July 15, 2009 AT 2:00 am

18 Essential skills for a Maker

Some cross post action from MAKE… Mike from Uptownmaker has complied a list of “18 Essential skills for a Maker” – inspired by Geekdad’s “100 Essential Skills for Geeks“. Uptownmaker’s list is geared towards electronics projects – good stuff. Here are some of our favorites…

2. Spot valuable salvage- Not only knowing where to get it, but knowing it when you see it. Finding it isn’t too hard- curbs, alleys, and the classic dumpster dive. Deciding whether to keep it is the real trick: can it be broken down? Are there useful things inside (gears, motors, electronics, hardware, salvageable wood, springs, etc.)? Is trying to salvage parts of it a wise thing to do (upholstered items left outside are a great way to get bedbugs into your home)?

7. Know which glue to use, when- Elmer’s white, spray mount, Uhu glue sticks, JB Weld, cyanoacrylate, and two-part epoxy all have their uses.

13. Strip, splice, and terminate wire- Trickier than it sounds. You should be able to splice wire using a crimp splice, a wire nut, and heat shrink + solder (note: electrical tape is NOT on that list). You should know how to use a wire stripper to strip stranded wire without cutting more than one or two strands. You should be able to attach a wire to your project in such a way that it will still be attached in two weeks, two months, or two years.

18. Program a microcontroller- nothing fancy, just something along the lines of the Arduino. Just enough to make it spin a motor on a trigger or light an LED or sound an alarm.

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