Have you started buying Christmas gifts already? I’ve had a few friends mention to me that they are “almost done their Christmas shopping.” Almost done!? I have barely starting THINKING about it, let alone purchased anything yet. But retailers are signaling us that it is indeed time to get your Kris Kringle on.
Every year I try to find something cool to give my circle of girlfriends as we exchange gifts. This year is going to be fun as are so many new cool things thanks to the rise of the Maker Movement!
If you don’t know what the heck the Maker Movement is, it’s essentially the ultimate Do it Yourself (DIY) movement. It’s about people who are starting their own projects, creating their own businesses, making and selling self-made products. Modern technology, such as 3D printing, has made it easier than ever for a single individual to create and distribute items that are customizable and unique without having middlemen like manufacturers. But the Maker Movement is not just people creating items with a 3D printer, it’s also about someone selling handcrafted items on Etsy. Have you ever made something from scratch? Then you are already part of the movement!
In Ottawa, a company called Artengine hosts an open “hack space” called ModLab every Wednesday night. At ModLab you can use their 3D printers and laser cutters to make some awesome stuff! And if you buy a membership, all you have to pay for is the plastic, the use of the 3D printers is free. How awesome is that!!? And if you visit websites like Thingiverse, you can get tons of open source programs (read: free!) to make stuff.
Here’s my favourite to date: The Makerbot Mixtape! I love making CDs for friends and this allows me to give them something fun and nostalgic. This reinvented Mixtape is a MP3 player encased in a 3D printed cassette housing. You can get the free code from Thingiverse here to make it yourself (with a 3D printer).