We Are Not All Makers

By on February 11th, 2015 in Ideas


An article in The Atlantic proposes that maker culture focuses too much on “creating” and not enough on other aspects. 

Their point is that the act of making, once completed, provides  immediate and measurable satisfaction: something has been made! It’s a proud feeling one obtains when finished building something amazing. They say: 

An identity built around making things—of being “a maker”—pervades technology culture. There’s a widespread idea that “People who make things are simply different [read: better] than those who don’t.”

They go on to suggest that other aspects of making are also important, like teaching, managing or socializing. 

While their piece focuses on “making” in general, this is also true in the world of 3D printing. Certainly our space has a large number of “makers”, who enjoy incredible highs when things emerge from their 3D printers. But there’s lots of other people in roles required to make progress happen. 

Some vendors, particularly MakerBot in its initial iteration, believed that everyone can be a maker. We were always doubtful, in spite of the tremendous energy inspired by the idea of making things by one’s self. Even if the magic feeling that comes from creating something is present in everyone, there are many people who simply don’t have the time or priority to make things. 

This phenomenon is aggravated by current challenges in using personal 3D printers, where the public has in recent years been “invited” to become makers by many manufacturers. It’s still quite difficult for many to overcome the many steps in a successful 3D printing workflow. 

Change could begin happen once 3D printing workflows are vastly simplified, and we’ve seen some movement towards that end in the past few years. However, there’s a long way to go. What would help immensely is the discovery of a 3D print use scenario applicable to the public, which would drive many more people towards the technology. 

Via The Atlantic

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!