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Getting Started At DIY Answered

Hi all

I am a mechanical engineering by training. I've worked with Arduinos and loved them a lot. In college, I helped build two race cars in the Formula SAE competitions, and I worked in mechanical workshops doing milling, shaping, grinding, using lathes etc. I loved all of it.

However, while I imagine my ideal self spending his weekends in his garage restoring his classic british sports car, I struggle to get excited enough to take on any projects at all. For instance, I have dreams of building my own go kart, writing a smartphone app, building a few home automation things that I have in mind etc, but I lack the courage to start, because I know I will leave it half done. The other thing is that, despite my training, I lack the engineering bent of mind to build things 'properly'. That streak where you choose the right option when designing something. It's hard to describe, but you can tell what was built by an engineer and what wasn't.

I would like to ask you, what are your pro tips to getting started and having a long and successful unpaid, voluntary career in weekend hobby projects? Any and all advice is welcome, as are harsh words telling me to 'just freaking pick something and start'. What is your story? How'd you get into liking to build stuff? Did it come naturally to all of you, or did you have to force yourself at first until you started loving it?

Thanks in advance.




5 years ago

If you don't think you'll finish big jobs, do small jobs.

Your status as a Maker does not depend on the scale of the things that you make, just that you Make.

The vast majority of my own projects take an afternoon (not counting paint drying).


5 years ago

A hobby is just that, once it becomes a job, it becomes a chore. You build something because you need it, want it, don't want to pay for it or can build it better than what you can buy or can't buy. You don't ask yourself "why?", you ask yourself "why not?", the answer is "because you can". Does the world need more gas powered skateboards or did you just want something that works like a hover board? It seems like you have the tools skills and probably material resources so just try to fix something or break something even worse while trying to fix it. Make something to give away. Help out an elderly relative or neighbor. Dig hard enough and there will be too many things to fix or make better. Good luck.