I always start with the audio version of a book and then if desired for reference I purchase the book.
The description of maker resources around the world.
The 3D Printers
Make the World
Chris Anderson is widely known and respected for his editing of Wired Magazines and a few well-known books about the internet (long tail, freemium) which altered the way people see the internet. He now tries to do the same for the world of 'making'.
First he outlines what he describes as 'the maker revolution': the possibility of every individual to design, create and manufacture single or low-volume products due to new technology and the power of the global internet community. Anderson then goes on to detail each of these steps, with an emphasis on 3D printers and other manufacturing tools.
I particularly liked the various stories and applications, but overall the book is a bit thin on content. The maker revolution seems to be very much in its infancy, with interesting concepts and a few hits, but mostly still too complicated and too much in the hobby-stage (DIY) which it might never outgrow. That means there is definitely a market for home-manufacturing, but technology needs to advance further to make it a mass trend. Anderson says so himself. This doesn't mean it will not happen, it is just too early to tell.
Anderson ends the book with a lot of references: the best electronics, best software, best hardware, best outsourced manufacturing and websites. This is nice for starters (like me), but is still a bit limited, particularly if you live outside the US.
Why read this book? It describes the beginnings of what someday might be big, and the signs are described well enough so you can spot whether it will or will not materialize. Best parts are about how 'regular manufacturing' could use the concepts, tools and community of the internet to improve its own process of innovation and reproduction.
But don't expect deep insights or a strong story. It is a nice book, but not special.
Definitely worth the time and money. If you have time to read one book on the subject this is the one.
Anderson mentions Ponoko a number of times in the book but when I went looking for them online I didn't know how to spell their name. That meant I had to do some searching. There is an appendix at the end of the book that would be so much better as a printed resource.
3D printers are going to become common place. That along with digital design tools are going to increase the speed of innovation.
I was inspired by this book to source a 3D printer. I'm now looking at building the business case for buying one.
This book can get a bit repetitive. I flew through the first 3/4 of the book. The last section seemed a little further from the core premise and didn't seem to flow as well.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
I've waited 4 ½ years for this book. I think of this as the third book in the trilogy: The Long Tail, Free, and now Makers. When Free came out I wrote that I thought that the next book would be about open source hardware. Now we know this was correct, but so much has happened in the intermediate 4 1/2 years that it now seems somewhat mundane. I was at the most recent Detroit Maker Fair and there were 30K people. The maker movement has serious momentum. If you’re unaware of the Makers this is an excellent introduction, but it may be kind of old news.
His argument for giving away the design but charging for hardware is unsettling. There seems to be an equally compelling argument for the reverse; that is, giving away the hardware and charging for the design. He’s in touch with what’s mostly working in 2012. However, it’s at odds with what worked in the past. I kept thinking about IBM and the PC. And no satisfying theory really justifies any choice of business model.
Finally, he argues that this is great for America and probably disastrous for China. Design will be all that’s left of manufacturing and America will own that. I agree. But the justification for this belief is far from satisfying. My reading of Christensen suggests that controlling the low end of the market allows you to move upscale market … The dynamics are complicated …
A fantastic book about the present and future of design & manufacturing on the local level. Incredibly engaging book.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson would be comparable regarding design & manufacturing.
I want to buy the hard copy now.
"There is no there, there" is a phrase that was sometimes used in describing cyberspace in the 1980's. The thought of a world of virtual things was uncomfortable for those us who were brought up in a world with black and white TV. However, we pushed the development of computers and communications where virtual things are commonplace.
Chris outlines the state of the virtual becoming real again, bits to atoms. It reminds me of the many books and articles produced in the late 80's about the changes that communications would bring. The speed and impact of those changes were under estimated. Perhaps we are underestimating the impact of the new Makers today.
Highly recommend this book for both engineers and Washington DC policy wonks who want to get a leg up on where we as creators are going.
A well written book on the niche subject of making stuff using digital and 3D printing technologies. A likely read for hackers, people who like to tear things apart to find out how it works inside, people who want to make things with their computer, and aspirating product designers doing really cool stuff. Also, the author provides a good view into the manufacturing ways of the future (and its not just in China).
Excellent introduction into the Maker movement. He thinks there will be a new industrial revolution caused by personal manufacturing which will be similar to what happened with the computer revolution. We are at the very beginning. His prediction that this new technology will bring jobs back from overseas is an encouraging one. He also applies his insights from his previous works Free and The Long Tail (both are must reads) to this topic.
Some great reviews are online.