When Yvon Masyn dropped by Instructables World HQ a few weeks ago I got a moment to sit him down and ask him about his Instructables and what makes him tick. After the interview, we had a very long discussion about building simple and cheap junk bots that was quite interesting. I can say for certain that he is a man of many talents. This is what he has to say about his work:
How did you find Instructables?
Well, it was a colleague of mine (Marcel Rosvelds) who sent me a link to an Instructable. I think it was something Star Trek-y. Something to make an Enterprise or something from a Floppy Disk or something like that. Obviously something that interests me. And then I started to look around and found a lot more on Instructables that was appealing to me. Then I said that I have to publish my own things that were similar and this is really a channel that you can reach people with the same mindset.
How long have you been a Trekkie?
As long as I can remember. My father was a Trekkie. I think it was the first television show that I could stay up later in the evening to watch it. Must have been five or six and my daughter is also a Trekkie now. I introduced her a couple of years ago, so it's hereditary.
So, you made an RC Starship Enterprise? How long did that take to make?
The actual making, I think about two weeks, but I did some testing and a lot of thinking how I would make it. And it was not my first blimp. I built a couple of blimps and I could reuse complete parts of other blimps. So, it took about two weeks. From scratch, say it would probably be about four weeks - not four working weeks - but four weeks in which you would spend a couple evenings making it.
Is there anyone who has been influential on the Instructables that you make?
Yes. Actually, the main group for my Instructables and, say, my crafting hobby is making workshops for children. I think that's two friends of mine that invited me years ago to give a workshop for children. First Katrien Perquy she invited me to help and soon I ended up making a rocket workshop of my own for these children. It was actually when I started to make this kind of thing. From making these workshops also grew making a simple website on them. And from this, making Instructables on these kind of projects.
Kathleen Everaert is another friend of mine who actually organizes the workshops that I am doing. Does a lot of practical organizing.
Are these workshops educational in nature?
Well, it is educational, but it is mainly fun. The age group is six to twelve years old. We try in these workshops to do it in a different way. Not the same projects that you see in any class, any time. And from my angle, to make it different, is a technical angle. To make it flies or floats or a robot-y thing or something like that.
Are you involved in any other workshops?
I have another group of craft projects that's not involving workshops. That's mainly involving dolls that I make, most of them as presents to friends. Kind of - you can say- personalized action figures.
How long have you been working with action figures?
Actions figures as such, not that long. Maybe three or four years. But before that I made what I'd rather call dolls. Mannequin dolls, like the famous Barbie of course. That I've been doing longer. I think about ten years ago I started it again. And I've been making marionettes. Probably about twenty five years ago that I've been making these. And that's partly the same techniques.
So, in terms of what you do for work, does it involve making things or is this something that you do completely on the side?
It's completely on the side. It's actually welcome compensation because for my work I don't make anything. Sometimes I say that I don't do anything. I only deal with the process of giving money to people doing things and I don't do anything myself.
I can see that being frustrating.
Yes, sometimes that is frustrating. The fun part of that job is that I see an enormous number of projects. If you're working on a project you focus on a couple of topics, but in this job I have thirty to thirty five projects that I see every year that are completely different.
What is your favorite Instructable that you posted?
My favorite Instructable... Well, it is always difficult because there is the project and there's the Instructable and you cannot separate the completely. I think the project is Posable Action Figure Building System. That's one of my favorite projects. Probably not my best elaborated Instructable. As an Instructables, I think my first one. I put a lot of effort in to make a really good Instructable with pictures and movies and proofreading - a luxury that has gone lost I'm afraid. It was the one on the little steamboat. The put put boat.
If you had to give advice to someone about to post their first Instructable, what would that be?
As I said before, you have the project and you have the Instructable. I think that if there is no Instructable on any topic, even if it is one that is a topic that is quite common, I think that a detailed Instructable is quite valuable. Although, maybe you should look if there is other available instructions online. Maybe it is less useful. So, I think the project itself, if the project is more original, you get more of an interesting response from more people. So, I think that is very important. And then, I think, the Instructable itself. Try to explain it and if it is not perfectly explained, people will ask and then you can work on it. Don't be afraid to published even if it is not perfect. If you put some basic logic in it and let it grow, it will come to a good Instructable.