The Maker Revolution

Updated 13 April 2022

The Maker Revolution celebrates the creation of new devices and the modification of existing ones - the transition from a consumer buying goods to eventually having a major part in their creation. The Maker Revolution places strong emphasis on free (as in speech) sharing of designs, code and ideas. Learning is self-motivated and usually just for the fun of it.

Below is a timeline of what we think are some pivotal moments in the Maker Revolution - these might be the founding of important companies; the release of game-changing hardware; and the launch of maker-enabling services. It's interesting to see the shifting of attention among the interest categories

The Poster

A preview is below. If you'd like to download the full-size image for printing you can grab it here.


Let's expand a little on some of the entries in the poster.

  • Adafruit and SparkFun - Two maker-electronics heavies, Adafruit and Sparkfun have been around a while and for good reason. Both threw themselves into maker culture - nourishing the movement with the right equipment and learning resources. 
  • Arduino - Needing no introduction, Arduino is a flagship for the maker movement. By streamlining the coding and controlling aspect of a project, Arduino really lowered the bar for entry into embedded electronics - A fantastic tool for beginners and pros, artists and designers to focus on the project rather than get bogged-down in flipping bits.
  • OSH Park - Dedicated to servicing makers with (extremely) affordable, high-quality PCBs, OSH Park started as a group-buying arrangement at a universtiy. If you've ever drilled a home-fabbed PCB which holds lots of through-hole parts, you'll know how valuable this service is.
  • Aleph Objects. The parent company of Lulzbot, Aleph Objects operate under a philosophy of Libre - that means anybody is free to access and modify their hardware and software designs as they see fit. These guys lead by example.
  • RepRap is the concept of a self replicating 3D printer - a machine capable of replicating as much of itself as possible. We think this project really kicked things off for the home 3D printer scene.
  • Prusa i3 - part of the RepRap project, the Prusa i3 is the most widely used 3D printer on the planet.
  • Lilypad and FLORA - Nourishing a growing interest in wearables, Lilypad and FLORA helped show that creative electronics and art can go hand-in-hand.
  • Make Magazine, Hackaday, Instructables - Maker advocates, there would be no movement if there were nobody to spread the word. 
  • Hebocon is a competition for crappy robots - really crappy robots. Usually we only see finished, successful projects when browsing online, while unfinished or failed projects are swept under the rug. Hebocon is a light-hearted celebration of the failures you otherwise wouldn't see.
  • Spark Core the ancestor of the Particle Photon and Electron, marked a major step for the world of IoT - the first piece of maker IoT gear that truly integrated the hardware, software and application layers.
  • Raspberry Pi changed the game for embedded computing projects. While intended as an educational platform, the Pi fast became a maker staple for the amount of power it can bring to a project at a small price.
  • BBC micro:bit - An incredibly well-integrated learning platform, the micro:bit brings modern maker-staples like bluetooth and inertial measurement into the classroom and bundles it with excellent learning resources.
  • Core Electronics - Core Electronics was founded to nourish the maker movement in Australia by increasing the availability of maker-electronics and producing educational content.

Closing Thoughts

This is by no means an exhaustive list - we're talking about such a big topic that I'm bound to have missed what some might consider revolutionary moments. If you think someting is missing let us know in the comments section for this article. 

Attachment - maker-revolution-1.1.pdf

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