February 10th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

How to make more 'makers' - and why it matters

Editor’s note: Dale Dougherty is the publisher and founder of MAKE magazine and the creator of Maker Faire. Tune in to CNN's The Next List at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday to see a 30-minute profile of Dale Dougherty.

By Dale Dougherty, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Joey Hudy, a young "maker" from Phoenix went to the White House this week to show off his project, the "Extreme Marshmallow Cannon." When President Obama saw it, he told Joey: "Let's try it." Joey set up the air cannon, which uses a bicycle pump to build up air pressure, and put a marshmallow down the barrel. When he pressed the trigger, a single marshmallow was shot out across the room to the delight of everyone, but especially the president.

I was proud of Joey's accomplishment and the journey that brought him to White House. That journey began at home, where he developed a love of making things. In fact, Joey found that he could do things at home - and do them well - even though he was struggling at school. Joey has Asperger’s Syndrome but I really wouldn't know that unless his parents told me. Joey first came to Maker Faire - an event for "makers," or people who make things with their hands - last year in the Bay Area and he brought the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon with him. His mother, Julie, told us that not only was the experience rewarding for Joey - he got to meet Adam Savage of Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” - but Joey made the connection between the work he was doing at home and what he saw makers doing. He knew that he was a maker and that he told his Mom that he "must be smart."

Joey then participated in the Maker Faires in Detroit and New York as well as a smaller independent Maker Faire in his hometown of Phoenix. He shared the instructions for the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon on Make Projects so that others could build it. As a result of all these efforts, Joey was selected to represent Maker Faire at the White House this week, along with winners of Science Fair competitions, and showcase how students can participate in science and technology. Who doesn't see an air cannon and want to build one themselves?

Makers start with that simple idea to do something, which is why we call it DIY - for "do it yourself." Soon, however, they find out that there are lots of people like you out there. When you find others, you have a community and that community offers a place to show your work, trade tools and swap ideas, and just have fun.

Joey Hudy and President Obama at White House Science Fair.

And this isn't just for some people, or just people who like air cannons. I believe we are all makers.

We can find all kinds of makers in our communities. Yet we also want to help create more makers. Through education and community outreach, we can offer the opportunity to make things to more people, but particularly children. They might find these opportunities at school but also at community centers, summer camps and science centers, or even at home. My goal is that all people, young and old, come to see themselves as makers, creators and doers because I know that the people who have the skills and knowledge to make things have the power to make the world a better place.

Just watch what Joey makes next.

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Filed under: Innovation • Politics • Science • Tech • The Next List
soundoff (133 Responses)
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  15. John Wojewidka

    All was good with the interview with Mr. Dougherty, until the very last line.

    No, Dale, not all of us are makers. Indeed, some of us are entrepreneurs. Some of us are managers. Some of us don't care. It all sounds so wonderful, and it is for many people, but to think like this and present it as such is more than disingenuous.

    Why this is significant is many people will hear things like this and dive in only to become massively frustrated. It happens to would-be entrepreneurs all the time. It kills a lot of what they are, indeed, good at. There should be acknowledgement that we all have something to contribute, and each person will contribute something different. We need a range of talents to make things work. Without the entrepreneur and the manager, many of these maker projects are just idle-time killers and languish in the corner of the garage, even if they have real value for other people. Yes, it is critically important to try, to see what one is capable of, but one must go in realistically and know there are other ways to be of value.

    How many great inventions and creations are lost forever because there was nobody to help create structure – a real business – around the vehicle needed to get something to market? Staggering numbers, certainly, and a shame.

    April 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • Focalist

      John, here's the thing. I'm in the bin with the "idle timekillers". You want to know what's wrong with America?

      I am "unemployable" because I have an incurable illness that makes it so I simply cannot do a "schedule". I am slowly dying and have many weaknesses, so I don't mind trumpeting what few strengths I do have. One is that I am a "maker", a "tinkerer", and have always been. I truly believe that there are some folks that are born who just have an innate "how does that work?" about them, and that curiosity breeds understanding, and that understanding can breed innovation if it's supported.

      America is now ONLY about the quick dollar. There was a day not long ago when companies would have been lined up for blocks, begging to make whatever accomodation was needed to put my kind of creativity on their payroll.. because geeks like me are the ones that actually come up with new toys for companies to make and sell. No more. It's about what design you can copy that has already been done, hopefully stealing it from the "maker" so as to not have to even pay for the source of their profit.

      Still, I do what I do because it's something I love. I can no more stop tinkering than I can breathing. To repost my comment from before:

      "Even if the value of the creation never exceeds the simple pleasure of creating it, the art of creation and the creation of art are what makes us human, and makes us aspire to ever greater things. Being "Makers" is what being human is all about. Ideas, inventions, passions and dreams – to Tinker is to be alive."

      April 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
      • John Wojewidka

        Thank you for that. Very well said.

        We're definitely on the same page about the act of making. It is valuable on many levels, not the least of which is personal. I've been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years. It's a similar disease to tinkering in that I can't live any other way. I was born into it, just like you were born to tinker. And, by the way, I am a frustrated tinkerer. Would love to be able to create in the flesh the ideas that I have. But because of my inability to realize those ideas physically, because of that "handicap", I have only been able to make something of the ideas a few times, and the rest is languishing (at least in my mind...remember, my own disease!). Frustrating. I have a little shop littered with amusing attempts at physical manifestation. It was, indeed, fun, though.

        Now, besides a current entrepreneurial project I'm working on, I help other entrepreneurs, many of whom are makers. They want to get their ideas to others who will benefit from them. This is a choice they make, and if they don't choose to do that, and just like to solve problems for the sake of solving them, that's okay, too. I say, tinker on!

        What I see every day, though, is this assumption that everyone has a maker or entrepreneur in them. That we can all be Edison or Gates. Swing for the fences! We all might, indeed, have these thoughts, and maybe even the inclination to give it a go, but we all don't have this mal-placed "it". You simply can't teach someone to be a maker, an artist, a singer or an entrepreneur. It has to be a part of our inherent makeup. Give me Photoshop to unleash the artist in me and ... nothing happens. Nothing good, anyway. And it will never happen.

        Besides, swinging for the fences is another thing only a few people even want to do. Owning a single corner coffee shop is great if that's what makes you happy. Period. So is creating a line of designer clothing for your dog. So is developing a secret recipe only for your family to enjoy.

        We have to be realistic about what we contribute, and about our personal limitations. I tell people everyday it's okay to find out they're not a good manager, or a good planner. It's okay to realize they suck at public speaking. That doesn't mean you're not really valuable at other things that count. I think if Tesla was not expected (or maybe *he* didn't expect) to do everything – create, promote and run a business, things would have turned out much different for him and mankind.

        I'm not so sure big companies, generally speaking, have ever embraced makers. It scares the hell of of them because most of the people who run the companies have gotten into management positions because they are *not* that kind of person. They are managers, not technicians. They are not the same, and they don't generally understand each other. New things scare them. New things make people think too much about their own tenuous situations. They don't want to be pushed aside because someone came up with an innovation that might obsolete them, or – worse – expose them for not having this kind of talent. I've consulted with Microsoft, HP, Samsung and others and see this daily. It's really sad. I'd put a dollar on this: A vast majority of larger companies don't even have the ability to interview someone like you. There is nobody in HR or management that could possibly understand what you do and why. There's even a bigger chasm between makers and corporate types than if they spoke only English and makers only Russian (just saying...). It is deeply cultural and very personally threatening.

        Ironically, this is *exactly* what is needed in big companies. They *need* people working with and for them that question direction and established thought. It is essential to innovation. Apple is lucky as hell their former cultural leader and tyrant had a good eye. So many other companies simply don't. And won't. Without that iron hand and the vision (he was personally a crummy maker), they would not be where they are.

        Things will have to fundamentally change before makers are acceptable, before marketing and technology go to lunch daily, before sales and product development walk down the road hand-in-hand. It would be a seismic shift I don't see happening, maybe ever. But, if I have any say or influence, there will be more people like me pushing for a better relationship between makers, managers and entrepreneurs. The working combination is the holy grail.

        Yes, tinker on!

        April 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  16. Focalist

    Another of my Arduino projects... add a microphone circuit and a couple of resistors, and an Arduino can be a realtime audio spectrum analyzer with video output. Note that the chip itself sells for around four dollars, all parts to make a full compatible Arduino can be put together for around ten dollars:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=390]

    That's quite a bit of computing power for under five dollars...

    April 1, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  17. Focalist

    The Arduino project is amazing, I like to think of it as "Open Education" rather than "Open Source". By simplifying their usage, the Arduino project has made it possible for hobbyists, artists and students to bring the power of embedded computing to their projects with far less expertise up front.

    What can you do with Arduino? How about this: A dry-erase marker "wall plotter" made from recycled motors from a printer I found at a junkyard...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puoAsZ_kQD0&w=640&h=390]

    I'm currently trying to build a 3D CNC router around a Dremel, for a cost of under $100. Yeah, Arduino Rocks.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  18. Aaron

    I'm amused by their avoidance of the word "invention". Somehow that word got a bad rap in pop culture. The word "invention" is now associated with crackpots. Its use brings to mind a crazy, wild-eyed, socially inept crack working in his basement on a head-mounted electronic toilet paper dispenser.

    But I don't care, if they want to rename it "making" and "makers" that fine with me. Whatever gets more people interested.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • John Wojewidka

      The term is not to avoid inventor. The term was coined to include more than just inventors – who are not seen as crackpots. Makers can be people who create furniture, clothing and bicycles. The create circuits and weld things. They make things, just like inventors do.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
      • Focalist

        I think I speak for all the "crazy, wild-eyed, socially inept crackpots working in their basement on a head-mounted electronic toilet paper dispensers" when I say we've been given a bad rap.

        Laugh while you can, it's all to fund the orbital death ray.

        April 2, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • John Wojewidka

        Once you're done, and you have the leasing program in place, please contact me...first! Hate to be second in line for something like this.

        April 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Timothy

        It's not bad for the machine but you may want to csionder these points (albeit some may be a tad esoteric):Hot water from the tap may include unwanted detritus (or at least, be filtered through same detritus) from your water heater, this will affect taste.Hot water holds less oxygen than cold which also affects flavor. The colder the water going in, the better the flavor.Since your coffee maker already has the elements to heat the water, why would you do this anyway? The coffee maker will surely get the water hotter than anything coming from the tap (unless you have your thermostat set at an unsafe temperature!)

        April 30, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  19. guest

    I applaud his effort but an air cannon is so unoriginal. I know kids have to start somewhere but that doesn't seem like a White House level science winning project.

    March 31, 2012 at 6:15 am | Reply
  20. nobsartist

    I think the patent process is just fine. In fact, I think ownership should be extended instead of decreased. A patent is just like a boat in the respect that its just another hole that you pour money into. Thats why they tend to make you poor.

    What we really need is a government organization that helps patent holders. The government is willing to give the auto companies BILLIONS to investigate hybrid technology but gives nothing to patent holders for the technology that THEY invented decades ago. As a consequence, the auto companies blow the money on administrators and in the end they just steal intellectual property whos protection has expired. No, I think the life of patents should be extended to the life of the inventor and the fees paid for a patent should also cover future litigation. We have "prosecutors" whos job is to prosecute those that break the law yet we patent holders have no such protection although we pay dearly for that patent.

    The present system works great though. You invent, patent and then take it to China for investment and manufacture.

    Perfect.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:28 am | Reply
  21. Aubrie

    This seems like a great program, I believe multiple schools should be doing this, as a High school student.. I have not been exposed to ANY of this, which is really sad.. I want to go into computer engineering, and the schools aren't giving us the tools to be successful in actual job settings, which engineering, and computer science is currently running the world. We need to fix this!

    February 25, 2012 at 2:05 am | Reply
  22. Luther

    Sorry, all the manufacturing was outsourced. There are no position for any type of "makers".

    February 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  23. Buzz Killington

    That kid looks eerily similar to Brick from The Middle.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  24. Chris

    And here's the trailer for a short animated film that's all about "making" https://vimeo.com/24101849

    February 15, 2012 at 1:29 am | Reply
  25. SEBASTJAN

    1 million NEW products without market, why do you need new producers, and is all with the patents. These are intermediate to assemble in a central product for which a market is.

    based on the reviewed patents YOU would invent a new commercial product with market, maybe global.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  26. Fiacre

    Some thoughts on Make Magazine and the DARPA grant mentioned in the video

    http://www.librarybazaar.com/2012/02/12/make-darpa-one/

    http://www.librarybazaar.com/2012/02/12/make-darpa-two/

    February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  27. Brad

    Funny, but the ones in Washington looking for the "makers" have never been "makers" themselves. Most are lawyers...and some community activisists....perhaps if we had more engineers, scientists and trades people inside the beltway the whole nation would be better off.......

    February 14, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
    • Burt Way

      They always want to encourage students to pursue science , engineering study, but never encourage their own chldren or grandchildren to do it. Funny, isn't it? Think of the Bush, Kennedy, & other clans.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  28. Kraas

    only thing I can say about that picture is "OH EXPLOITABLE."

    February 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  29. engineer long time

    The new UN W of Mass destruction.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  30. Focalist

    Even if the value of the creation never exceeds the simple pleasure of creating it, the art of creation and the creation of art are what makes us human, and makes us aspire to ever greater things. Being "Makers" is what being human is all about. Ideas, inventions, passions and dreams – to Tinker is to be alive.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • DC

      Very well said!! :)

      February 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • K.B.

      Yes ,very well put.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:59 am | Reply
  31. Focalist

    I've twice been featured on Make's online blog over the past several years, since I began playing and experimenting with Arduino.. the core of a good amount of Make's content. Arduino is an Open-Source, community-supported, low cost electronics and microcomputer platform designed for students, artists, and others who are interested in the world of low-cost embedded computing. Arduino utilized a single-chip computer that sells for under five dollars, but is nearly as capable as many of the first PC's. If you are a tinkerer, a student, or engineer- do yourself a favor and look into http://www.arduino.cc !

    February 13, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • Frank

      Other great platforms for microcontroller makers to check out include the Propeller chip with 8 20Mhz processors, the Atmel tiny2313, the TI MSP430 Value chips, and of course the predecessors to them all, the Microchip PIC family. Be awesome and start down the microcontroller path by blinking some LEDs with all of them. They're all very inexpensive.

      February 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply
      • Focalist

        Yep, there are many manufacturers of microcontrollers (Arduino uses ATMEGA328 made by Atmel, the same maker as the the attiny you referenced).. let's not forget ST, Intel, and Olimex among others and of course the PIC line by Microchip. I personally like the Arduino platform due to the language (simplified version of C), but it really shines because of the support and community. It's not even the best or cheapest hardware wise, but in terms of community support... Arduino wins hands down in most cases. Arduino is about people as much as it is about technology, Whichever platform you prefer isn't important... fiddling and tinkering is!

        February 14, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  32. Thalakos

    yeah cuz teaching kids based specifically and only to pass a standardized test that determines funding for schools will definitely promote creativity here in massachusetts.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply
  33. Buckminster Fuller

    I've said ti for years-parents do their kids the best service when they either teach them how to think, or when they but them educational toys that let them learn how to think, and, as in this case, creat things as well. I had an erector set, a chemistry set (guess they're gone, these days, huh?) and an electronics set. I've built motorcycles, buildings, industrial laser systems. If kids these days are incompetent, artless do-nothings, it's because their caregivers, and the schools. are to blame.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:40 am | Reply
    • m

      Chemistry sets still exist – I got them for my kids back when they were young (not all that long ago, really).

      There are also some great computer games that encourage similar thinking that even a school can get behind with no real investment.
      Super Solvers: Gizmos & Gadgets, for example, plus tons of free web and flash games that encourage critical and experimental thinking.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  34. for ever free

    nobodies fool ... that bigwig broker threatens my freedom and life again hes going to jail

    February 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  35. Jack

    Have you guys ever wondered why melted cheese tastes good on toasted bread?

    February 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  36. Mike

    I just love how people read these articles and decide to comment on completely unrealted topics... Fact of the matter is this kid will probably end up growing wanting to go to college to be an engineer... I happen to be an engineering student myself,and I wish I had someone encouraging me to be a "maker" as a child. Rather than criticizing these people for doing a good thing that you dont care for enough to be a part of, try recognizing the fact that kids like joey are the ones who dare to take on the challenge of making this world a better place. Trust me, being a maker is not an easy thing to aspire for because it takes a lot of persistence, patience, and exposure to failure.

    February 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  37. JimMNH

    One thing stands between makers and making .. copyright law and all the baggage (patent trolls, litigation farms, attorneys, archaic patent process) that comes with it. People are inherently innovative but outside of doing it for kicks there is little incentive or ability to take their products commercial. Fix the crazy out of control patent process, reduce patent times, kills patent trolls, and watch innovation flourish. There is no reason for anyone outside the original innovator to hold an original patent and for no longer than 10 years, period.

    February 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • Chris R

      I think you need to keep in mind that the majority of people who are 'makers' aren't doing it because they want to create a commercial product. They aren't being held back by patents (it would only be patents, not copyrights or trademarks) because they are building these things for the sake of building them. Sure, every once in a while someone will come up with something that goes commercial but its rare and it isn't holding anyone back. As someone who sought out a patent I will agree that the patent system needs some reform (the Bilsky decision is a step in the right direction). But getting rid of it or limiting the terms? For people that are inventors (as opposed to makers) the patent system is necessary and getting one makes a huge difference in the viability of your startup.

      February 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
      • JimMNH

        Chris R. I know innovation is a true human exercise. I'm emphasizing and not arguing that. What I'm saying is what prevents these innovations from progressing are the barriers to the innovator. Taking a tinker to a next level is a daunting task that few for a passion to "simply tinker" are willing to risk .. both financially and emotionally (many a horror story out there). You might argue that it is the risk takers that should be rewarded or that the others in today's processes (attorneys, patent farms, and such) are assistants worthy of their overweighted compensation but I consider them to be for the most part leeches sucking the life and money out of the creative process from the people doing the real tinkering. These others also reinforce the existing process because, quite simply, it is how they make a handsome living.

        What I'm saying is lower the barriers to the innovator; simplify the process (especially the research), and eliminate the leeches out there that can litigate someone into oblivion simply because they have more money feeding their endless cycle to take and for the singular passion of "earning" more money. Innovations/patents should only be held by the innovator .. period. The innovator should be provided 10 years of international protections in a simply defensible process to make money from their innovation. The investment of this simplification process should be demanded by citizenry and the vision behind its potential real value to humanity appreciated by all. After that 10 year period the innovation is added to the history of human innovations to fuel a new cycle of innovations.

        February 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Charles Reintzel

      If a person builds something for personal use, and does not intend to sell it, patent law does not enter, or affect the project. Patent Law protects the originator from other sales that include his patent. If Fred builds a gadget for personal use, the patent is not infringed upon.
      If there is a gadget that becomes salable, recognition of the patent might either re-approaching the patented idea, or gaining a royalty which pays for the use of the patent.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:05 am | Reply
  38. Spock

    We need more entrepreneurs in our country to pull us out of this economic funk our politicans have gotten us into by EXPORTING jobs out of this country. Only WE THE PEOPLE can do this ourselves.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:21 am | Reply
    • long-time-builder

      it is not the government that exported jobs, it was our corporations and entrepreneurs that export jobs. if we dropped our standard of living low enough, and eliminated all regs on pollution, workers health and safety, the jobs would come rushing back in.,

      February 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
      • Dave Bradshaw

        We're paying roughly 50% in total taxes, and we have the largest import market in the world. If we increased duties significantly on all imported retail products and decreased government spending, THEN jobs would return to US.

        February 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  39. Chris B

    Radio Shack has partnered up with Arduino. Take your nerdy kid down there and show um', in 15 years she'll be ruling the world.

    February 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • old geek

      Love the Arduino, and I'm a long way from being a kid

      February 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • JimMNH

      Radio Shack used to be good. Not any longer. Won't set foot in there.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
  40. Someone

    Many are missing the point here. While this is an ad for MAKE magzaine, it nonetheless is true that tinkering is somewhat a lost art here in the US. It has led to some great things. You may want to look up Farnsworth, Arthur Young, the Wright Brothers – none of whom had any formal eductaion in engineering, and yet they made inventions that greatly influenced our lives.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • Dave Bradshaw

      Farnsworth and the Wright brothers spent a great deal of time and money in legal battles over their patents, which might have been better spent on developing new inventions. Farnsworth died penniless with 300 patents. Possibly the greatest inventor of all time, Nikola Tesla, did have some formal engineering training but never completed a degree. He also died penniless, having been granted many very-important patents during his life. During the times these people lived degrees were far less common, but people probably read more books because few people had tv.

      ..."There’s nothing on television worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch it in this household, and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet." Philo Farnsworth

      February 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • Suresh

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      May 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  41. t3chsupport

    That picture is adorable, and priceless. That's one to blow up and frame for sure.

    Also, time to update those curtains. It just is.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • JP

      I totally agree!

      February 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  42. Howard J. Flint P.E.

    As an retired registered engineer with much design/ build experience I feel we. Can All Remake Ourselves by mentoring our youth who are future. It all starts with successes, but Nothing Succeeds Like Success. 4H is the best most successful government program, and ia about 100 years old. Fund 4H after school programs, they work!

    February 11, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
  43. defff

    lower taxes, get the government out of the way. they have slowed me down more than anything. they are a giant behemoth that has a hand in every transaction that takes place. every time money changes hands, it is taxed by the government and blown on useless garbage

    February 11, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • Someone

      What are you going on about? Blah, blah, blah – sounds like a bunch of excuses......

      February 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • Darth Cheney

      There is a tiny problem with your argument – during our Golden Age between WWII and Vietnam, the top tax rates were much higher than they are now. That didn't cause problems then, but a lower rate does now?

      February 13, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Chris R

      Exactly how has the government been holding you back? By building roads? By providing police and fire services? By providing a stable system of laws? By improving the safety of your food? Oh, it must be holding you back by giving out student loans! Give us some details sir!

      February 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
      • Layla

        Louise Locas:I absolutely loved it. It had my full ntieatton right from the beginning. I was really looking forward to the next episode and was very disappointed when I discovered there were no more episodes. Please, keep them coming! I don't know how the writers do it, but you can't help but like Jack.

        March 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Koulotioloma

      atomic; we bought one 15yrs ago and it was made in 1947.. and apart from chnnaigg a seal, its still as good as new. and it sits on the gas ring (or electric) they also do one with an expresso frother and for a change, this produces HOT coffee (unlike electric percs) look on ebay new theyre around 120quid i got ours for 10 quid secondhand

      April 30, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
  44. Kenny

    Looks like a commercial for MAKE magazine. I hate the name "MAKER".

    I'm happy for Joey. Good Job

    February 11, 2012 at 3:18 am | Reply
  45. Aaron the Moor

    Many of you seem to be missing Dale's point, and the point of the whole Maker Movement. Reading through the article, you may have noticed that it said Joey built his cannon, and then posted instructions on how to make it, so that others could do the same. And that's what it's all about. Most makers are not children, they are adults, with careers, who happen to enjoy making things with their hands. To say that "We don't need more half-witted "makers". Send the aspiring "makers" to college to become real engineers" is as asinine as saying that anyone who enjoys playing baseball in the park on Sundays should become a professional baseball player. If someone can work with their hands, and at the end of their toil say "I made that, and it works!", that creates an incredible sense of confidence and self-worth. Don't believe it? Ask Joey's Mom, who has had to watch her son deal with Asperger's Syndrome and struggle to keep up in school, say that because he was able to make something, he "must be smart".

    February 11, 2012 at 2:57 am | Reply
  46. S1N

    We don't need more half-witted "makers". Send the aspiring "makers" to college to become real engineers. It's the same job, except engineers actually know what the hell they're doing most of the time. It MIGHT have something to do with all the formal training.

    February 11, 2012 at 1:55 am | Reply
    • Michael E.

      "Half witted makers" ARE tomorrows engineers. I started my road to engineering and creating things as a half witted child "maker" and the spirit of making things that work, drove me to engineering, (and to continue learning indefinitely). It is the spirit of this path and the article about it that is probably more important than anything, since that feeling of interest and accomplishment is what drives us forward.

      February 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • schwarzey

      Another know-it-all elitist. You should get a license before making a comment like that.

      February 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • Charles Reintzel

      Where do the workers learn how stuff works, and how to understand the specifications and design instructions? I have worked with the new hires, and helped them learn what and how to apply the common rules that are required to do more than one step, or one unit. Engineers need to understand the same rules because they need to provide the instructions.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:14 am | Reply
  47. Patrick Fitzgerald

    The problem is making things is only a path to teach the Chinese how to steal it. So why bother?

    February 11, 2012 at 12:19 am | Reply
    • sparce

      Crap! What a really sad comment. Yep, lets just give up. That's the American way. No what we need to to do is be like the Germans and say we can do this better than anyone else. Become better educated and we can become great again. I work in testing for a company that makes alloys. Ten years ago we failed a few "heats" a year. Now we fail heats a few times a day. Manufactures care little as long as the numbers move the stock. Government giveaways to profit making companies and tax breaks at a time of war get you squat. Investment in education returns results.

      February 11, 2012 at 7:03 am | Reply
    • E

      Wow. That's a sad implication. Not innovating = nothing of new worth. The only reason to steal is for something with worth.

      You'd rather the US become worthless?

      And with your continued line of thinking, we'd find our role with China reversed. You'd rather the US eventually be forced to steal from other countries?

      February 12, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
  48. Sam Quest

    note to self -– MUST GO TO MAKER FAIRE! Looks really cool.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  49. Victor

    There are tons of great makers out there, in every corner. The problem that CNN presents is the same that the media is guilty of. Makers need viewers. They need people to find out about them and what they've done - to be successful and hopefully garner funds to make more and learn more.

    But that would be considered free advertising. So we discourage them. Tell them, NO. You cannot post that here. No matter how good it is. You must remain silent and find your own means of letting the world know. And if you're lucky, and behave, maybe.......just maybe......we'll write about it.

    It's really sad that there are tons of mom and pop and child "makers" out there who could make a living and help others. And we wonder why people are doing so poorly in this country and can't make ends meet. It's because we look down on "makers" and "artists" and silence them.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • MC

      What in the name of god are you babbling about?

      February 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  50. Debbie

    To Ben: you're absolutely right! Well said.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  51. GT66

    Hopefully little Joey won't be sued into oblivion by corporations claiming patents rights. ( /sarcasm for the challenged)

    February 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  52. Ben

    It's hard to be a financially successful inventor. But I think we're missing the point if we focus on that. When children (and adults) make things, they learn so much more than how to invent a product. They learn how persistence leads to competence. They learn to think systematically. They learn, like Joey, that they "must be smart." The kids who made it to the White House might be tomorrow's designers and engineers, but other DIYers will be tomorrow's teachers, managers, pilots, journalists, bankers, police officers, etc. The skills that come from making things are universally valuable.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  53. Jeff

    Mary Jane,

    I believe in work. Money is a concept that normalizes what is called "work". If you don't work, you don't get money. So, I recommend you give me your money and stop working. Let's see how long you survive. By the way, I also believe Darwin was right.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • GT66

      Actually, if you're a woman, NOT working and getting money is an option. You don't see that Jeff because as a male, that has never been an option to you.

      February 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      So people who throw their money into markets and play it like a casino, people who simply detect mispriced securities, is that WORK? Is that worth BILLIONS? Is that worth more than the factory worker or the teacher or the plant manager? You are perpetuating a giant huge stupid myth: that work = money. CEOs of large companies have it handed to them, through their network, generally inherited because they were born in a privileged family. They dont' WORK harder or even WORK at all. They sit around board rooms and talk. everyone else does the actual work. Working hard for someone else NEVER pays off – at least, not in your favor. You're making someone else rich. And that someone else is hardly working. That's the game. Your myth is stupid.

      February 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  54. jeff

    It doesn't matter what people can invent, if the government throws enough roadblocks up to starting a business the invention will never be marketed and sold.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • FatSean

      Patent your idea, license it, make money without having to be head cook and bottle washer of a business...just be an inventor.

      And what are all these "roadblocks" you speak of?

      February 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
      • djamila

        I heartily agree Cgleason. The thing is that our tax dlraols funds the basic research at universities, NIH and CDC. Pharma picks up these for a song and cranks out billions in profits from them. Same with our public airways, the FCC leases them for a pittance and the companies (radio, tv, phones) reap vast rewards. Just like the Republicans did for big business in the 1920 s that led to the 1929 crash.

        March 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • MC

      Sounds like the excuse of a dullard who never had an idea in his life. There are people out there bringing new ideas to market on a daily basis. The problem isn't the government. It's you.

      February 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
    • Kenny

      Not true. It will just go under ground like all those play station hacks.

      February 11, 2012 at 3:20 am | Reply
      • James

        That's pretty imazang indeed. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I still remember lighting store commercials over the radio talking about track lighting from Lightolier. Horst was a good Flickr Friend he commented often on my images. He is missed.

        March 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • Kalie

        Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bokamork you!I have a alan holden vacationt-shirt site called . We're a small company and we sell shirts and stuff.Come and check it out if you get time-Holden Tees

        March 20, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  55. Mary Jane

    Humans need to do away with money. Create things for free and give them away. There is a movement starting in the world. Without the money these corporations and governments will fall.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • Bob

      What is the incentive to do that? Like it or not, humans are motivated by 'what's in if for me?'

      February 10, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
      • Mary Jane

        You just think that because tv and movies and the media tell you that. Money is a hinderance. Money won't help make people happy. Just look at how many anti depressants are used in the USA. And USA citizens have more than anyone could want. The incentive is to make something the best that you can make it that will help others. It's magical feeling that money could never give you.

        February 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Todd

      You are just so precious, I just want to hug you.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • SueS

      You will never do away with money. Money is a concept... not an object. Currency is the object by which money is measured.

      Money is anything that a society agrees on it money... coins, salt, cloth, shells, jewelry... all of them, and many others, have been used as currency by different cultures. Now, in modern America, "money" is just numbers on a computer screen. Using online banking and debit cards, one never needs to handle currency.

      Even barter uses the concept of "money". If you agree to take one of my goats in exchange for one of your chairs, we are agreeing that 1 goat is equal in value to 1 chair. For the purposes of this transaction, the currency is goats and chairs.

      February 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
      • Mary Jane

        That is an outrageous statement. Of course you can get rid of money. You said yourself. Money is an idea. Which can be ignored. The whole system is an illusion. Bankruptcy, mortgage, ownership, stocks. all of it is just an illusion.

        February 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Pete

      Get enough humans to find some land where they can be unbothered by other money-using humans and let them raise children who grow up never being taught the concept of owing others or expecting anything in return for goods or services and objectively record the results in terms of what the generation of humans never taught the concept of money is able to achieve.

      February 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • Hiba

        Thanks for mentioning my arictle. This is somewhat off topic, but do you have any idea how I can get a hold of this reference: S. Searing, Suggested Formulas for Audio Analysis and Synthesis Windows , ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 MPEG 91/328, November 1991. I am trying to figure out if there is anything that might be patentable in the synthesis windows for MPEG-1 Audio Layers 1 and 2 and since the MPEG-1 spec basically treats this as a black box, this is tricky.

        March 18, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • GT66

      Mary. And those things that humans create and give away for free, where did they get the raw materials? Yo going to mine, haul and smelt your own ore? Or will you just "trade" for that with someone who has already done that work? Perhaps trading things is too time consuming because then you have to have a thing that they want to trade for and you have to spend your time trading to get that thing so that you can trade for raw materials. Perhaps then, you'll create something that is small, easy to carry and can be universally accepted so that you can instead spend your time creating things to give away for free. Like, for instance, the concept of money that you just created.

      February 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • Kenny

      In due time. Once our productivity starts to reach an infinite output money will be obsolete. When the robots build everything and computers run everything money will go away because there will be no jobs for humans. Think star trek. when you can walk up to hole in the wall and ask for anything and get it what good is money.

      February 11, 2012 at 3:27 am | Reply
    • Darth Cheney

      Money isn't the problem. All money does is allow economic transactions to happen more efficiently. Obsession with money and narcissistic materialism are the problems. Even if you were right, our economy is so complex that if we abandoned money, everything would collapse and it would take at least 100 years to re-invent ourselves as a species.

      February 13, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
    • Burt Way

      Check out the Oneida Commune & others. The Utopian experiments of the wealthy Robert Owen. People start with ideals of how they will all work together then some shirkers dont contribute and others think they dont get enough. Families often provide examples of such communes in miniature.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • John Wojewidka

      Money represents something. Something like it will *always* be there. It takes the place of an extra goat or bucket of lard. We've traded goods right from the beginning. But we can't always use what the other person has, so there has to be something that *represents* that value, so we can take that – money – and use it someplace else to get what we need.

      Money is *not* the root of all evil. It is us, humans, who choose to abuse it. We will always choose both good and evil. Without the yin and yang, push and pull, we would perish. There would be no need to push on, to create something better.

      Time to grow up.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
      • Katarina

        Search online on sites such as ebay and Gumtree (if you live in Australia). Often, you'll find goeruogs new ones that are sold for WAY less, just because they aren't straight from the shops.Hope that helps

        April 30, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  56. YeahBut

    Love it, but then for that "maker" to "make-a" living he needs to cozy up to some big company and let them steal his work or energy. If not that, then beg the guvment for a patent and get shut down after spending thousands

    February 10, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • FatSean

      LOL you are precious. You'll make more money licensing your idea.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  57. Someone

    Actually, making something, even something silly, is what leads to the inventors of tomorrow. It still involves design, fabrication, trial and error, and persistence.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply

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