Everyday accidents and the joys of programmed obsolescence are the delight of DIY tutorials that populate the Web. To help you wade through the waters, we offer this guide to online tutorial sites and traps.
Your smartphone is shattered, your PC crashed, not to mention the coffee-maker, and you forgot how to rid your house of spiders without bombing it with pesticide ? Your cry for help on social networks remains unanswered and you can’t find the Do it Yourself solution on Makery ? Time to search for a good tutorial. But where to begin in the online jungle of fix-it websites and DIY forums ?
Step 1 : Search YouTube
First reflex : search for a DIY tutorial on YouTube. But given the tsunami of girly guides and shady demos, better to first know exactly what you’re looking for… and gravitate toward specialized channels—such as Grotte du Barbu for computer fixes and DIY electronics, or Tutomaker, also in French.
“DiskaTAteur”, La Grotte du Barbu, episode 125 : Olivier Chambon replaces the hard drive of his old MacBook Pro.
Step 2 : Ask the fix-it-yourself community
When YouTube doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to turn to community websites. Among the most requested hardware fixes is how to replace the display on a smartphone. While costly when done professionally, the DIY process is fairly accessible if you follow the step-by-step instructions and safety measures. Bear in mind that tinkering with the inside of your iPhone invalidates the warranty.
The iFixit website offers a whole collection of tutorials on the subject, as well as thousands of manuals for fixing computers, consoles, vehicles, household appliances… In the name of the “right to repair”, complete with manifesto, this community site was founded in 2003 by two students from San Luis Obispo in California, frustrated by not being able to find any instructions on how to fix an iBook G4. This may explain why the site is Mac-heavy, with more than 2,000 Apple guides for 152 referenced devices. It cleverly organizes the manuals and videos by brand and references, which link directly to the parts and kits sold in their online store. Bonus : the guides are rated by level of difficulty, and time required is also indicated.
iFixit explains how to replace an iPhone 4 display :
Step 3 : Participate…
Just short of the Wikipedia of makers, wikiHow is a collaborative writing platform that aims to build the biggest “How to…” manual in the world. Available in a dozen languages, wikiHow includes about 8,000 articles that are written, modified and maintained by volunteer contributors. Perfect for finding non-toxic detergents, paraben-free skin care, or how to plant a vegetable garden on your balcony without chemical pesticides… even if the tutorials sometimes resemble a grandmother’s recipe.
Another essential site to counter everyday bothers and dive into DIY, Instructables provides a plethora of tutorials for tinkering with electronics, open source hardware, various recipes and very low-tech fixes. Community members publish step-by-step instructions to the projects they want to share online. The concept for Instructables germinated at the MIT Medialab in 2005, when graduate students launched a blog as an open source hardware experiment for… kitesurfing. Ah, the great outdoors !