The latest Makespace activity

  • Makespace is open for Equipment Access

    We are pleased to share that from Monday 27th July, Makespace will move from “Closed” to “Equipment Access” status. This means masks must be worn in Makespace at all times and social distancing must be observed.  Visits are restricted to activities you cannot do at home. 

    Access is for equipment only.  Keep your visit to only the time needed to use the equipment safely. Please do design and preparation work prior to visiting Makespace so that we can maximise access to the equipment.

    Only 6 people at any time are allowed in the main space, 2 in the wood shop, 1 in the metal shop, 2 in the craft room and 1 in the kitchen.  12 in total in Makespace at any time.

    All the normal safety measures are still a core part of how Makespace operates.  There must be two people in the Space if you are working in the secure workshop and safety glasses must be worn. Equipment must be monitored appropriately.

    If all goes well, we hope to be able to open for training in the next month.  The Owners and Trainers have been meeting regularly to complete the move to online training in preparation. 

    You can read more about how access to the space will work in the blog post Makespace Reopening Plans.

    If you have questions, please email

    We will need everyone’s help to make opening further a possibility. Please read the following information and stay safe as we reopen Makespace.

    Rules and precautions for Equipment Access in Makespace

    • DO NOT ENTER if you have been exposed to COVID-19
    • DO NOT ENTER if you have symptoms
    • Notify Makespace if you develop COVID-19 after a visit
    • Use your keyfob when entering and leaving, so we can comply with Track&Trace guidelines
    • Social distancing must be adhered to at all times
    • You must wear a face covering
    • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer, especially on entering and leaving Makespace
    • Clean all surfaces, equipment and PPE used during your visit
    • Doors must stay open at all times and the Main Space extraction fan on
    • NO guests or visitors
    • Makespace is now covered by 24/7 CCTV recording. If you wish to report unsafe working, inappropriate distancing or members not wearing a mask please email

    There will be limited numbers of people in the Space. Please adhere to these restrictions:

    • Classroom- Not in use other than COVID-19 related activities
    • Main Space- MAX 6 people. No seated work permitted
    • Workshop and Metalshop- MAX 2 and 1 people respectively. Workshop dust extract system must be emptied after each use
    • Kitchen- 1 person. Only cold drink consumption is permitted with the use of plastic cups (provided). No food consumption or preparation permitted
    • Craft Room- 2 people. Sewing machine work is being given priority in the Craft Room  

    Welcome Back! Please stay safe.

  • Makespace Re-opening plans

    Update: As of 27th July we have opened for Equipment Access – read:

    Makespace re-opening plans

    We’re currently working on preparing Makespace for re-opening and wanted to share our plans – obviously some dates are outside our control, but at least you’ll understand the process…

    Current status

    Makespace is currently closed, and all members are on a payment holiday.

    During this period, we had no choice but to close the space to members. However, we knew the space and community was unique, so we worked to get approval to adapt the space to tackle short-term Covid Response Activities under very controlled conditions – see Covid-19 Response Activities page – thank you to everyone who has helped during this time to make such an amazing response possible!

    As things are starting to ease, our attention is turning back to allowing access to the space for members under controlled conditions.

    What is happening now?

    We are currently working through all the planning and risk assessments to allow reopening of the space to members.

    Some of this is under our control, some is under the control of government, and some is under the control of the university who own the building we use. Our objective is to be ready to provide controlled access as soon as we are allowed.

    How will it work?

    To help get a sense of how it will work, these are approximately the different levels of Makespace operation we expect to be able to support, depending on the changing pandemic conditions and government and university restrictions:

    Please note, this is subject to change as we get further information, further along in our planning and as things generally play out, but is a good indication of our current expectations.

    Our current focus is on moving from CLOSED to EQUIPMENT ACCESS.

    This will aim to provide access to our equipment under very controlled conditions to our members – think wearing masks, keeping distance, limiting numbers in the space at any one time.

    We’ll also be asking that you really do only use the space to access the equipment to undertake processes you can’t do elsewhere to help limit time in the shared space. Much like the “work from home if you can” guidance from the government. So that means we’d expect things like CAD prep beforehand, assembly afterwards etc. would be done elsewhere.

    When will it happen?

    We expect to have everything in place within the next couple of weeks to be able to support EQUIPMENT ACCESS in theory, and will be discussing further with the university on when the earliest we may be able to open. The constraints will fundamentally be the government guidelines and university restrictions.

    At the moment, we do not have a good estimate for this, so please don’t get your hopes up. It could be as late as September, but ideally sooner. We’ll update our blog and frontpage as we can share more.

    What can I do to help?

    Great question, thanks for asking!

    We know how enthusiastic people are to help – just look at all the Covid-19 work done under very trying conditions – so wanted to highlight a particular way you may be able to help Makespace during this time.

    One thing we’ve been discussing for a while among the management and trainers, even ahead of Covid-19, was if it was possible to move some aspects of our training online; to improve the scope of information that can be provided, to help reduce wait times, and to reduce the load on our amazing volunteer trainers!

    Covid-19 has changed that discussion. We are now committed to make online training happen, giving all the benefits we were thinking of plus the ability for us to reinstate training earlier (in the LIMITED ACCESS individual phase rather than the GENERAL ACCESS group phase). For more information, click here.

    The result will enable much more of our training to happen ahead of getting hands on with the equipment, meaning physical training can be much more about practicing and proving what you’ve learned, than the total from-scratch learning in person that limits what can be covered and is a lot of effort.

    We’re looking to start working on this now and will primarily involve helping to rethink training content, generating written and video online training materials, and putting together quizzes that help validate some of the learning.

    If you are interested in helping to make this happen, especially if you are a current trainer or plan to become one, Curtis, Ward and Chris will be running a kick-off meeting now listed on Meetup – you can sign up here.

    One more thing…

    When you do get back in to the space, you might even notice a few updates – our lasers, Betsy and Jaws, have had a full refurbishment, and there is a shiny new painted floor. Thanks to all that helped make that happen!

  • 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]

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