The rise of the makers movement opens an incredible range of possibilities for those who want to learn and create. The makers movement is a community of people enthusiastic about creation and DIY (do-it-yourself), who share their knowledge, their physical and immaterial tools and workshops, and who make the most of new technologies. The makers movement is alive in homes, workshops, maker-places, fablabs, maker faires and conventions, and also, of course, in digital places. A new one was recently launched: MakerSpace, by the founders of Make:. We thought we’d take this as an opportunity to share with you 20 amazing online resources for makers to learn, connect, find places, services, and tools to create and promote their craft.
Getting savvy on the makers movement
The makers movement is large and ever-evolving. If you’re a beginner maker, start by informing yourself on its characteristics and possibilities. Specialized websites and articles will help you learn about it. Here are some of them you can check out:
Keeping up to date on what you can do
Because the movement changes constantly, you might want to keep being informed about what’s new: new technologies (3D printers, laser cutters,…), new do-it-yourself ideas from your peers, CAD software updates, upcoming meetups and maker fairs, etc. Here are some of the ways to find this information:
- Subscribed to specialized newsletters: Once again, websites like Make: and Tech Crunch are a good place to start. You can also subscribe to the newsletters of creators and companies you like (for example you can subscribe to the newsletter of an online 3D printing service like ours if you’re interested in 3D printing news and know-hows).
- Follow the right twitter hashtags, such as: #makered, #inventtolearn, #makerslowchat, #makerspace, #elemaker, #dtk12chat.
- Create or join interest lists on content aggregators like Medium or LinkedIn.
Learning the craft
The beauty of the maker movement is that it stems from the idea that everybody can make, and will probably enjoy making things, without needing an expensive education or starting out with special skills. No matter how experimented you are, you can get your education online, almost entirely for free, thanks to various tutorials, MOOCs, etc. Here are some websites you can check out:
- Instructables, Snapguide or Sparkfun are specially conceived for do-it-yourself tutorials.
- If you have a specific interest, look for specific websites, like Arduino.cc to learn about Arduino. You’ll find specific sites to learn about every craft, from 3D printing to knitting.
- Youtube is full of tutorials. Check out this top 18 of YouTube Channels you might be interested in.
- More general MOOC websites will be a treasure for all that are knowledge-thirsty. For example, you can try Khan Academy or Udemy. If you know what you want to learn precisely, you can visit MOOC list to look for the right course.
Online 3D design resources
You don’t always need to use your design software to start your 3D model. Great design tools are available directly online, such as:
Read our top 20 free CAD software list to know more.
Meeting other makers
One of the best resources for makers is actually other people with the same passion. Find other makers, learn from one another, share your enthusiasm and ideas!
- Social networks: Facebook groups, Instagram, Pinterest: the Maker community near you most probably has one or several groups on those general social media sites. Find the one that suits you and your activity best.
- Specialized social networks: MakerSpace (that I mentioned above) is a specialized website for makers that was launched recently. Give it a try!
- Meeting websites like MeetUp to find out about local events, or organize your own.
Finding places and tools to make
The makers movement is one of the children of the collaborative economy: another enabler of the makers movement is the sharing of tools and workspace. This is both a physical and an online resource: find online a list of fablabs, workshops, collaborative spaces, conferences etc. and then go meet your people nearby! Good places to start:
- The websites of events like MakerCon and MakerFaire who shows maps of MakerFaires across the world
- Lists of local fablabs, tools and shared work spaces like this international map of fablabs, this list of hackerplaces, or our map of 3D scanners.
Online services to outsource production
Sometimes, you will prefer to make your object or a part of it using an online service instead of the tools in your local fablab or makerspace. The advantages of using an online production service are: expert hands handle professional machines that are sometimes too expensive for a fablab, the choice of materials is greater, you can order everything from home.
- Of course, in this category, I’ll put our own online 3D printing service and online laser cutting service, Sculpteo. You can also find online CNC services, and many websites to buy components for your creation, such as Alibaba.
Showcasing what you make
Once you’ve made something amazing, you’ll want the world to see it, maybe know how you’ve done it, or even buy it. You can, of course, use one of the ways I mentioned before: events, social media, etc. You can also:
- Create your online portfolio, for example on Pinterest or on your own website.
- Publish what you’ve created on online marketplaces such as Etsy or Thingiverse.
You’re all set with theses resources for makers. I hope you’re motivated to get started on your next project! If it includes 3D printing or laser cutting, don’t hesitate to try out our online service to get a free and instant quote: just upload a file!