What brought you to write your first Instructable?
Oh god, have you seen it? I was knocking about for a wee while looking at projects and did my popping the top and caught the cap, something I just did. It really wasn’t until the lighter flash drive that I got really in to making things. My first three Instructables were quite clumsy in retrospect... I mean, come on, the Beer Can USB hub? I used it for so long. One of my replies to a commenter’s issue – “not really but just put a rock or something in it if it does really it’s so easy and simple” – Oh and the atrocious writing. At least the spelling was decent.
Really, put a rock in it.
Flash drive mods got me in to making and modifying actual things. The community back then is what really kept me posting, it’s still the biggest draw of Instructables in my opinion, there are tonnes of subtle jokes around the place, I’ve been lucky enough to be the butt of a few, including caitlinsdad's awesome cartoon series. I fell off my bike...
How has your inclination to make stuff helped you professionally?
Give me a moment. A ROCK. Okay...
When I was riding the advertising bike for a club, there were two of them and I was charged with keeping them in one piece. Made out of scrap parts and junk from converted rickshaws, they were horrible: at one point I had the rear derailleur arm split in two going down a main road. In the end I got it back to the car park with some elastic bands, two key rings and a twig. Standing by the side of the road with an upended monster of a tricycle in bits is quite a look.
Having my Speedlite kick the bucket at a gig, fifth in a row, I got into the house at six PM from the night before, yes evening time and that happens after 45 minutes in the house, inhaling painkillers, coffee and several microwave burgers. Despite quite possibly being dead by that point, I calmly walked over to the bar, picked up a beer mat and made a sort of reflector for the built in flash. It worked rather well and the Smithwicks colour gave a nice warm tone to the pictures... Well that’s what I keep telling myself.
Making stuff has done a lot for my work and surviving jobs, did you know you can turn a shop till into an incredibly powerful catapult? Oh, and if you mess with the focus on a reduction gun you can scan stuff thirty feet away. Barcode shootout is one of the best ways to both lose and keep your crappy till job.
Instructables has also helped me win at so many interviews. Bring it out early if they’ve a computer in front of them and the interviewer gets far too distracted to notice the fact that you have given woeful answers and accidentally told an obscenely inappropriate story…
Here, by the way, anybody wanna employ me? Oh right. That’s fine... I’ll live...
What about romantically?
Ok you’re ruining that option now. I can’t use Instructables to distract you from the inappropriate story I’m about to tell...
Actually making things has been a good move, so has fixing things, more so the fixing... I’ve fixed a lot of jewelry, though, granted, most of it was broken by me. I’ve ended up with a big collection of bracelets on both wrists, most of which don’t come off easily, they catch everything...
On the other hand women shout at me for having half-finished projects and strange objects lying about all the time. There’s also only so many times you can hear “You’re going to kill yourself!” and “Adam, you’re on fire,” always said in that same bemused tone. Okay now, hooking an HV transformer to beer cans to see if it’ll make a passable Jacob’s Ladder was a bit dumb. Doing it on the kitchen table, probably reason to shout at me.
Though romantic's been a dirty word of late, vaguely related – Stealing spoons from the hotel room on New Year's to make spoon bracelets, turned out to be a good move. A move that may have been prompted by copious amounts of whiskey...
Speaking of which, some of your Instructables are of a more social nature than many of the "Look! I made this!" projects on the site. What has encouraged you to share your experiences and wisdom?
Not sure I’d call any of it wisdom but the social Instructables, those started with burning questions... How to talk to an Ex was an answer. I really did enjoy writing it, partly because I screw up relationships at a rate of knots when I’m in them. I just read over it, thinking as I went in I’ve changed a lot since writing this and to be honest I had fun reading over it.
I’ve just deleted a big paragraph I wrote about my life. In reference to why I’ve written a lot of these serious things. I make a spectacular number of mistakes, I still do it and once in a while I’ll probably add ones about different things.
Some of them appeared from nowhere, a word on humour, *not humor* was borne entirely of the Instructables forums and was loads of fun to write, Goodhart is an awesome guy.
Overall I like philosophising on social things, I can’t help but look at how much I have and haven’t changed on these things since writing them. Mostly I’m shocked at how reasoned some of it is, seems to be online I’m more thoughtful. In life I’m fairly reckless and erratic.
Are there any projects you've made that you're particularly proud of that have not made it onto Instructables?
I’m sure there are plenty, but I’ve been rambling a fair bit by now, so I’ll say my fourth year final piece for art. It was an eight foot tall tree with seats and bookshelves, so big it stayed in the classroom for a few years after I left the school, before being relegated to the drama department as a prop.
If you had to choose three Instructables authors to help you survive a natural disaster, pandemic, or particularly long road trip, who would you want with you and why?
Goodhart – A road trip? The puns, the unending puns!
Kentsokay – Pandemic? Like Zombies? We’d both have the best hats around...
Jessyratfink – I always want to try her food and it’d be hard to lose her in the dark. Yes the pasty jokes... They’ll never die.
What projects can we expect from you in the future? Got any great ideas percolating?
Well I’ve stored up a fair bit from being offline, got some odd movie-related ones, a Jacob’s Ladder with a twist, and I have to do something with the fact that I woke up with my ear pierced on two separate occasions in January. On that note I just remembered something I meant to do a long while ago, kind of owe a pair of earrings to someone...
I want to continue on my kick of teaching Instructables while making cool things, the likes of zippo tricks and business card throwing were a whole mess of fun, I like learning new skills and if I found the teaching material lacking or just want to put my own spin on the idea I’ll make an Instructable.