There is no more powerful feeling than seeing your idea materialize through work with your own hands! The purpose of ScienceEnvy.com is to help you find that passion for making things. To be inspired to make stuff. To ditch the passive consumption of TV shows, games, junk food, entertainment, fashion, and all other junk that really just wastes our time (and health!). Let’s be creative instead! Let’s use our hands. Let’s build stuff. If you love fashion – let’s make clothing! Perhaps with sewn-in LEDs that blink in sync with the music. If you love to play – let’s code your own game. If you love cars, let’s work on your car or make something for your car. You see the idea – don’t just sit on your ass and let big business shove things down your throat. Find your own superhero power and let’s make something. Perhaps something that makes the world a better place, or just something that makes you a better and more skilled person. The choice is yours. Let’s get our hands dirty! You will be amazed how satisfying it will be.
You never know where making stuff will take you. In worst case, it is just a meaningful, fun spare-time activity that teaches you new skills. In best case, you may actually end up changing the world. My own “KillaJoule” project took me on adventure that I could never have dreamed of, and landed me an attractive job as a lecturer in mechanical engineering at one of the world’s best engineering schools – the University of Auckland in New Zealand. I would never had a chance on that job if I hadn’t had this very cool hobby project. (My story of building things actually started much earlier than that, you can read my whole story here).
Steve Jobs started with small projects at home, and that eventually lead to one of the world’s largest businesses – Apple! There is no guarantee that your project may on an international adventure or make you a billionaire, but I guarantee that you will learn a bunch of new things. And you never know when those skills will come in handy!
That said, don’t start your first project with the hope that it will make you rich. It most likely won’t. Only very few people will get rich from their projects (my projects are good at keeping my savings account at a constant, low level), but I am doing it because it is so satisfying! There is simply no other way I would want to spend my spare time (or my work time, for that matter).
Have fun building stuff, and as one of the engineering students at University of Auckland said “A small project is a gateway drug!” I can only agree. When you have completed your first engineering or science project, you immediately want to start the next one. And the next one and the next one. And before you know it, you have learned a bunch of new skills!
And remember, engineering is just arts and crafts for grown-ups! The principles are the same, the only difference is that you use more expensive machines and more exotic materials.
Photo: One of my very first engineering projects: A machine that “recycles” aluminum soda cans. In certain countries, you return the empty soda cans and get a deposit back (about 10 cents per can, or so). The machine crushes the cans so they will take up less volume when they are transported back to the aluminum recycling plant.
My dad worked on a project to improve the way the machine crushes the cans, and I – of course – wanted to build my own “recycling machine”. I was very pleased with the tube where you insert the can (a piece of rain gutter). The bends were just right, so the cans slid through the tube very smoothly and landed in the old laundry detergent bucket underneath. Circa 1989 (so I was about 8 years old).
I have built things for as long as I can remember. According to my parents I built a “nuclear power plant” from cans and cardboard at the age of 4, but I think the can recycling machine above is one of the oldest photographic evidence of my passion for building things.
Cover photo: Me with “ElectroCat”, a motorcycle that I converted from internal combustion to electric together with my dad Sven Hakansson.