Week 259 – Table + Motor = Speaker

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 23 May, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Thursday 26 May, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 127 open, 159 closed

3 new issues:

2 issues closed:

Thanks amcewen!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Week 258 – Lasers, Leeks and Light Night

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 16 May, 6:00pm-9:00pm Sewing Club
Wednesday 18 May, 5:30pm-7:00pm Friends of the Earth
Thursday 19 May, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night
Saturday 21 May, 10:00am-3:00pm Introduction to Laser Cutting

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 126 open, 157 closed

5 new issues:

1 issue closed:

Thanks DefProc!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

 

Week 257 – Bank Holiday But Busy

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 09 May, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Tuesday 10 May, 7:00pm-9:00pm JavaScript User Group
Wednesday 11 May, 6:00pm-7:00pm Games Dev Meetup
Thursday 12 May, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night
Saturday 14 May, 10:00am-5:00pm Maker Day

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 122 open, 156 closed

1 new issue:

No issues closed

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

 

Week 256 – Makerfaire UK Aftermath

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 02 May, 6:00pm-9:00pm Sewing Club
Wednesday 04 May, 7:00pm-9:00pm Liverpool Linux User Group
Thursday 05 May, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 122 open, 155 closed

1 new issue:

1 issue closed:

Thanks JimNixon!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Week 255 – Planes, Persistence (when 3d printing face scans) and Pilgrimage (to Maker Faire)

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Wednesday 27 April, 7:00pm-9:00pm IoT Liverpool
Thursday 28 April, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night
Thursday 28 April, 6:00pm-8:00pm Open Source Technology Enthusiasts’ Group

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 122 open, 154 closed

3 new issues:

1 issue closed:

Thanks JimNixon!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

 

Week 254 – Road Trip and 3D Printing Course

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 18 April, 6:00pm-9:00pm Sewing Club
Wednesday 20 April, 5:30pm-7:00pm Friends of the Earth
Thursday 21 April, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 120 open, 153 closed

1 new issue:

4 issues closed:

Thanks amcewen!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

 

Week 253 – Lightsaber and Lasers

Each week we’ll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you’re involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 11 April, 7:00pm-9:00pm Wearables Group
Tuesday 12 April, 7:00pm-9:00pm JavaScript User Group
Thursday 14 April, 5:30pm-8:00pm Human Centred Design NEW GROUP!
Thursday 14 April, 6:30pm-9:30pm Maker Night
Saturday 16 April, 1:00pm-4:00pm Get you head around 3D printing

Somebody Should

The DoES Liverpool to-do list is stored in the issues of our Somebody Should repository on github. Head over there if there’s something you’d like to report, or if you want to help out fixing things.

Issue counts: 123 open, 149 closed

1 new issue:

2 issues closed:

Thanks JimNixon, huffeec!

Community Content

DoES exists to support the community that uses DoES. If you use DoES, then you are part of that community. If you would like to publicise something related to DoES, you can email hello@doesliverpool.com with the formatted content for us to use as a new blog post. Tell us what you’re up to, and we’ll show the world what epic stuff happens at DoES!

Opening Hours over Christmas 2015

We just wanted to drop you all a little note to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and to let you know what our plans are for the festive period.

As usual, anyone with Out of Hours access can come and use DoES Liverpool whenever the Gostins building is open. This is normal hours until Christmas Eve, when the building will be open from 7:30am – 4pm, and is then closed until Tuesday December 29th. During that time we’re open our usual hours too, for anyone booked on the laser-cutters or wanting to hot-desk.

In the week between Christmas and New Year, the 29th, 30th and 31st of December, the building is open from 9am – 4pm, so those of you with Out of Hours access will be able to get in then. However, DoES will be closed to hot-deskers during this time, unless arranged previously. This means that if you want to book a laser cutter, or time in the workshop, or even just come in and hotdesk, then that is absolutely fine, but make sure you let us know first! If you just wander in on a whim, the likelihood is that you will find some very locked doors.

If you email us at hello@doesliverpool.com, then we’ll make sure those doors are unlocked.

We’ll be back to normal opening hours from Monday January 4th, so don’t worry, we’re not away for long.

Future Makespaces Talk: The Dark Matter of Makerspaces

Last week Adrian gave a talk at the Future Makespaces 2nd Symposium organised by the Royal College of Art. His talk was about the less obvious parts of running a makerspace, and here are the slides and his notes (which should be pretty much what he said, but…)

The Dark Matter of Makerspaces

Hello, I’m Adrian McEwen, one of the co-founders of DoES Liverpool. It’s (sort of) a makerspace (and more) in Liverpool.

We’ve been running for over four years now, and I wanted to share some of the non-obvious aspects of that.

Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context

When we started DoES Liverpool we thought about what it was trying to achieve and how it would fit into the rest of the city.

An important part of what we set out to do was to grow and encourage the tech and maker community in the city, and help it prosper through more tech and maker businesses. It was one part software-is-eating-the-world, with another part the workers owning the means of production – initially as software engineers, but increasingly with digital fabrication tools, and a dash of being the change we want to see in the world.

Not Just a Makerspace

So we were never just a makerspace.

Non-Makers Wanted Too!

The co-working and office space is just as important as the workshop.

Successful businesses require all sorts of skills, and the more diverse our community, the better the things that will come out of it.

We have artists, engineers, coders, designers, but also copywriters, translators, consultants and charity workers. Freelancers, startups, and remote workers from big corporations.

An Event Space

And we also provide a space for the community to meet.

We knew how hard it was to find space to hold meetups, to get together to share knowledge and just hang out with like-minded people. So part of the space is available for the community to book for free.

We Don

I think one of the important aspects is that DoES is run by a bunch of people who don’t really want to run a space. We just want to use the facilities it offers, for our businesses or interests.

As a result, our aim is to minimise the amount of effort required to run it, and one of the ways we do that is by engaging with the “dark matter” surrounding DoES Liverpool.

What is Dark Matter?

Wouter Vanstiphout came up with the term, and it was popularised by Dan Hill in his pamphlet “Dark Matter and Trojan Horses”.

It is all the stuff that affects the organisation but that you can’t see or touch. If the matter is the building and the tools, the objects produced and the businesses founded, then the dark matter is the culture of the community, the rules, regulations and policy – and not just in the space, those surrounding the space from the council or the Government.

1st Day Free With Cake

It could be the way we use cake as currency (it doesn’t have to be homemade, although they’re always the best received), to start things off on a convivial and sharing note.

Our 1st Piece of Equipment

Or the way we make sure we have good coffee (and buy it from a local independent coffee shop to support them)

Which meant that the coffee machine was the first bit of kit we bought.

Don

It’s the way we bring concepts from software into the physical world. Automating the repeated tasks like the weekly newsletter or marking who has been in on which days…

Surfacing Tasks

…or repurposing code issue tracking to let people know what needs doing around the space.

Just as important is what we don’t do.

DoES Doesn

Despite its name, DoES doesn’t do anything.

The only things that happen are those that the members are committed enough to make happen. And we try not to expand into things that the community could make a living from – we exist to support it, not absorb it.

No Training Courses

So we don’t run training courses. That would require trainers, and marketing, and…

It’s much better that members of the community provide that – they can build it as part of their business and then pay for the facilities at DoES to deliver them.

New Ways of Working

It also lets members of the community experiment with new ways of arranging their work.

For example, a number of the members have young children, and so they’re going to toddler-proof the meeting room so they can run “baby and toddler work day” to let them more easily balance parenthood and freelancing.

Connect Everything to the Internet

And it lets DoES’ specialisms evolve organically. Because I’ve been working with the Internet of Things for years now, there’s a tendency within DoES to connect anything and everything to the Internet, to see if it’s useful.

We joke that if something is left stationary in DoES for too long, it’ll end up connected to the Internet. The doors, the laser-cutters and – naturally – the aforementioned coffee machine.

Funding

One of the big things we don’t do is funding. Especially for day-to-day running costs.

We’re funded by the community, for the community, and have been since day one.

The Wrong Filters

Funding begets Outputs, and Outputs beget Criteria. Before you know it you’ll have to exclude most of the people you’d like to help, because they don’t look like the picture you painted in order to get your funding.

Our Filter: Interestingness

We have a completely different filter: Is what you’re doing interesting?

Or Being Interested

Or if not, are you interested in what others are up to?

Business/Individual, Young/Old

And we don’t care if you’re a business or an individual, or how old or young you are.

What’s important is that you Do Epic Sh**.

Starting a business is just a tool to achieve certain outcomes. It could be as useful for you to open source your work and help it spread. Or use the workshop to 3d print yourself a new hand to make your life easier elsewhere.

Local Enterprise Partnership

That said, plenty of people are looking to build businesses around their ideas. You can build one of almost anything with our facilities, and probably 10s or maybe even 100s of something. Once you get beyond that, you tend to want to get someone else to help.

The DoES community is a great distributed knowledge base of suppliers to use and things to watch out for. One person will tell you who they used for PCB assembly, and another will let you know about the place that die-cuts boxes on the dock road. As more people do more projects, so the knowledge grows, but it would be good to speed that process up.

To try to do that, we’ve been doing some work with the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The LEP, and other institutions in the city like the Council, can be tricky to engage with. Especially when you’re harder to work with, like we are. So much of their set up is around funding bids and inward investment that when someone turns up who doesn’t want any of those things, they’re not sure what to do with us.

That’s if they recognise us at all. Because we don’t look like the stuff they’ve been told is “advanced manufacturing”, there’s a tendency to dismiss us as irrelevant. And some times there’s what I call a “mutual lack of respect”, where they think we should court them because they’re the council and important, and I think they should be courting us because we’re actually making a difference and getting on with it regardless of their involvement.

As time goes on, we’re getting harder to ignore, and some of the people working there do get it. One of those is Simon Reid at the LEP.

He’s in charge of the manufacturing sector at the LEP – that’s another problem, we don’t fit neatly into their sectors, as we’re equally manufacturing and digital-and-creative. His challenges for the sector are around skills shortages and keeping the local businesses abreast of emerging technology and possibilities.

So there’s a good match – he knows all the local supply chains and manufacturers, and we’re providing a way to enthuse more people about making and are experimenting with lots of the new technologies.

We’re planning an event to inform local manufacturers about the possibilities that the Internet of Things brings, and have started mapping out what capabilities are around the region. The Future Makespaces levels of study has helped out with that, as it’s provided a good way to frame things.

It’s early days, but hopefully it will be a fruitful relationship.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

There is more to running a makerspace than the tools you buy or the space that you put them in. If you get the culture right the rest will take care of itself.

And if we engage with the dark matter in the wider context, we have an opportunity to nudge our culture away from consumerism, away from the bankers, and towards a more productive future.

Thank You

Thank You

Finances Update, and Price Rises

It’s been a couple of weeks since the start of our recruitment drive, so an update is in order.

There have been some promising developments, and a few things kicked off which should bear fruit in a while, but there’s still a decent amount to do to get back on track.

Thank You!

Since the call went out, we’ve gained six new friends, two more business address accounts and three new workshop members, which straight away takes us a sixth of the way towards our target.

Thanks, all of you.

Difficult Decisions

We’ve also had a couple of meetings to work things out.

Mark W arranged a meeting to discuss ways to help promote the space, which threw up some useful new ideas, and gained some more hands to help with things that are a work-in-progress. Minutes/notes from the session are on the wiki.

We also called a Directors and Organisers meeting, to explore worst-case scenarios and ensure that we take steps to avoid such outcomes. There were two key decisions made at that meeting:

Firstly, we decided that – unless our finances improve dramatically by the end of the year – we’d have to give up Dinky, the event room. Given that most of our outgoings are on rent, losing rooms is the main way we can reduce our costs; and Dinky is the obvious, if painful choice as it brings in comparatively little income. With your help, we’ve got three months to turn things around.

Secondly, from 1st November we’re going to raise some of our prices, for the first time since we opened over three years ago.

Our daily price – for hot-desking and workshop access – is going up to £10/day. That will have the benefit of separating the full-time and daily prices more, to make people more likely to switch to full-time desks. Obviously, any hot-desk days you’ve already purchased, but not used, will still be at the old price; and to help current hot-deskers with the transition, you’re welcome to purchase a generous block of days at the current price until the end of the month.

The monthly workshop membership is also going up to £50/month. We’d like to thank our existing workshop members by keeping the old price for them until the end of the year.

Finally, we’re bringing in a charge for laser-cutter inductions. Getting inducted during Maker Night or Maker Day will of course remain free, but if you need someone to show you how to use the laser-cutters during office hours, there’ll be a £20 charge.

Keep spreading the word.