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DIY Projects, Communities and Cultures 53

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University share the results of a year-long survey studying DIY projects, communities, and cultures. The first ever large-scale survey of six DIY communities (Instructables, Etsy, Dorkbot, Ravelry, Adafruit and Craftster) explores the motivations and practices of 2600+ respondents. In addition to an academic paper, results are appropriately posted on Instructables — one of the studied DIY sites. Findings highlight creativity, learning and open sharing as key values embedded in modern DIY culture."
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DIY Projects, Communities and Cultures

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  • Heh 2600 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward


  • by Octopuscabbage ( 1932234 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:08PM (#34179922)
    Oh so now i know what xkcd's circut diagram is for. ( It was used for collecting the data for this!
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:15PM (#34180034)
    Perhaps the recent unexplained "missle launch" off of LA is a DYI project?
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:17PM (#34180078) Journal

    "To Download the PDF or View All Steps,
    Become a Pro Member"

    Need I say more?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vlm ( 69642 )

      Those of us whom use adblock on FF probably don't even realize they have ads, which is why they they have pro-members etc.
      By view all steps, they mean view all steps on one page instead of the classic online magazine click for a new page of ads for each sentence.

      • By view all steps, they mean view all steps on one page instead of the classic online magazine click for a new page of ads for each sentence.

        Quite often, though, there are several pics of [whatever] that are only available to subscribers. [Whatever] can be built via free, but pay and you get extra pics.
        • The extra pics are available via the free membership.

          I've never seen* pics that were available for pro members only.

          Pro just gives you no ads and PDFs. Handy but not exactly necessary.

          *Yes, I noticed it. If you didn't, good. Leave me alone.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      um yea it has not changed 1 bit if you just use your free login, pro memberships get bonus features

      so please dont say any more, until you at least put some effort into it

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Yes, it has changed. You were always able to get the PDFs for free. Now you can't. If you want a printer friendly instructable, you have to pay. That's not what a lot of people signed up for when they gave Instructables free content.

        • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

          I signed up for instructables well before the pro program, I never saw a guarantee of PDF file in the TOS

    • by adamofgreyskull ( 640712 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:18PM (#34180862)
      "View All Steps" is misleading. It's just the option to display all the steps on a single page. You can still click through each individual step. This may be because I joined way back when, but I was always able, as just a regular registered user, to "View All Steps" and download PDFs.

      Instructables also rewards anyone who has their Instructable Featured with a 3 month Pro membership. If you want to, you can even transfer this to someone else as a gift.
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:18PM (#34180086)

    I found the results odd w/ respect to instructables and comments. I like instructables articles, but I actively avoid reading the comments because they are stuffed with morons.

    Generally a couple kids asking for homework help, a bunch of negative trollers whining about safety or how the author is ignorant (worship me for I am fire marshal bill and someone with a room temperature IQ could be hurt, and also you are completely wrong in all your conclusions because I say so! Look at me! Look at me!), or utterly illiterate "mee 2 I agre w u" text talk that is still meaningless when converted to English.

    Another thing I've noticed about instructables is I've gotten all kinds of ideas from making what amounts to homemade water park sprayers for the kids out of PVC pipe to a tasty sandwich made out of apples, cheddar, bacon, and sourdough bread. But real hard core stuff, things that takes more than a day and real work and skill, is never discussed. The guys whom make their own legal limit ham radio linear amps. Theres like two articles on electric car/bike conversions, but there should be more. It tends to be a site of talkers rather than doers.

    Surprisingly community interaction did better than I'd have expected and no one mentioned the comment trolling team at instructables being a good reason not to upload and share.

  • There were only six DIY sites listed. You couldn't put a link to ANY of them?

    Actually, I only knew about instructables... Good to know! Winter is a-comin'

  • embedded in modern DIY culture.

    One minor correction is those sites are mostly about talking vs doing with respect to DIY.

    Much like listening to Leo Laporte on This Week in Tech gives you a pretty good insight into the culture of tech journalism, but make no mistake those guys are not reflective of tech culture itself.

    Actual do-ers don't sound nearly as good on the radio nor read nearly as well on a website.

    The culture of the local newspaper's business section newsroom, is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the actual business cult

    • by mirix ( 1649853 )

      For sure, to some extent.

      I make a lot of different projects, from computer and microcontroller based down to discrete transistor and vacuum tube stuff. I like fixing radios and similar old tube things also.

      But between work and sleep, I only find the time to put up 1% of them on my site. I've got a horrible problem with half finishing things as it is.

      That said, things like instructables never really appealed to me. I'd rather throw a quick blurb about my latest device on a related forum, and if someone wants

  • Arcade Controls []. Don't let the front page give you a bad impression, the interesting parts are in the forums [].

  • Meh (Score:3, Informative)

    by stokessd ( 89903 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:53PM (#34180552) Homepage

    First the survey of DIY is very limited. It is a robots and computer hackery biased. There's a ton of very vibrant DIY sites out there, Take for example, that place has hundreds or thousands of posts per day. And there are industry giants contributing.

    There's a ton of restoration sites like (Old Wood Working Machines, but also does metalworking machines). Along the lines of the CMU computer geekery is places like Then there's the more web1.0 sorts of places like the bicycle frambuilders list ( DIY is very vibrant on the interwebs and there's a whole lot more of it going on than this survey takes into account.

    Also Instructables is pretty weak. Instructables is to DIY as McDonalds is to fine dining.


    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How does ravelry (a fibre community (i.e. knitters and crochet-ers)), etsy (sells homemade/vintage objects) and craftster (a general crafting communinity) got anything to do with robots and computer hackery?

      I think you are forgetting the female half of the population - we (yes a girl is on \.) tend to frequent sites such as ravelry, etsy and crafster in HUGE numbers, not rather specific interest sites such as "old wood working machines" or "bicycle frame builders". Sure, ravelry might just be fibre on the s

      • by mirix ( 1649853 )

        >implying there are females on the internet

        Joking aside, my girlfriend mentioned etsy a few times. I think she got someone to knit her a scarf on there, and was showing me some pretty neat woodwork as well. Seems kinda neat.

        Although when I think about DIY, it involves a soldering iron generally ;-)

      • ""creation, modification or repair of objects without the aid of paid professionals.""

        That;s the stupidest definition of DIY I have every read, and simple not true.

        For example, I may be building a specific audio board, and a professional may suggest a specific component to use based on their engineering experience. Someone who is a professional machinist might give me advice on how to machine a part, or a welder on how to weld different metals together.

        Why you think everyone needs to rebuild the wheel to ma

      • by santax ( 1541065 )
        I should have known you are woman, considering your previous posts here on slashdot with that account.
      • ravelry (a fibre community...

        Sweet! Do you guys go for single-mode, or multi-mode?

        (i.e. knitters and crochet-ers))

        Oh. Nevermind, then.

    • Hack-a-day is a good one for me. They aggregate projects scattered all over the net, often times with schematics, demonstration videos, and parts references. While not all projects are DIY--literally, what some of these techs come up with is truly stunning. Favorite topic: Arduino boards.

  • Rather than just tech, glueing things that already exist together, Hobby real science is also done and out there. I have a site, and so do many others. My site's in my sig, another for fusion is

    And many of the members of both also have their own sites where real science is done in collaberation with others, many of whom don't know real names and will probably never meet face to face. It's not all "big science". With open source methodology, we can do the same things for science that have b

  • In my experience, Instructables is much more of a Craft site than a DIY or hardhack community. By and large the content and the community were geared towards sharing cheap, 5 minute jury rigs of the type you would see in a Home & Garden magazine. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Crafts and around the house tips are bad (they're great) but in no way would I associate the community with the statement "Findings highlight creativity, learning and open sharing as key values embedded in modern DIY cult

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Instructables has a lot of good DIY projects. How to build a hidden door book case, how to build a solar heater out of soda pop cans, all kinds of stuff.

      • How to build a freaking pimp kayak.

        Some of the instructables are of seriously high quality. Most are not, but there are some absolute gems in there. A lot of it is great just for neat ideas. Like an arduino based RFID door lock or an automated home garden. You aren't going to be building it step by step from their design, but you can use them as a good jumping point, and it's easy to find a very wide range of projects on these sites.

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  • Which has been up-and-down for years.

    Wheeler's _Woodworking for Beginners_ complains that boys are too likely to buy things which their fathers would've made --- and this was published in 1899 or so.

    I took up archery again a couple of years ago, making my own tackle --- started w/ bows, then strings, made a case for a takedown, working on arrows, points and nocks, and just sorted out my leatherworking tools, so gloves, armguard and quiver are next.

    One thing I've found striking is the number of people who tu

  • I think DIY has become the 'organic' of this decade, a term overused. Now people call it DIY if you do anything remotely clever. "DIY bagel heating using a toaster!".

    And there are the "more DIY than thou" arguments. One person chided me that using PCB fabricators wasn't DIY because I didn't swirl my own templates in an acid bath (at satellite diaries [])... I had to point out I was making a DIY satellite, not a DIY PCB. Besides, I asked him if he'd actually smelted the copper ore for his boards, because
  • Make Magazine? (Score:3, Informative)

    by don_carnage ( 145494 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @10:19AM (#34185568) Homepage

    There are plenty of excellent DIY sites out there. I have a couple of projects featured on Instructables [] -- their interface makes is really easy to share your projects step-by-step.

    Strange that Make Magazine [] is missing. Or Hack-A-Day [].

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak