Fun at the Fun Palace

Last Saturday (18th June) the Lancaster and Morecambe Makers were hosting a ‘Gadget Destruction’ workshop as a part of the Lancaster Mini Fun Palace.

What is Gadget Destruction?

Well it is as simple as it says on the tin, it is a chance to take apart gadgets and items and see how they tick.

The theory works like this:

We all pass through the stage of wanting to pull apart things to see how they work (some of us never leave that stage). Often though we do not get the chance. If they are functional then our parents/guardians and siblings might be a little miffed if we take a screwdriver to the items. If they are broke we may not be praised for the mess or potential danger.

The destruction of gadgets creates a lot of e-waste
The destruction of gadgets creates a lot of e-waste

Gadget Destruction with the local Makers gets around that issue. We have a bunch of adults who have happily taken things apart for years and sometimes put them back together, fixed, or as essential components in something new.

We also have a lot of experience in guessing a function by what the item is connected to, and we learned those from friends, books, the internet, TV and by pulling stuff apart. We like to share in taking things apart and we want to make sure that people learn the skill in doing that. It isn’t just by force (though occasionally force is used) mostly it is by working out the many ways that things are fixed, learning how to take it apart helps in learning how to put it back together.

We are also experienced in knowing what can be a danger before you take a screwdriver to it (so we took away batteries and other hazardous items that were easy to remove or taken out during the destruction process).

How Went the Day?

We had a great time. Thanks to a whole load of gadgets donated to take apart, laptops, monitors, desktops and other assorted paraphernalia. Some people even brought their own.

We had a spectacular group of people who came to visit us. I didn’t have time to count how many came through but at one point there were twenty children between ages three to twelve, with their parents, all taking something apart.

Taking things apart
Children of all ages studiously taking things apart

The Library staff and Fun Palace organisers were very helpful and very supportive and seemed to love allowing us to cause a small area of mayhem in the centre of the library (we did however clean up after ourselves).

Cleaning up after the event
Cleaning up after the event

The kids loved it. I had parents telling me that their normally fidgety children had spent three hours quietly destroying things. But it wasn’t really destruction, it was just messy education 😉

The thrill of being able to pull apart a laptop, or a TV or a toaster was exhilarating and liberating. The look of delight on faces when asked ‘what can I take apart’ and you answer ‘want to pull the rare magnets out of a laptop?’.

As for me, I brought along a five year old who loved being able to take apart a laptop and spent a good twenty minutes playing with diffusers from a television. It was ace.

Ben and the diffuser
Ben and the diffuser

So even though I was a part of this and loved being on the ground on the day, I want to say thanks to all my fellow LAMMers. This includes those who couldn’t make it on the day but helped in the preparation and take down of the event. You’re all stars.

PAD-03 laser control panel

Our Just Add Sharks Greyfin laser cutter is an awesome piece of kit supplied by a UK based company who really love to engage with their customers – in short Dominic and Martin are awesome community players who love the hackspace movement as much as we do.

But what happens when you want functionality that your machine doesn’t provide? Perhaps you want people to log in and record the timings for billing purposes.

Continue reading PAD-03 laser control panel