Mendoza School of Business Writer | January 13, 2017
Jim Spencer didn’t blink.
His quadcopter drone just took a hard bounce on landing, sending plastic parts scattering across the floor of the Jordan Auditorium.
The pilot, aka Notre Dame photographer Matt Cashore, began to apologize.
“No problem,” said Spencer, calmly picking up the pieces and reassembling the drone. “I made it to do this.”
The operative word in Spencer’s comment is “made.” His quadcopter drone is not a fancy toy bought ready-made. It wasn’t assembled from a kit. Spencer made the drone himself by printing most of it with a 3-D printer based on his own designs. He not only made it to be breakable (good thing — Cashore’s second landing attempt had the same ending), but to be remade by anyone wishing to copy his design, with his good wishes.
Spencer, an education support technician at Mendoza, is what is known as a “maker.”
In another age, “maker” would translate into “tinkerer” — that individual who was always dismantling and reassembling a car, or gear, or any number of objects, or even inventing an entirely new product. A maker is that individual who is moved by a creative spirit and the glimmer of an idea for how to make life better through sometimes tiny adjustments.