Our Story

The seeds of Instructables germinated at the MIT Media Lab as the future founders of Squid Labs built places to share their projects, connect with others, and make an impact on the world. One of these early places was a blog Zeroprestige, which was an open source hardware experiment for kitesurfing. Here they documented their hand-sewn kites, plywood boards, and other general mayhem that happens when PhDs and high winds collide.

As a result of freely sharing our work, we met a ton of great people, received great opportunities, and were smacked in the face with the need for a web-based documentation system.

Instructables became that documentation system in 2005, as an in-house project of Squid Labs. When they weren't solving interesting problems like solar panels for driveways, efficiently harnessing human power, or strain sensing ropes, you could find them sharing Instructables from the workshop. From cooking to 3d printing, to making just about anything fly, Instructables became the recipient of countless hours of tinkering, soldering, stitching, frying, and fun, making just about anything.

Instructables was officially spun out of Squid Labs in the summer of 2006, and has gone on to grow from a modest hundreds of projects to over one hundred thousand. The community that now calls the site home, is an amazing mix of wonder from around the world. Every day we continue to be amazed by the imagination, curiosity, and simple awesomeness of everyone who shares their creations with us on Instructables.

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The Squid Labs founders, from left to right: Saul Griffith, Corwin Hardham, Eric Wilhelm, Colin Bulthaup, Dan Goldwater. Photo by Quinn Norton

Squid Labs Emeryville.

An important part of starting a business is to keep your tolerance for risk high by keeping your cost of living low. For us, this meant owning few or no cars and biking everywhere, cooking our own food rather than eating out and occasionally eating from dumpsters, getting furniture and tools for free from Craigslist, making everything else we needed, and for some of us, living in the shop.

First version of Instructables website.

Dan holding a prototype 30 sqm kitesurfing kite.

Some of the many kiteboard designs we tried.

Solar pavement prototype.

Rope and Sound, one of the early squid labs projects. A unique interactive musical harp using electronic sensing rope. Built for the the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's Extreme Textiles exhibit.

The Squid Labs booth at the first Maker Faire. Photo by gfixler

Stealth Electric Monster Chopper - the batteries on electric bikes are bulky, let's try putting them in the fork...

3D Chocolate Printer made from LEGO, instructable here.

Self Assembling Robots, instructable here.

Candle powered hot air balloon, instructable here.

Spoke POV: LED Bike Wheel Images, instructable here. This prototype has since evolved into Monkey Electric.

Instructables Team

Instructables Community