Instructables

Thank you all Product Hackers who have helped me out :)

I am writing a paper about design hackers, and I need as many people as possible to answer these questions below.

Please cope paste the questions before you write down the answers, thank you so much for the help in advance!!!

1. Since when is product hacking a hobby for you and why did you start?
2. What kind of products do you hack, is there a practical preference based on your interest/need for certain modifications?
3. Why do you do it, why not just buy the things you need without having to modify anything?
4. Why do you think the (design)product hacking community has become so lively the past decade?
5. How do you think (design)product hacking is received by product designers?
6. Is (design) product hacking in your eyes a hype or will it evolve and create even bigger communities and become more influential to the design market (If so, try to explain its expected influence)?

kirstentb (author) 1 year ago
Thanks all for your answers, the paper was due a short while ago but I will be able to use these answers for my thesis :)
thanks a lot for taking the time to answer!!!
blkhawk1 year ago
  1. My brother and I grew up with our divorced mother in a government project. Our mother always nurtured our curiosity and our love for reading. We got educational toys that stimulated our creativity like Legos®, Erector® and various woodworking tools.
  2. I hacked electronics and wood furniture simply to suit my needs. I have no special preference for any products.
  3. I love the feeling of flow that comes when I am engaged with something that I love to do. Sometimes it comes down to money. A dollar earned is a dollar saved!
  4. A lot of people are becoming disenchanted with the materialistic attitude that had existed for some time. Instead of being simply passive consumers, people would like to become active producers. I believe that the advent of social sites like the one we belong has promoted the philosophy of hacking and reuse.
  5. Designers could have an ambiguous reaction to this hacking. Companies with traditional proprietary design would not welcome such hacking from the community because they could see it as a loss of revenue.
  6. I could use the Linux phenomenon to illustrate what I think. It started simply as a collaboration of hackers to create a kernel for an Unix like operating system. People believed that Linux was just a fad. The movement grew throughout the years and many companies were forced to share the codes for their software and hardware. I believe that a community of hackers will make more companies share their trade secrets, thus assisting the community to improve on their products.
Goodhart1 year ago
1. Since when is product hacking a hobby for you and why did you start?
Oh in the late 1970's really, when I opened my first D cell battery. I took a lot of things apart before then though. I was curious about how things worked...and how I could make things work differently, and THEN how I could make broken things useful again, not necessarily in the manner they were intended to work.

2. What kind of products do you hack, is there a practical preference based on your interest/need for certain modifications?

Normally electro-mechanical devices. I don't get into computers and software much anymore

3. Why do you do it, why not just buy the things you need without having to modify anything?

To learn, and to create. I love creating new things from things others thought were useless. Many times, what we "make" is not available TO buy.

4. Why do you think the (design)product hacking community has become so lively the past decade?

This country STARTED as a collective of doers and makers, and we've farmed so much of it out to other contries, it is about time we become INTERESTED again in creating and building.

5. How do you think (design)product hacking is received by product designers?

That would depend on the designer. An openminded designer TRULY looking for new ideas, will not turn any away.

6. Is (design) product hacking in your eyes a hype or will it evolve and create even bigger communities and become more influential to the design market (If so, try to explain its expected influence)?

I am hoping we can get BACK to lots of collective as well as individual hacking/making again. When I was younger, I subscribed to a magazine that carried the monthly article: Hardware Hacker. Back then, it wasn't a BAD word, it was a BADGE OF HONOR. It meant you knew something and were willing to learn a LOT more.
crazyg1 year ago
1. Since did you start?
i always wanted to know how things work and taking them to bits is the first stage in finding out,hobby? i prefer the term maker.
2. kind of a practical preference based on your interest modifications?
mechanical with some basic electrics, old stuff befor the term no user serviceable parts inside.stuff that leans toward my knoledge base.and then theres the stuff that just stops working.WHT DO DESIGNERS MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK LIKE ITS MELTING (eg ps3 would not overheat if boxshaped domes reflect heat inward durr).i also avoid things that have designed in personas of extra nonexistant functionality. like trendy hoovers.
3. Why do you do it, why not just buy?
need? i like to make what you cant buy on any budget.and the way new stuff stops working offends me,if they think that im handing over more money they are mistaken.
4. Why do hacking community has become ?
original design failure, also a reaction to producer greed.people rebelling against a dumbed down education.
5. How hacking is received by designers?
depends on the product if there is a possible loss of revenue through repair or upgrades they will try and make it impossible ps3 tom tom. or if its a build on platform they start designing add on bits .
6. Is hacking a hype or will it become more influential to the design market ?
product hacking is as old as tools.its the tradition of invention. my worry is that the design market will encourage the age of stupid just to make a buck . people using a miniature computer where a relay transistor and couple of switches would have worked.
1. Since when is product hacking a hobby for you and why did you start?

As far back as I can remember I was curious and I liked the pretty colors especially when things blow up.

2. What kind of products do you hack, is there a practical preference based on your interest/need for certain modifications?

Everything especially if it blows up, some things I want they don’t make.

3. Why do you do it, why not just buy the things you need without having to modify anything?

Well let’s see; I get it for free, I get what I want when it is not available, and it is fun when things blow up by accident.

4. Why do you think the (design)product hacking community has become so lively the past decade?

It is fun, you buy it the government knows, and it is fun to blow things up.

5. How do you think (design)product hacking is received by product designers?

I hope it P$$$ them off. Hackers are the original designers.

6. Is (design) product hacking in your eyes a hype or will it evolve and create even bigger communities and become more influential to the design market (If so, try to explain its expected influence)?

No hype it’s a blast, it will get bigger depending on the explosive potential, but most of all it is the, I can do it aptitude.
sarah051481 year ago
I grew up in a family of dyi makers so i have always done it. both of my parents are very artistic and handy but came from a class background where being an artist would have been frowned down on.

the reason is readymade is rarely as perfectly suited to your particular need as you would like.

here is an example of something i am working on right now. my process is: i need a small cabinet or bookshelf with glass doors to put cookbooks in. on the top of that cabinet, i want to put my microwave oven. i want that all to slip under the end of the butcherblock table that i use as a kitchen island. it has to match the rest of my kitchen cabinets, fit perfectly and be inexpensive, sturdy and of a compatible design. For kitchen cabs i usually start at ikea because their rta stuff is already part of the way there. (to me ikea is one big pile of parts waiting to be put together.) none of the bookshelves with glass doors were small enough. now i am looking at kitchen cabs to see if any of the small cabs will fit the bill with a minimum of cutting down. i already know that my oven is 1 inch to large to fit in a readymade cab, (darn). my spouse came up with an alternative design yesterday and now i am looking for the building blocks for his idea to see if it would hack easier that the blocks that i have already found.

so for me i do it because i need some exact thing. it is very rare for me to find what i am looking for in my price range.

i don't know why so many people are doing it now. i am older than most members of the community (i'm 63) so i am a child of that dyi 50's post war generation.that was the culture of the suburbs that parents chose to live in. i don't know if it is a fad or a result of unemployment or a dissatisfaction with all of the junk and materialism and waste of the near past. i really appreciate instructables. they were on the cutting edge of the new wave. remember mouse mouse?


i think several things are developing now that could support or destroy the dyi community: our cheap (relatively, here in usa) internet access is a huge help. right now there are enough people of generous heart to give away their expertise via instructable, you tube etc. monetization is in it's infancy in this community as is ip protection. if that comes in in a big way and the values of generousity and free exchange of ideas that could be coopted. that could change and end this phase at any time. instructables is much more commercial that when it started. I know people have to make a living and i support creative ambition, i hope the creative commons and their community will stay strong. greed kills.

today i am going to try to figure out if i can make citrus flavored cream caramels out of some candied buddha's hand in simple syrup and some whip cream that i have in my fridge. oh, and plus if they are delish, i will dip them in chocolate. leftover hacking-an underrecognized subset.
Hack42Moem1 year ago
Can you please define what you mean by 'design hacking' and '(design)product hacking'? I'm willing to help you out, but not sure I fit the bill.
kirstentb (author)  Hack42Moem1 year ago
Good question actually, it is basically about any kind of hardware design hacking/ modifications/using products for something different entirely (so no software/digital hacking).
Perfect, here you go :-)

1. Hard to tell, I've changed or adapted things for pretty much as long as I can remember. Maybe when I was 10? It was just another creative activity for me, we've always been given waste materials (like packaging) to make stuff from when we were kids, and it developed from there.
2. I tend to make things that I want to use in some way. But I also sometimes make stuff because someone, or possibly a project that's going on, at my hackerspace inspires me. I make changes to clothing sometimes, but mostly it's things like tools, bike accessories, travel equipment...
3. Stuff is expensive. Stuff that is exactly like you want it is more expensive. It may not even exist. We don't all want the same thing, so I may want something that there simply isn't a market for.  Plus, making stuff or making it better is a lot of fun. It gives you a deeper level of ownership that is very satisfying.
4. In the Netherlands, the hacker community is booming at the moment. Maybe the time is right, maybe it's also because hacker events bring people together and give them ideas; I think it's a feedback loop in a way.
It could also be a response to the commercialism that seems to rule the world these days, and a result of people wanting to live more sustainably.
5. If they're smart, they'll listen and learn. I'm not sure if they do.
6. It's not a hype, because it has actual value. It could be a fad, a rage. But I don't think that's the case. Once you've learned how much fun and how easy it can be to fix and customize your own stuff, you don't unlearn that. Others will see it and get curious and may join in.
As for the influence on the design community: that seems likely. After all, designers are not separate from the rest of society and there is probably an overlap between hackers, makers and designers.

If I were you, I'd contact my local hackerspace. That's where you'll find the people you want to talk to.
  1. Since i was old enough to use a screwdriver. Always had the urge to open up my electrical and mechanical toys to see how they worked.
  2. I hack whatever i feel needs improvement or has (what i would consider to be)  fundamental design flaws. Sometimes its about getting more power out of a device or adding a new feature. Sometimes its as little as adding or taking away from the case to make it more comfortable to use.
  3. Why spend more money when you can adapt things for next to nothing to suit your needs? I work hard for my money and never seem to have enough to do the things i want to do so i have to make do with what i have.
  4. Because the economy sucks! No one has the money to keep buying something new. Not to mention manufactures are doing a crappy job of designing good quality products.
  5. I would hope they see the hacks and realize what they should have done from the start. I suspect many wanted to do that sort of thing to the product but where unable to due to budget constraints and other limitations set by the company.
  6. I hope hacking continues into the future. As times get tight the need for hacking grows. More and more people learn to hack things every day. Like the saying goes necessity is the mother of invention. Well most inventions are a hack of some sort. New needs are being found every day and you don't always have money to throw at it so you gotta hack it to fix it.
kirstentb (author)  mpilchfamily1 year ago
thank you so much!!!