The Repair-Ware Revolution: Say Goodbye to Our Throwaway Culture and Hello to Fixing Stuff Yourself

There is a reason I build my own PCs from off the shelf parts and run the generic OEM Windows.  A. I know I can find replacement parts. B. The OEM windows will work with a different motherboard if  the original MB were to crap out.

From Alternet:

A designer from the UK hopes to spark a ‘repair-ware’ craze that will inspire designers to build products we can actually fix ourselves.

By Ted Cox
March 24, 2011

Do you ever wish that products would last longer, and that they could be easily repaired when they break? So does Samuel Davies. Last week Treehugger linked to a sweet concept iron imagined by Davies, an industrial designer based in the UK. What makes his iron newsworthy? An accompanying diagram shows the iron with just 11 parts — each of them designed to be repairable by the owner.

Davies dubbed the project “Repair-ware” and he hopes the concept spreads to other household products.

“I developed Repair-ware as a response to society’s attitude of ‘throwawayism’,” wrote Davies in an email interview. “Consumers don’t think twice about throwing products away and buying a new one when they cease to function properly, and perhaps rightly so when these products need a level of technical expertise to diagnose a problem or even just to open them up!”

The iron is just a concept for now, designed for his graduation project from Sheffield Hallam University.

“It was a conceptual project asking whether this could be a possible solution. I think the solution is an ideal that we should work toward, but the reality is that there are many issues which would make implementing the concept quite difficult,” Davies wrote. “For example, passing safety standards would be much more difficult when inviting the user to expose internal components, although I have possible solutions to this in my design also.”

He picked an iron as his first project as that particular appliance carries a reputation for being difficult to repair on fix-it-yourself Web sites like

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4 Responses to “The Repair-Ware Revolution: Say Goodbye to Our Throwaway Culture and Hello to Fixing Stuff Yourself”

  1. quenyar Says:

    Why the heck use Windows at all? Linus distros like Ubuntu are better, more secure and just as likely to work flawlessly on your motherboard. Ubuntu: Easier, better, faster, cheaper – pick any four. But you can’t play high-end games. Boo hoo. Depends on if it is a tool or a toy. As a toy, nothing wrong with Windows.

    • Suzan Says:

      I use a number of Adobe Programs and happen to like Office. I use it because it works and because I have some 30 years experience using Microsnot products, since Dos 2.0.
      BTW there is a song out called “Every OS Sucks” with a line about Linix or Lynix how ever you say doesn’t sound like much fun, besides I’ve got a life.

  2. quenyar Says:

    It’s all mostly point and click. There’s very little difference in user capability between MS Office and Open office for 95% of people who use these programs. I’ve used Linux since there was such a thing, but modern Ubuntu is very friendly to Windows users. For adobe programs and such, you can always use VM Ware and open a Windows instance. Then you get the file integrity and base operating security of Linux while being able to use the programs you know.

  3. Andrea B. Says:

    I also repair and build a lot of my own stuff. I have always done that. Sewing machine or soldering iron is the same to me, a tool to a means.

    I am in the market for a new sewing machine. Hopefully I will have a new one soon.

    I use four seperate operating systems on four drives, in my computer.

    I have windows 7 on one drive, which is actually a pretty good operating system, unlike previous versions which always crashed at the worst possible moment. I find both Linux and Windows have there uses and place.

    For engineering, science and technological issues, Linux is defiantely on top. Windows is really still for the home.

    I also have a highly modified version of linux which has a Blender-Ardour integration, for music and composition work. That linux installation also uses several music programs utilising midi, usb, jack and firewire from various sources, such as m-audio delta1010, terratec rack firewire, alesis fusion 8hd and a cme uf88. Combined with a nvidia quadro and i7 it gives a lot of versatility and brute force power if necessary. I have my Alesis Fusion 8HD working as both a digital audio workstation and controller through modifications to its operating system and its midi operations. The operating system in that synthesizer is clearly not finished and I am now modifying what is supposed to be an out of date and obsolete system, into an up to date system.

    An example is that recently I wanted to work on an entire audio track in my sysnthesizer. I can not expand the memory beyond 384mb according to the manufacturer which I have found by investigation to be bullshit, so am working on a way to modify it to handle a few gig instead. As for only having a limit of handling only an 80gb hard drive, that is about get at least 2 zero’s added to it. Nothing like personal future proofing.

    I not only support repair ware, but I also think using your brain to upgrade or future proof something, is a good idea. If nothing else it gives a person something productive to do and is a good mental excercise.

    I propagate seeds for my friends to grow flax, herds, spices, shrubs and trees. The savings in cost from that is very significant.

    I have reached the point where I really can not be bothered buying something, that I can make.

    I brew my own beer and honey wine.

    You would be suprised what you can do, once you put your mind to a project.

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