Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Maker's Checklist


This is from an informative handout I received from Maker Faire 2013.

The Maker's Checklist

  • K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly).  The ideal design has zero parts.
  • Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion (Parkinson's Law).  Don't give yourself too much time for a project or it will never get done.
  • Past experience is good for a reality check.  But too much reality can doom an otherwise worthwhile project.
  • Look at houw everyone else is tacking a problem-- what assumptions are so implicit that they're no longer being questions.  Question them.  Don't listen when people tell you that you can't.  Ignore your critics.
  • Document everything (writing, pics, video), especially on collaborative projects.  The group will forget who did what and it will make going back and chancing things that much harder.  Also, good docs will make it that much easier to port into makeprojects.com
  • you may pick two of the following three, but not more:
    • It can be built well
    • It can be built quickly
    • It can be built cheaply
  • Do what you can, where you are, with with what you have (Roosevelt's Law of Task Planning)
  • Everything is a spring (i.e., in mechanical systems, all parts will deform under load).
  • If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape (or zip ties).  If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40.
  • Design for disassembly.  Don't expect it to work the first time you put it together.  And make sure that everywhere there's a screw, there's a place for a screwdriver.  And a hand to fit around that driver.
  • Neatness counts.  Keep everything organized and tidy.  Use quick connectors when you can, use cable ties to bundle related wires together, color-code, and label.
  • Know when to walk away.  When a design problem or a build turns ugly, take a break.  Sleep on it.  You'ss be amazed what distance will do -- aka The Kenny Rogers Rule: "You got to know when to held 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away."
  • Always use safety glasses, wear proper attire, keep first aid at hand, and use the right tools for the job.
Sources: The Mechanical Engineer's Checklist (makezine.com/go/mechlist), the Beginning Engineer's Checkles (makezine.com/go/eechecklist), Gareth Branwyn's Rules for Roboticists (makezine.com/go/robotrules) 


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