I’m glad you found our site. Tinker and build is a YouTube channel and blog for Makers. We want to make Making things more accessible. We do everything from electronics projects, to metal and woodworking, to programming projects.
I’m C.J. Windisch – you’ll mostly see me in the videos with my co-creator Zach Sekar behind the camera (he’ll do a project every once in a while too). My background is Software – I’ve been coding and working as a Software Engineer for over a decade now. When you write your first lines of code and something on screen appears it’s truly a magical feeling. Something worked! The computer did exactly what I told it to do! The rush of building something, then seeing people use it, is something that makes the job of engineering better than most jobs – its incredibly satisfying to put something out into the world and make people’s lives a little bit easier.
The problem with software, is that it’s all virtual. And eventually you start doing the same things over-and-over again that a million other engineers have already done.
Build a way to upload a profile photo.
Create a secure login method.
Make a feed.
Design a way to input time and date.
After a while, that rush of building something fades away into the monotony of building practical software.
As a freshman at USC, I was taught that an engineer is a combination of scientist, business person, and inventor. After years in the Software Engineering profession, I didn’t feel like any of those things except maybe a business person (you can certainly make money in Software even if you’re building something just incrementally different that the last generation of software). Building what’s practical in software rarely uses the talents honed in Algorithms and Computer Science classes. And trying to invent something new lends itself more to the politically talented than creative (try pitching an investor or getting a project approved that didn’t originate from a product manager).
The problem I’ve had with a career in Software is that the profession rarely scrapes the boundaries of what’s possible (okay a couple people work on self-driving cars but the closest the rest of us get to challenging and innovative work is tweaking a bayesian learning algorithm to optimize ad sales). That rush of building something goes away after a while.
Last February I was lucky enough to move into a house after years of living in apartments – this is lucky because for the first time in my adult life I had a garage! Today it’s the Tinker & Build workshop. Back in April, I bought some tools and Zach & I turned some four-by-fours and some cinder blocks into benches for the backyard. Even though it was an extremely simple project, the act of building something physical, something people could touch, sit on, and use brought back that magical feeling of accomplishment – the feeling of building something.
The idea for Tinker & Build was born. Making things. Physical things that did something useful. Having a paint brush of aluminum, wood, electronics, wifi, and of course a little coding – that is amazing. The possibilities are truly limitless when you combine the ability to make something physical, wire up a circuit, maybe some motors, connect it to the internet and write some code to orchestrate it all into something unique, inventive even.
This is the future of making. We are in the age of bringing the capability of invention to everyone – where someone can pick up a book on Raspberry Pi, read some blog posts, watch a YouTube video and get an internet connected device put together in a way that’s never been done before.
With Tinker & Build I hope to make this age of invention accessible to more people. For me, stepping into the world of making physical things from writing code was intimidating. There’s a lot to learn. A lot of physics. Innumerable tools to master. Chemistry. A library of electronic components. The list goes on.
On Tinker & Build I hope to share my journey in learning how to make things, whether that be a step by step video, or a blog post. And I hope that you reading or watching can learn it just a little bit faster than I did, so you can get to Hello World, or blinking LED, or first weld, or first free body diagram just a little faster than I did.
Welcome to Tinker & Build.
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