October sees the annual, full-weekend, Lancaster fun Palace return to Lancaster Library and just as we did in June LAMM will be playing a great part.
LAMM will be holding two great mini-builds as part of their series of Fun Palace events. Last time we were at the Library LAMM successfully entertained you with the very popular Gadget Destruction event which saw us, and you, tear up a host of gadgets and computer equipment to demystify modern electronics and find reusable parts (watch the video here). This time our theme is construction.
For our two day events we will be holding two different workshops, continuously throughout both days. The first if Build A Bug and the second Save Your Mobile.
Build A Bug
Kids and adults will love this workshop as we teach you how to build your own small wooden bug from a range of coloured wooden parts. There are a host of shapes to choose from in a variety of colours which will mean that bugs can be individualised by you and your child. The fun doesn’t stop there. Our bugs have light up eyes, or legs, or wings, but probably eyes, as we add a battery and some LEDs to the build.
This workshop will allow young minds to blossom in a creative and fun project and teach them elements of construction, design and simple electronics. Best of all they get to take the bug home at the end.
Save Your Mobile
How many of us have an electronic device, a mobile or small media device, that has an easy to scratch screen, or a shiny case that picks up every scratch or dent of the pocket or bag we toss it into. Sure you could buy a case or a pouch for it, but anyone can do that…
LAMM will show you how to build your own pouch out of simple materials using a traditional method that is hundreds of years old. Learn a traditional craft with a mini-loom and make a pouch for your device that is as individual to you as you want it to be. Once again you can take away your creation after the end of the workshop.
A Thank You
Materials for the construction of both bugs and covers have been kindly donated by LAMM (members) and by Lune Crafts. Build A Bug is based on an original design developed by Hacman (the Manchester Hackspace).
…a bit more info
You can see more details about this event on the Lancaster Fun Palace Website:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Nothing to do during half term? Want to come and find out what you can do in a Makerspace?
One of our smaller LAMM members will be hosting an open session aimed at younger people who want to learn what a Makerspace is and there will be hands on stuff to do, play with and make. Adults also welcome, especially if accompanied by a young person 😉
When: Wednesday 17th Feb from 12pm to 5pm.
Where: LAMM Space, Unit 5 Sharpes Mill, White Cross Business Park, Lancaster, LA1 4XS
What: A whole host of interesting possibilities!
We will have small robots to play with like the MBot. You can use an app or a remote control to send it around the Space, or you can programme it to follow the path you want:
Or maybe you want to have a go at making yourself a key ring on the laser cutter or a paper shape on the Silhouette cutter…
Or have a school bag that lights up in the dark…
Or maybe you just have some almost-broken charger cables that need a little Sugru to “hack it better”…
Or maybe you have something you want to take to bits to see how it’s made, or learn to solder, or learn how to use a 3D printer (we have several 3D printers in the Space).
Come with a plan, or come to experiment.
Most of all, come and be a Maker!
(For the health and safety conscious, there will be at least one adult full member present at all times, and children must be accompanied by an adult.)
So recently we decided to run a Wine and Cheese night, for all the members to get together and chat, drink wine, and eat cheese! Helpful, as several of us members enjoy Cheese, Wine (or in this case, Port), and each others company.
After the initial sorting out, including Claire cutting some signs for each Cheese out of Acrylic on the Laser Cutter, we started digging in – many thanks to Ian and Claire for sourcing the Cheese, and Mark and Louis for sourcing many of the Chutneys on show.
There was a large selection of cheese, as can be seen above – the most popular was unarguably the Snowdonia Original, although the Irish Original Porter dissapeared soon after. An unusual one was the Sticky Toffee Cheddar, which was… well, sticky and tasted of toffee. Interesting in a non-disgusting way by all accounts.
All in all, a wonderful event, with only one dissapointed member – Ben the dog, who was on crumb watching duty the whole evening.
If you missed this event, and would like to see us do it again (or something completely different!) Then let us know, or if you would like to organise an event, then again, let us know!
So this weekend on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th of March we had our first major hack the space day, and much was achieved!
Workshop area now has a chip board flooring to prevent us causing damage to the laminate flooring in Unit 5
Kitchen worktops are cut to length and fixed to the units
Big shelving units are screwed to the walls
Donated equipment and parts were moved from the Shadowcat offices to the space
Laser was moved location along with the PC (including some comedy moments of Bob discovering how thin the metal was and bending it)
Laser modified to replace the USB cabling so the software licence dongle lives inside connected to a USB hub all nice and neat
Laser usage counter box purchased and wired up at one end. We worked out where to connect it in the cutter but didn’t quite get to connecting it due to lack of ferrels
Tested issue with datum button for Just Add Sharks – don’t press the datum button in Z mode with the honeycomb and slotted beds in as it will crash the head. The limit switch now needs moving
TV donated by Graham as spares or repair was mounted on the wall and the first signs of issue started to show with it. Percussive maintenance fixed this so there’s probably a dry or loose joint that we need to find
Blew up the new board for the 3d printer that Bob brought with him (whoops – looks like the power connector was soldered to the board the wrong way around)
Got the chip from the new board to work on the old Gen7 3d printer board gaining a working board out of two not working boards
PAT tested the pillar drill, which passed!
PAT tested a PSU from Ian’s house, which failed and went back home with him in disgrace
Realised that we can’t run the extractor past 21:00 in the evening as it’s too noisy for the surrounding houses – sorry to the people who rang up to point this out. Noted and we will stop at 21:00 in future.
So all in all a very productive couple of days! Massive thanks to Bob Clough from Hackspace Manchester (Hackman) who came up to see us to use the laser cutter and and help out. The A-Maze-Balls project is looking very exciting in the flesh (that’s what Bob was cutting out).
Come and see for yourself at our open evening this and every Wednesday from 18:00 onwards!
A-Maze-Balls box being cut:
Laser cutter in new location on top of chipboard flooring: