Home hacking: DIY Electronics

Back in the Good Old Days, being a DIYer meant being fairly well-versed in the fields of carpentry, plumbing, sewing, and mechanics.  Now, in an era where electronics and personal computers run our lives, taking control of our tools means knowing a bit of hacking and basic wiring.  Following the Maker mantra of “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it”, tinkerers around the world are striving to make hardware accessible, affordable, and repairable.  Demanding that manufacturers make parts that can be easily replaced, swapped, and fixed is integral to taking ownership of our high-tech gadgets.  While waiting for the big companies to listen to the voices of the consumers, there are some excellent resources for those looking to modify or mend their electronic devices.

Hackerspaces- For a little collaboration and instruction, check out your local “hackerspace”.  These sites are dedicated to acting as open community labs where DIYers can socialize, trade knowledge, and work on projects.  While events vary with each incarnation, lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities are common among most hackerspaces.  They are generally funded by members, but some allow outside sponsors or accept grants by filing for a non-profit status. Many hold markets where their creations are displayed, open build nights, and competitions.

Hack a Day- Having trouble drumming up some inspiration for your next hack?  Visit the Hack a Day blog for hundreds of examples of ingenious modifications, tips, and review on collectives across the country.

Make Magazine-  As one of the ultimate online resources for DIY fanatics, Make Magazine offers videos, articles, and project instructions guaranteed to keep your brain and hands busy.  If you need a part or kit to complete your masterpiece, their Maker Shed store provides tons of tools, kits and goodies.  Take advantage of their forums to connect with other gadget geeks for advice and tech support.

Instructables- Acting as a colloquium for DIYers and a platform through which they can sell their work, Instructables nourishes a huge community of makers enthusiastic about fabrication and modification.  In addition to instructions, the site also sponsors contests, makes recommendations for e-books, and sends out a newsletter you would actually look forward to receiving.

Become personally involved with what you use every day.  Customize, tweak, and revamp your effects.  Get hacking!

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