The latest Makespace activity

  • 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 made@makespace.org 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…

    https://mailchi.mp/533113326f54/octobernovember-2019-makespace

  • 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…

    https://mailchi.mp/07b45ef04ce9/augustseptember-2019-makespace-717835?e=[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!

  • Made in Makespace- Claudia

    Made in Makespace- Claudia

    Claudia Flandoli is an Italian Cartoonist who writes comic books for young teenagers aged 10 – 14. Claudia moved to Cambridge four years ago; finding life in the UK difficult, she discovered Makespace which changed her life for the better.

    Claudia was looking for a social workspace due to her freelance lifestyle leaving her rather isolated. She discovered Makespace online, and explained how the price was particularly appealing to her due to the expensiveness of Cambridge. Claudia enjoys working alongside other people, stating it was different to the formal setting of people typing on computers.

    Claudia- wearing an outfit designed and made in Makespace!

    Sewing and stitching have been a hobby of Claudia’s since she was eight. She now runs inductions on the sewing machine and makes her own personal projects such as toy superheroes and door holders which are dotted around her home; the dress that she is wearing below was also a Makespace creation! Claudia also sited that the space, long tables and extensive tools and equipment was helpful when trying the sketch and then prototype her designs.

    ‘It had an impact on my life – I started off coming two days a week and now I come every day!’

    The Wood Workshop is something Claudia is keen to explore in the future. Using it only briefly before, she felt as though she got a lot of ‘emotional help’ when using the equipment as it can be dangerous, especially as a beginner. Claudia cited that members who helped her in the workshop were kind, patient and put her at ease.

    Claudia later confessed that she is ‘in love’ with Makespace and always invites her friends to see her latest projects and all the equipment on offer. The focus on the University aspect of Cambridge left Claudia feeling rather lonely and she struggled to create contacts and friends in the city; since joining Makespace she can enjoy living in Cambridge while meeting like-minded people on a daily basis.

    Claudia concludes that Makespace had ‘an impact on her life’ and after joining eight months ago, she began coming two days a week; now, she is here almost every day and completely loves it.

    We wish Claudia the very best with all her future projects!


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