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The maker movement is made up of some 135 million adults in the U.S., however, it’s more than just a U.S. movement.

From 3D printers to laser cutters—makers employ various tools to create their goods. Many gather at makerspaces where they share these resources. Makerspaces are havens for techies, artists, and entrepreneurs.

What is the “Maker Movement?”

The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies, and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them to reference designs.

maker movement wiredSince the birth of the personal computer and the Web, people have used relatively simple and accessible new technologies to create, connect and collaborate in ways that were previously unimaginable. For one thing, simple blogging tools and social media platforms have fundamentally democratized mass media, ending the monopoly once enjoyed by large publishers and broadcasters.

Now, easy-to-use digital fabrication tools and online assembly services are set to drive a similar revolution in physical manufacturing, radically lowering barriers to entry by making the tools of factory production available to everyone. Indeed, manufacturing may soon become just another cloud computing service (like Dropbox or Google Docs) available at the click of a mouse, with no penalty for short production runs. With such services, users pay for each item they make, while computer-controlled equipment makes the per item cost of producing one of something the same as the per item cost of producing 10,000. And while, at high volumes, these services are not as cheap as traditional mass production techniques, they are set to become better and cheaper over time.

These advances, along with the rise of social financing sites like Kickstarter, which free would-be entrepreneurs from dependency on traditional sources of capital, and the growth of online marketplaces like Etsy, which easily connect sellers and buyers around the world, are enabling a whole new class of small-scale creators to make and market industrial-grade products, a phenomenon that has been dubbed ‘the Maker movement.’

Is everyone a now manufacturer? Is an explosion of desktop manufacturing start-ups just over the horizon?

Read: A Profile With The Superstar Of The Maker Movement: Limor Fried

Read: Sylvia Todd emerges as tween face of the Maker Movement

INFOGRAPHIC: A Movement in the Making

We found this great infographic from CustomMade and they have asked us to feature it here on our website.

maker movement infographic