Monday, March 20, 2006

Reinventing the Maker in Me

When I was a kid I used to love to tear things apart to see how they worked. I rarely cared for putting them back together - it was the discovery process that motivated me. It was only after I figured out how most stuff worked that I wanted to build. One summer I found a box full of old Popular Mechanics magazines from the 40's and 50's at my Aunt's farm and spent hours paging through the history of do-it-yourselfers and the technology of the mid-century. It was though everyone basement had a lathe, a bandsaw and a welder. When I was in high school, I used to go to the library and read through back issues of Popular Science, which was a little more geared toward electronics and computing. Last month at a used book fair, I purchased a four-volume set of the "Popular Mechanics Illustrated Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide Deluxe Library Edition 1962" for $12. It was like time travelling back to my Aunt's farm to leaf through the pages of clever headboards with hidden storage for blankets and 100's of uses for beeswax. Then a couple of weeks later, I received an e-mail alert from my friends at ThinkGeek that Vol.5 of the magazine Make was available. After looking through the table of contents, I knew these were my people. I am planning on purchasing the previous 4 volumes as well as subscribing to future issues. Now my problem is deciding on whether to make the soda bottle rocket, the windmill generator or the jam jar jet engine...

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