Plan C Live: Fix It Yourself – Repair in a Pandemic

Maker News
Plan C Live: Fix It Yourself – Repair in a Pandemic

This week’s Plan C Live program looks at how more people are fixing things themselves or with help from others. The pandemic (and accompanying recession) has increased the need to be able to repair household items and replace components or upgrade devices. The Internet, of course, has a wealth of how-to information on how to make repairs but that doesn’t mean people think it is worth their time and trouble. But consumer behavior may be changing.  We’ll be talking with some people who are helping make that change happen.

Date recorded: June 11 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET

YouTube player has made it easier to fix things, providing clear documentation and replacement parts. Fixit Clinics have been drop-in events providing an opportunity to ask experts how you to repair a broken appliance, device or other household items. These clinics are now being held virtually around the world. Vector Space in Lynchburg, VA offers weekly Virtual Repair Cafes.

Screen shot from Virtual Fixit Clinic 533 in Boulder CO

Repair as a local service also becomes important as many communities have lost their repair shops. How do you even know they exist? is building a directory of repair businesses in the US.

Getting consumers to repair instead of replace their things is not only empowering. It is good for the environment, reducing consumption and producing less waste. Trouble is, even for the well intentioned, they cannot fix certain devices that lock-out consumers or any effort to repair them necessarily voids the warranty.

There is increasing pressure on manufacturers to create devices that can be repaired and to design products that have longer lifecycle because key components like batteries can be replaced. We’ll talk about progress on Right-to-Repair legislation.

Join host Dale Dougherty of Make: Community along with the following panelists.

The Panel

Peter Mui, Fixit Clinic

Peter Mui is the founder of Fixit Clinic ( which hosts community repair events around the U.S. and now, globally via Zoom. Over 550 Fixit Clinic events have been hosted at elementary, secondary and high schools, colleges and universities, libraries and through teleconferencing software. “Education, entertainment, empowerment, elucidation, and, ultimately, enlightenment through all-ages do-it-together hands-on fix-n-learn community-sponsored and community-led discovery, disassembly, troubleshooting and repair.” Link:

Kyle Wiens, and

Kyle Wiens is the CEO of iFixit and Chairman of the board of is a wiki-based repair community sharing technical knowledge about how to fix things. The Repair Association,, is a directory of businesses that provide repair services. Kyle has been active as a leading advocate for repair.

Elise and Adam Spontarelli, Virtual Repair Cafe

Elise and Adam Spontarelli are founders of Vector Space in Lynchburg Virginia. Elise is the Executive Director and Adam is the Education Director. They have been organizing Virtual Repair Cafes (link) with a fix-it focus on household items and electronics. Link:


  • Are more people fixing things themselves? Is there more interest in repair because of COVID-19? Is it more necessary?
  • How do you train more people to fix things themselves?
  • What happens in a virtual Fixit Clinic?
  • What do experts know that most people don’t?
  • Communities need local production, and local repair services are needed as well. How can we support them?
  • How repair is part of envisioning the circular economy
  • What about repairs in a makerspace or other shared spaces? Who takes responsibility for shared tools and devices?
  • What is Right to Repair legislation and what is its status?

See Make: Magazine coverage of Repair.

Images: from Fixit Clinic

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty


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