review of 2013

Thought I’d take a few minutes to update with a review of 2013! Well another year dominated by making and projects of all kinds for me. Most significantly Gillian and I moved into a new rented house (just 2 minutes from Hackspace) and took on an allotment in Sneinton Dale.

Here is a recent picture of the work on the allotment this year…

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derby mini maker faire 2013

In November I coordinated (with a lot of help from the Derby Museums Team at the Silk Mill) the 2nd Derby Mini Maker Faire. It was a huge success with well over a thousand visitors. Feedback from it has been very positive indeed. The venue chose to have the MMF as it’s first proper event at the Silk Mill since the refurbishment which if we’re honest we weren’t sure would be completed. In fact we had to put the date back from October to November in the end. Still it all worked out well. In addition to the great team at Derby Museums and TILT I must take time to thank Matt Little for his super Marble-DRIP-DROP which was a great draw to all the kids to get hands-on with physics, Andrea Mercer who is the events manager at the Mill and as ever was crucial in getting the show-on-the-road, Kim Miller who is the master of “getting-stuff” and generally a good sort, the no nonsense Emma Hallam who works so hard and efficiently I’d be happy to work with her on any project and of course Hannah Fox the Silk Mill puppet master (in a nice Jim Henson sort of way) who makes all things possible! Not forgetting the makers, especially the soldering helpers and exhibitors from Nottingham Hackspace and Derby Makers who really did have an excellent show of stuff this year.

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death of the mobile hackspace project (for now)

I wrote about this project earlier in the year. This project is like the terminator, just when you think it’s dead, it springs back to life. But for now it’s dead again. Sadly in spite of a very kind offer of a caravan from good friend John, I couldn’t find anywhere to store and work on it. I’ve just refurbished (well serviced and MOT’d) the Hack-Van so I might think about getting a tow bar at some point (or even a different Hack-Van) but that seems a long way down my list right now and funds are tight because of my latest major venture….

Good friend and now business partner Martin Raynsford and I are embarking on an adventure. That adventure probably started in September 2011 when we both purchased A4 sized laser cutting machines. Martin, being the ultimate team of 1, set himself a challenge. The challenge was to cut 365 laser projects in 365 days and this meant he forced himself to be very creative. The following year he did 52 big projects in 52 weeks. I recommend his blog for a great source of inspiration for what you can achieve with a little imagination and a lot of drive to get things done.

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I put my laser to work in the Nottingham Hackspace where I’m delighted to say it’s given more than a hundred people their first experience of using these amazing rapid prototyping tools. I also put a laser in Leeds and Bristol Hackspace’s too!

Martin and I are constantly asked for recommendations on low cost laser cutters. Until now we didn’t really back any one over any other. We’ve searched about and seen a lot of different cutters from all over. In December we tool delivery of an A3 cutter from China we’re happy to put our name too. The company that made it have a good build quality and furthermore were very happy to make our suggested improvements. After an evaluation we’ve decided to start importing them and you can go see them on our new website at!

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