Makey Awards 2011 Nominee 02:  PanaVise, “Most Repair-Friendly”

Back in June, 2010, we posted this photo submitted to the MAKE Flickr pool by user Lee C. (aka Triggerdog7). It shows the custom wooden crank Lee built and retrofitted to his Model 201 because he “got fed up with the super slow to turn knob on the Panavise Jr.” A neat, classic little maker story.

Within two days, the president of PanaVise appeared in the post’s comments:

Here’s the deal. Go to PanaVise.com. Look for the link at the top titled contact. Select my name, Gary Richter, President.

Tell me the following:

Swing arc (center of the 201 knob to the center line of the crank handle) you want. Easy on,easy off vs attaching a screw (in other words, do the course adjustment with a larger crank and then remove the crank quickly or leave it in place). Plastic or die cast metal.

We have a very full plate making new products right now. Not something we will do next week. Maybe by the fall.

Fill out the above and we will send you one to test comment on and or other goodies.

Thanks for listening and a very cool idea.


Five months later, Panavise Sales Director Tom Simpkins e-mailed us these pictures of the developing prototype add-on based on Lee’s mod:

And just last week, Tom confirmed that the new product—Panavise catalog number 239—will be available for purchase in 4-6 weeks. Check it out:

That kind of responsiveness to makers, modders, hackers and do-ers—the real, hands-on end users of products—is exactly the kind of behavior we created the Makeys to reward. Panavise doesn’t just want you to open, tinker with, repair, and improve their stuff—they want you to tell them all about how and why you did it so they can make their stuff better.

Here’s looking at you, PanaVise. Keep up the good work.

Makey Awards 2011 Nominee 01 – Microsoft Kinect, “Most Hackable Gadget”

If you have a suggestion for a company to be nominated for “Most Repair-Friendly,” or one of the other three 2011 Makey awards, please send us an e-mail or leave a comment, below.


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan