Getting Starting With Making
So you've heard about the "Maker Movement" and you'd like to try building a few projects of your own, but aren't sure where to start? Here's a bunch of resources that will help you begin your own Maker adventure.
First, you need to get inspired
- Make Stuff with Carrie Anne Philbin of The Geek Gurl Diaries and Raspberry Pi Foundation. From a digital garden to creating a soundboard with marshmallows, Carrie Anne shows you how to do it all.
- "So you want to build a robot?" by Raquel Vélez. A perfect follow-on to C.J.'s talk: Raquel's confidence and enthusiasm are infectious! A graduate of CalTech and former roboticist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Raquel shows off her "BatBot": a mini wheeled robot with bat wings and enough intelligence to escape from a box.
- "What Is LittleBits?" Nervous about wires and tiny connectors? LittleBits lets you create electronic circuits out of components that click together with magnets. If you can build with Legos, you can build circuits with LittleBits.
Now let's find a project
- Adafruit's Learning Library has hundreds of tutorials on building everything from touchscreen-friendly mittens to Raspberry-Pi-powered laser cat toys: their wearables (electronics you build right into your clothes) are so cool they have their own weekly YouTube series.
- Make Resources for the Raspberry Pi specializes in kid-friendly projects built with the Raspberry Pi, like computerized balloon poppers and screaming Jelly Babies.
- LittleBits Lessons help you build projects from electric toothbrushes to Lego flashlights, but also dig deep into other STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) topics.
- NodeBots Forums is the place to go for robot copters, boats and even rockets!
Some places to help you fill your toolbox
- Adafruit is a one-stop shop for all your maker needs, with lots of options for making things that come alive with light: get in touch with your artistic side!
- Sparkfun is another maker's paradise, with more focus on building large, ambitious robot projects.
- LittleBits: home of "click together" circuits aimed at helping you explore the concepts of electronics without getting bogged-down in the assembly.
- MakerShed is the home of Make: magazine and another great source for electronic components of all types. Their book offerings are particularly excellent.
What to buy first
Now that you have an idea what the options are, here are some great "first choices":
- For the Arduino, try Sparkfun's Inventor's Kit or Adafruit's Experimentation Kit. Either one will give you all the parts you need to start building projects with the Arduino, and their detailed manuals will have you blinking lights and spinning motors in no time. There are only minor differences in the parts lists, and Adafruit's kit is $15 less-expensive.
- For the Raspberry Pi, the Adventures in Raspberry Pi Starter Kit is a great idea: included are the book of the same title and the parts kit you'll need to build the projects.
- LittleBits Base Kit or Premium Kit will have you building circuits in seconds, though they are pricier to build complete projects from.
Hungry for more? Dive deeper with these books and magazines
- Make: magazine delivers a bi-monthly dose of Maker goodness, including project ideas, instructional articles and interviews with Makers doing amazing things. This is the original news source of the Maker Movement.
- Adventures in Raspberry Pi (Carrie Anne Philbin) is the definitive guide to getting started with this palm-sized computer.
- Make: Electronics (Charles Platt) is a solid grounding in the electronics concepts that will help you invent your own hardware projects from scratch.
- Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom (Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager) explores how the Maker mindset can revitalize our schools and develop the skills that will help our children thrive in the modern world.
- Zero to Maker (David Lang) describes David's journey from absolute hardware novice to co-creator of an underwater explorer robot (the OpenROV) and gives a roadmap on how you can develop the skills to build your dream project, too!