I don’t have a ton of extra time, and yet, I keep pining over a few new creative outlets. Tonight I’m going to talk about a few of them.
I told Melissa in early 2020 that I was thinking about making my own mechanical keyboard. With Bryanna’s help, she ordered me a set of keycaps for my birthday. The pandemic hit, and I spent the summer and fall looking into the different parts I’d need to complete my first project. For Christmas, I received all the parts I needed and put it together.
Here are the videos I recorded for the initial process.
These videos were all recorded on Christmas, and I used the keyboard like this for a couple of months. The main problem was that the switches weren’t secured to the PCB very well, and sometimes it felt mushy typing, with the keys swimming beneath my fingers. I wound up hot gluing the switches to the PCB, and that made the entire typing experience much more satisfying.
Several people have encouraged me to start some kind of Etsy or something after trying this keyboard. It is very good, and it was a fun project. I’m not sure I want to turn this into a business, but I would like to make more keyboards for friends and family.
Unlike most of the other hobbies I’m about to talk about, I’ve actually made progress on this one. The only question now is what keyboard will I build next.
This hobby is more in support of other hobbies. I think it would be neat to design and then create tools and gizmos to improve my life. I also think getting a reasonable 3D printer will help me make some unique keyboards.
I’ve gone so far as to shop online for different types of printers, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I don’t have a lot of space and I’m not sure where I’ll put a new printer. This might be another one of those things that waits until one or both of the kids move out.
If I do get a 3D printer soon, it’ll help be gateway into the next hobby on my list.
I’ve become addicted to YouTube videos featuring the assembly and flight of RC airplanes. I’m fascinated with the engineering and the craftsmanship involved.
It just looks like so much fun.
A lot of the videos I watch involve cutting and folding foam board, gluing components together with hot glue, and a little bit of soldering the electronics.
I haven’t done anything with this hobby yet, other than watch some videos. I think Chris might be interested in doing something like this with me, and I’m tempted to look up the prices of motors and controllers, just so I can get an idea of how expensive it might be to get into this hobby.
If I acquire a 3D printer, there are quite a few impressive RC plane designs I could download and assemble.
Before I get carried away with this one, I need to look up the closest locations where I can fly.
Some of the RC plane videos lead to paramotor videos, and now I’m hooked on those, too. In particular, I like watching Tucker Gott’s videos. His 1200 mile flight over 5 days was very compelling.
As far as this list of potential hobbies is concerned, this is the one I’m least likely to actually pursue. It’s one thing watching POV videos of people strapping a giant fan on their back and taking to the air with a parachute wing. It’s another thing actually doing it, especially when I’m a little uncomfortable with heights.
There are some paramotor trainers in California, so if I pursue something like this, I’ll start there. The cost of equipment is between $8,000 and $12,000, so this is not cheap when compared to the other hobbies on my list. Also… I’m probably not in good enough shape to do this. I may never be in good enough shape.
It looks like a lot of fun, though, and I’ve always wanted to fly.
Making Video Games
I’ve made a little bit of progress on this one. It’s the closest hobby to my actual day job, so it’s probably the most practical on this list. I know how to program already, and I’ve studied game design. I have some experience with Unity, and I have it installed on a couple of my computers. There’s really nothing stopping me from doing this.
The problem is that it’s so closely related to my day job, it’s hard for me to find the energy to put into a project. The kind of game I want to make involves greater graphical skills than I possess as well. I might be able to buy assets, or find some assets for free. There really isn’t any actual barrier stopping me from making something fun, other than finding the fun in programming the game.
That’s the list! What kind of hobbies have you gotten into recently, and would you recommend them?