incurred the costs for such software, blissfully ignorant of how prohibitive those costs are. The wonderful thing about Michelle’s workshop this week was that all of the tools she used (with the exception of the printer itself) were free. The development of web applications has really enhanced access to these tools and allows people to harness their experimental and creative powers much more easily. I cannot imagine having to pay for proprietary software in order to tinker with (pardon the pun!) Tinkercad, the application we used for 3D modeling.
The availability of such programs really fits well with the maker mindset of sharing and collaboration and greatly increases one’s ability to try new things. Within 30 seconds, and at no cost, I was ready to start basic 3D modeling, or to modify the free downloadable models available at Thingiverse. I can go home and share this with my sister, or send her the link and let her try it on her own. I am not prohibited by the fear of paying for a program that I will never use, and in this case, I’m not even slowed down by the need to download the program.
The workshop itself was a great introduction to Tinkercad, which is surprisingly easy and intuitive to use. I am looking forward to next week and to hopefully making some neat additions to our poster for ALISE (fingers crossed)!