Review – The Maker Movement Manifesto

The Maker Movement is really gaining steam these days. From “Make Labs” down the road The Maker Movement Manifestoto Arduinos in every RadioShack, the maker phenomenon is spreading like wildfire. For some this grassroots movement to create new things is hard to understand. That is where Mark Hatch’s book “The Maker Movement Manifesto” comes in to play. Published by McGraw Hill and subtitled “Rules for innovation in the new world of crafters, hackers, and tinkerers”, this book is a 40,000 foot management overview of the changing world of innovation.

Hatch is the CEO of TechShop, a maker space where inventors and innovators can go to test out ideas, use the available equipment, and create the projects of their dreams. In this book he uses the experiences he has gained at that location to follow the path of ventures such as DoDoCase, the iPad case manufacturing company, to Square and Oru Kayak.

The examples and case studies are the backbone of the book. What we are seeing here is the maker experience from the business side. In contrast to a nuts-and-bolts book like Zero To Maker” by David Lang, The Maker Movement Manifesto is an enthusiastic relation of the maker psychology and the perks of approaching manufacturing in a new way. Whether it is shortened designed times, less need for out-side investment, or a more hands on and adaptive method of the product evolution, Hatch discusses the big picture issues. Issues like the correct software to use, the different microprocessors to consider, and the implications of the various styles of 3-D printers are beyond the scope.

If you are new to the field, if you need to know why people are excited about the maker movement and why it is being compared to the birth of the Internet, then this a great book. The style is friendly, the examples inspiring, and the read enjoyable. But if you have a grasp of why you want to be a maker are are looking for a guide on how to be on, you might be better off with “Zero To Maker”.

Z Scale Brought to Life with Arduino

MAKE Magazine, a mainstay of the maker and hacker communities, has posted an article on their blog site by Jeff Faust on how he built a small Z scale layout for use at a party. The excellent thing about this little railroad is how he automated it, including motion detection of the observers, using Arduino. Hey, and he did a fine job on the scenery and entire display too.

Z Scale With Arduino

More on Raspberry Pi, Arduino and DCC

Raspberry Pi PlateSo after following a few pointers, I came across the Michael Blank’s SimpleDCC site. The cool thing about this is that he is using an Arduino as a DCC control unit without something like the SPROG as in interface. He is have the Arduino itself send out the DCC signal alone with a booster to power the trains.  I need to study both his interface and the programming some more, a lot more, but it really does hold out the hope that I can either use just the Raspberry Pi with an Arduino, or even just the Pi all by itself, to be a complete JMRI/DCC controller.

Guess what I really need to do too is dig some more into the JRMI code and the Linux installation. I don’t know whether it would be easer and faster to use the Arduino hooked up to the Raspberry Pi to do the translation to DCC, or whether I should have the Pi do that also. Another consideration that starts to come in is the speed of that entire process. But then again, that is what experimenting is there to find out.