The innovative, diverse world of makers

Victoria Makerspace hosts its first Mini Maker Faire to bring together other Island do-it-yourselfers

Vanessa Pattison of the Victoria Makerspace peers through the 3D printer in the computing workshop at a black skull created by the machine. The Makerspace in Central Saanich is home to a diverse range of tools.

On a desk below a bright window sits a wooden cube, a rainbow mess of wires spraying from its top and sides forming a 3D printer. Four metres away sits a mini beer brewery that looks like a 1920s refrigerator in dull black. Under one of the taps, a plastic cup has a skiff of  brew in the bottom.

Another two metres and there are chisels, lathes and saws, sawdust and wooden workbenches. Next, a propane forge, anvils, hammers. Tucked under the bench, a casting forge for bronze work.

The Victoria Makerspace, on Central Saanich Road, is the hobby shop of one of the most diverse range of talents on the south Island. Its members are designers, woodworkers, blacksmiths, hackers and do-it-yourself brewers.

Makers are part of a growing worldwide trend with roots in the artisan movement. The idea is people can make the things they need by learning from local experts, rather than buying products exported from faraway markets.

“The thing most driving me is building a community of people who like to learn. Really neat things come out of it,” says Derek Jacoby.

Jacoby started Victoria Makerspace a year and a half ago. It began as a hackerspace – a society of people who develop open hardware and media – but became a makerspace for more diverse talents soon thereafter.

“The mix [of talents] is sort of a model that I think is really making a name for itself,” Jacoby says.

He likens the space to a library, where people can gain access to information, or in this case tools and know-how, for a certain project.

Thomas Gray signed on with the local Makerspace with Jacoby from the start. He leaves his laser cutter at the space – a tool well out of the reach of most people’s budgets – for others to use.

He said of the cutter, “30 years from now, this is going to be astounding stuff and people are going to have one at home. That’s why I think it’s important to see this stuff now. My kids are going to do their university projects with a laser cutter.”

With the goal of meeting other makers in the region and possibly making connections that can help the Makerspace grow beyond its hacker, wood and metal shops, Jacoby and the space’s members are hosting the Island’s first Mini Maker Faire.

The deadline for makers’ applications is June 15.

“We’re really trying to reach out to people who make things with their hands,” Jacoby says.

 

What is a 3D printer?

Looks strange, sounds impossible. Using a computer generated design, the printer accepts and melts plastic. The melted plastic is slowly pumped in thin strings onto a platform that moves on a two-dimensional plane. As the strings build and pile onto each other, the computer generated image becomes a 3D object.

 

Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire

• What: Like a trade show for makers

• Where: Panorama Recreation Centre, 1885 Forest Park Dr., North Saanich

• When: Deadline for applications: June 15. Faire: July 28-29

• Who: Makers, and people curious to find out what the maker movement is all about. All ages

• How much: Starting at $30 to show what you make. Admission to the faire for non-makers is $15.

• Connect: vi.makerfaire.ca

 

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