Latest member news

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Here you'll find all the member update emails that get sent out. Hopefully a useful resource for new members wondering what's been happening lately!

Note that some sensitive info may have been removed in these versions.

Jan 2015

Hello Makespace member!

Built something at Makespace? Learnt something at Makespace? Tell us how Makespace has helped you - and you will help Makespace!

If you've built a prototype, a product, a business, a beautiful thing, a gift, or if you've learned a new skill, or found a job, or have had any other kind of success at makespace, big or small, we'd love to hear about it! Just reply to this email - or contact me at Your stories will help us build a better future Makespace by helping us showcase the successes members have had. Even the small stories, the delighted parent receiving a homemade gift, the new job contract secure, just one sentence or photograph, will make a difference to the future of Makespace.

You don't need to write anything - I'll happily interview you at a time that suits you, or work from blog posts or photos you already have, whatever makes it easiest for you! If you've come across a project or build at Makespace that you think is awesome, or you know someone who has built something cool, please let me know too - then I can track them down for more info. I'll be writing up all these success stories so that we can use them in securing funds, new kit, new space and more support. Email laura.james at makespace or tweet @CamMakespace

Lost property

Lost your Christmas jumper or scarf? We’ve got quite a bit of lost property - check the shelf in the hallway if you’ve mislaid anything! Note that things left there for more than a couple of months may get binned...

Upcoming events

Thursday evenings remain regular weekly maker night - all members are welcome and there's a good chance you'll find folk around who can help with your project, or might be looking for help on theirs. Don't forget our monthly social night - the next one is thursday 29th January. Maybe this month we could have some short lightning talks on what folks are doing or finding interesting? If you'd be up for giving a brief intro/talk/enthuse/demo/request for help, add a comment on the meetup here

Cannybots event

Cannybots are planning to run a competitive event on 29 January at Makespace; during the run up we are offering discounted Cannybot kits to members.

Here’s more info

Interested in Kinect hacking and computer vision?

Next Monday’s meetup:

Ever wanted to use a computer to draw on eggs?

A message from Luke on the Google group: if you’d like to support this purchase idea, by volunteering your time to help look after the Eggbot, let folks know in the thread here -!topic/cammakespace/FyAloN9yWMU

Now that we have all made it through the most recent festive period I can imagine you are all looking forward to Easter :P

To satisfy the need to just "make stuff" I thought the space would really benefit from an EggBot. This would be really great for the family makers. It's simple to use, safe and great fun.

What is an EggBot?

An EggBot is a compact, easy to use art robot that can draw on small spherical and egg-shaped objects. The EggBot was originally invented by motion control artist Bruce Shapiro in 1990. Since then, EggBots have been used as educational and artistic pieces in museums and workshops. We have been working with Bruce since 2010 to design and manufacture EggBot kits. Today, our well-known Deluxe EggBot kit is a popular favorite at makerspaces and hackerspaces around the world.

An EggBot is a highly adjustable machine, designed to draw on all kinds of things that are normally "impossible" to print on. Not just eggs but ping pong balls, golf balls, light bulbs, and even small mini pumpkins.

Basically an EggBot uses a Sharpie to draw your computer generated designs directed onto eggs and other spherical objects.

I propose we purchase the following model (is more rugged as thus more suitable for the Makespace):

Can we put it to a vote, decided by majority? With a deadline of 19/01/2015.

I am more than willing to put the time in to commission the machine as an owner and provide several training sessions in time for Easter.

[Note from the Editor: we need to see at least 3 people willing to ‘own’ the item so Luke alone is not enough!]

Fancy some fancier 3d printing?

There’s a thread about whether we should get an SLA based 3d printer:!topic/cammakespace/4663A-4KcAc Do contribute if you have thoughts on this, and if you are keen for us to get one, can you offer time and energy to help set up and maintain and train on it? If there’s interest and at least 3 owners/trainers willing to contribute time to it, we will evaluate a proposal. For kit like this, the more people willing to help the better as it means there can be more trainings, and less burden on volunteers! yay!

If you have anything you’d like included in the next newsletter, contact laura.james at makespace with your message!

Community messages -----------------------

Nicky Teegan writes:

I am the Arts Coordinator at Julie's Bicycle.

I am curating an event in Cambridge at the end of January, that I would love you to be part of.

The event is at Wysing Arts Centre on the 28th of January which will focus on bringing together different thinkers, academics, artists and innovators to explore new models of working that are shaping a more sustainable future for the arts and culture.

The day will be broken into two sections:

The morning will focus on Materials, Resources and Procurement focusing on three key areas:

Resources, Materials and Drivers for Change

Impacts of the Digital: low impact technologies, sustainability and digital technologies

Community Building// Practicalities of Building Spaces//Exchange Economies

The afternoon will focus on working internationally presenting different art touring models.

There will be some performances from the artist Angharad Wynn Jones and Julie's Bicycle will host an action planning workshop.

The overall aim of the day is to present different models of working to build a sustainable future within the arts and culture.

We would love for Cambridge Makespace to be part of this, through being one of the panelists, doing presentation or a workshop.

Do you think you would be interested in participating in some form?

This will be a visual arts audience.

Nov 2014

Check below for Maker Challenge (deadline tonight!), new kit and more:

In Makespace this month: We’ve got a shiny big new Vinyl cutter, and a T Shirt press! Custom T shirts can now be made. These items are in the newly organised room upstairs with other kit for textiles work and a good big clean table. A second laser cutter has been ordered and will arrive in a couple of weeks - please bear with the folks who will be setting it up and getting it ready for use before diving in.

Kit needing love and attention The knitting machine and screen printing kit could use some more folks to help them get set up and really usable by people. If you think these are things you’d like to use, you can be an owner and help Makespace!

Other makespace news

We had a big clean up and so the space is looking nice. If anything you used is now missing check the “what went where” list on the door into the main space. Some member boxes acquired labels too as we did a sweep to spot unused boxes or those of folks who have left. Please make sure your box has your full name on it so we know it is yours, and that the name is visible when it’s on the shelf! (note: “Dave” is not a sufficient identifier, we have lots of Daves. Also, initials and nicknames don’t help when we’re trying to match you against a membership list which has full names ;)

We’re putting out some Orange lanyards by the front door. These are for folks who don’t want to be disturbed with questions or requests for help - so if you see someone in a wide orange lanyard please let them get on without interruption. Many of the people who will wear these are our most active volunteers who help make Makespace run day to day, and who are generally happy to help. It’s wonderful that they are so helpful but they do occasionally need to get stuff done, so please respect their wish to make things when they are wearing an orange lanyard!.

It’s December soon...

Watch out for an update of seasonal events coming in the next newsletter! We’re thinking about Christmas gift making workshops (discussion on the Google Group) and we’ll also have a Christmas Party. If you’d like to be involved join the discussion on the mailing list.

APPLY TO BE PART OF THE MAKER CHALLENGE - it's quick to apply; deadline is 10pm on Tuesday 11 November

More info here

Collusion is looking for 16 people from Makespace and beyond to join four multi-disciplinary artist led teams taking part in the Maker Challenge at Makespace. The teams will be challenged to develop an Internet of Things idea in response to Cambridge’s ‘wicked’ problems, aka, problems that are difficult or seemingly impossible to solve, e.g. congestion, pollution, lack of night time economy, energy use, bring the city's disparate communities together. The teams will work over three Saturdays (6 Dec, 17 Jan, 28 Feb) to each develop a playful prototype idea with the support of a dossier of data, a £250 budget and visiting advisers. The results will be presented at the University of Cambridge Science Festival in March 2015. For information, see the brief for team members at

I encourage as many people to get involved as possible and make a difference no matter your skill level - I'm really looking forward to a fun event!

The Deconstruction


name is Noah Hussin, and I represent The Deconstruction, a 

not-for-profit, decentralized event celebrating light-hearted provocative creativity.

I am very impressed with your work. So much education is rather abstract and detached from practical, kinetic skills. I particularly appreciate how focused MakeSpace

is on community outreach, showing people what can be done with the 

material right in front of them. I can only imagine your work does amazing things for your students' sense of what they're capable of.


wanted to extend an invitation to your community to join us this year 

as a team (or multiple teams). Basically, starting November 14, teams from around the world have 48 hours to do or make anything, in any medium, to make us think a little bit differently about life as we know it. We aim to slowly advance the wider cultural dialogue toward a more conscious, critical, and creative state, having a lot of fun in the process.


the event, we broadcast a live talk show out of Oakland, California 

where we interview the teams, discuss creativity in all its facets, and loosen up the rigid notions of truth that bind us all down. This show is

free for anybody to watch, as long as they have access to the internet.


and the makers, artists, and doers it encourages would be an incredible
addition, and I hope you'll check out the website above and watch the 

video to see if you might be interested in participating this year.


would also really appreciate it if you would send this to any other 

people you know who might be interested. We especially want to reach out

to students and other young people who might not already feel empowered
as artists and makers. We had some truly inspiring projects last year, 

and we hope to push even further this time.

Oct 2014

Big clean up - 25th + 26th October

We’re cleaning up the space! There will be lots of different ways to get involved - cleaning, tidying, improving documentation on the wiki, creating posters, making galleries of shiny things folks have made, writing up and laminating signage, labelling things, writing shopping lists, nipping out to buy supplies, and more. So it’s not just scrubbing floors - there are lots of ways to help - do come along if you can.

We’ll have a big sprint 10:30 - 3:30 on Saturday but there will be folks working on this through the weekend.

Sign up so we know you are coming, or just show up!

Makespace tools are for use in Makespace. Please don’t take them away/home/on holiday.

On October 30th there’s a reception about Smarter Cities in Makespace, so we’ll have a lot of visitors and 30 members can attend - RVSP essential. This means we aren’t having our usual monthly social.

Please note Makespace will be invite only for the reception on the 30th from about 8pm!

There are 30 spaces for Makespace members to attend - it should be a good party. More details and sign up here:

We need people to showcase their work and run tables in the classroom. More details and signup here:

Family makers? Check out their own meetup group for all the latest events:


“We aim to: Run a convention for people who like awesome and creative things, where they can learn about, buy, and interact with awesome things that they might not have tried before, in an environment filled with similar-minded people who think that making stuff is great.”

The Event: When - Currently aiming for March 2016 Saturday - Talks, workshops, demos & exhibitors held in one building. Sunday - Attendee run workshops and ‘creation jams’, held at separate locations. Attendees – 20-somethings and older, either into making things/doing things or just really likes trying out new stuff. Curious, relatively cultured and educated, open to new experiences and with a story to tell. Into multiple genres and mediums, with a pop culture focus. An active and involved discoverer, rather than a passive consumer. Exhibitors – Creators with something of their own to show off and sell. Demos – Interactive, hands-on, engagement with a product. Talks – Show and tells about the creation of something Workshops – Anything where a thing actually gets made

Main Threads: Hobbies & Crafts, Games, Multimedia, and Handy Knowledge With a lot of crossover between these.

The Location An area with multiple function rooms of varying size, accessible to attendees from 10AM to 8PM, with some form of catering and a bar/social area. Able to hold around 300 attendees, 20 exhibitors, and event staff.

The Budget £5000, based on 300 attendees at £15 and 20 Exhibitors at £30. Includes +£800 of Seed money, gained from £100 committee buy-in (to be returned when possible) and Kickstarter tickets pre-sale. All finances will be “open book” and the event is non-profit.

The Committee Flat hierarchy, with the Chair having a “final call” in cases of dispute. Input and involvement with all areas by all members of the committee in all roles is encouraged, but each position holder will be responsible for the final decisions made. Chair – providing overall direction and guiding discussions, Head of Crew – ensuring everything is being done and supporting the team PR – external media contact & maintaining the website Social Media –social media platforms & communications with attendees Exhibitor Coordinator – curating and overseeing the Exhibitors Demo Coordinator – curating and overseeing the Demos Panel Coordinator – curating and overseeing the talks and workshops Finance and Logistics– handling the money and the getting of things Interested in getting involved? Email with why you would be great for a role in the Committee!

Fancy a break from the big clean up?

Hustle, misfits, and jugaad: alternative economic models from around the world. Saturday 25th October, 11:00-12:30 Faculty of Law, Sidgwick Site

Over 4 billion people live outside the formal economy. Join Jaideep Prabhu, Tatiana Thieme and Kyra Maya Phillips in a discussion about alternative, informal economic models which include ‘hustling’ in cities like Nairobi, Detroit, Paris and Barcelona; the Indian concept of ‘Jugaad’; and black, gray, informal and other ‘misfit economies’ from around the world. This discussion will be chaired by the BBC's Peter Day.

This event is free, and is taking place as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2014. To book your place at the event, visit or call 01223 766766.

18 Sept 2014

Hi everyone,

Lots of news this month so do read all the way down - some of the best stuff (the Heath Robinson contraptions in particular) are saved for last ;)

Happenings & makings

Many of us went to EMFCamp! We had a huge Makespace presence and an incredible roster of speakers too. It was lovely to see everyone - check out our marquee!

Mark shares several things: Filmed at Makespace IoT talks:

Cambridge Internet of Things Talks: Tim Murdoch from Cambridge Consultants Cambridge Internet of Things Talks: Paul Egan from Neul

Not strictly made at Makespace, but a few of us have heeded the call on the mailing list to support the production of Ren the Series (a six part YouTube series) out at Caxton - others are laser cutting and using Makespace kit, I sculpted and cast some brooches for the costumes:

Finished the helmets for kids Halloween costumes made during family makers:

Work in progress: infinity mirror (like the one in the kitchen) necklace:

From Vincent - something made for a Debian conference:

From Tom: The BaseBot is a shiny thing built in makespace, it's up to version 16 (with 17 in the pipeline featuring more user-friendly power options) and has some news: - There's a makespace team (or at least a team of makespace members) entering the PiWars competition in December with a BaseBot based robot, anyone is welcome to get involved. Work is happening at monday pi-makers. - The blog, twitter and wiki are up (, @thebasebot) and ready for more information and contributions - At EMF I did a 15 minute talk and had a lot of interest, including a UK based company who are keen to act as a distributor, we're working out the practicalities at the moment but if that comes through it would be a way to produce the several thousand needed to get them into schools.

Kim’s been making jewellery.

Have you found….

On Friday evening, Maciek kindly replaced a broken USB drive for the CNC Router with a lovely shiny Aluminium cased device.

By Tuesday it had already gone missing!

If you have used this USB drive over the last few days, please can you have a look in your personal belongings to ensure you haven't accidentally taken it/stored it away. Or if you have moved it to another part of Makespace, please can you put it back or let us know where it is.

If you are unsure if it's the CNC Router USB drive, check the volume name, it should read "CNC Router".

Getting stuck in

Makespace is an awesome collaboration of talented motivated volunteers. All your training, the running of the machines and many other things are done by volunteers, and we think they do an awesome job! Here's your chance to help out and become even more involved in the Makespace community. We would like more equipment owners and/or trainers. You don't have to know how to maintain the equipment or how to teach. All it takes is being able to use a particular machine or part of Makespace and a willingness to help. (This means an hour or two a week, it's enjoyable and it's working with other owner/trainers at least at first, so you are not alone!) We currently would love to find more owners or trainers for the following aspects of Makespace: 3D Printer Electronics Workbench. (It's reasonably well equipped, could be better, needs some love!)

Keeping the stationery in order.  The pens, calipers, knives, and so on would all benefit from someone to own them and keep them in order.

bandsaw and many other things too - eg the CAD machines, a corner of the secure workshop If you might be able to help, contact the current owners via the email address on the poster by the kit or on the wiki, or post on our Google Group, or get in touch with exec@

Also specifically: Is anyone interested in becoming an owner/trainer of the CNC Router? If so post in!topic/cammakespace/0aNnAEGF-5U or contact Chris Abri Preferably those with previous CNC router experience, although those without will also be given the opportunity.

It’s clean up time!

Time for an autumn clean. Makespace will pay for pizzas for those engaged in a clean and tidy up!

We’ve had two weekends suggested - 18-19 October and 25-26 when folks will drop in and collectively clean and tidy things up.

Volunteers to help sort out the office (oh, the paperwork needing filing! Oh, the broken/spare kit needing sorting! Oh, the dead chairs needing chucking out!) will be especially welcome on 25-26th.

Either just drop in, or synchronise with others on our Google Group, or if you are super keen, set up a Meetup with a specific time and let folks know so you can get together. Cleaning is more fun as a team!

Coming up

Next month, Makespace special featuring talks from companies which prototyped at Makespace:

Reminder that the social this month is being hijacked to canvas support for the Collusion hacks - they will be providing food!

Want a fun job? Interactive Waves Demo!

Our aim is to produce an interactive installation where waves diffract around people or objects placed on the floor. It should be large enough that multiple people can stand in the exhibit area, and bright enough that it is usable in standard ambient lighting conditions. This will feel immersive, rather like a non-wet version of the old fashioned ripple tanks. A plane wave enters from one side and the waves should propagate through the exhibit and people/objects placed in the area should act as absorbing/reflecting objects. The hardware requirements amount to a means of displaying the waves on the floor (from an overhead projector), webcam[s] to track objects, and suitable mounting hardware/computer. The algorithm we have trialled and software should be developed in Python, and we can employ someone flexibly (eg part time) through the University TES, probably needing 3 months work with a possibility for continuation. A more detailed brief is available, on contacting Dr Richard Bowman in the NanoPhotonics Centre.

Chain Reaction 2014

Whether you enjoyed last year's Chain Reaction, or missed out and are keen to get involved for the the first time, there are opportunities for you to join in from now until the event on Saturday 22nd November.

For new readers joining here, the Chain Reaction is an annual, one-day event organised by the Cambridge Science Centre at which family groups, school groups, and corporate teams assemble, in advance and/or on the day, components of a huge Rube Goldberg/Heath Robinson machine which is set off as the Grand Finale of the event at the end of the afternoon. Some more information about the event (and a video from last year) is here:

We're looking for people who'd like to be involved in the construction of a number of Spectacle elements of the Chain... for the start and finish of the chain, and at points like getting-over-a-fire-door or getting-onto-the-stage we will be building components that should hopefully look good, work reliably, and fit to the constraints of the space.

If you'd like to be involved in this, let us know. If you've got any great ideas, that's fantastic. Let us know what they are, and if we think they sound safe (and affordable) we'll talk about how to get them built.. If you're not feeling inspired yet and you'd like to take part, we'll be having a couple of build days at MakeSpace in central Cambridge, on 27th September, and a second in mid-late October, at which we'll be pooling ideas and building something cool and totally pointless. Meetup signup for the first of the build days is here. If you've got ideas to contribute but aren't free on the 27th, drop an e-mail!

We're also looking for people to help out on the day, by looking after the supervised-only tools in the workshop (electric drills, glue guns, etc) and/or by providing ad hoc help to individual school or family groups that look like they need a bit of extra support.

Finally, of course, you may also want to enter with a team of your own... Families Schools Companies

And finally

As ever,

there’s lots of maker chat on our Google Group (read on the web or via email), check out the pictures (and post your own) in our Flickr pool, we’re in #makespace on IRC there’s always more info on our wiki

26 July 2014

It's summer holiday time but that doesn't mean there isn't making happening!

This coming Thursday, July 31st, we have our July social - a great time to get together and plan projects and more. We'll definitely have cake this month - and perhaps other food! - and we'll also be celebrating Roger's birthday - Roger is one of our Founder Members and has done a huge amount to make sure we have a lovely, well equipped and sensibly set up workshop. So do join us on Thursday evening!

In August we are off to EMF! Lots of Makespacers will be heading over to Electromagnetic Field. More info about our plans on our wiki and as ever there's discussion on our mailing list (if you aren't on our list, but want to find out about interesting projects, making questions, trips like this and other makespace info, do sign up!)

Here's the blurb: Electromagnetic Field is a UK camping festival for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things: hackers, artists, geeks, crafters, scientists, and engineers.

This summer we're gathering over a thousand people in a field for a weekend of talks and workshops. At previous events we've heard about everything from genetic modification to electronics, blacksmithing to high-energy physics, reverse engineering to lock picking, computer security to crocheting, and quadcopters to brewing. To help matters along, we're arranging a very fast internet connection, reliable WiFi, a bar stocked with good, reasonably-priced drinks, and much more.

Hope to see some of you there :)

Seeking making inspiration? Check out the wonderful "Enumerating Makespace" currently (or last seen) in Cakespace - thanks to Mark Cheverton for putting this together to showcase all the methods of making at Makespace!

First aid kits

A reminder that if you use a plaster or anything at all from any of the first aid kits, you should email to let us know! If you had an accident in the space we need to know, and if you were patching yourself up from an accident elsewhere that’s fine but we must know so we can get more supplies in.

Bored by the holidays already? Makespace has aircon and lovely makers to hang out with! It's a great time to be making. There's also lots of ways you can help Makespace to thrive, from cleaning and tidying to buying snacks and supplies and blogging and sharing some of the awesome things folks are making, fixing and designing. If you aren't sure how you can help, do ask on list or ask around the space or email us at - you can help in all kinds of ways to make Makespace better and more fun.

4 June 2014

Are you a PCB maker?

Makespace hosts a regular PCB maker night meetup and it woudl be great to get some more members involved to help it keep running! If you are a PCB maker or would like to learn and get involved with the meetup, get in touch with Saar

Maker Camp this summer

We’ve been invited to take part in MakerCamp! if you’d like to help out, we’ll be discussing on our Google Group.

Members meeting - June 9th

Following up our meeting to discuss Makespace issues on May 19th, we’re meeting again! Notes from last meeting: New meeting: Hope to see some of you there! The meeting will be chaired by some of our most active volunteers and all members are welcome.

Members night, June 26th

This month we’re thinking of inviting our friends at Cambridge Tech and Enterprise Club. We’d love to have a couple of short talks from makers who have made stuff at Makespace - is this you? if so let know :) Trip to Electromagnetic Field

Some makespace folks are off to EMF at the end of August - it's a camping festival for folks who like making. More info: and there's talk of car/van sharing and maybe a Makespace village if lots of folks are going.

Wondering where all the maker chatter is?

It’s in our Google Group! You can subscribe via email, or join in on the web via a forum. happy making,

11 May 2014

Read on for the status of the 3D printer, how you can help shape things at Makespace, news about Mill Lane and what happened in the first year of Makespace, and how we can avoid a Massive Fine!

News about our space in Mill Lane

We heard on the 28th that our lease at 16 Mill Lane has been extended to December 2015 - so we’ll be here to stay for a while :)

What we did in our first year

If you missed our birthday party, you’ll have missed the facts + photos about our first year - check them out here

Makespace Member’s meeting

On Monday 19th May, 7-9pm, we’re going to have a meeting to talk about makespace, what’s working and what needs improvement. We’ve got quite a few things to discuss so it’s likely this will be the first of two meetings, with this one focussed on sharing information to get everyone on the same page, and a second meeting where we can make decisions (if necessary).The meeting will be chaired by some of our most active volunteers.

Let us know if you plan to attend (RSVP not essential but useful):

Check out the draft agenda (and add items at the bottom if you’d like them to be considered for discussion - depending how much time we have!) (members only URL)

If you can’t make the 19th but would like to step up to be a more active makespace volunteer, please email - we’d love to hear from you! If you have a concern or idea you’d like to raise but would prefer to remain anonymous, email (which just goes to the 3 directors) before the 19th and we will make sure your input is considered.

3D printer - Makerbot Replicator 2X

The Kapton bed today is rather scratched and gouged. This means that some workflows won’t get good results (eg if you aren’t using a raft). The 3D printer is a red-tag item, meaning you need to be inducted on it before you use it. Don’t imagine it must be straightforward because it’s just a 3D printer! The printer now isn’t so useful and may need repairs, which takes time and money :(

Very very last call for return of temporary access cards

Please drop your access card, if you took one during the foyer works, back in the office drop box envelope, or mail to us at Makespace, 16 Mill Lane, CB2 1RX if you can’t get to the space.

We will be fined £50 for every card we don’t return! Currently we are still around 8 short so that’s £400 which could be spent on making Makespace better going to pay a fine. Don't forget there's always the wiki if you aren't sure how stuff works - and there's a page full of key member info:

22 March 2014

Important info if you use the laser cutter! It’s vital you return your temporary access cards or we get a huge fine! Also, Birthday Party :)

Party time!

Bring something you’ve made for Show and Tell at our Birthday Party (7pm, Friday 28th). If you can’t make it to the party, you can still Show what you’ve made by dropping it off in the space with a label beforehand.

Tell your friends - we’re not quite fully booked yet :)

We’ll order in a bunch of drinks and some nibbles to arrive on Friday afternoon and if you can come early to help tidy up, clean the tables, get demos set up and so on that would be much appreciated :)

(Note this is on FRIDAY - it’s not like our usual monthly social night which is on Thursdays)

What have you been making?

We’d love to hear about what you’ve been making! Whether you have a story or a blog post or just a photo or a tweet, it would be great to know so we can share to encourage new makers.

Just email laura.james @ or pop pictures on [Flickr]

Laser cutter users!

As some of you may have noticed, the cutter has become filthy over recent weeks and months. This is due to a combination of things:

1) fires/excessive smoke when cutting wood

2) Inadequate or non-existent cleaning after use

3) poor air circulation in the machine.

The last of these will take time to solve. The first two require your assistance. When cutting laser plywood (the only wood currently allowed), please do a test cut to establish the combination of speed and power that just cuts through, but gives of the least smoke and flame. This may be high speed, low power.

When you have finished your job, please leave the lid closed for at least 30s to let the smoke clear. Then you must clean the WHOLE bed using the disposable wipes that are next to the machine. One wipe should be enough to get it clean. Keep going until there is no pale brown residue coming off on the wipe. Those of you with sensitive skin will find a box of disposable gloves on top of the air filter unit.

I have just spent over half a day cleaning the laser cutter and never want to see it in that state again. Anyone seen to not be cleaning the machine after use will be given a warning. Repeat offences will see you banned from using the laser cutter.


Toby M

Laser cutter owner

Last call for return of temporary access cards

Please drop your access card, if you took one during the foyer works, back in the office drop box envelope, or mail to us at Makespace, 16 Mill Lane, CB2 1RX if you can’t get to the space.

We will be fined £50 for every card we don’t return!

10 March 2014

In today’s update: we want to know what you've been making, two kinds of party, important admin info, and a very important message about sawdust.

Access cards

Thanks for your patience whilst the temporary access was in place. Please return your temporary access card (if you took one) to the box in the foyer asap - if this is going to be difficult for you to do before March 17th please email laura.james @ and/or mail your card to Makespace office, 16 Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX.

Call for photographs

Do you have pictures of things you’ve made in Makespace, or events at Makespace? We’d love to have them on display at our Birthday Party! Email them to or add to our Flickr pool

Working party

Thanks to everyone who helped tidy up and fit shelves and more on the 1st, and also to those who arranged the lovely new chairs!

There’s still more to do - more photos, more posters, more cleaning, more freecycling of old chairs, more signs - helping make Makespace nicer for everyone and better for making. Do help out, and check the kitchen whiteboard or ask in the space or on the Google Group if you aren’t sure what would be useful (and if you know what would be useful, write it on the kitchen whiteboard!).

Recurly glitch

A few subscriptions which went out in early March were taken without VAT due to a glitch at our payment provider. If this happened to you, you’ll get a second payment of just the VAT bit taken in the next few days.

Do you like woodwork or metalwork?

I was working in the heavy eng lab this afternoon (Sunday 2nd) - and I was dismayed at the state of it.

The saws' bench was covered in sawdust. The bandsaw was covered in sawdust. The compound mitre saw was covered in sawdust. The floor in front was covered in sawdust.

And that last point is not being picky. Dry sawdust makes for a very slippery surface, and you absolutely don't want to lose your footing, pushing stock into the bandsaw. You might end up feeding rather more than wood into the blade.

Let's not forget also that sawdust makes rather good tinder, and the compound mitre saw can throw sparks when cutting metal. This is not a great combo.

I did not appreciate having to sort out other people's mess before I could do any work of my own.

It does not take long to vacuum after you've finished working. It's everyone's responsibility to clean up after themselves when they're done - and it's a safety issue too.

Don’t forget our birthday party!

7pm, Friday 28th March - meet, eat, chat, show & tell


This month's social event is our birthday party: hope to see you all there!

February 2014

Read on for important news about 24 Feb - 1 Mar Makespace use - and lots of exciting events!

Upcoming events

   Project speed dating: (25th Feb) (start/join a project)
   Feb Social night: (27th Feb)
   Marble machine making (4th March)
   1 Year party! (28th March)

Don’t forget that Thursdays are our regular maker night and a great chance to work on your projects with others at Makespace. Now is the perfect timing to get your projects finished for Show and Tell at our birthday party!

It’s our birthday!

Let’s celebrate a year of Makespace! We’ll have a birthday party from 7pm on Friday 28th March 2014. Members get first refusal on places - please RSVP but only if you are really going to attend as this will be a popular event.

Once you’ve all had a chance to RSVP we will open up invitations to the public and to special guests from our sponsors.

Important: notice about access to the space

From 24 February to 1 March (ish) asbestos removal works are taking place in the foyer just outside Makespace. Our front door will be out of action!

We will get special temporary access cards to enable you to get into Makespace through the fire exit door just past the toilets. These will be available to collect from the evening of Thursday 20th at Makespace; if you will need to get into Makespace between the 24th and 1st, please collect a card in advance. Note we will not have enough cards for everyone so don’t take one if you won’t need it!

If you are attending an event, you probably don’t need a card - please just knock on the door in the main space (the one which gives access to the bins). If you're running an event, please note you may need to inform non-members about unsual access arrangements and be listening out for knocks on the night.

We will need to return the cards so please keep hold of them and return them as soon as possible after the foyer is open again (we’ll have a box for them).

Many apologies for the inconvenience - we’ve only just had notification of these works from the landlord :(

Community messages -------------------------------
      • Why are you a Maker? Call for more participants!***

I'm looking for participants for a research project exploring why and how people become makers. Specifically, I'm interested in finding out how people acquire both the skills and enthusiasm to become lifelong makers, whether (and how) these skills and enthusiasm are passed on within families, and the extent to which making as a hobby is transposed into other domains of everyday life, such as repairing household items.

If you've been in MakeSpace recently you might have noticed my flyers on the noticeboards in the kitchen, classroom and outside the main makespace. I'm looking for people who are willing to have a 45-60 minute chat with me about their experiences of making. This could be arranged for a mutually convenient time and place. I'd particularly like to hear from some female makers, as all my participants so far have been male. (Although male makers, I would still like to hear from you...!)

If you'd like to participate, or if you'd like to find out more about the study, please contact me via xxxxx

Thank you!

Beck Collins

3d modelling communities

My name is Matthew, I am from the Horizon research department at the University of Nottingham. I am researching the motivations of designers, animators and users of online 3D modelling communities, and I currently have a questionnaire online to help me understand the different reasons for participating in 3D communities.

Additionally, If you are interested in the research or would like more information I am happy to discuss this with your team.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Matthew Terrell

Horizon Digital Economy DTC

University of Nottingham

January 2014

After the success of the Christmas party, we agreed we should have monthly social nights. The first is:

Thursday January 30th (that's this Thursday) from 7pm onwards

These events are relaxed and fun, and are a great chance to get to know other makers and chat to them about their projects.

If you haven't quite worked out what you will make in Makespace, or how you can help out and get involved with the community, these social nights are a brilliant starting point - whether you want inspiration from the gifts people made at Christmas, or are secretly just waiting to get roped into the robotic storage project!

It should be a mix of old (in membership terms) and new faces, so if you've become a member recently we strongly recommend it. You can drop in any time during the evening.

Hopefully we'll see you there!

December 2013

Hi everyone,

Read on for essential info about our laser cutter, news about Cambridge Geek Nights, how you can get new kit at Makespace, the Badger, and community messages about meetups for women in tech and research about why you are a maker.

Happy making in 2014,


Events - cambridge Geek Nights

Cambridge Geek Night last occurred at Makespace. We’ve got a great sponsor who pays for beers and wine, and it’s always a popular event. *But* we’d need to make it happen! If anyone would be up for fixing a date and booking a couple of speakers, *you* could be the new Geek Night organiser and win the gratitude of geeks across town. Get in touch with Laura laura.james @ if you’re interested and she’ll put you in touch with sponsor & holder of the twitter account @CamGeekNight etc.

Want a 3D scanner? Want textiles kit? YOU can MAKE IT HAPPEN!

We have active threads on list about textiles and a 3D scanner. If you’d be willing to help select the right kit, help acquire it and get it set up with inductions and so on, then we can get these exciting new items! Just reply on the list to say you’re able to help out - and you can be part of making Makespace better.

Textiles (sewing, embroidery, hackable knitting machines)!topic/cammakespace/vcH2v3IYH8Y

3D scanning!searchin/cammakespace/scanner/cammakespace/rWY6MTEwiTU/yKRsn9WIge8J

Being a kit “owner” means arranging a purchase/delivery; working out a risk assessment (we have templates!); working out what induction is needed (if any), and helping train people if so. Ideally we have several owners for each item of kit so it’s not too big a commitment and you can work together. No previous experience with the kit is needed!

Laser cutter - PLEASE READ!

The lasercutter is obviously one of Makespace’s most popular pieces of equipment and the availability recently has not been as good as we would like. In a number of cases this has been because of mistreatment or carelessness by members causing damage to what is a delicate piece of equipment.

Realigning the mirrors correctly can take an hour and requires one of the owners to be available to make these adjustments.

As those who have been trained on the cutter ought to be aware:-

Dropping the lid suddenly or crashing the waste draw into the machine WILL knock the mirrors out of alignment.

Never leave the lid half up; it will fall down.

Failing to spot a flame quickly WILL result in damage to the lenses and mirrors, recently the focus alignment tab actually got melted by a fire.

We have had several reports of people not watching the cutter adequately while it is working and this should not be happening.

As with other Health and Safety issues in the Space, if you see something going on which is unsafe you should challenge it. In the case of the cutter if you see someone not watching their job go and press the pause button on the machine and remind them to watch it.

We also seem to have an issue where people seem to think that the machine is ‘self-cleaning’, it isn’t! MDF and Ply in particular will leave residue on the bed which is gets much harder to remove with time. It only take a few minutes to clean the bed at the end of your job.

First Aid

Although Makespace cannot provide trained first aiders at any time, Makespace encourages its members and participating partner groups to investigate how they can provide first aid cover for themselves and their guests.

A dedicated course for appointed persons is provided by for £35 per person. In addition to the requirements of an appointed person, it includes basic first aid training at a lower level than the formal Emergency First Aid at Work or First at Work courses.

There are many first aid trainers available and Makespace does not specify what level or type of training clients or partner groups should have. Examples of training providers for the one day Emergency First Aid at Work course and cost: for £110 per person. for £350 for 12 students. for £395 for up to 12 students.

The “Badger”

We want to make it easier for members – particularly new members – to get to know who’s who in the space. To this end, we’ve instituted a project to allow you to use your tag to print a label for yourself whenever you enter the space. It’s not required, but it’s encouraged.

The project has now reached beta status. It has been installed at the end of the tables in the main space.

To print a label, just touch your tag to the reader. If your tag is seen for the first time, you will be asked to enter your details. If you want to edit your details, hold down the “edit” button whilst you touch your tag to the reader.

For the technically minded, the code is written in Python and runs under Ubuntu. It uses a USB-connected tag reader from ib technology, and a Dymo “LabelWriter 450” printer. It is installed on an Acer One netbook. Code quality is awful  –  I was focussing on learning the technologies involved so it has “grown organically”, to put it politely. Anyone who’d like to get involved in adding features or improving the code is encouraged to do so. The software is available at

Community messages

      • Meet-up for women and digital tech ***

Hi, I'm Jessica and I'm starting a monthly meet-up for women and digital technology. The group format and topics will be directed by the needs of it's members. We will have events, talks and/or workshops on a variety of topics depending on what the members want.

I am a visual artist interested in using digital technology and data visualisation. I have used visual programming languages such as Isadora and Pure Data and I would like to build on this. Other topics of interest include: Data visualisation, Processing, Internet of things, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, DJ software, Visual effects software

If you are interested in getting involved, please email me at xxxxx

Thanks, Jess

      • Why are you a Maker? ***

I'm looking for participants for a research project exploring why and how people become makers. Specifically, I'm interested in finding out how people acquire both the skills and enthusiasm to become lifelong makers, whether (and how) these skills and enthusiasm are passed on within families, and the extent to which making as a hobby is transposed into other domains of everyday life, such as repairing household items.

If you've been in MakeSpace recently you might have noticed my flyers on the noticeboards in the kitchen, classroom and outside the main makespace. I'm looking for people who are willing to have a 45-60 minute chat with me about their experiences of making. This could be arranged for a mutually convenient time and place.

If you'd like to participate, or if you'd like to find out more about the study, please contact me via xxxxx

Thank you!


November 2013

Here’s the latest Makespace updates including:
  • new stuff
  • weekly maker nights
  • monthly member nights
  • how you can help
  • Christmas party & Christmas maker morning
  • purchasing things for Makespace
  • have you made something cool lately?
  • Community messages
-  Hack the Lab

New stuff

  • Makespace has a ceiling-mounted projector and a proper screen in the main space! Many thanks to Brian, Roger and others who made this happen.
  • the cafe space has nice sofas and comfy chairs
  • The Laser Cutter has a new tube so is much happier
  • Experimenting with ways to increase the number of inductions on popular kit - please bear with us, we know we need more inductions and are doing our best to balance the demand for induction, our available volunteers (everyone offering inductions and training and running makespace is an unpaid volunteer!), and to make sure everything is suitably safe.
  • We’re up to 170 members!

Weekly maker nights

Thursday nights from 7:30ish are now member maker nights - a chance to drop by the space and hang out or make things with others. By providing a specific time we hope it’s easier to bump into people and know there will be others around.

(On alternate Wednesdays (next up, 4th December) from around 7:30 will be admin night, when there will be a slightly higher chance of some of us being in the space to process invoices, improve our website/IT systems, and do other general admin.)

Monthly Members nights

Once a month it’s Members night - a chance to make stuff, eat pizza, chat, recruit people to help with your project or Makespace improvement activity, and help with each other’s projects. It’s a great way to get involved with Makespace stuff in general too.

The first of these will coincide with the Christmas party! (see below)

How you can help

The more people who do a little bit to help Makespace operate the better the space is for everyone! We are all volunteers and spreading the load really helps.

There will very shortly be a whiteboard in the space with a list of little tasks you could get started with! Also you’ll be able to add tasks you spot to it :)

For example, if you fancy building stuff, we need to shelve the kitchen alcove so we can put mugs and snacks somewhere. We need to fit the bar table in the cafe area to match the kitchen one.

If you are a coder, especially with Ruby skills, why not help improve our induction system? Contact Phil Cowan if you can help!

Christmas party & Christmas making morning

Let’s have a party! We can eat food, hang out, admire/help with each other’s projects. The party will happen from 7pm on Wednesday December 11th and all members and their guests are welcome.

Bring some drinks or nibbles! We’ll provide some drinks and hot and cold snacks too using the surplus from the Kitchen Honesty Box too.

And don’t miss Christmas making morning on Saturday December 7th

Purchasing things for Makespace

Sorry to all those who had problems with purchases this autumn including delayed approvals and reimbursements. We’re back on top of things now and hope the replacement parts on the laser cutter and UP printer are working well.

If you want to purchase things, read about how to do this:

If you have any worries about how things are working please tell us, on the Google Group, the Forum, or by emailing

Have you made something cool lately?

We’d love to feature it on our blog! Examples of interesting projects, events, hackdays Makespace teams have won, and more, all welcome. Send your write up and photos if you have them - even if it’s just a couple of sentences - to

If you’re planning a cool event or build, let us know so we can tweet and facebook it to spread the word in advance! Again just mail

Community messages

Potential Hack the Lab event

The following message is from Jenny Molloy xxxxx - please contact Jenny if you’re interested!

I would like to organise an event entitled 'Hack the Lab', looking at how a maker attitude and open hardware could help experimental scientists (with a focus on life scientists) to work more cost effectively by building and fixing generic and custom lab equipment.

I envisage this as a two day event in Feb/Mar 2014 with around 50 attendees working on a small number (3-4) of pre-planned projects but free to introduce their own ideas.

The grand vision is to explore a decentralised system of manufacture for basic lab equipment, I'm a molecular biologist and regularly order lab equipment components which could be 3D printed (or otherwise manufactured) locally for a very low cost. This is just a small project to offer a couple of examples of what might be done in this direction and hopefully inspire some other researchers to think about the possibilities for their own work.

The format would be a weekend very much in the NHS Hackday style: problem pitches, doing stuff for as long a span of time as possible, demos/feed-back. Constant supply of coffee and biscuits. I will invite some people with funding/media/policy influence along for the demos and wrap-up.

I would hope to hold the event during March (thinking about it, probably the second half to give a decent span of preparation time), engage some key contributors before Christmas and start advertising at the very start of the New Year. I can get a website/wiki/sign-up system/marketing materials etc together over Christmas. I foresee the main logistics difficulty beyond having enough hosts that are appropriately trained to use the Makespace equipment will be ensuring that appropriate components and supplies are ordered in advance. This will require significant organisation and pre-posting of ideas above and beyond what usually happens for software based hack days.

October 2013


A quick update email! If you read no further please take a couple of minutes to tell us how Makespace is working for you.

Many thanks from Laura, Jonny & Simon.

Talk to us! Talk to each other!

The Google Group for chat about Makespace and Making:!forum/cammakespace (remember you can use the group online like a forum if you don't fancy getting emails)

IRC: #makespace on Freenode, also available via the web If you aren't familiar with IRC, there's help about IRC.

We'd love to see more of you in IRC :) It's a great way to keep in touch without email.

Use the space

We'd love to see more regular (and irregular!) events - it's easy to organise something at Makespace, just book the time on ! Check the wiki for more info.


We are up to 158 paying members! We have just opened up a special student deal where membership is limited to term times (same monthly rate as everyone else). Welcome new folks! 150 looked like an important milestone but it's flown past without us noticing properly.

Making Makespace better

We will be doing various reviews in the next 2 months to see how financially sustainable we are, and also looking at reviewing our processes such as induction, purchasing etc, now that we've been open 6 months and have a better idea of how things work in practice. If you'd like to get more involved do get in touch with or give us feedback via email or preferably in the short feedback survey.


We've had some real issues lately with mess - sawdust piled around, tools not put away, important bits and bobs left under benches etc. Please ensure you leave the space as you would wish to find it! This weekend several people are going to go in to do a deep clean and tidy to get things in a better state - do help if you can. We don't want to have to take drastic enforcement or surveillance action; but Makespace is run entirely by volunteers and there are no magic cleaning fairies. If you don't clean up, no one else will. And if you leave the space messy, people will leave and we'll have to close. Don't ruin a good thing for everyone.

Laser Cutter inductions

A message from Tony

Over the next two weeks I am hoping to run 2 laser cutter induction sessions (provisionally on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 30th). I am aware that there are a lot of existing members that have not yet had a chance to do the training and that often training slots end up going to new members (who are probably more active about checking Meetup).

To try and make the system fairer I am intending to try an experiment. If you would like to attend one of these sessions please reply to this thread [on the google group, or mail Toby directly]. Please include how long you have been a member for and which slot(s) you can manage. I will then offer three of the four slots to people on this list, and the fourth I will offer to the whole group via Meetup. If the offered slots are still available 24 hours in advance then I will open them to the waiting list on Meetup.

Tell us what you think!

A short survey so we can understand what Makespace is doing right and what we can improve:

August 2013


Many thanks for your support of Makespace by being a member. Here's a summary of recent activity and changes in the space, and what's coming up:

We have a great deal more equipment: If you're a fan of (or keen to get started with) any of the kit why not volunteer to be a community owner? Owners of specific bits of equipment make sure it's in order, that consumables are available, and support and induct other members in using it. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, especially as we get larger teams of owners, and it helps Makespace be better for all of us.

We've also changed the layout of the space, to make some kit more accessible in the main space (laser cutter, CNC Mill, vacuum former) and to add more equipment in the workshop. The separate 'classroom' is still available for events, and we've furnished the second upstairs room with sofas. The stock of snacks and drinks is better than ever, too, and the aircon is fully operational :) There are still a few bits of work to do, such as adding a window bench in the cafe and shelves in the kitchen, and setting up some new second hand equipment such as small mills; talk to others in the space or on our Google Group[1] to get involved.

Our events programme has been quieter with the summer holidays, but even so we've had some great things happening, including

  • Dorkbot Anglia 12, featuring Richard Hoadley a composer who works with algorithms, Colin Dewar who has created an automatic random art generator from an old Super 8 projector, and Tom Scott is a Multimedia artist incorporating Raspberry Pi and more.
  • Project speed-dating, a chance to meet others and explore ideas for working together
  • A new Arduino And Cake series
  • A special Maker Night featuring Sugru to make and fix things, to produce new Instructables for people to reuse around the world
  • Other talks, and many other regular meetups, including Cambridge Mac Developers, GameSpace, K1 Cohousing, Cambridge Clojure, & Pi-makers, and Arty Crafty Maker Night.

We'd love to see more regular (and irregular!) events - it's easy to organise something at Makespace, just book the time on !

As ever, please spread the word of Makespace to others (we have posters, stickers and cards on the table by the entrance door), and do come along and use Makespace. If you have any feedback about Makespace, good or bad, please post on the Google Group[1] if you are happy to share, or email if you'd prefer to keep it confidential to the Directors, Jonny, Simon and me.

We're hoping to kick off the autumn season once people are back from holidays with some public events including Maker Nights and more. There are also ideas for some big community projects underway. Get involved! Find out more at the space, in the Google Group, or try our IRC channel [2] to chat with other Cambridge area makers.

Best regards,


[1] Google Group:!forum/cammakespace [2] IRC: #makespace on Freenode, also available via the web If you aren't familiar with IRC, there's help about IRC