Monday, January 19, 2009

Why DIY? - Part 1 - Fun!

Things are little slow right now on the tinkering front. So during this period of downtime I'm going to spend the next few posts exploring the "whys" and the "what fors" of tinkering around.

Part of my interest in any hobby is exploring why that hobby interests me. I suppose it's all a part of self discovery. From as far back as I can remember I've always liked to tinker. That was one of the things that drove me to study mechanical engineering. I loved to take things apart and see how they work. I still do. But even more fun is being able to put it back together and get it working again. Or even better...put it back together to serve another function. Improve on it. But learning how things work is only a part of tinkering. I get a great deal of satisfaction in creating something and having it turn out as good as I imagined. Whether I design it myself or follow someone else's design, it's always exciting to see it all come together. Everybody has their own reasons for joining in the DIY movement. I have several.

I don't know if my parents recognized the interest in me and helped to foster it, or if they were the reason I developed the interest in the first place. My dad is very much into ham radio and anyone who knows anything about hams knows they are tinkerers through and through. I recall several of my dad's DIY projects. Some made it to completion, some only part way. Model rockets, planes, trains, and automobiles. Bee keeping and gardening. Electronics, wood working, and even cooking. My mom also seemed to have passed on the DIY gene with her sewing, crafts, gardening, cooking, and artistic talents. My brothers and sisters have some tinkering talents of their own. It seemed like just a natural thing to do around our house. Maybe it was a combination of nature and nurture.

I remember tinkering around in the garage and storage rooms admiring the abandoned projects and wondering how they might turn out someday. Or seeing old discarded projects and wishing I could have been there to see how it was made. I also got to join in on the fun and take on projects of my own as I was taught some of the tricks of the craft. I had many toys while growing up that encouraged imagination, design, and construction. But which came first, the interest or the toys? Having kids of my own now and seeing how they only take to the things they are interested in regardless of how much we might try to steer them towards what we want, I can only conclude that everything around me only fed an interest that was already inside me.

In the posts to come I will be exploring other reasons for DIY: economics, reduce and reuse (a subset of economics), education, making connections, and maybe others I haven't thought of yet. But for me, my main reason will always be...because it's fun!

Part 2 - Economics
Part 3 - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Part 4 - Education
Part 5 - Making Connections

1 comment:

  1. I will never forget the day I brought my new Bernina and you had me open it up on the spot so you could see its inner workings. If your nose had gotten any closer the needle would have gone right through. Utter fascination!