10 July 2023

Make your wildest ideas come true at the ANU MakerSpace pop-up

| James Day
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Embroidered hoops with sewed in electrical circuits on a blueprint.

One of the activities at the pop-up will be sewable electronics, which Jordan says is “a great fusion of two typically gendered disciplines”. Photo: Jordan Haddrick.

Inside the ANU campus bubble, there’s a workshop of great minds helping scientists, artists and engineers put together their work. For the first time ever, the MakerSpace workshop will be open to the public as a pop-up for Uncharted Territory festival.

The pop-up features a variety of machines that can vacuum-form moulds, cut with lasers and 3D print. There will also be a team of big-brained technical officers like Jordan Haddrick to guide people along the way in making their crafts.

Jordan does a variety of work in keeping the MakerSpaces on campus running smoothly, teaching, advising and working with students and academics to execute the ideas they come in with.

“Recently we’ve had a lot of people come through from the Research School of Biology to make devices that train and test parrots on their cognitive abilities,” he said.

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Makerspaces are similar to quilting circles, men’s sheds or libraries in their community role, but have a more educational focus given some people learn more by doing. According to Jordan, students often learn how their theoretical models don’t necessarily work in the real world.

But at the pop-up, it’s mostly going to be about the fun of creating something at the end of the day.

While the workshops are already booked out, Jordan encourages anyone interested to come along to visit and speak with the MakerSpace crew, who will be on hand to help make their idea.

One of the tools available is a small vacuum-forming mould-making machine commonly used for industrial processes. If you’ve ever popped a chocolate out of a plastic box container, that mould it sits within is what these machines produce.

Jordan says you’ll be able to make a custom mould of your own design, so you can take them home and melt some Cadbury into them for a gift or movie night snack.

If you bring a tote bag or t-shirt to the MakerSpace, you’ll be able to print any image or text that you can think of onto it with the vinyl cutting machine.

“My partner just the other day drew on a piece of paper, took a photo, uploaded it to the computer software, and before you knew it had the image printed on the bag she takes to the shops,” Jordan said.

Laser cut earrings.

Some acrylic earrings made from a laser-cutting machine. Photo: Jordan Haddrick.

Visitors to the MakerSpace will have the chance to try their hand with tools that are generally expensive to use. There will also be 3D printers, which attendants can teach people to use to make name tags as another accessory for their bags. And people will be able to make jewellery or earrings out of acrylic using a laser cutting machine.

A lesser-known craft on offer is sewable electronics. Before electronic circuits were printed on a board they were actually sewn, which this throwback activity will allow people to do.

“We usually put a few LED lights on a hoop that you will be able to embroider with all sorts of different designs,” Jordan said.

The ANU MakerSpace pop-up will be at the Kambri Cultural Centre from 7-16 July for Uncharted Territory Festival.

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