The latest Makespace activity

  • Seamless Backdrops Installed!

    Harry H is working on the Studio to refine setups and recipes for making product or training videos/photos, live streaming, podcasts etc.

    As part of that, last night all the bits for a seamless backdrop setup finally arrived! (via a mis-delivery to mill road!)

    With a little help from his friends, the mounts were put in place to hold up to 3 backdrops at a time in the classroom – they can be individually rolled up and down using a chain, and swapped for different colours (we have 6 atm – black, white, orange, blue, purple, and a chroma-green that can also be used for green screen work)

    These are seamless backgrounds, so they can be pulled down for just a backdrop, or out on to a table or on the floor for a big swoop continuous background. If they get too dirty, a section can be cut off. And they can be rolled up out the way, so the whiteboards can be accessed as normal.

    Harry is going to be making his own podcasts and testing different setups, and is willing to help anyone else who wants to try using the kit.

    So if you want to experiment with making a product video, live-stream, podcast or some form of photography, email studio@makespace.org and arrange to have a go!

  • New Wood Lathe and Sanders

    Woodshop members Tom Herbstein, Stefan Ross, Alaric Worrod and Matt Jaworski took delivery of Makespace’s new wood lathe, disc and belt sanders!

    The packaging was quickly ripped open and now all three are in place in the workshop. Have a look for yourself at the unboxing video to see what a couple of hours of lifting, grunting, swearing and bolting parts together can achieve.

    What did we get?

    The wood lathe is an Axminster Trade AT406WL and has variable speed control, a more powerful motor and larger capacity than the previous one.

    The disc and belt sanders are larger and more robust in a concious move to upgrade the Woodshop equipment to “Trade” quality.

    How did it happen?

    Stefan, Matt and Allen Kaye polled members needs, identified the best lathe and wrote a short business case for investing in it, including the appropriate H&S, Training and Maintenance considerations. You can take a look at it here:

    The proposal was approved by the Makespace directors and then equipment was ordered and fitted!

    Tom did the same for the two sanders.

    If you want to get involved in improving the woodshop further, come along to the Woodshop club meetings where all this was organised.

    How do I get trained?

    The training to learn from scatch or transition from the old lathe is now live:

    Makespace Training

    Thanks to all who made this happen, and Happy Making!

  • Welcome back!

    Makespace and Biomakespace are back open! We’ve missed you. Hopefully you missed us too!

    The spaces have now moved to “LIMITED ACCESS”, so that means any individual activities are fine, plus see the space tours on both sites, inductions and training: 

    After a year of payment holidays, we’ll also be restarting membership fees to cover the space operating costs.

    Full details are available on our Covid-19 page – please have a read before you come in.

    We also did an update from the space showing you some of the things that have changed, including a very special announcement…

    Any questions, email info@makespace.org

    See you all soon!

  • Mayor’s Award for Makespace

    Makespace has been awarded a Mayor’s “Volunteer for Cambridge” award!

    This recognises the amazing effort and dedication of over 100 Makespace members and supporters who pulled together this year to support the local community through a series of projects, including:

    • The community visor project: Designing protective visors in collaboration with the medical and technical teams at Addenbrooke’s hospital to deliver to NHS staff and key workers during the PPE shortage in April. About 5000 visors were made in Makespace and free issued to Addenbrooke’s and other schools and local institutions, and the design and process were made freely available to companies who then produced many more.
    • The face mask kit project: Making and distributing over 2000 free fabric face masks kits (for over 10K people) to slow community transmission in summer.
    • The cardboard mask fitter project: Designing and making over 20k disposable surgical mask fasteners to make available PPE more comfortable and safe for NHS staff.
    • Test tube holders project: for the university to support the testing regime, designing and laser cutting test tube holders for university halls.

    More details of the projects can be found on our Covid Response and Activities page.

    Thanks to everyone for stepping up and contributing your time and skills to make great things happen!

  • Makespace Studio

    Inspired by lockdown events and online training, we’ve been exploring how we can make it easy for Makespace members to record and livestream things from Makespace.

    The first version of the resulting “Makespace Studio” is now coming together, so here is a little about how it is shaping up:

    The core of the Makespace Studio setup is based around the Black Magic ATEM Mini Pro ISO which supports 4 HDMI cameras/inputs, can livestream to Youtube, output as a webcam (to input in to e.g. zoom) or record all the channels to an SSD. It is built in to a sit/stand desk, and everything is powered off a single 5m power cable, including any cameras that can plug in over their own tethers that connect both HDMI and power. It also has a shots monitor and wifi built in so it can stream directly to YouTube without any computer attached.

    This was put together based on the requirements that came up through discussions in the Events Club among others:

    • Focus on “live” – initially this was more about supporting zoom or live streaming to YouTube with decent multi-camera setups for doing online events or training driven by lockdown. This is in contrast to filmed/edited video where a single smartphone could often do a good job filming multiple shots that are cut together. However, it also became apparent that recording “as-live” would also be very powerful to enable efficient generation of content without the perfectionism paralysis people felt came with full edited video.
    • Act like an appliance – to make it consistent and reliable, and avoid relying on members needing a powerful computer. Initially we assumed we’d base around OBS and a high-end PC/capture cards, but in the end an actual appliance we found helped mitigate the PC bit-rot potential, made for something simpler to learn, and in some ways the constraints are liberating to help the system get out of the way so people can concentrate on the content.
    • Quick to setup anywhere in Makespace – with flexibility in cameras so it can work for events, training, talks, etc – and support for the presenter being the controller/mixer, or separate presenter and controller. Also support for sitting or standing presentation and flexibility in 1 or 2 people (e.g. distance from camera)
    • A quality that is better than most people could do at home

    If you are interested in how the desk setup actually works, I did a quick brain dump here as I was doing some first tests:

    The desk lets you plug in any HDMI cameras/sources, and we currently have a prototype “main” camera based on a Panasonic GH5 and HDMI Teleprompter, plus a few other 4K camcorders with various types of stand/tripod to experiment with:

    Apart from the more standard cameras, we’ve also got an HDMI digital inspection microscope to experiment with. Here is a test video to give you an idea of what that is capable of:

    We have a couple of RGB video lights, although they could obviously be used for photography too. The lighting in Makespace is pretty good for filming already, so these are more an option or chance to add some colour!

    We are still very much experimenting and refining, but the basics seem to be working. You can see one of the first events that used this setup here:

    If you are interested in trying this kit for events, training or your own video projects, email events-club@makespace.org and we’ll make it happen!

    In time, this will become generally available as RED equipment for anyone to get trained on and use.

  • Family Makers – Musical Machines!

    This weeks Family Makers was “Musical Machines”, using these videos as inspiration:

    Three different takes on making musical machines! We then set about making our own form of mechanical music makers. Here is a video capturing some of the creations:

    Good work on a tricky brief!

    Family Makers runs every Tuesday @ 11am to help with homeschool making/D&T (or as a break from homeschooling?!). The basic format is:

    • Presentation of the task/inspiration for the session
    • Making time – everyone work on your project!
    • Show and Tell

    The next one is now up on meetup, so you can sign up here:

    The challenge will be suitable for any age as the task will aim to be fairly open/flexible, and it is family making (not childcare!) so everyone can get stuck in and help.

    This is open to anyone, not just Makespace members. Please signup if you might join, and pass it on…

  • Family Makers – Vortex Cannons!

    This weeks Family Makers was “Vortex Cannons”, using these videos as inspiration:

    Interesting to see the different types of design. We then set about making our own versions. Here are photos/videos of some of the creations:

    Awesome!

    Family Makers runs every Tuesday @ 11am to help with homeschool making/D&T (or as a break from homeschooling?!). The basic format is:

    • Presentation of the task/inspiration for the session
    • Making time – everyone work on your project!
    • Show and Tell

    The next one is now up on meetup, so you can sign up here:

    The challenge will be suitable for any age as the task will aim to be fairly open/flexible, and it is family making (not childcare!) so everyone can get stuck in and help.

    This is open to anyone, not just Makespace members. Please signup if you might join, and pass it on…

  • Family Makers – Physical Optical Illusions

    This weeks Family Makers was “Physical Optical Illusions”, using these videos as inspiration:

    We then all set about making our own versions, so a face would appear when viewed from the right perspective. Here are photos of some of the creations:

    Amazing creativity!

    Family Makers runs every Tuesday @ 11am to help with homeschool making/D&T (or as a break from homeschooling?!). The basic format is:

    • Presentation of the task/inspiration for the session
    • Making time – everyone work on your project!
    • Show and Tell

    The next one is now up on meetup, so you can sign up here:

    The challenge will be suitable for any age as the task will aim to be fairly open/flexible, and it is family making (not childcare!) so everyone can get stuck in and help.

    This is open to anyone, not just Makespace members. Please signup if you might join, and pass it on…


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