Samathy Barratt

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The Mindset of Making physical stuff

Today, I gave a somewhat impromptu talk at Tech Nottingham. It was lightning talks night - an evening of unusually short, 5 min talk slots where talks are invited from the audience in the room on the night. Normally TechNotts does this once a year ( for the last 3 years at least! ).

I wasn't planning on doing a talk tonight. Right up until I tweeted a photo of the event, and suddenly, an idea popped into my head!

I gave a talk about the mindset of making physical things

Making things is about trying Making things is about breaking things. Making things is about faking confidence.

You can make anything if you put enough time, and thought into it. If you take the time to understand your problem, and to understand the tools and materials you have available to you, then you can attempt to design a solution.

At first, you might not end up with something usable. You might not end up with something anywhere near what you originally designed. You might even find that during the process of making the thing, you actually end up breaking something. You might break a tool, or perhaps a component of the thing you're making. Maybe you put a capacitor in the wrong way, or you try to use a wood-bit for a hole in a brick wall. I've destroyed MDF by screwing into it from the side, and having to glue it back together.

But, with all these mistakes, over time, you learn from those mistakes and gain some really valuable skills that you never knew you could have. You'll learn things about the power and limitations of tools you have, discover the right materials for what jobs, and figure out that some components don't enjoy current in the wrong direction!

The more you make, the more you'll be able to make, and the better the things you make will be. Things you make will start to be easier to produce, more functional and closer to the right solutions for the problem.

Eventually, you'll find yourself seeing products on store shelves, seeing problems around you and thinking "I could make that" or "I can solve this myself".

Then you try, and you make it. You solve the problem, you fix the thing. When you're done, you can sit back and think "I made that". It might not be perfect, but you made it and it's yours. You made it with your own skills for your own problem.

It makes you proud! Its fun! You've learned valuable skills and became a better person!

Make things, join a Hackspace.

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