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Chapter 1. Introduction > The 5 "F"s: - Pg. 13

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle 1 Introduction: The Philosophy of Improvisational Fabrication A Maker's life is rarely fully funded, with an unlimited budget, a state-of-the-art shop facility, and a team of brilliant young assistants poised to spring into action and help bring a creative vision into reality. In terms of toolage, raw materials, and skillset/knowledge base, "work with what ya got" is pretty much standard-issue methodology for [insert really high percentage here] of us. Whether this situation ultimately proves to be limiting or liberating depends entirely on your attitude towards "comfort zones, working outside of." N ow, I've never met an out-of-the blue creative impulse that didn't warrant at least two sketches, a few Google inquiries and a cursory rummage through the parts bins. Before I know it, it's 6:00 the next morning, and I'm waist-deep in technology I know almost nothing about, watching the coffee distill, wondering "what the Hell was I thinking?" and counting down the minutes until the scrap yards open their gates. Comfort zone? What comfort zone? Over time, this seat-of-the-pants approach to Making coalesced into something that's almost definable, and definitely learnable: The Philosophy of Improvisational Fabrication. Common sense from a Maker perspective, it's based on the following pillars. The 5 "F"s: Cliché alert: it's one of those cutesy, alliterative lists self-help books are so fond of. Live with it. to make it work. Pay attention to how these subassemblies act and interact. Get a comfortable understanding of the factors at play, the physics involved, and the Aristotelian "total is greater than the sum of the parts" factor. There'll be a number of different approaches available for each component mechanism: never be afraid to consider a Plan B . . . or C. Critical components become apparent as you go, which helps when you're sourcing parts, and you'll suss out the control points you'll need to consider when doing your U.I. My experience has been that breaking anything down to its contextual basic components is the single most valuable technique for getting a tangible understanding of what you're dealing with. Of course, once you've gained that understanding, feel free to improvise with wild abandon. Not much different from playing jazz or writing code, when you think about it. Forage for parts Improvisational fabrication works best with a rich and varied array of raw material. Repurpose components from scrap yards, thrift shops and dumpsters. eBay is your friend. The design (both industrial and visual) of your project will coalesce around the aesthetic of one or two of the Figure out what you're building What's it supposed to do, and how's it supposed to do it? Parse your project down to the basic mechanisms required 2