An Introduction to Make: Projects

Uploaded by makemagazine on May 26, 2011

So let’s say you’ve made this great new project and you want to share it with the
world. And not just what it is, but how to make it. After all, part of the fun of being
a maker is sharing what you made and how you made it. Luckily, we have Make Projects for
this purpose and I want to show you around a little bit.
So what is Make Projects? It’s a free how-to community from MAKE magazine where you can
find step-by-step instructions for tons of projects. Not only can you post your own how-to
guides, but because it’s a wiki, you can also make tweaks to existing guides.
First, let’s browse around the site a bit. You can explore project topics here, check
out featured projects here and then down here are the newest and most popular projects.
Let’s explore a project now. At the top is an introduction to a project and below
that is the list of materials and tools you need.
If you want to print the instructions, use the PDF feature to get a nicely formatted
version of the entire project. Or, if you have a tablet, you can pull it up on that.
You can also embed a project onto your own site, if you want.
The step-by-step instructions are here, along with nice large photos. Did you notice that
“edit” link? You can submit improvements to a project that way. While anyone can edit,
only approved edits become public. That approval process depends upon the person’s reputation
in the system, which is gained over time.
So let’s get started. After you’ve created an account and logged in, click “Contribute”
and then “Create New Project.” You can submit instructions for a specific project,
or a general technique. Then choose a topic. Keep in mind that a particular topic can be
under multiple areas. For example, the topic soft circuits in under Craft and Electronics,
so if you choose that, under either area, the project will appear in both areas. You
can optionally select a secondary topic.
Next, choose a a title. Make it as clear short and simple as possible.
Then write a summary. This is like a subheading for your project.
Then write a short introduction for your project. You can use wiki formatting here to make headings,
text formatting and even embed video or photos. Here’s what the wiki code looks like to
embed a video. Below that, add flags to your project. Flags add properties to it such as
“unpublished” to keep it private and “in progress” to let everyone know you’re
still making adjustments.
After you save that, check out the meta data page. Here you can enter the time required,
the difficulty, a prerequisite guide and then any tools and parts. There’s already a very
large parts and tools database, so when you start to type a part or tool, it may pop up.
Now let’s talk about taking photos of our build. Since documenting a project can sometimes
mean taking photos of small details, I recommend a point and shoot camera with a macro mode,
or a macro lens on a camera that takes interchangeable lenses. This will allow you to make very tight
close ups on small details. You’ll also want to take your photos in landscape, like
this, not in portrait mode so that the picture fits nicely into the page layout. If you do
take a photo in portrait mode, you’ll be able to crop it down from within Make: Projects.
Upload those photos by clicking on the images tab and then choose files, you can select
multiple files by clicking on the first, holding shift and then clicking on the last. The images
must be at least 800 by 600 pixels and you’ll have a chance to crop them down, if necessary.
Set the main image for your project by dragging it out of the images bin and into the block
here. Now drag one of the images for the first step here. Let go when it turns dark green.
Now let’s write out the instructions for this step. To set the title, type it in next
to the first bullet point, click on the bullet and then select “Make Title” to set it
as the title for that step.
Then outline that step by adding a bullet point for each detailed step within that main
Simply click here to add a new step.
If you want to rearrange your steps, go to the main page of your project, select edit
and then drag the steps by the number into the new order. Be sure to click save.
When your project is ready for the world to enjoy, be sure to remove the in progress and
unpublished flags so that people know it’s complete and that it appears in the different
project areas and in searches.
Now all you have to do is go out and share your brand new project guide.
So that’s just a basic overview of Make: Projects. The best way to learn is to just
jump right in and start to start to add your own projects. And if you’re looking for
inspiration, check out all the projects that are available in all the different areas.
So long!