Our brand new giant machine took its first few baby steps yesterday… did it’s first real-world cut, and its first ever job.
I feel like a proud parent
Anyway… once you start seeing examples (which we’ll post over the coming days, weeks, months etc), your mind will probably start brimming over with ideas… and it will probably help to know which software works best.
There are a fair few different applications for doing 2D and 3D stuff… a lot of people use Autocad, Rhino etc… All of these work – we can take any .STL file, and a fair few other file-formats (that may require a bit of tweaking)… so use whatever you feel comfortable with….
If you’re interested in learning something new though, or would like to streamline the process, saving time/money… we recommend the following:
This is a series of 3D apps that are downloadable for free – a little easier and more intuitive to use than those preferred by hardcore CAD jazz-purists. This includes software that can turn photographs into 3D models. It can also turn your designs into machine-ready slices.
Which saves a phenomenal amount of work.
This is a series of apps that you can download as trial versions… you can use these to create your models. We can then use our licensed copy to create your creations. This software is incredibly useful because it calculates all the tool-paths, and allows you to see how long each job will take, based on material.
- Cut3D : to create cool 3D models ready for machining on our router.
- Cut 2D : to create your 2D cut toolpaths for use on our router.
- VCarve Pro : to create awesome Carvings and models and 2D for use on our router.
All of these applications have a bit of a learning-curve attached, but the power of them is fairly phenomenal, and well worth the effort.
The laser cutter is in the process of being stripped-down, calibrated, improved… should be up and running in the coming week. We will make another post for 2D software when we figure it out
Ponoko recommend Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW or and have made some fantastic tutorials for laser-cutting… we’ll provide more detail for our laser-cutter’s software requirements/abilities when we find out what they are.Comment here
Ok, so we’ve finally cracked, and started using Pinterest….
partly to show off the sort of thing we’re capable of making,
partly to act as inspiration… as “seed” ideas
partly because we just like playing with Pinterest.
It’s a social sort of thing though… we’d be interested to see what you’re interested in
A Massive Welcome to Steve Almond…
… wandering, Itinerant Product Design Genius, on sabbatical from the UK, and lending his talents to our humble endevour.
An emergent trait of the (emergent) maker movement seems to be a variant of the Digital Gypsy thing… which was made possible by being able to work remotely over the web. (I’ve gone through phases of this myself – setting up for a month in Estonia or Prague (places that are interesting and tech-friendly (ie: free Wifi everywhere) and with cheap rent)(and cheap beer))…
… which is all well and good, but… you wind up spending an awful lot of time doing what you would be doing at home, which is sitting in front of a laptop… and I’ve found that in the time where you’re not, you wind up doing what travelers have been doing since time began, and that’s propping up the corner of some foreign bar.
It’s a bit insular.
The wandering hacker circuit kindof offers a way out of this… as evidenced by Hacker Passports turning up…
Which is a neat idea – get a stamp for each place you visit. Not sure if the passport will be a lasting thing or not… but the “having like-minded people to hook up with anywhere in the world” aspect of it is something I’ve been searching for for years… and it does kindof underline the “embracing of the world” which is one of the central philosphies of the maker movement. It isn’t just digital networking. Physical is a vital part of it. Turning up is 90% of winning.
Now… how The-Wandering-Hacker thing works out economically I don’t know – because one of the things about Digital Gypsydom as practiced by telecommuters, is that it is economically sustainable. Web-Design pays for your contemporary-urban-living-space.
There is a long (well, pre-industrial) history of travelling artisans (the life-blood of The Renaissance)… and I think the key question is: “how can a travelling maker, make money to sustain a travelling habit?”… because if you’re not making money as you go, you’re basically “on holiday”… which is a temporary escape from “work”… and I’m not sure that “work” as we know it (ie: the industrial model) has much of a future. There is a lot more energy, agility and innovation among networks of micro-businesses and freelancers… and although we’re in the worst recession since the 1930s, and in a transitional-phase, which promises to be never-ending… it’s also a more resilient way of operating. In the words of Hugh MacLeod
I don’t have an answer to this… how to “earn as you go”. It’s one of the ways that The Wellington Makerspace differs from other hackerspaces though… we are specifically interested in generating incomes for our people.
And apropos to that, Steve has a background in Product Design, Furniture Design and Industrial Design… and is available for interesting projects in New Zealand, for the next month or so. Get in touch.
His website/portfolio is here, and on it is this:
Which is the coolest thing I have ever seen.
It is simply entitled “C” – and is conceived by artist Andrew Small. Steve did all the CAD/manufacturing/planning designs that made it happen.
It is a sister piece to Second Sun… “marking the end of myth and alluding to scientific measurement”. It is in commemoration of The Venerable Bede who (in his De Ratione Temporum) calculated the correct date for Easter… mentioning in passing that “Easter” is in fact the name of the Germanic instantiation of the Mother/Fertility Goddess. Ishtar to you.
But I digress… When Easter Sunday falls on 4/4, C is in alignment with the sun and the lighthouse
And (as is the way with all good monolyths) is full of stars.
It is made out of 12 tons of mirror-surfaced Indian granite, so will probably last longer than Stonehenge.
A busy week came and went… we’re now THREE DAYS away from the arrival of our super-machines, although it may take a little longer than that to get them from their initial A (on the docks), to their eventual B (upstairs at 6 Vivian Street).
We’ve decided to re-vibe the Friday evening get-togethers… mainly because the whole thing was turning into a bit of a beer-fest, and the presence of alcohol introduces biases that we’re not really sure we want to encourage. It all tends to go a bit blokey… and some of the most interesting Creatives we’ve met, don’t actually drink.
So… instead of spending whole haystacks of money on beer, we’re going to get a big flash shiny coffee machine, and turn the whole thing into a) more of a foodie-thing and b) more of a place where people can show off stuff that they’re doing.
So… welcome all ye creatives – bring cake
In addition to that of course… our Super machines are arriving in 3 days… and do be fair, a fair few of our machines are already pretty super… eg:
And I don’t even want to imagine having to explain to someone’s family “there’s been an accident… we were drinking…”
So we’re now a beer-free zone.Comment here
EXT . A STREET IN WELLINGTON . DAY
NICK and LEE are walking down a city street. Lee is wearing his painting-and-decorating clothes. Nick is wearing what could probably be described as a suit… like a plumber about to make a court appearance… but suspiciously DIY-looking. He also appears to have “done something” with his hair.
NICK : So are we going to try to stay on-message then?
LEE : Yea, totally
NICK : Yea. Agreed. We totally should. Totally stay on message. Right.
NICK : So… um… what is it?
LEE : What’s what dude?
NICK : Our um… … … message
LEE : Don’t say anything too political
NIC : Eh? What kind of of message is that? It’s like saying “I’m not an astrologer, or I’m not into origami or something”
LEE : But you are into origami.
NICK : Who me?
LEE (imitating Nick ): Who me? LOL, I don’t see anyone else here, you talkin to me? you talkin to me?
NICK : Yea, yea – LOL, You talkin to me? Taxi Driver. You talkin to me? Genius
NICK (changing up a gear) : Yea, yea – brilliant – Have you seen that French one with the skinheads and whatnot where he goes “you talkin to me, you talkin to me” in a mirror and the camera kindof zooms through him so there must have been two skinheads pretending to be the same one… you only realise how weird it is if you really analyze the scene – La Haine… great film
NICK : Anyway some of the Origami that’s turning up in the internets now is amazing – there’s been this mega-quantum leap in quality… kindofa 2001 aSpaceOddesy moment… same thing’s happened with lego and Rube Goldberg machi’… oh hang on, we’re here.
they enter a pair of tinted glass doors… “KIWI FM RADIO”…
… the camera lingers on the street while a person talking arm-wavingly on a bluetooth headset does one of those “get past each other on the pavement” dances with someone coming the other way, eating a heisenburger. A car toots, and a worried looking person with an empty shopping trolley scurries past at right-angles.
We were on the radio t’other day.
On Access Radio with Jen and Laura : Play Episode
And talked about by Msbehaviour on Kiwi FM here:
and there was also a writeup about tinkerers and creators by Esther Goh on Idealog.co.nz
So a special and huge thank-you to everyone who helped
One of our core-principles is that we’re not spending any money on advertising – but are instead making/doing things, that are interesting enough for people to talk about. We’re going to try to “make news” rather than buy it… because we can’t really afford to buy it anyway… and word-of-mouth is so much more authentic.
La Haine Mirror Scene
Watch the camera. God knows how long it took to set that up, and I bet 99% of the people who have seen this film don’t even notice it.Comment here
Every Friday evening at the Makerspace is a “drop by for a beer or whatever” session – it’s a really good way for people who are doing interesting things to meet other people who are also doing interesting things – because when skills and perspectives intersect, the combination is a lot more dynamic and interesting than the sum of its parts. Shit happens.
Anyway, during various conversations etc, I mentioned a couple of bits from a couple of videos, and having watched them again today, I thought I’d post them here… because we keep getting asked to do interviews, and we haven’t really got our heads around what we want to say yet – but these two videos are kindof relevant.
One is from Vinay Gupta… and is to do with Open Source… everything… cogently describing why/how it can massively alleviate not only the amount of suffering and death in the world, but also our exploding population… because the one thing that seems to be strongly coupled with population-growth, is child-mortality-rate. Counter intuitive (from a tabloidesque level of reasoning) but apparently true. Faith in numbers.
Anyhoo… this may (or may not) be what this makerspace winds up engaging with – but this is what we care about (and we care a lot)… we have a bias towards saving the world. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. We’re activists… I think everyone is these days, but the Makerspace is specifically a piece of activism.
The other video is Douglas Rushkoff who speaks (initially) on the nature of transparency… this is entirely what we’re about… not through any lofty set of beliefs, or worthy mission-statements… but because there isn’t a clear divide between the makerspace and its “customers”. What we are is more like a network of contractors/freelancers and micro-businesses… or people who aren’t businesses at all, but are just doing interesting stuff… and people who aren’t even people, but are machines or plants. The Cloud. We’re a symbiote. We’re an environment. We’ve got to be.
This makes for a very open model… which possibly ought not come as any surprise, because we live on the internet, and the divide between “work and non-work” is non-existent.
And this is one of our ambitions I guess… to give this freedom from “work” to other people… to act as a kind of micro-business incubator, for people who have passions that they would otherwise be unable to pursue. When your passion becomes the filter through which you see the world, opportunities come out of nowhere, work stops being work, and “what you do” becomes “who you are”. Ponoko did this for me – and now we’re aiming to do it for other people.
Anyway – Douglas Rushkoff:
The great thing about working with Lee, is that he likes working late (kindof) and when you come back in the morning, little miracles have appeared.
Today’s one was this:
That wasn’t there yesterday. Rock-solid bench with drilly, polishy things on it. Brilliant. Yesterday that was just a concrete column and some floor. I painted the column. And quite a lot of the floor as it happens.
It’s in the middle of our main room… we have 5 of them (well… 6… ) – one big room, where all the main power-tool type work happens – this is where the big (really big – 3m long) CNC mill and the laser cutter (smaller, but still big) will live. We need to cut holes in the walls for extractor fans and such. The big room is the wood-paneled one here:
We’ve rented an entire floor of a building on Vivian Street
That’s Marie Claire on the phone outside – her main role is to provide professional oversight and make sure we don’t do anything stupid, and we’d never have got this far without her. That’s Lee’s van. I’m sitting on a sofa on the first floor of the building behind the van… writing this. From the future etc.
Anyway – coming off the main room are 4 smaller rooms…
…two are for quiet stuff – 3D printing, soldering, editing, tinkering etc etc… they’re the ones with the plants
In addition to those, we have a chemistry lab… which at the time of this photo, was very much a work in progress… and still is a bit.
And on the other side, there’s a composites room – for doing fumy stuff like fibreglassing etc.
Which we still haven’t really got it together to populate yet… but we will, we will.
The main reason we’re able to afford to do this – to rent this place, is that it was in a bit of a state when we first turned up, and it’s taken a solid month of building/painting etc for (on average) 2 people to get it into a state that’s useable. All of the benches etc used to be the ceiling. We’ve recycled.
So anyway… there it is.
More tomorrow.Comment here
Welcome to the Wellington Makerspace.
The site is now live… launched (as all good sites are) at midnight, when the site-launcher is far too tired and confused to write anything coherent… so for now, will leave you with some photos and a video.
This is the beginning. Things will get better. Things will get a lot better. Tomorrow…