My least favorite part of making is the busy work that comes with it. Even when executing the most thoughtful designs, there’s often a lot of mindless work that has to happen. Although some makers might think it’s an unsafe distraction, I’ve always loved listening to the radio through those moments. While I was never at a loss for great podcasts, I had a little more difficulty finding great podcasts about making. Here are 5 of my favorites that I’ve stumbled upon over the years:
Cool Tools is one that’s been around for a long time – it’s something like Whole Earth Catalog’s successor. Each episode, Kevin Kelly (who edited Whole Earth Catalog and founded Wired) and Mark Frauenfelder (who founded Boing Boing and was a founding editor for both Wired and Make: magazine) interview someone interesting about their favorite tools.
The Prepared: Spencer Wright and Zach Dunham talk us through a Kickstarter campaign they’re doing – in real time. Spencer Wright also has both a tool guide and really great newsletter about manufacturing that go by the same name. They also work at making their inclusivity policy real – something that makers everywhere need to double down on.
Looking Sideways: Andrew Sleigh does really great interviews with different makers. While there are plenty of other maker interview podcasts out there, Looking Sideways’ guests always offer new perspectives and thoughtful commentary. It’s coming back in the next few months under a different name – focusing more specifically on innovations in craft.
The Digital Factory is hosted by Formlabs – in line with their mission, the podcast is all about “Exploring the future of manufacturing, engineering, design, and creation” and bringing together cool people who are “reinventing the factory floor.” There are several cool new technologies that I heard about first from the Digital Factory, eg. Desktop Metal.
The Things that Make Us: Each episode, Zoe Laughlin invites someone on to talk about objects that have “inspired, delighted, provoked, or influenced” them. Most of her guests don’t consider themselves makers, but Zoe brings her wealth of maker experience from her work as the director of the Institute of Making at UCL.
For five more, check out Make: magazine’s previous list of maker podcasts.
Just because you make things doesn’t mean you should only listen to podcasts about making though. Cool Tools put together a reader-recommended list of the best factual podcasts (using the word factual loosely). It’s already two years old, but in line with the Cool Tools ethos, its recommendations are evergreen. Stanford’s D school has a few audio resources online too, such as this audio guide for helping makers get “unstuck,” and a few playlists they recommend for different kinds of creative work.
What do you listen to while you work? Leave a comment or let me know.
Feature image by Maggie Walton