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.

Student society members working on the boat

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

Our facebook group is here if you would like to join us:

And our mailing list is

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!

Student Society and the Cardboard Boat Race
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