Component-level repair cell phone repair is becoming increasingly uncommon in the west. But in Delhi, any good mobile repair worker knows how to solder. I took this photo in a Delhi cell phone repair school. This student has decorated his soldering iron with cell phone speakers, held up by the same magnets that make the speakers work.
The cracked iPhone screen, with its web of glass shards that turn the digitizer into a kaleidoscope, is now practically as iconic as the iPhone itself. Phones slide out of pockets and slip from our butterfingers onto unforgiving concrete and cold, hard tile. The latest rumors predict that the next iPhone’s back panels will be made out of liquidmetal, a zirconium, titanium, nickel, and copper alloy that may make drop damage less of an issue. But for now, with a few good tools and a bit of repair know-how, you can make a tidy business out of replacing people’s shattered glass panels and bent bezels.
Jonathan Edwards (no, not this one or that one) of Shickshinny, Pennsylvania (and yes, that’s a real place), has managed to quit his “day job” and is now self-employed, doing phone hardware repair full time.
Steve Berl’s bag has two important repair staples—WD-40 for things that don’t move when they should, and duct tape for things that move when they shouldn’t. He’s carrying some iFixit gear, too: a 54-bit driver kit and helping hands. The FasTrak toll tag and Maker Faire badge add a dash of Bay Area local flavor.
I wouldn’t have thought that the Allied forces could have been stalled by a lack of wrenches and hammers—just as I wouldn’t have expected that American soldiers in Iraq would have to make their own Humvee armor. But in both America and Britain, during WWII, basic hand tool shortages regularly slowed down troops.
At the Lajpat Rai electronics market in Delhi, secondhand tools wait for customers. The drills are so artfully displayed—I wonder how much packaging material it would save if Home Depot took a cue from Lajpat Rai and set up displays like this (though if I pulled out that bottom drill, they might all come tumbling down).
Image credit: tschörda on Flickr.
I made myself some tea earlier this week, but when I went to drink it, I felt a couple drops of near-boiling water land in my lap. My mug had developed a sizable crack, and it was leaking. So I dumped out my tea, filled the mug with soil, and put a plant inside—now the leaky mug is a pot with drainage. I turned the crack into a feature. But there are even better ways to make broken porcelain whole again.
The Japanese art of kintsugi, which means “golden joinery,” is all about turning ugly breaks into beautiful fixes.