“Everyday Making” focuses on seemingly minor acts of ingenuity that people do to get by.

Every day, people implement reactive problem-solving techniques that utilize available resources, creating endless possibilities of utilitarian design.

Next time you’re walking down the street see if you can find some Everyday Making!

In this first contribution, NYSCI’s Director of Maker Programming David Wells tells a story of some creative problem solving that he noticed recently while out in his neighborhood.

I was out last weekend walking my dog and I noticed this bike locked up on the sidewalk.

A seemingly normal sight, but what caught my attention was the bright orange fender. It seemed stylish and unique. I was curious to know what it was made of so I took a closer look.

I noticed it was a part of a wiffle bat attached to the bike frame with zip ties and, to further utilize the available resources, you can see the reflector is supporting the DIY fender to prevent it from dragging on the tire.

I noticed another part of the bat was cut and attached to the downtube of the bike, protecting the rider from the front tire splashing water up. Just then my mind wandered to a distant memory of my 4th-grade teacher Mrs. Share. We were discussing the Native Americans, how they hunted buffalo and found a use for every part of the animal—the meat was food, the hide was clothing and shelter, bones became tools, sinews became bow strings and thread and so on until there was little left of the carcass. Once I returned from my musing, I was impressed by this local maker’s ingenuity in the various uses for this one item.

At a bike shop in NYC, the average bike fender can run anywhere from $20 – $50 plus installation. A wiffle bat, on the other hand, can typically be found for about three to five dollars, throw in some zip ties at less than a penny each and the maximum total cost of this DIY project would be $5.03. Not only is this little DIY project creative and practical, but it could have saved this local biker over $40!

– David Wells