History of The Maker Scene

If you are new to the world of Making, here are some insights to catch you up on the scene.

-Raising Awesome ©2021

What is a Maker?
A person that pursues projects to learn how mechatronic devices work and how they can be fabricated or just to make a cool project they are interested in building.

What the heck is mechatronics?
Devices that have a mechanical components being driven by electronics. Examples are from toy robots, clocks, to automobiles.

How is it different than a Crafter?
Crafting is a big part of making, but the majority of a Makers projects will include a circuit to sense or drive motion on something.

How is it different than a Creator?
Creator's tend to be a more general term for someone that creates video content posted online - which can be of their crafts, builds, or blog. Many Makers are creators of online content.

When did Making become a thing?
Between 2005 and 2008, in the United States, the Maker scene really went into swing with the Arduino Uno hitting the map and YouTube becoming popular. YouTube helped build a community around the Arduino Uno with some popular channels like the Ben Heck Show, EEVLog, and Make (remember Collin Cunningham?). Around 2010, 3D printers were being sold for less than $1000 and starting to get exposure on Youtube as well.

Then, in 2012, the Raspberry Pi hit the scene as a single board computer - also with a great community. With Python, people with limited programming experience could suddenly make a drone. The vanity tapping engine of Youtube coupled to the ease of development with large community support made it a special scene - reminiscent of the 80's Commodore/Apple software hacking days.

By 2015, there were now online PCB fabricators like OSHPark.com that could fab your PCB for you at a very cheap price. 3D printers finally got under $500 for a good one. This enabled more and more advanced projects to hit Youtube and inspire future makers even more.

Before all this, there were Makers that used PIC chips, but, to many new to electronics, it had been more difficult to get started than Arduino and the community wasn't as Youtube centric. Before that era, you had your old school Radio Shack analog junkies who made their own guitar amps and Ham radio. These were all before the "Maker" term was in vogue and 3D printers were affordable. So, it was a hobby typically only for the affluent professional, it seemed.

What skills do you need to be a Maker?
None to start - which is what drives one to want to start. After a few years, you will have the following skills:

  • Audodesk Fusion 360 Design, Drawings, Schematics, and Circuits
  • Soldering
  • Electrical Troubleshooting with a multimeter
  • Wood working
  • 3D printing
  • Ciruit Fabrication
  • Programming: C, Python, HTML (ultimately one will venture to C#, C++)
  • Ultimately also Welding

When did the Raising Awesome Team come about?
We started Making in earnest around 2010 when Connor was 6 and I was 38. It was a way I could teach him both life and technical skills as early as his interest would allow. Our first project was a full scale, semi-autonomous R2D2. After we got a few things understood, we entered an online contest on element14.com and won it. After that we were hooked - entering multiple contests per year on Hackster.io, Instructables, and element14. We got a little bit of an online presence through our contest Blogs that led to guest spots on the Ben Heck Show, element14, and even a magazine in New Zealand called The Shed.

Where Should I Start?
Check out our Gear page. It will take you one tool and gizmo at a time through your growth to awesomeness.

What are some example Maker Projects?
Some great resources for project ideas can be found here:

As well, there are plenty of advanced projects to be explored back on our home page.