We’ve been open a year! We celebrated with a Birthday Party on March 28th – a mixture of cake and show and tell of things made in Makespace:
Check out everything that happened in our first year:
I design “beautifully functional circuits” and it’s very important to get the look right. Of course, the functionality has to be correct as well! Up to now I’ve been printing a 1:1 copy of the board for checking that the footprints are correct by placing components on the printed pads. Here’s a video I made of this process. When I learned how to use our laser cutter, I wanted to create mock-ups of circuits that I design so I could both check the footprints and get a feel for the board. These are the results (much more info at Boldport’s blog):
Makespace has been open over four months now and we have over 130 members. Yay!
We still have space for more if you’d like to join, and becoming a member is quite streamlined now: learn about membership and then sign up. As ever, there are lots of ways to get involved, for both members and visitors.
We have a great deal more equipment already. If you’re a member and a fan of (or keen to get started with) any of the kit you can volunteer to be a community owner. Owners of specific bits of equipment make sure it’s in order, that consumables are available, and support and induct other members in using it. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, especially as we get larger teams of owners, and it helps Makespace be better for all of us.
We’ve also changed the layout of the space, to make some kit more accessible in the main space (laser cutter, CNC Mill, vacuum former), and to make it better for events with a new projector and screen, and to add more equipment in the workshop. The separate ‘classroom’ is still available for events, and we’ve furnished the second upstairs room with sofas. The stock of snacks and drinks is better than ever, too, and the aircon is fully operational, which has been much appreciated this month! There are still a few bits of work for Members to do, such as adding a window bench in the cafe and shelves in the kitchen, and setting up some new second hand equipment such as small mills.
Our events programme has been quieter with the summer holidays, but even so we’ve had some great things happening, including:
* Dorkbot Anglia 12, where JK Brook of Bad Timing and David Chatting of the Curiosity Collective introduced Richard Hoadley, a composer who works with algorithms and live notations mediated with physical interaction; Colin Dewar who has created an automatic random art generator from an old Super 8 projector some ink and some electronics; and Tom Scott, a Multimedia artist who works with Super 8, audio and video media, in the digital realm, who talked about his recent Postcard View project – incorporating the Raspberry Pi.
* Project speed-dating, a chance to meet others and explore ideas for working together
* A new Arduino And Cake series
* A special Maker Night featuring Sugru to make and fix things, to produce new Instructables for people to reuse around the world
* Other talks, and many other regular meetups, including Cambridge Mac Developers, GameSpace, K1 Cohousing, Cambridge Clojure, OpenDCU.org & Pi-makers, and Arty Crafty Maker Night.
We’d love to see more regular (and irregular!) events – it’s easy for Members to organise something at Makespace, just book the time on our Meetup Group!
It’s still very helpful if you can spread the word of Makespace to others (we have posters, stickers and cards on the table by the entrance door), and do like or share Makespace on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
If you have any feedback about Makespace, good or bad, and whether you are a Member or not, please post on the Google Group if you are happy to share your thoughts publicly, or email email@example.com if you’d prefer to keep it confidential to the Directors, Jonny, Simon and me.
We’re hoping to kick off the autumn season once people are back from holidays with some public events including Maker Nights and more. There are also ideas for some big community projects underway. Get involved! Find out more at the space, in the Google Group, or try our IRC channel #makespace to chat with other Cambridge area makers. There is no shortage of things to make and fix, and people to build things and learn things with.
You may have noticed a mysterious cardboard shape growing in the teaching classroom. This is one of the first projects of the Cambridge Makespace Student Society (Makersoc for short).
We’ve been holding open events on Thursday evenings from 6.30 to 8pm. It gives students who can’t afford membership a chance to have a look at Makespace and get involved. At the moment we’ve been working on a Makespace cardboard boat for the annual Cambridge Cardboard Boat Race.
Our aim is to promote Makespace to members of the University community and to make membership and use of the space more accessible on a student budget. Our more general aims are to promote playful hands-on tinkering, adapting, bodging and creating among students. University courses provide many things but hands-on practical making is not generally one of them, even for subjects like Engineering. We’d like that to change.
So far we’ve gotten a committee together, registered the society with the Junior Proctor, made a bank account and have a rather snazzy logo. We’re getting a bit of funding from the Institute for Manufacturing and the Societies Syndicate. We’re also looking for company sponsorship so that we can provide somewhat subsidised memberships of Makespace to students. We’ve been given a lot of useful advice by our Senior Treasurer, Dr Tim Minshall of the IfM who is our liaison with other parts of the University community.
We’d like to give something back to the space too. We don’t have much cash but we do have manpower so in future we could do things like help renovate the cafe space or move equipment about. Many of us are also STEM or outreach volunteers and we’re keen to help with future outreach events in the space.
The group is just getting started and we’re looking for ideas for future projects. We’d like to make something for next year’s UK Maker Faire and hold workshops for students to build skills in CAD and electronics.
People have asked me what they could do to help us out, so here are a couple of suggestions:
Hold an open event at Makespace that students are welcome to – we can advertise it for you on student mailing lists with about a week’s notice, and to our own members on the facebook group. We love open events because they give students a chance to get involved that they otherwise wouldn’t have and open the door for more potential student members.
Help us spread word of the society. We’re holding a stall at the Fresher’s Fair in October but before that we need to build up some publicity. We’re getting some posters printed and will need volunteers to drop them around town.
Most importantly, we need funding to survive and grow. Lots of students are interested in Makespace but just can’t afford the fees. We want to help support them. If you’re part of a company that might like to sponsor a student membership or help us out by providing free materials for our workshops, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our facebook group is here if you would like to join us:
And our mailing list is email@example.com
Lastly, if you’re free do come along and cheer us on at the Cardboard Boat Race at 1.30 on Jesus Green this Sunday the 16th. Hopefully we won’t sink and will do Makespace proud!
The last 2 months since we opened have been a whirlwind of activity as more makers have arrived, more equipment has been installed, and our events programme has filled up.
A particular highlight has been the creation of Family Makers , but we’ve also seen the creation of a Raspberry Pi focussed meetup in collaboration with OpenDCU, and a Student Society. Of course we also have regular “see the space” evenings, where potential new members can have a look around, and a plethora of training events for members to learn about equipment – check our Meetup group for upcoming events.
We are up to over 120 members, which is great; and we’re learning a lot about how to make an efficient and effective “on ramp” for people finding out about, and joining, the community. We’re still iterating and making it better!
The space has been busy a lot of the time, with members working on hobby projects, ideas for new businesses, and startup prototypes. We’ve been delighted to have some of the Springboard IOT accelerator participants working out of the space and designing, building and testing their hardware.
Some of the new equipment highlights follow.
The glass kiln and accessories:
The Roland CNC Mill:
A variety of hand tools and manual equipment:
A larger (!) pillar drill:
A mitre saw:
The CNC Router:
We’ve also had some new decoration creeping in:
So overall the space is looking good and getting busy, which is exactly what we all want to see
The first Family Makers Morning was held April 14th with 12 kids between the ages of 5 and 14. Planned as a time for Makespace members and their kids to come together for some kid-friendly making and fun, the group made paper aero planes and learned techniques for long-distance and acrobatic flights. Much merriment and mayhem, as well as some serious learning, was had by all.
Makespace members and their children are welcome to come to Family Makers Mornings, scheduled to be held Sundays from 10-12. The group is just getting started and is open to ideas for future projects. Suggestions for activities have included projects with Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards, woodworking, 3-D printing, cooking, sewing, rockets, pottery and Lego Mindstorms (to name a few). Long-term plans include perhaps participating in the Cambridge Science Xchange chain-reaction machine event next autumn and making projects for next year’s UK Maker Faire.
Thursday night was our Grand Opening – we are now officially open, and posters are available to help you spread the word!
The space is looking excellent:
We had a super crowd of people joining us to celebrate the fact that Makespace is open and full of people and kit to help you make things.
We have a beautiful new sign!
We unveiled our Founder Sponsors too. Ideaspace and the Institute for Manufacturing have supported us for a long time and we are incredibly grateful for their belief in us from the start, as well as excellent advice and support. We are delighted to welcome ARM, The Technology Partnership and Microsoft Research Cambridge on board and look forward to working with them in the coming months. Cambridge Science Centre have also been long-standing collaborators of Makespace and we’re looking forward to many future outreach and engagement collaborations with them.
Many thanks to all our Founder Members and Founder Sponsors – here’s our commemorative plaque, which will glow forever in gratitude:
Makespace was just featured on ITV news to tie in with our opening yesterday! You can see the short clip here:
Now Makespace is accepting sign ups for new members, it’s a great time to find out how we work. We’ve got lots of new information up:
Membership information: http://makespace.org/membership/
How Makespace works and what Makespace is: http://makespace.org/space/principles/
There will be more events coming up soon (and all listed on Meetup) where you can come and see the space and also where you can sign up to become a member.
We’re also going to be having a big Grand Opening in a couple of weeks – numbers will be very limited because we need to fit in our supporters, sponsors and founders – but there will be some tickets available for the wider community – watch this space!
On Thursday 28th February, Makespace will be holding the next of our public Makernight events. This one is special, because at the event we will start to accept new member signups!
Note that you’ll need to RSVP on Meetup if you want to come along.
There’s certainly still a chance to get involved in building what Makespace will be, alongside making cool stuff in Makespace. We’re at an early stage, and very much ‘beta testing’ the membership sign-up/induction/training process.
As part of this, we’d like all future members to come to an open event to see what Makespace is like at the moment, get excited, and verify that you’re keen to be a member in this period while we are still improving and kitting-out the space. This Thursday will be your first chance to do that!
If you can’t make this Thursday, don’t worry – after 28th there will be regular events such as this for visiting/making stuff in the space and progressing to the next step in becoming a member.
The membership FAQ is being reviewed right now, and will be published on makespace.org on Thursday – if you have urgent questions before then, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via membership @ makespace.org.
Finally, part of beta-testing is feedback, so please let us know if you’ve got ideas to improve the process of becoming a Makespace member!
(If you’re wondering, this is a soft launch – there will be a proper opening ceremony in a bit stay tuned for details!)