DIY Community for Youth – A Great Model for Learning Independently

This is a bit of an unusual post I suppose, but something about this resource,, struck a chord with me. Independent learning can be an incredible way for people to acquire skills outside of or alongside traditional education. An issue that seems to be gaining popularity in the discourse around traditional education is the speed by which it adapts to the world around it (read: too slowly). Services like might just be the future of out-of-class learning for youth, and hopefully adults as well.

I also like how the modules are laid out. Each skill has its own hexagonal graphic and an amusing tagline (like the one for “beatmaker” in particular). I think it would make me want to finish them all. Some of the skills also seem to be geared towards building a future of doing things yourself, like beekeeping, making clothing, and repairing bicycles. Did I mention you earn a patch when you master a skill?

via: TreeHugger

Hello new friend, some initial tests with our new vinyl cutter

We recently acquired a Graphtec CE5000-60 cutter and we’re already dreaming up a whole bunch of new projects to put it to use. It cuts up to 24″ vinyl rolls (though I’ve also seen it score and maybe even cut cardstock) and with the Illustrator plugin, its incredibly easy. Above, a test with some gold vinyl.

It took only about 15 minutes to get it setup and running — there were some adjustments that needed to be made to in the offset to get the test triangle / square with the appropriate straight lines, but once that was setup and after I found the solution to the  HP-GL error 1 (change the command from HP-GL to GP-GL), I was able to send files from Illustrator just the same as you would send a file to print.

In these early tests, I’m just using some masking tape to transfer the vinyl.

It comes off pretty well — I was impressed with the quality and speed of the cut even with a cursive font like this.

I think they sell larger/wider rolls of masking-tape like material, but for now this works.

The maiden transfer onto a wall.

Easy transfer, just a little trouble with the bottom loop of the f.

So, a successful first test! In the past, we’ve worked with Printhouse for a lot of our one-off vinyl cuts, so if you’re looking for someone local we can highly recommend them. The things we’re going to be doing are just going to require so much volume that it was worth investing in one ourselves to do our own cuts. No details just yet, but I’m really looking forward to playing with this some more and I can’t wait to launch these new projects soon!

Pop-Up Education


Not that it’s something we haven’t talked about before, but GOOD just wrote about yet another iteration of this kind of alternative community pedagogy, this time calling it “pop-up education.”

Basically these ideas work like this: teach something you know to other people in an alternative space. Perhaps a main distinction in the pop-up education idea compared to what we’ve talked about before is that this kind of pedagogical experience should occur during regular wait-times, the brief post gives the example of teaching safety skills while waiting in the DMV.

So, how many times will we write about this before we initiate something? Well, maybe instead of making a list of skills we have and could share, maybe creating a needs-based list would work.

For example, I would love to learn how to cast metal, do basic programming for the iPhone, and get a better general sense of the narrative of the history of the city. What might you want to learn? Want to trade knowledge?