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7 Documentaries for the Open Hardware Entrepreneur

With the rise of the maker movement, many are trying to have a grasp at what open hardware, DIY and digital fabrication mean to society. Use some of your rare spare time to watch these documentaries. They will give you a clearer understanding of the concepts behind open source hardware and will inspire you to make projects and participate to the open hardware movement.

Arduino: The Documentary


Arduino: The Documentary got published in 2011 in Creative Commons. It’s 30 minutes of interviews with Arduino founders, Makerbot, Adafruit and many more key actors of the beginning of the open hardware movement. Did you know for example that teachers behind Arduino put it open source in order to avoid disappearing with the closing of their design school?

Watch it for free here (English with Subtitles). Spanish version here.

If you Build It


If you Build It is a documentary that follows 13 high school student in their one-year journey to build a project that will change their city. This documentary project was driven by Studio H design program instructors. Movie is not yet available online but a series of screenings are happening all around the United States.

Check the screening near you here.



Maker is a documentary about the maker movement. It got shot in California and features a lot of makers and open hardware activists, including Maker Faire founders Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty, Lemnos Labs CEO Jeremy Conrad, OpenROV team, Techshop team, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, kid maker Super Awesome Sylvia and many more. Movie talks about what it means to be a maker but also adresses the business part of it, with makers who build successful companies around their passion. The movie is not available online yet but screenings are already happening and you can pre-order it on the website.

Pre-order and screening information here.



Objectified is a documentary made by Gary Hustwit, the same who made the awesome Helvetica (about the Helvetica font). It focuses on the work of designers and our relationship to objects around us. It presents designers who think outside the traditional path of manufacturing and take products to the next step.

Watch it here. (rent: $3.99 / buy: $9.99)

Print the Legend


Print The Legend got presented at SXSW Festival 2014 and will be available in the coming months. It is a movie about the ultra competitive market of personal 3D printers and how maker startup are trying to succeed in the 3D printing market. It talks about hardware entrepreneurs and follows the story of Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis, FormLabs co-founders and more. Not specifically about open source hardware.

Not available yet, trailer and info to come on the website here.

Design & Thinking


The same team who just released Maker produced a very good documentary in 2011 called Design & Thinking. It is not about product design directly but about how to use design thinking to change the world. It has a lot to do with shaping a new way of creating, manufacturing and distributing products, which are big challenges the open source hardware movement is trying to handle.

Watch it here.

Revolution OS


Revolution OS tells the story of how the open source software was born, at the time where Microsoft was still Micro-Soft and Linus Torvalds just released his OS. Besides giving you a clear understanding of the ideas behind open source, it is an in-depth look at how new practices and concepts can spread in a society. This documentary will be a great source of inspiration for the open source hardware activist.

Watch it here (free)

Feel free to share your discoveries in the comments below, I’m surprised by how few documentaries about makers and open hardware are out there!


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