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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review of Make: Zero to Maker book

I recently read a book named Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to make (Just About) Anything by David Lang.  Here is my review.

Zero to Maker is about one man's journey to go from knowing next to nothing about making stuff to becoming a full-fledged Maker.  Along the way, he explains all aspects of the burgeoning Maker movement, from how to get involved in making (I recommend joining the Milwaukee Makerspace if you live in the area) to "going pro" with your own business.  Lang explains the software and tools commonly used by Makers -- Instructables, Meetup, Sketchup, 3D printers, welding, etc.  The book is full of real-life stories of Makers, inventors, and entrepreneurs and has dozens of links to web pages of Makers, tools (both hardware and software), and how-tos.  The final chapters of the book cover topics for entrepreneurs like building a team, raising money, and protecting your idea.

Lang got into the Maker movement after being let go from his Marketing job at a start-up company.  Rather than find another job in his field, he decided to parlay his writing skills into a 30 day adventure into making.  Lang partnered with Eric Stackpole to develop a DIY, open source, underwater vehicle (openrov.com).  Working on the open ROV project forced Lang to learn many new skills including electronics, robotics, microcontrollers, CNC machining, among others.

Lang also wrote a blog about his experiences for Make:  To get material for the blog, and eventually for the book, Lang interviewed people in the Maker movement, visited hackerspaces and tool lending libraries, and joined the TechShop in San Francisco.  His varied experiences make for interesting reading.

I recommend this book to people who want to learn more about the maker movement, and new makers.  Experienced makers will also find the stories interesting but may not learn a lot of new things about the tools used.

I also made an outline for the book on Google Docs.  Feel free to check it out and make comments to enhance it.