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The ‘maker movement’

The so-called maker movement of do-it-yourself continues to expand at a global level. Recent technological developments such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, milling machines, inexpensive software systems, open source microcontroller boards, and more are facilitating the maker movement by making it possible for individuals or small groups to design and build things. There are numerous makerspaces, hackerspaces, TechShops, FabLabs that popped up all over the world where makers can access all types of digital fabrication tools and also meet other people to exchange information and knowledge to turn an idea into a marketable product.

The tool revolution of the past few years is changing the landscape of the manufacturing industry. A combination of 3D printing, which allows people to make and revise prototypes onsite, and produce certain high-value, low-volume items themselves, rather than going to a factory. The Arduino controls allow designers to add sophisticated electronic functions without doing all the coding by themselves.

Many makers are individuals such as hobbyists or amateurs, enthusiasts, students, artists, hackers, tinkerers, inventors, designers, whoever wants their innovative ideas to be made into physical things. This grassroots innovation could end up making great products and some makers do become entrepreneurs. The big companies may partner with individual makers to take their innovative ideas and mass produce the products for them.

Many individual makers sell their created handmade products on line like Etsy, which has now more than one million artisan sellers. eBay and Craigslist are also sources for them to sell their created wares.

The US-based Make Magazine was first released in January 2005. It focuses on the Do It Yourself (DIY) and Do It With Others (DIWO) mindsets, which features step-by-step projects. Maker Faire events now popular around the world started in 2006 by the Make Magazine drawing visitors, and makers who show off their projects. (Floro Mercene)