We adopt the Wikipedia definition of DIY (Do It Yourself)
as any creation, modification or repair of objects without the aid of paid professionals.
DIY practices predate recorded history as human survival often relied on the ability to repair and repurpose tools and materials. Over the past few decades, new materials and sharing mechanisms have led to a wider adoption of DIY culture.
One of the earliest “modern era” DIY communities formed among amateur radio hobbyists in the 1920’s. Ham radio communication continued even during World War II, when a ban was placed on amateur radio communication.
Starting in the 1970's, enthusiasts created 'zines' to express the punk aesthetic. Other early examples include non-professionals experimenting with MIDI equipment in the 1980's and the subsequent rave culture; or numerous hacker communities of the 90's.
Thousands of DIY communities exist today, varying in size, organization and project structure. Some allow members to contribute asynchronously on a variety of topics, while others focus on specific projects such as knitting or hip craft. Some revolve around smaller in-person gatherings and some enable hobbyists to trade or sell their projects.
We focus on a subset of these as a sample of the diverse materials, practices and sharing mechanisms among DIY practitioners.