The latest Makespace activity

  • Makespace Covid-19 response continues thanks to local sponsors!

    Makespace Covid-19 response continues thanks to local sponsors!

    We are really pleased to say, thanks to some very generous donations from Arm, TTP and Amazon, our Makespace Covid-19 Response Activities can continue! In particular, this means we are able to reopen requests for our Makespace Mask Kits!


    Whilst Makespace has had to suspend its memberships during the Covid-19 crisis, thanks to the wide network of skills and enthusiasm of the Makespace members, it has been able to re-apply its facilities and volunteer effort to respond very quickly to provide solutions for immediate Covid-19 problems faced by the community.

    Makespace Covid-19 Response Activities

    In particular, this has been enabled via a very strong engagement with Addenbrooke’s hospital and Makespace members working there. One of our first projects was collaborating with NHS Addenbrooke’s to design and build emergency PPE for hospitals and frontline workers in the area. Not only were 5000 Visors produced by volunteers to standards acceptable to NHS Addenbrooke’s, Makespace published the whole design and manufacturing process that was picked up by other companies to take to even higher volumes. These visors have been used in local hospitals and front-line organisations across Cambridge. More details of this on the ​ page.

    Makespace Mask Kit

    The most recent activity has involved the design and production of reusable cloth mask kits for people to make their own masks at home. These kits are providing people with access to all the different materials and components needed to sew their own reusable, washable barrier face masks. Each kit has instructions and enough materials to make 5 masks, and is provided for free as a thank you to those makers wanting to do their bit. Response has been amazing and thanks to the sponsorship and working with various suppliers, we’ve been able to secure more raw materials to reopen requests for these kits! For more details and to request your own kit, see ​ For details of these and other Makespace Covid-19 Response Activities, see

    Thank you to our sponsors!

    Whilst all the work is being done for free by Makespace volunteers donating their time and skills, all the activities do also have real costs for materials, tools and alike. Given the amazing response for these activities, we found demand for doing them at a scale we hadn’t imagined and we really needed help to cover the costs. We are incredibly grateful to three companies that stepped up to support our request for assistance in covering the cost of these Makespace Covid-19 Response Activities; Arm, TTP and Amazon. Each have been supporting and undertaking many Covid-19 activities that you can read about on their websites, so we’re proud to be one of them. This support has made it possible to cover the costs of tools and materials for all the Covid-19 activities Makespace is undertaking, and catalyse the efforts and skills of all the Makespace volunteers. On behalf of all the volunteers making it possible, and all the people being helped by the results – Thank you!

    What is Makespace?

    Makespace is a community workshop in Cambridge with equipment ranging from sewing machines and crafting tools to 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers. The 4000 sqft space is available 24/7 to its members who use it for commercial and personal activities, and it runs based on the amazing volunteer effort these members put in. Have a look around the website for the whole story. For more details on the Makespace Covid-19 Response Activities, see For more details on the Makespace Mask Kits, see For any enquiries, email
  • Featured Maker: Chris Carter

    About 18 months ago my wife and I moved to near Cambridge. Laura relocated here for her work with Astra Zeneca and I took the opportunity to stop working (for money). A few months later, I joined Makespace.

    At about the same time as my joining, Laura decided we needed to have a pantry cupboard. I was relieved after a trip to John Lewis to discover that the ceiling outside our kitchen was too low for the standard designs available. However, my celebrations were short lived when I discovered a local kitchen company quoted us several thousands for a cabinet that would fit. Sensing the opportunity to present Makespace membership as a cost saving, I said I would make one instead. My only problem was that I had not done any woodworking since making a chess table at school, forty years previously. Given it would be nearly impossible to spend as much on it as the quote we received, my only stipulation was that I needed time to learn how to make it. My start point was Fusion 360. The tutorials are very good, it’s capabilities excellent and it is free!! I was able to complete the design, check assembly and produce some renders. Once the client approved, I produced the cutting list and bought the wood.

    Those days in the summer when I was not cycling were spent under the sky lights in the workshop trying to remember my woodworking. I was soon disabused of the naïve assumption that somehow the cabinet was going to magically appear on the CNC router bed from a large pile of wood chippings. Whilst some of it was machined, much more was achieved with the hand tools. Once I had learned how to set them up and hold them correctly, I started to experience some of the joy of using them. There is an inexplicable pleasure in producing curls of wood shavings with a plane. I also found a hitherto undiscovered world of woodworking videos on YouTube. Rob Cosman and Ishitani furniture are my favourites – and you don’t need to browse Incognito. I learned a lot from other workshop members too, Graeme and Michael in particular. I also decided to prove an old adage true – if you want to master something, teach it. I now train on the hand router and band saw. Once the components were made, I assembled the cabinet in the garage at home and finished it. Now we have somewhere to store the balsamic vinegar collection (in the racks on the inside of the door on the right). And I have a free lifetime membership of Makespace, so far as my wife is concerned.

  • November/December 2019 @ Makespace

    In the latest newsletter we say thank you to one of the founding directors as Jonny Austin steps down from the board. We also report on the outreach activities of our members in both supporting local business and testing skills in the robot arena.

    Once again this month our class our classroom supports a hackathon on a global scale as well as many training events. It is all done by volunteers so plenty of opportunity to get involved.

    Read the full newsletter

  • A message from Jonny Austin
    Jonny (middle) pictured with Laura James and Simon Ford in a newspaper item from 2013

    Jonny Austin is one of the 3 original founders of Makespace, and one of the 4 current directors

    Hi all,
    I’m Jonny, and along with Laura and Simon I am a founding director of Makespace. For those of you that haven’t met me, that’s likely because I moved to Oxford in 2017 and have only managed fleeting trips to Makespace since, normally to laser-cut a last minute present or extract something from my box that I need back at home.

    Each visit I’m amazed at how smoothly the space is running and all the fantastic things people are doing. It’s easy to forget the number of spaces we looked around before picking this one, and how empty it used to feel before a community of people had stepped forward to help maintain and run an incredible load of equipment. Makespace is absolutely one of the things I miss most about not living in Cambridge!

    As Makespace grows and flourishes, just staying on top of the day-to-day of the space from a distance is taking as much time and energy as I used to spend actively contributing to Makespace, so I think it’s really important for some other people with a bit more time (and crucially, who live somewhere near Makespace) to step up to the board and help keep the space running and evolving.

    Therefore the Christmas party on 12th will be my last as a director, and I’ll be standing down before the end of the year. I’m going to stay involved with the board in a more ‘non executive’ capacity: by stepping aside from the more operational tasks of being a director I will free myself to support the directors on less day-to-day tasks with the time I do have…. and I’m still going to be needing to make presents or contraptions for work, so I’m not going to disappear completely. Despite this, I thought the party would be a nice chance to say ‘hello, and goodbye’ to people I haven’t seen for a while.

    It’s also a chance for me to finally find out what people are making at Makespace…..

    One of the things I feel like we’ve never quite nailed at Makespace (until now!) is keeping a clear record of what people have made or started in the space… I know for my part I have a bunch of things I don’t quite consider ‘finished’ and so have never really been finally documented. Aside from the important documentation, archival and storytelling aspects of this, I’d personally love to see what you’ve made before I step down – so even if it’s not quite done, please take a picture and send it to before the Christmas party where we can showcase it!  It doesn’t need to be finished, or big, or clever, but if you’ve worked on it here, we’d love to know.

  • October/November @ Makespace

    It’s been another busy month in the space, over 300 people attended training events and other activities in Makespace this last month. All of the gatherings were organised and supported by volunteer members wanting to share their skills and experiences, this very Cambridge appreciation of learning will be highlighted in a new series of #MadeInCambridge talks which Makespace will be sponsoring in the new year.

    …in the meantime, read about explorations in neuroscience, space, programming and making things in the workshops below.

    Follow the like to read more…

  • October 2019 @ Makespace

    This month at Makespace — forthcoming events, including Homebrew Space Club’s satellite ground station build, CVzero Hackathon, and micro robot-fighting at RoboDome:PiNoon. Also, read about Makespace members at RobotWars and watch some of the action from last weekend.

    To read more follow the link…[UNIQID]

  • August/September 2019 @ Makespace

    This month at Makespace — learn about opportunities in space, not Makespace, but the big black space of outer space, at the newly-launched Homebrew Space Club. Read about very successful SoliCamb Mini-Makeathon and the Amazon Alexa Meetup which has recently moved to the Classroom.

    The Makespace blog has been relaunched, thanks to the help of our very enthusiastic summer interns. Do you have a story to contribute?

    Lastly, as Makespace is growing rapidly and remains volunteer run, keep your eyes out for ways you can improve the part of Makespace you use the most, or check the bottom of the newsletter for other ways you can help.

    You can read more here…

  • Scratch Animation Workshop

    Scratch Animation Workshop

    On Sunday, we welcomed Laurence and Brian to the Makespace Classroom as they conducted a special scratch workshop.

    The event commenced with Laurence, who runs code club events in Edinburgh, explaining how we had managed to find a way to get basic sketches of characters onto Scratch software. He showed us a variety of images that he had created in the past, from humans to sheep, he had created a world of characters that could easily be imported.

     The children were then given the task of using one of Lawrence’s characters, and developing them onto Scratch, while adding their very own personal touches along the way.

    There were four key stages to the project; use inscape to turn a drawing into an electronic character; create a number of animation poses for the character; import it onto Scratch and write a simple code loop to ‘walk’ the character across the screen.

    Lawrence told us the primary aim of the session was for the children to ‘learn new techniques’ which involved creating and filling shapes, importing images and making them opaque, creating arbitrary shapes with Bezier tools, adjusting corners/sides with Path tool, raising, lowering and rotating shapes and grouping/ungrouping particular objects.

    As the afternoon progressed, the children, accompanied by their parents and other Makespace members, were able to feel at ease with the software and began to get creative when designing their characters.

    We thank Lawrence and Brian for their time given on Sunday, and we hope that all the children who attended had a fantastic time!

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