This Wednesday was our second 3D printing workshop and it really left me wanting more! That’s not to say that the workshop was insufficient, but that it did it’s job of making me realize how possible and realistic it is for me to create and print 3D models. For her second workshop, Michelle introduced the open source program Inkscape (“drawing” software comparable to Adobe Illustrator). In Inkscape, users can change black and white images/objects into vector images that can then be imported into Tinkercad and manipulated. The same thing can be done with text as well.
I got another look at the maker movement in some of my readings this week. I read two papers by the Deloitte Center for the Edge, A Movement In The Making and Impact of the Maker Movement. The two papers, particularly the latter, explore the economic and cultural impact makerspaces and the maker movement are having and will continue to have in the future. I am somewhat familiar with the ways the movement is manifesting itself in the education world (i.e. this whole grant project) and had heard it tossed around that the movement is predicted to revitalize the manufacturing industry in the country. But I had never really heard it put into such precise and optimistic (is that the right word?) terms.
One of the points I found interesting in A Movement In The Making was Dale Dougherty’s breakdown of makers into three categories: 1) zero to maker, 2) maker to maker, and 3) maker to market. These seem to capture the different aspects of the movement pretty well.
Zero to maker (the level at which I proudly know I am most rooted in) is those who are just learning and/or putting their skills to use. This category quite nicely captures the idea that everyone is a maker, that the access to ideas and technology are putting making back in peoples’ hands. The maker to maker aspect captures the sense of community, sharing, and building on others’ ideas that is so vital to the maker world. And clearly maker to market reflects the economic impact of the market.
Possibly my favorite line or concept from both articles was the seemingly contradictory idea that our digital technologies are, paradoxically, leading us back to the physical realm. “Physical ‘making’ is the new frontier,” the authors say. When so many lament the “end of society” because of the machines, it is refreshing to think of the potential renaissance that all of these machines could be leading to. While I often wondered whether the authors were a bit idealistic or self-serving in their predictions about the impact the maker movement has/will have, I am also hopeful that they are mostly right. Their ideas clearly strike a chord with me and how I would like to see the world continue to evolve in the future.
“The same forces that are democratizing information— improved cost-performance of technology driving digitization and connectivity— are also lowering the cost to produce physical objects.”
--A Movement In The Making, Deloitte Center For The Edge