Last night was Madespace, an event to bring together Founder Members to start planning Makespace.

Thirty Founder Members attended, even though it was “Bring a chair” – because the space is still pretty much empty!

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Some nice chairs in Makespace colours:
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This event marks the start of building Makespace now we have the space. There’s notes below, but you’re probably wondering what happens next…

  • If you want to be involved in the discussions around Makespace plans, join the discussion list (this is not the meetup group – it’s a separate, higher volume list for Makespace planning, and anyone can join)
  • Come to the next Maker Night in around a month
  • Founder Members will be having more planning meetings and also meetups to design things for the space – if you’re a Founder you’ll hear more about these shortly. They will likely be on Tuesdays and Thursdays and some might involve adjourning to a nearby pub where others are welcome to join (perhaps this could mix with the existing fortnightly pubmeets?)
  • Join our IRC channel to keep in touch with other Makespace supporters – we’re at #makespace on freenode (and if you aren’t familiar with IRC, there’s help. You can also join #makespace via the web)
  • Dive into the Makespace wiki, which is where information will be collected and discussed around making Makespace. There are some specific pages you might want to check out:
    • Kit wishlist (should expand soon to include space features and storage needs, etc)
    • People and skills (we’d like to flesh this out to be a place to find out what skills we all have to offer – whether that’s for Makespace building (can you build cabinets, advise on workshop safety, paint walls?) or for projects). There’s also a People page.
    • Donations. A lot of people have kit or furniture to offer, but we don’t want to commit to take everything and get over-crowded or end up with lots of junk which might be costly to dispose of. If you have something you could donate, post here (ideally with photo!) and we can work out what to take.
    • What is Makespace? Where should we fit into the world of makerspaces, FabLabs, hackspaces, TechShops and more?

Notes from the meeting

Simon, Jonny and Laura gave a short presentation on how Makespace came to be – going all the way back to SuperHappyDevClub in 2007 for Simon, BodgeSoc in 2008 for Jonny, and Make-a-Makespace in 2010 for Laura. (The presentation is online as an SVG – which should open in Firefox, but it’s a pretty big file!) All 3 of us have two hats: as Directors of Makespace Cambridge Limited, and as community members, and we’ll do our best to make sure you know which we are wearing; it’s important for us to remember that the company exists solely so we can have the space, and that the space is really run by the community. Then we had discussion on a range of topics around planning Makespace – the space, the community, the kit, the projects, and more.

We still need to get access control and fire detection in before we can really start using the space properly – because we need our insurance to be in full effect before real making of things, even just by founders using their own tools, can begin. Please be patient – we are working on this as fast as we can, and we’re all keen to get started.

Most of the things we talked about will start to be Wiki pages where ideas can be fleshed out. Specific topics we raised included:

  • Storage: what storage do we need? Secure? size?
  • Rules: what rules should we have or not have?
  • Community: how does this form into a committee/group which can make decisions? Is it a Society?
  • Priorities: what’s important first? chairs, internet, kit??
  • Spatial design: how should we lay out the space we have?
  • Features: what features should the space have? Presentation podiums, storage robots, ??
  • Where are we on the shiny / less shiny spectrum? (this affects how potential sponsors might view the space, as well as people’s attitudes to the space, whether they feel involved/responsible and so on)
  • Donations: what do we take? What do we not take?
  • Kit: what are the priorities?
  • What have we forgotten? What else should we be talking about?

We also talked about guest membership, how people can bring guests into the space, how events work, and how groups/clubs can work with us. These are big topics all themselves and one for a future planning meeting; because there’s so many possible options and it does tie into legal/financial questions, Simon, Laura and Jonny will try to think of some concrete options/strawmen that we can discuss. So that’s something to come back to in a future week.
There’s lots of interest in storage, both for projects, for large items, and secure storage for personal tools. We made an initial decision that founders with large projects needing storage could bring them in for a couple of weeks, and that at some point we might need to charge a bit of money for longer term storage, or change this decision if the space gets overfull. If you have a big project you need to store in the coming days/weeks, get in touch with Laura.

There was enthusiasm for whiteboards on the walls, for sofas in the mezzanine breakout space, and for the space to be available for hanging out even when not actively making. If you’re interested in running events, that’s super and it would be great to know what sort of thing – maybe a wiki page for potential events will be created :)

We’d like to be able to put names to faces, and so we agreed that founders should bring a (paper!) photo of themselves; we’ll start to put up founder and later member photos on the walls along the corridor.

There was general interest in Founder members having badges (perhaps interim ones, and then proper ones made on our own printers/cutters later!). T shirts are also of interest. We already have T shirt designs and high res graphics, so get in touch with Jonny / Laura for these and we’ll get them online soon too.

Emails will go out to Founder Members this week to confirm their interest and then we’ll be doing online payments. Because being a Founder involves some responsibility (especially once we are able to give out RFIDs for access!) we want to make sure we’ve met all the paying founders and that we know a bit about how they would like to be involved.

We will split future Founder meetings into two types: one for designing things for the space (such as the storage robot!) and talking about personal making projects, and one for planning Makespace details. These will alternate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the first “designing” meeting next Tuesday (9th October) and the first “planning” meeting Thursday 11th October. The week after that, it’ll be planning on the Tuesday and designing on the Thursday. For both these meetings, we think it’s great to follow the old SuperHappyDevClub principle, that you should come with an idea of what you want to work on, even if you abandon that and do something else the moment you walk through the door :) For the planning meetings, we’ll work out what topics need discussion (on the wiki!) and perhaps vote for what should be on each week’s agenda there too.

Thanks to everyone for all your support! We’re all looking forward to more Makespace events – it looks so wonderful already when there are people making things there:

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Madespace – First Founder Members event