Here's the first alcohol stove I ever made. It was a basic Pepsi-can style with taped sides and JB weld (Tinny would probably have my head for it but as you can see, Ganesha is in the background to guard my first endeavor):It was crude and amateurish, but the flame pattern was pretty good (always blue) and it actually worked very well:
At the time, I remember how excited I was that I made something with my own hands that could actually be useful backpacking. At first, I didn't think I could do it, but when I lit it up for the first time and it didn't explode, the simple pride I felt gave me the confidence to try other projects. Since then, I've sewed my own stuff sacks, built countless other stove designs, made my own titanium trowel, designed my own water-filtration system, made my own cook pots, and a raft of other DIY gear. I guess I owe a lot to that first try, because if it hadn't worked out, I probably would have given up and I probably wouldn't even be writing in this blog today. I guess you never know how a simple attempt and it's results can change your life.
What about you? What was your impetus for your love of gear or DIY projects?