Maker jargon and slang for 2022

Last year, I rounded up all of the jargon and slang I wrote about in my weekly maker tips newsletter and posted them here on Boing Boing. Below is this year's list.

These aren't necessarily new terms, some are very old, basic, and well known. These are just words related to the various domains of making that crossed my transom this year and I thought my newsletter (and Boing Boing) readers might find them interesting.


Burning an inch – When taking tape measurements that you want to be as accurate as possible, you can start the ruler at the 1" mark in case the end hook on the tape isn't 100% accurate (and then, of course, subtract 1" from the resulting measurement).

A crown pulley is slightly larger in the middle.

Crown pulley – A pulley design where the center has a larger diameter than the outer edges, thus a "crown." Perhaps counter-intuitively, the belt on the pulley will always seek the area of highest tension, returning it to the crown. [Via Maker Update.]

Crustard – A textured ground-covering paste used in tabletop gaming terrain, diorama-making, etc. Made of a mixture of fine sand, wood glue, tile grout, baking powder, and (usually) brown acrylic paint.

DIWhy – A play on DIY; the questioning of a maker project of dubious merit. See also: Regretsy (often said of bizarre Etsy offerings).

Bench dogs and dog holes.

Dog holes – The clamps that sink into the surface of a bench to hold workpieces in place are known as bench dogs. The holes in said workbench are known as dog holes.

Drag soldering. Note the use of poster tack to hold the IC in place.

Drag soldering – A technique for soldering the numerous "gull-wing" leads of an integrated circuit. You basically deposit solder on the tip of your iron and drag it over the surface of the pins on all sides of the IC that have pins.

Dross – The solid impurities that float on the surface of low-melting-point metals like tin, lead, zinc, aluminum. Not to be confused with slag which is dross' liquid sibling.

"Open wide for chunkies!"

Dunkin' chunkies – The act of placing bits of old silicone mold chunks into a new mold so as to conserve on (expensive) silicone.

FEP – (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) A tough, no-stick plastic material commonly found in the bottoms of resin vat 3D printers. Its translucence allows the light source beneath it to shine through the vat, curing the resin onto the build plate above.

Hero prop – In movie-making, a detailed prop designed for close-up shots and closer scrutiny from the audience. In contrast, action props are used where the audience will not see the prop in close-up.

Inspired object – Something in your life that's so well made, so perfectly suited to its task that it actually inspires/elevates you as you interact with it. Things you make yourself often take on this inspiring quality. Coined by Mr. Jalopy.

In the sluice – Term used by Adam Savage. Synonymous with in the groove, in the zone.

IPA – No, in this case this isn't a reference to India Pale Ale, it's just the abbreviation for isopropyl alcohol.

Holidays – A term used by professional painters and gilders/gold leafers to refer to gaps in coverage. It derives from the joke that a painter must have taken some time off, a little holiday, by not covering an area they should have. [Hat tip to gilder Michael Kramer]

MIG like TIG – A type of MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding where you greatly reduce the feed-rate of the wire and weld slowly so that you build up a glob of metal that you can deposit into the "little row of dimes" that's the hallmark of TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding.

Minimal viable product – A phrase used by Italian maker and product developer, Giaco Whatever. In creating a product, you want to pare your idea down to its minimum possible components. See also: KISS (keep it simple, stupid).

Promptcrafting – In AI art, it's all about the quality of the prompts you craft. The better your invocation, the better the magic that gets conjured.

Real job – A project that's a series of tasks and challenges that imply significant time and effort – as opposed to a task which can be quickly accomplished. "That's a real job. I' need I'll set aside an afternoon for that."

That's no power strip, that's a relocatable power tap.

Relocatable power tap (RPT) – The fancy schmancy term for a power cord with a multi-outlet box on the end.

Resilient idiot – A self-deprecating admission that sometimes knowledge and skills seemingly won't stick, not matter how hard they try and learn them. Coined by Donald Bell. Not to be confused with Andy Birkey's similar: actual moron.

Rewilding your attention – Writer Clive Thompson has been promoting the creative benefits of exposing yourself to the novel, the offbeat, the serendipitous. Look beyond what the online algorithms feed you – rewild your attention!

Rub and buff – A waxy finish made from carnauba waxes, fine metallic powders, and pigments, rub n' buff also refers to the process of rubbing on the compound and buffing it. The result is a finish that looks like gold, bronze, silver, copper patina, or other metallic materials.

Rule of Cool – In making anything from realms of the imagination (e.g. sci-fi, fantasy, other fiction), the overriding of realism, laws of physics, and practicality in the service of sheer cool factor. If it's cool, it rules.

Schmoo – Slang for any liquid or gelatinous substance oozing out of something that you're working on. "Release the schmoo!" Popularized by potty-mouthed YouTuber, AvE.

Scumbling – In painting, to soften (the color or tone of a painted area) by overlaying opaque or semi-opaque color applied thinly and lightly with an almost dry brush. I learned this one from my artist wife, Angela White.

Slush casting – A form of casting where material is "slushed around" inside of a mold, creating a thin layer on the outer walls of the casting. This technique is most often used to create a lightweight, hollow castings. It can also be done as the first pour in a highly-detailed mold, with a second pour finishing a solid cast.

Surface profile – The 3-dimensional tolerance zone along the surface of an object, often one that's a complex curve or shape. This profile requires that every point along the surface lies within a specified tolerance range.

Wabi-sabi – A Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in imperfection, age, and decay.

Weeding – In vinyl cutting, the act of removing all of the unwanted vinyl around your cut design.

Witness cup – In molding and casting, a cup of leftover material that's set aside to help gauge when the objects in a pressure pot are cured.


Last year's Maker Slang Favorites here.