Author Options:

Build Night Resources Answered

Instructables sponsors monthly build nights at makerspaces (and hackerspaces, fab labs, student groups, libraries, etc...) around the world. Each month we partner with a different company to send materials and/or tools to run a workshop at your space. In return your space posts Instructables from your build night.

If you are interested in being directly notified about future build nights fill out this form. You will receive e-mails when new events are announced in the forums.

IMPROVE INSTRUCTABLES + FIRST TIME AUTHORS: Naturally with such a large participation in the build nights (2000 people globally for sugru) there will be some first time authors. Here is some important information to share with your community before (or during) your build night.
  • How to Use the New Editor: this is a handy guide to help you get the hang of the new editor.
  • How to Choose a Title and Keywords for your Instructable: learn how to pick a great title that will give your project as many views as possible. You don't need to include the sponsors name in the title of your project, but I'd recommend including it somewhere in the first step.
  • Feature Checklist: this is the checklist we use to decide if an Instructable should be featured on our homepage. It is a great resource for writing high quality Instructables.
  • How to Take Great Photos with your iPhone: these are some great tips for photography with an iPhone.
  • Basic Photo Editing: improve your images with a few simple tips. It is especially important to have a great main image to improve the quality of your projects.
  • English as a Second Language: If english is your second language check out this series of forums. We encourage people to post Instructables in their native language. If you would like to post in both English and your native language you can use a translator. Author Rimar2000 is a great example of this.

MOTIVATING MEMBERS TO POST INSTRUCTABLES: The most common question/issue that came up was how to motivate build night participants to post Instructables and take photos during the build night. I came up with a few tips and solutions. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have any other ideas on how to encourage your members to post projects during their build.
  1. Planning ahead of time. Take suggestions from your community on what projects you can make at the build night. This will focus the workshop and motivate people to actually execute on projects.
  2. Post projects ahead of time: For spaces that are expecting more beginner/intermediate participants (especially young students) organizers will post Instructables before the event for participants to follow during the event.
  3. Demonstrations at the beginning. Have a short 20-30 minute demo at the beginning of the event and use the rest of the time to make projects.
  4. Breaking into groups. Split the attendees into groups pairing beginners with experts. Each group can work on a different project. This is especially important for more advanced build nights that have electronics.
  5. Designate a documenter. Have a designated ‘documenter’ for each group. They will be in charge of taking pictures during the project build. If someone has an iPhone or Android they can download the Instructables app for free and upload their photos from their phone directly to the website.

PUBLICITY: One of my goals with the build nights is to get publicity for makerspaces and individual makers. Here are some ways we’re working to promote y’all!
  • Homepage Promotion: get pictures of your makerspace on the homepage of Insructables. Take excellent pictures from your build night and we just might feature it on our homepage. Your space must also have a group page that we can link back to (see below).
  • Tweet at us: tweet to your followers that you are hosting a build night and we will re-tweet you! We will also encourage our sponsor to re-tweet you as well!!

GROUPS: I’m working to get a group page for every makerspace on Instructables. Check out all of the makerspaces with groups (here). The requirements to get a group for your space:
  1. You must have 5-10 Instructables published by members of your makerspace before we build you a group. It doesn’t matter if they were published 5 years ago or yesterday.
  2. You must agree to post projects on a regular basis. This is just to confirm that the group doesn’t go dead. 1-2 projects every 1-2 months will do! If you are participating in the build nights this should be easy.
  3. Contact me at carley@instructables.com if you think your makerspace is ready for a group.
EARN A FREE PRO-MEMBERSHIP: everyone that publishes an Instructable will receive a 3-month pro-membership.

SUPPORTING MAKERSPACES: Build nights were the result of a conversation I had with Josh from All Hands Active. He was looking for ways to get new people to his space and create new events. What other ways can we help achieve your spaces goals? Here are some suggestions from the hangout. Please let us know if you have more ideas!
  • Live Stream Build Nights - spaces that are hosting google hangouts on the same day could connect via google hangout.
  • Live Instructions: host a series of “how to” google hangouts where we teach you basic skills like soldering, basic electronics, etc...


About these hangout series things....
I think they are an excellent idea for those that do not get sidetracked like I do...I also think that when you have a bunch of people coming together from all over the world, & everyone is brainstorming for ideas, how can it be anything but positive?
The biggest problem I have(with making an instructable), is that I have all the energy & great intentions coming out of the gate, but I have no stamina(or whatever it's called) to follow through to the finished product...I get side tracked very easily, & always find it near impossible to come back to what I was doing in the first place.very frustrating, but such is my life.

It helps to have others around who also want to finish the original project (and usually the build nights come with resources for something specific).

As for focus/stamina/follow through... the thing that's made the biggest difference for me has been prescribed speed (for my ADD). It doesn't get rid of the creativity or anything... it just allows me to choose to focus if I want to.

It doesn't do anything about the million other things I need to do, just as part of life, though... sometimes there isn't really a solution for busy life. :)

Oh, and for other resources for distractibility, whether you pursue an official label or not... Rick Green ("Bill" from the Red Green show) has made a site with some great info, funny videos, etc for creative, distractible types of people: http://totallyadd.com/