iFixit and the Right to Repair

iFixit and the Right to Repair

You deserve the right to repair your own car. You deserve the right to jailbreak your own phone. You deserve the right to fix your own stuff.

This is the manifesto of the iFixit revolution, which seeks to create a user-sourced repair manual and troubleshooting guide for… everything. Think of that thing that you own that, if it broke, you know you’d have to replace it because you can’t fix it yourself and it would cost more to fix than to just buy a new one.

iFixit wants to help you fix that thing. Actually, they want someone else to help you fix it–that’s what the repair guides and the Q+A sections are for. They serve as a community of makers and DIY-ers, helping each other save money, reduce consumption, create something positive, and slow down our collective negative environmental impact.

Imagine something as simple as a hair dryer: it craps out, and you go buy a new one. Unless it’s thefan grill that’s jacked up–there’s an iFixit guide to help you repair that. Or the heat shield that’s fried. There’s an iFixit guide for repairing that, too. Or the fan motor assemblyor the on/off button or the hot/cold button

You get the idea.

There are iFixit guides for almost all of it. Now you’ve exercised your ingenuity, you’ve used your hands for something useful, you’ve saved yourself some money and a trip to Target, and you’ve kept one hair dryer plus assorted packaging for a new hair dryer out of the waste stream.

Now that appliances contain so much electronics, and our general education hasn’t given most of us the basic knowledge that we’d need to confidently manipulate those electronics on our own, we need these user-created manuals to get us going; it’s the same way that I can teach my kid how to repair our riding lawn mower (mental note: must order that muffler, fuel line, spark plug, and air filter today!), but she, a proud member of our local community college’s robotics club, is going to have to teach me how to use the LEGO Mindstorms set that I super want to buy myself her for Christmas.

My only addition to the iFixit movement is that I’d like it to also get users excited about repairing products that, since they don’t have proprietary parts, are easy to forget about – sewing on a buttonpatching a hole, darning a sock, etc. It may not be as sexy as finding new ways to charge my cell phone, but mending that hole in my kid’s dress, as I’m going to do today, seems equally subversive in this country of uber-cheap, sweatshop-manufactured clothes.


Originally published on Crafting a Green World; Repair Manifesto via iFixit.

Written by Julie Finn

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