About

Several  months ago, at the Wellington Web Meetup[WWM] (http://www.meetup.com/wellingtonweb) I presented a talk on Making Things Happen. My goal was to inspire like minded folk to join me in my efforts to build a strong, coalesced community of digital creators (Makers) in NZ. Digital creators broadly speaking, describes those who like to design, create & manufacture using the tools now available to us in the digital age. There are those out there with a design back ground who think about making all the time, but then there are those out there who never studied design, but yet somehow look at objects all the time and think, “I could have made that!”,” I think I could make that a little better if..” or ” I want to see what happens if I..”. I don’t believe there should be a disconnect between those groups, and that the cross over between then seems be haphazard. Wonderful creative alliances are left to chance.

Creating a social, face to face or online meeting place would help bring these connections to reality.

All of us feel the sense of achievement when we create something, we feel connected to the end result and we understand more about ourselves and needs afterwards. We won’t stamp out consumerism by telling people its “wrong”, but giving people the opportunity to create something as functional as an off-the-shelf product but with the personal connection will, over time, steer people away from the current consumption model.

As technology progresses, so too will the availability of tools. For now – some of the tools that spring to mind are personal computers, CNC cutters, laser cutters, 3d printers, embedded computer systems. The list goes on, the tools are less significant when the aim is to facilitate making and get people “doing” rather than “consuming”. But it is worth recognising that the proliferation of these tools is turning every-day people into designers/manufacturers/creators/makers. Removing the financial limitations of manufacturing that existed  before gives people more opportunity to explore what is possible, rather than simple take what they are given.

But this portal isn’t about ending anything – its about Making. Creating. Doing. Sharing.

It has been 3 months since the talk at WWM  and here are here is the portal I’ve set up to cater for said community. In the last few months I’ve met countless people who are making cool stuff, pipelining cool projects or looking for others with the resources to help them realise a dream. I will profile some of those people on this site, I will document their projects so other s may learn and I will invite anyone who likes to contribute to this site. It is only when you begin to scratch the surface that you realise how deep the maker movement goes. There are those who see personal fabrication as a future industry that may very well be a new ” industrial age”. Some even recognise personal fabrication as mankind’s opportunity to step away from mass manufacturing and move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly demandufacturing( creating objects to meet the demand of individuals rather than general “markets”).

But before we get caught up in the philosophy of it all, I’d like to focus on how we #makeThingsHappen! I’d like to grow the community so we know what cool stuff is going on out there, I’d like to bring people together so that unimagined cool projects kick off.

If the above strikes a chord or if you have any thoughts on this then please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment.

Cheers,

Richard Fortune

 

It was just over 2 years ago that I set out to  help establish a thriving maker community in NZ. It is then very exciting when I hear about initiatives to setup spaces in parts of NZ that aren’t either Wellington or Auckland!

It has been a few weeks since Paul Dutch of MakePlace (http://makeplace.co.nz/) located in Napier got in touch to discuss his plans for the first makerspace in a region famous for wine, suntans and retirees. Paul is a man after my own heart, his desire to re-ignite  the spirit of making in Napier is not only exciting but also a great indication of the growth of the national community of makers in NZ. The Kiwi number 8-wire mentality is nothing new, however under the new title Maker, the focus is now just as much on shared knowledge and the community around making as it is about solving a problem or developing a product!

Aside from setting up a great website Paul first goal is to get a 3d printer for the space. And like any good maker he has turned to the wider community to help support him in this goal. He has set up a great pledgeme (crowd-funding) campaign with some fantastic rewards. You can have your own 3d printed Yoda, you can become immortal( although I think he’s confusing endless gratitude with endless life here :) ), you can have your own 3d model made. The 3d printed house offering is especially cool, and given Pauls background with CAD tools I suspect will be a smashing rendition of your family home, all in a 10cmX10cmX10cm cube (what is this, a home for Ants?!?).

I really like this approach and it’s not too different to the approach we took when setting up the Co-Lab181 makerspace in Wellington. It means people in the region can have early access to a technology that is usually inaccessible to them unless they pay commercial rates and it also encourages a community to grow around a given technology. It also allows you to experience the technology at reasonable price, and contribute to a worthy cause.

Pauls vision is to grow the space in Napier so that locals will have a space to come and work on projects together, to learn new skills, to have fun and to establish an alternate beating heart in a community that has so successfully developed its ability in viticulture, permaculture and manufacturing. These goals are admirable and you can play your part in making it happen.

Click through to his pledgeme campaign to see the offerings and read more about the project : https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/Crowd/Details/543

I’d imagine Paul is open to some negotiation should there be an alternate offering that you have in mind. Get in touch, get your feet wet – get 3d Printing!!

Looking forward to visting the MakePlace in the new year!

 

It’s hard to imagine that it has been a year since the last Wellington bout of the New Zealand First Lego League. But yet here we are readying for another day of fun, robotics and lego. But before I go any further it’d make sense to explain what it is exactly? From the website of the NZ chapter of the FLL…

 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a global program created to get children excited about science and technology. A hands-on program for ages 9 to 16, FLL uses Challenges based on real world scientific problems to engage children in research, problem solving, and engineering. The cornerstone of the program is it’s Core Values, which emphasize friendly sportsmanship, learning, and community involvement.

Last years event took place in the hall at Hataitai School, we started gathering early in the morning( for a Sunday that is! :)) and it wasn’t long before organiser Jason Kyle took the reigns and started to brief the teams and the volunteers on the plans for the day. The event is the culmination of weeks of preparation and programming for the teams involved.

Each year the FLL set up a competition, a series of challenges which the teams will need to complete on the day. The teams comprise of four 9 to 16 year olds and one Robot (of unknown age). The challenges take place on tables with maps laid out on them. The map will have obstacles and tasks distributed on it and will be the focus of attention for the day, as the teams help their trusty robot try to navigate the map autonomously either clearing obstacles or collecting “tokens”. The theme for FLL 2011 was Food hygiene  so the robots had to perform such fun tasks as collecting vegetables, hygienically disposing of bacteria and processing shopping, amongst other things. The teams also prepare a work book detailing what they’ve learned during their research for a given theme which is also evaluated on the day.

It really is remarkable to see how far Lego has come, it is also really exciting to see kids tackling such interesting automation tasks and having fun whilst doing so. One of the key takeaways from my point of view was the many examples of good sportsmanship on the day. On watching one team defeat another in one of the heats I overheard one team member commiserate with someone on the losing team, congratulating them on a good game and shaking their hand. They did this of their own volition and meant it too!

That might have been the highlight of the day for me, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t even more joy to be had in watching these teams go through highs and lows as their (sometimes bumbling) robots make their way around the map in the finale event. Seriously, you’d think those adults on the Mars lander celebration videos looked happy, you should have seen the high fives the team members were giving each other!

So this years event is taking place in Vic Uni on the 4th of November. They are still looking for volunteers if you have time to share. But don’t worry, spectators are more than welcome too – so feel free to come along on the day to see what it’s all about and cheer along!

2012 Wellington Lego Robotics Tournament —- Sunday 4th November 1-3pm FREE! Victoria University, Alan Macdiarmid Building. Come along and see kids race robots for points in this fast paced and super race against the clock.

There are also other FLL events happening nationally, but it probably makes sense to check out the kiwi first website to stay up to date with those. (http://kiwifirst.org/) If you’ve been to an event somewhere else and would like to share your experience then please feel free to get in touch.

BTW, incase you were wondering who the winners were – it was the Flaming Nachos! Here’s a picture of them with their trophies, rocking their own custom t-shirts too!

 

Hey folks, in a recent post we made a brief mention of the Fab 8 conference and eluded to the fact that it could very well be the biggest “maker” event in the calendar this year. But rather than take our word for it, why not let the event organiser Chris Jackson speak for himself. Below are some questions we put to Chris:

What is your background?

I am an industrial designer and lecturer, originally from the UK, now based in Wellington. I set up Northwards Design Studio in 2002 and have since collaborated and partnered with leading names in the design industry including Marset, Dark, Habitat, 100% Design, TwentyTwentyOne and Foster + Partners.

As a Lecturer in Industrial Design I am based at Massey University, Wellington. Here my research here is focused on Post-Industrial Design principles and processes including Open Design, DIY Design and Digital Fabrication.

You can see my work at www.northwards-design.co.uk

What is Fab8?

Fab 8 is the Eighth Annual International fab lab forum and symposium on digital fabrication. This year we are hosting the forum in NZ at the College of Creative Arts at Massey University, Wellington. During the conference we will also be opening the first MIT affiliated fablab in Australasia, so it’s really big for us, and great for New Zealand.

Why is it being hosted in NZ this year?

I personally wanted to start a fab lab here at massey, and have been working toward this for a couple of years. I also thought it a good time to try and host something like this in terms of the maker movement taking off here. Last year I went out to Fab 7 in Lima and pitched for the conference against a Japanese delegation and won the pitch.

Who usually attends?

Fabbers and makers from over 30 countries come together to share best practice, engage in workshops and plan for the future. Also people who are interested in started a fab lab in their local community and makers interested in labs. There is also an amazing one day symposium open to the public.

What events can the public attend?

We are running a two day fab camp over the weekend which has some limited public spaces. The one day symposium at Michael Fowler Centre in wellington is open to the public, who I strongly encourage to come. There will be presentations from organisations including NASA, UNHCR, DARPA alongside our very own WETA and Ponoko. It will be an amazing day. If you are interested in starting a lab, or looking for inspiration come for the week!

How does this event relate to/affect makers? 

I don’t see any difference between a maker in a makerspace or a maker in a fab lab, it’s all part of a larger global picture. It’s hands down the biggest event for makers and fabbers in New Zealand, and something like this won’t happen for at least a decade. I can’t stress enough how important this to attend the event – at least the 1-day symposium. This puts NZ on the map in terms of the global fab lab network, and a strong turn out is needed to communicate to other attendess, government and education how important the maker movement
is in New Zealand, especially for the future.

What would an ideal NZ post Fab8 look like?

The seeds of an Australasian and South Pacific fab lab network are being sown, so it will be capitalising on that. Our aim is that Fab 8, and the new fab lab at Massey, will catalyse new labs and making spaces in schools, universities, libraries and community centres all across New Zealand and the Pacfic region. It really is a great opportunity to build more momentum on top what is already ocurring.

What can we do to help?

Promote Fab 8 – but more importantly come and support by attending the symposium or full conference. it’s a great opportunity to engage with amazing people and projects, and see presenters who are internationally respected in this space.

From time to time I find that I’m discussing the Maker scene in NZ with someone and they inevitably ask me, “So is this the Wellington meetup, or the Makerspace.org.nz or something else?” In response to which I give a (probably overly elaborate) explanation of the various actors on the maker scene in Wellington, and also in the wider New Zealand scene as a whole.

This task has been made none the easier of late, with the arrival of the cunningly named “The Wellington MakerSpace” (which may be confusing if you are already aware of the existing Makerspace in Wellington). But cases of mistaken identity aside and before I get into introductions and explaining why this new Makerspace is awesome, it might make sense to give a rough explanation of the terminology that often gets used interchangeably to describe various aspects of the maker scene.

Hackerspaces/Makerspace

A hackerspace or hackspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace or creative space) is a location where people with common interests, usually in computers, technology, or digital or electronic art can meet, socialise and/or collaborate.

[Courtesy of wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makerspace).]

Fablab

A fab lab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering (personal) digital fabrication. A fab lab is generally equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production.

Maker-gym/Techshop/Innovation-lab-doohickey-future-thing

TechShop is a membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make. You can think of TechShop like a fitness club, but with tools and equipment instead of exercise equipment.

[This definition from the Techshop site (http://www.techshop.ws/)]

In NZ we have historically had a reasonable regional representation of makerspaces/hacker spaces. With groups in Auckland (tangleball), Christchurch(Space Craft, which is currently on hiatus as they look for a new location), Dunedin dspace and Wellington. Wellington being the best represented with multiple groups (LeagueOfMakers, Makerspace Wellington and Co-Lab(181) ) all of which have over the last 12 months have been meeting regularly through the meetups scheduled on the Wellington Makers Meetup site.

The meetup is pretty much a social event that connects each of the groups.  It was set up with the intent of giving makers visibility of other projects and also as a social gathering where folk could meet and discuss projects, maker related services, products etc. The meetup historically moved around to different locations and had various different members present ongoing or future  projects.

Outside of the meetup each of the spaces hold regular open days being more suitable for meet and greets specific to a given topic and to provide an opportunity to simply come along to check out the facilities and perhaps see what people have in progress in a less polished state.

The Wellington MakerSpace

With the arrival of The(note the THE) Wellington Makerspace  we now have an additional (and important) piece of the maker ecosystem in place. This arrival is not only a beautifully set up makerspace, but also part Maker-Gym/Techshop, part product development unit, part fun-lab. What this means is that their space will be keen to help drive concepts to reality. Whilst conventional makerspaces can most certainly help you develop the skills to get you tinkering and hacking, Lee and Nick are looking to target end products. I’m wary of speaking on behalf of the guys but encourage you to get in touch, drop in for one of their open evenings (Fridays) and chat with them a little. They have new tools coming all the time and are looking for members to help their space grow to it’s fullest potential, which from this vantage currently seems limitless! I’ve already got my membership sorted!

 Three Maker spaces and a Maker gym do not an Eco system make!? 

Very well, you might doubt the arrival of this new space and it’s significance.  But if you look back over the last 18 months I think you’ll find good reason to believe that not only is the makerspace scene growing but it is also maturing in the types of services/facilities on offer. At present there are over 140 members of the Wellington makers meetup, there is an equivalent number of people showing their support for theWellingtonMakerSpace and that is just in the Wellington region. The purpose of this site was always to document the maker scene across NZ and on a daily basis we see more and more great projects coming from of various parts of NZ. Rumours of UAV mapping projects, whispers of recyclebots for producing 3d printer filament, ongoing maker workshops to help those interested continue to stretch their abilities.

However if all that isn’t enough we have the global FabLab conference FAB8 hitting NZ this August. This in itself is a huge deal, one that deserves a post all to itself! But suffice to say for now that when you have global participants in the Fablab scene descending on Wellington for a week of workshops, discussions, inspirational and cutting edge technological presentations then you can be pretty confident NZ is the place to be if you are a maker, wanna-be maker or someone who likes to be close to the cusp of change.

The following image is from a book called Open Design Now (which is a fantastic read and is certainly a book worthy of a blog post here). The diagram outlines the overlapping roles of the various elements in a Maker scene and also shows how they fit into the over all big picture. Ponoko is a longstanding feature of the global personal fabrication movement and taking it’s presence here in NZ into account along with the other factors mentioned above it’s hard not to see that NZ is a truly significant “maker” country. I often joke about the number-8 wire mentality, but in reality, not only is it alive and well – it’s leapfrogging into the next century while embracing all the amazing opportunities available along the way.

Libraries of peer production | http://opendesignnow.org/index.php/article/libraries-of-the-peer-production-era-peter-troxler/

Courtesy of http://opendesignnow.org/

 


So what is a Maker Faire? As the name implies a maker faire is an event that focuses on all things making related. They were originally sponsored and delivered by the people behind Make magazine, but in more recent times the brand has been franchised and mini events have been taking place across the globe. The exhibits at these events range from individuals demo’ing their latest crazy project to companies showcasing tools or services they offer in and around the maker scene (think Sparkfun for electronics, think Autodesk for design tools, think Ponoko for personal fabrication, the list goes on and on).

The event is such a fantastic experience, not only because of the vast array of (Visual/Aural/sensory) experiences one can avail of but more specifically because of the can-do attitude of those present. In this day and age alot of people have lost the desire to get hands on with the objects that surround us. Technology companies have created a barrier (for some) and left many paralyzed by the fear of breaking something or causing (heaven forbid) a breach in warranty!! Maker faire above all else exhibits a sense of, “why the hell not?!”

There were booths with kids doing electronics classes, that in itself was a sight to behold, kids were learning and then sharing what they’d learned with others who might have been temporarily stuck on a step. Parents were handed liability waivers and children were handed soldering irons! It was how it should be, no cotton gloves – just kids getting on with it, learning and most importantly having fun! (note, it was a totally safe environment!)

There were speakers at the event discussing various topics such as the specifics of their technology or craft of choice, or others debating the alternatives to the standard approach to education. A note that resonated with this attendee was the acknowledgement that many children who have energy above and beyond what some adults might appreciate are often the most focused makers. With the right project or the right tool this abundance of energy gets converted into skill/knowledge and pleasure. This isn’t to say making is the hands-on alternative to academic achievement, it was merely an observation by some of the highest achieving makers there that they were the trouble makers in school, the kids who could not sit still, the ones the teachers struggled to communicate with and yet here they were now building businesses around the skills they were once told were pointless, using this abundant energy to propel them along.

Swinging in the Rain

Some of the highlights from an exhibit sense were the rain-swings, a set of swings that drip a line of water in front of the swinging participant as they are on a downward swing. Giving them impression that you may imminently be getting rained on! (watch the clip to see them in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th7mlfuXR7Q).

The Sashimi Tabernacle Choir

See a great interview with the maker here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYlSTvAW1Po

The tallest 3d printer we’ve ever seen!

 

Other honorable mentions go to the inspired individual who has set his aims in making the first Rice Krispie 3d printer! He only  had a frame on show at the event, but no doubt – it’d be a popular device should he succeed!

The key takeaway from the whole experience was that New Zealand does have the capacity to host an event like this. Initial discussions with Make have been positive and they’d be keen to get behind an event here.

Having had many a project great demo’d at the regular makers meetup (http://www.meetup.com/WellingtonMakers/) we’re confident we have sufficient great projects to put on a good show.

What we’d really like to see is makers/artists/parents/children get in touch with projects they’d like to demo. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved in or attend such an event!
 

Last Thursday I attended one of the workshops being run by RichDecibels over the last few weeks. I share the studio with Rich and had heard him talk about the Nebulophone kits produced by BleepLabs. I’d wanted to attend one of his workshops to see how they were run but also I was keen to try my hand at soldering and work on a project that interested me.

Rich’s workshops are run over one evening and are very much a casual affair. People of all sorts have been attending, from sound geeks attracted by the content of this particular workshop to more general technology enthusiasts who wanted to try their hand at making.

Nebulophone

On the night where were only 3 of us attending as it was an overflow class put on by Rich to cater for high demand. Rich handed us a beer, introduced the kit and we went at it from there. The kit comes with instructions so you could do it yourself. But Rich took the time to talk us through each step, explaining electronics fundamentals and even giving us a quick primer on soldering for those unfamiliar with the “art”. Rich also provded all the tools for the class, so all we had to bring was our hands and some enthusiasm.

It wasn’t long before we were laughing, learning and assembling our own little noise making synths like giddy kidults! The workshop lasted over 2 hours. The time flew, as it does when your so happily focused on a task ( recall if you will the time spent on Lego as a kid) and it wasn’t long before the first freshly built Nebulophone was producing glitch-tastic loops.

We had a little jam at the end of the session and then away we went taking out new piece of synth kit with us. The two others on the course had a definite use for the nebulophone, planning on using it in their own music production – as people increasingly search for new sounds, such a tool makes a great addition to the sound-makers arsenal. But even more than that, the knowledge gained from the hands on session undoubtedly sparked some ideas for future projects. Thus, learning seeded future learning.

Having spoken to Rich about his motives, one of the key aspects of these workshops is not only to give people cool toys to take home with them, but to also build an ever more aware community of enthusiasts here in Wellington (stopping only there for logistical reasons at present).

If we grow the collective knowledge then future collaborations will become even richer and more exciting.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the workshop to anyone who has even the faintest interest in electronics, to those who are interested in making electronic sounds and furthermore to those keen on getting out and being a kidult. Sharing laughs and learning experiences with like minded folk is an amazing way to relax after a day in the office.

If you’d like to attend you can sign up directly through Eventbrite http://nebworkshop.eventbrite.com/.

If you have a workshop that you’d like to suggest or deliver then please get in touch and we we help work something out. The DFC workshop is all about community learning, fun projects and good times!

Future workshops that are in the pipeline are Illustrator training sessions, 3d modelling and 3d printing 101 workshops.

(In attendance on the night was Reuben from Lekrmoi(http://lekrmoi.com/) – who put together this awesome video for us)

Last Sunday was a new experience for me, it was hopefully a new experience for all those who attended the very first (as far as we’re aware) 3d Scan & 3d Print-off  to take place in NZ (if not the globe!). A joint event organised by teams from the LoM(League of Makers)* and the MoNZ(MakersOrgNZ) and opened up to the public via the MoNZ meetup page (Located here).

The premise was pretty simple, use some of the latest “off-the-shelf” technologies to scan and print a 3d likeness of an existing object. The task proved to be not so simple, as it involved using some pretty convoluted approaches to capturing scans of the object, post processing the output so that it was something a 3d printer could interpret and then fudging the file through either a Makerbot Cupcake CNC or Makerbot Thing-o-matic.

Approach A: The LoM team chose to use a combination of laser scanning software, gridded reference box and web camera (pretty low res, but more on that later). The LoM team got to work immediately, building the “box”, fitting it with the necessary registration chart so that the camera could build a profile of the object being scanned. Once the software had been calibrated they used a laser controlled by hand to “paint” the object and collect data points via the webcam. They then manually rotated the object and collected another scan of the object, from the rear – to give the front and back of the object. So far so good, the results were looking pretty promising. Now the now crew had to merge the 2 sets of scans so that they would form one whole object. I believe that this is where we struggled as a group. Working with unfamiliar tools trying to merge 3d images is not as straightforward as we might have hoped. In the end the team pulled a rabbit out of the hat (it could be a rabbit…) and printed a rendition of the scan file. See below.

Approach B: The MoNZ team decided (defaulted to) the use of a Kinect and KinectToSTL software. Taking a more simplistic approach we let the KinectToStl software do most of the hard work when it came to scanning the object. We simply positioned the Kinect in the right location in relation to the object and used the software to capture STL files. This meant that the results were a little underwhelming. The scan would produce a rough estimation of the face of the object and then “surmise” the rest. We could have tried to clean the scan up, but this didn’t feel like the right time to undertake mesh merging madness – not without more precise scans to work with as a base. So we ended up with a rather vague scan one of our team. I ended up reducing the size of the scan file in order to reduce the print time and in doing so uncovered on of this approaches key failings – the quality of the scan is dismal on detailed objects and deteriorates even further when you scale them down! We had a lovely assistant, but the output ended up being referred to as the slipknot print given the printers inability to create fine detailing on such a small object. See below

Measure of success : We pulled together some criteria which we thought we’d measure each approach against. Essentially we wanted to see which technology would give the best likeness to the object being scanned. In the absence of a solid scanning rig I would imagine the result would vary greatly, but what I will say is that Approach A (the laser scanning process) is most certainly the victor. So much so that we have agreed to try and build a more solid (dare I say automated) rig for driving scans in future. I’ll update this post on our progress should we go down this path.

In the meantime feel free to read more on the results of our “rough-as-nails” battle of 3d scanning technology.

 

Approach B (left) Approach A (right)

* League of Makers is a collective of Wellington design and architecture students from here in NZ.

Several weeks ago we were looking to have Adam present one of his latest projects at one of our Wellington based Maker meetups. The premise of his presentation was fairly simple, to take an every day object and bring it to life again. It was impressive to see how this project was executed, and clear to us that Adam himself thoroughly enjoyed the end result. Stating on the evening that although the reception wasn’t perfect that didn’t prevent him from using it when calling friends and family – which was much to the chagrin of the person on the other end! Looking forward to the next project from Adam, but for now we’ll let him talk a little bit about himself and how he works as a “maker” of “things”.

what is your background?

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and from an early age loved ‘making’ & understanding how things work. Dismantling my mom’s Vacuum cleaner and Kenwood Mixmaster prompted my parents to enroll me in all sorts of science & technology workshops. I think the motivation for this was as much to preserve their sanity as to encourage me!

Do you have any advice for other makers?

As for all makers, for me, inspiration is number 1. Take apart everything you can get your hands on. Read about old and new technology & designs, in newspapers & Magazines as well as on the Internet.

Jaycar’s catalogue is a worthy read (cover to cover). It’s inspiring and will give you a good idea of what tools and components are available to work with.

There are a lot of good websites for inspiration, two that come to mind are:
http://www.blog.makezine.com
http://www.instructibles.com

Research is an essential part of making. When I take on a project – I learn as much as I can about designs, manufacturing & components. I also try and . The internet and Google in particular are invaluable for research.

With each an every project that you work on your knowledge base and skill set broaden.

Keep your workspace clean and tidy. Missing tools or materials can be a huge de-motivator.

Describe the most recent project you worked on.

The most recent project I have worked involved the conversion of a 1920s Brass Candlestick Phone into a fully functioning and portable cordless phone (without altering the original exterior design). To do this, I embedded the essential componentry from a small cordless phone, a rechargeable battery pack & pulse to tone dial circuitry in the base.

I worked on the project on and off for approximately 2 weeks. The most frustrating part for me was waiting for the custom pulse to tone circuitry to arrive from the USA as once I start a project I am eager to finish it fast.

There are a few projects for me in the pipeline. I don’t have a lot of free time to work on them at the moment, as I am currently studying Industrial Design at Victoria University. As is the nature of every good maker I will be burning the candle at both ends in order to juggle my studies and my passion for making.

Get in touch with Adam here: http://www.ben-dror.com

(Background?)
I studied electronics at uni, but I don’t feel like I learnt anything til I lost my first real job to the 2008 financial crisis. At that point I decided to reevaluate my priorities, which resulted in me spending many hours in my garage, messing around with electronics and weird noises. I made a couple of guitar amps and effects pedals and decided I could take over the world. A few months later I got talking to a guy at a party, who eventually invited me to set up my workshop in a shared space as a member of an artists’ collective.

(Becoming a maker?)
This proved to be a dramatic shift for me for two reasons: I’d never had my own dedicated workspace before, and I’d never considered myself an artist. Having a proper workshop gave my hobby legitimacy and a new focus. Being surrounded by artists let me endulge myself in the creative process in ways they don’t teach you at engineering school.

(Projects – past/present?)
Sometime later a friend of mine duped me into holding an exhibition at Deluxe Cafe, where to my surprise we sold out our collection of two dozen Synthbots (little handmade music-making robots). Since then I’ve done a number of works on commission, primarily building devices for musicians.

Campus A low hum WorkshopI’ve also held a series of DIY synth-making workshops, the next of which begins in September. I’ve teamed up with a U.S. outfit called Bleep Labs and will be taking students through the process of assembling some of their fine synthesizers and noise machines, hopefully imparting some electronics knowledge in the process.

At the moment my projects are on hold while I move my workshop into a new space at the Digital Fabrication Council HQ in Mt. Cook. Immediately after that though my primary concern will be an exhibition I’m curating at Thistle Hall for the week beginning August 8th – The Briefcase Project: 20 artists, 20 briefcases: each transformed with sculpture, animation, arcane machinery, jewellery, and who-knows-what else.
(What inspires you?)
The most inspirational book I’ve read on the subject of DIY electronics is Nicolas Collins’ Handmade Electronic Music. I can’t stress highly enough how magnificent that book is. My online reading revolves around hackaday.com for inspiration and electro-music.com for technical stuff.

(What advice do you have for others?)
The most important advice I can give any other makers is to, if you can possibly avoid it, never take a full-time job you don’t love. Uninspiring part-time work can pay the bills, just be sure you leave enough time and energy in your week to do something you’re passionate about.

Richard has his own site over at http://richdecibels.com and also contributes to the Ponoko Blog, writing articles on his discoveries in making and electronics. (http://blog.ponoko.com/category/writers/rich-decibels/) Feel free to get in touch with him if you’re keen on attending any of his workshops. We’ll be hosting signups on our events page here too.

So a group of us have managed to purchase a makerbot (ThingOMatic) in a shared ownership scheme. Tonight is the first night of our making attempts. I’ll be documenting the process and will keep you posted with more valuable info as the build progresses!

 

Makerbot box with the text Makerbot Inside on it

 

[Wednesday – 22nd June 5:26p.m.] So far – progress has been slow ;). Waiting for the maker elves to come and lend a hand.

[Wednesday – 22nd June 6:46p.m.] Read through the instructions once, twice..(three times a lady) and then isolated the parts for the automated build platform. Also went through a checklist to ensure all the parts were present and accounted for.

Makerbot, automatic build platform parts

 

[Wednesday – 22nd June 8:48p.m.] Soldered the motor, had fun fitting screws into silly spaces.

[Wednesday – 22nd June 9:02p.m.] After a pretty leisurely pace we finally got the piece together. The plastic rollers were a little challenging to install and the clear plastic belt is fantastically tight – let’s hope we don’t ever want that thing to turn…..drat…

So here is the automated build platform after 2 and a bit hours of making. I’d like to think it was built exactly as per the makerbot designs..the proof will be in the application of  voltage..or in the [3d]pudding, whichever comes first..