Next Two Weeks at DoES Liverpool

This Friday 12th and Saturday 13th October are BarCamp Liverpool 3! This should be a great and interesting event and all are welcome to sign up. However it will restrict the amount of space we have for workshop and hot desk usage. If you really want to visit then let us know and we’ll try to squeeze you in, but your best option is to take the day off and visit BarCamp 🙂

http://barcampliverpool2012-doesblog.eventbrite.com

Next Friday 19th October we’re having a lot of visitors from a local agency coming to use our workshop. They haven’t requested exclusive use but if you have any urgent need to use our equipment then you might be better to visit another day.

More positive news is that to celebrate Ada Lovelace day, recognising women in STEM, business and entrepreneurship we’ll be having a free day next Tuesday 16th October. The day will be free access for everyone so come down for some hot desking or to use our workshop. You don’t even need to bring cake!

Finally, I just wanted to mention that if you haven’t visited in a while you should really come by and see some of the changes we’ve made. Back in July we expanded into another room and moved the workshop equipment through to there. We’ve also just had a new kitchen fitted which is exclusively for our use. These changes have resulted in a much nicer clean & quiet environment for co-working, and a vastly improved dedicated workshop with some new equipment.

We hope to see you soon, and please do tell your friends!

Digital Innovation, a talk at FACT

Last Wednesday I was one of four people asked to give a talk at FACT (the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) about Digital Innovation. Once the talks were over we then had an interesting discussion between the speakers and the audience about some of the issues raised (and more). I was too busy involved in the debate to take notes I’m afraid (and I can’t find any other reports on it online), but I can share my slides. The notes here won’t be exactly what I said, but were my thoughts when preparing the talk and so shouldn’t be too far from the mark…

[audio:http://doesliverpool.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/amcewen_intro.mp3|titles=Adrian McEwen intro music]

(and if you want to hear more, try the original tune it’s sampled from)

Imagivisionating the Future(tm)

Hello, I’ve blatantly stolen the idea of having intro music from a friend of mine, Russell Davies, but I think it’s good to start things with a bit of a flourish. I’ll come back to what the music was a bit later.

Who Am I?

I’m Adrian McEwen, I build interesting things with electronics and software and I co-founded something called DoES Liverpool. More on that later too.

Thanks to FACT for asking me along tonight…

Digital Innovation

I wasn’t sure what to talk about at first, but given the overall theme is “Digital Innovation” I figured I’d have a stab at defining what that might be.

Let’s break it down first…

Digital

That’s easy, it’s about computers and stuff. Pretty much everything I do involves computers or electronics or the Internet in some way or other…

Innovation

That’s the tricky one. Everyone seems to want more of it, as it’s some sort of magical elixir that will save money, make us more competitive, create new businesses and make us “think out of the box”. Which is strange, because people “doing innovation” look like this…

Innovation?

Which looks rather like they’re inside a big box, whereas these guys…

Innovation?

…are definitely outside of their box, and have re-imagined it as a shop. And tomorrow they’ll maybe rebuild it into a spaceship, and then incorporate a bedsheet to make it a lunar base…

I think “innovation” is one of those grown-up business words, that’s used by people because they don’t think they can get away with saying…

Playing

…or…

Experimenting

…or…

Trying Loads of Different Stuff

The problem is that in pretending we’re not doing any of those things, we suck all the permission to do any of those things out of ourselves, and end up trapped in a meeting room with a stack of post-it notes until we’ve “imagineered” our way out.

Another Way?

We’re tying to do things a bit differently at DoES Liverpool

First off, we’re a bit hard to explain…

We hold lots of events there but we’re not really a venue.
We have all sorts of people, with all sorts of skillsets, but we’re not an agency or an artists collective. You can’t “hire” DoES to make or do things for you.

I guess you can say we’re a community of diverse and interesting people (which we’d love you to join) who have a space where most (but not all) of the related activities take place.

We’re…

A Space to Play

DoES is full of people who are interested in trying out new things, and seeing where that takes them. We saw some laser-sintering of titanium at Liverpool University’s Engineering Department, and so John McKerrell thought he’d try it out with our laser-cutter and some sugar…

A Space for Experimenting

And some of the playing leads into experimenting. We were trying out some RFID technology, and installed it into the door at DoES so you get a welcome tune played when you arrive, and another when you leave. The music at the start of my talk is what gets played when I check into DoES. We’ve now extended the system so that it automatically logs the days that hot-deskers are here, so it makes running the space easier and lets us track stats of how it’s being used.

Somewhere to Cross-Pollinate Ideas

All sorts of people use DoES – artists, web developers, software engineers, designers… We’ve even got a translator and surveyor and someone who runs a modelling agency. Who knows what conversations and ideas will come about with those sorts of connections…

And there are plenty of groups that call DoES home – GeekUp, Liverpool Sewing Club, Breakerfaire (a computer security meeting), SpecFicLiv (a sci-fi/fantasy writing group), and one of the more regular events is…

A Space for Making

Maker Night (and Maker Day). Three times a month anyone can come along and learn more about 3D printing (that’s our 3D printer in the slide), laser-cutting, or electronics (things like Arduino). If you need a making fix more often than that, the workshop is available for anyone working from the space for the rest of the time

A Space for Prototyping

We have a number of people using the space to prototype their projects or ideas. I use it for some electronics/Arduino kits I’m developing, John McKerrell has been iterating through versions of his WhereDial location clock with the laser-cutter, and just today artist John O’Shea has been 3D printing scaffold for tissue culture as part of a bio-hacking project.

A Space for Business

Lots of members of the space run their own business, so there’s expertise to tap into, and someone to sympathise when you’re having a moan about clients not paying on time… Plus there’s Lean Liverpool, a monthly meeting to learn more about the Lean Startup methodology to running your business, and the Liverpool DoES Startups startup weekends (next one coming up in November)

A Space for Working

We’re happy to help you get some work done, whether it’s just hanging out at a desk with your laptop getting wifi and a cup of coffee, or using the workshop to laser-cut your latest project design.

You can get a desk to call your own and use of all the facilities; or have access to come in and use the workshop whenever you like; or just come and hot-desk (or hot-workshop) for a day. If any of that sounds tempting, bring some cake along and you can try us out for your first day for free.

Get Rich or Have Fun Trying

Is any of this going to increase the amount of Digital Innovation in Liverpool? I don’t know, it’s hard to scale or force – all you can do is try to engineer more serendipity into the environment.

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, it’s more about encouraging more people to chase exciting and different projects, and to make a living in a more enjoyable way.

The challenge we’re setting is…

Can You Do Epic S**t, Liverpool?

[audio:http://doesliverpool.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/amcewen_goodbye.mp3|titles=Adrian McEwen goodbye music]

Press Release: Community Co-Working Space, DoES Liverpool, Opens New Dedicated Workshop Area

DoES Liverpool, community workshop and co-working space in central Liverpool, has celebrated its first year of operation by expanding its space and creating a dedicated workshop area. With a 61% increase in floor space DoES has been able to create five specialised areas meaning that users can get the best out of each part of the space and avoid causing disruption for other visitors. DoES Liverpool is giving the public a great opportunity to visit and try out the space during the Grand Opening on Maker Day 11th August 2012.

The workshop now boasts some more traditional woodworking equipment such as a band saw and bench grinder to complement the existing digital fabrication facilities of the MakerBot CupCake 3D printer and LS3040 laser cutter and engraver. Stations for soldering or just general making are available for use during the regular Maker Night and Maker Day events or throughout the week by signing up for a workshop membership or paying for a single day’s use. Storage is included in workshop membership and available for purchase by other visitors. As ever, the first day’s use of the equipment and space is free if you bring along cake to share!

Removing the workshop equipment and much of the storage space from the main room also freed up more space for co-working. A cool new hot-desk hub has been created using an original Gostins dining table, and an existing pod of desks available for permanent members has been expanded. The meeting room now doubles as a comfortable break-out area with a large screen display available for viewing presentations and videos.

Richard Foulkes, Director, propertytranslator recently returned to DoES Liverpool after trying out other serviced offices in Liverpool, he said:

I’ve rented serviced offices from corporate landlords in the past and DoES has always offered a friendlier atmosphere in comparison. The recent improvements in layout and planned new facilities should make the office space an even better working environment going forward and I’m sure I’ll be using it more often.

As a regular visitor to the space, freelancer Joanna Leng offered her thoughts:

I enjoy working out of the DoES Liverpool office one day a week. I get a desk, electricity, wireless network, hot drinks, friendly intelligent conversation and networking all for ÂŁ8 per day. DoesLiverpool also run lots of clubs and user groups – there is plenty going on. It is very creative.

This week they opened up a new work shop next to the office area. It is light and spacious and now if someone is using the laser cutter or 3D printer I can chat to them but I do not have to hear the machinery. I can also use the laser cutter to make some Xmas presents while I am there. The meeting room allows me to organise meetings here rather than at my home.

 

Further changes are planned including a newly fitted kitchen and electronic locks which will allow DoES Liverpool to expand its hours of operation beyond the standard work day.

For more information about Maker Day see makernight.co.uk, for more on DoES Liverpool – its services, facilities and prices – visit doesliverpool.com

DoES is now 50% More Awesome with a dedicated workshop space

Setting up the Laser cutter in its new home
Setting up the Laser cutter in its new home

At the weekend a dozen People Who DoES came to help move our temporary workshop into our Exciting New Dedicated Workshop space in the room next door.

Using an impressive array of technological (3D printed models on laser-cut floorplan, contributed CAD drawings) and organizational (anarchy/democracy) methods, our volunteers worked tirelessly for several hours, pausing only for cake and sandwiches.

This big
This big

Our co-working space is now larger and tidier, while the workshop is looking great. We’ll be celebrating the move on Saturday 11th August, for the inaugural Makerday (10:00-17:00). Hope you can join us!

See all of our photos from the move here!

Work Experience

Over the past month we’ve had another Italian students at DoES Liverpool on an internship, we asked him to write a blog post about his experience and here it is:


DoES Liverpool is a co-working space where people come to share an office, but also to use tools like the 3D printer or the laser cutter.

During these 4 weeks at DoES Liverpool I’ve helped to make things that I thought were almost impossible to make. But a great idea, together with an Arduino and a laser cutter can become an real product, like the WhereDial, an “Internet of things” device inspired by the Weasley family clock in Harry Potter which can keep your family updated with your location.
The device consists of an Arduino that connects to the internet to get information about your location and moves the dial to the right position.
All the wooden parts are made with the laser-cutter, which has also been used to make 3d “prints” with sugar by melting it with the laser.

WhereDial

BubblinoAnother device that’s here at DoES is Bubblino: a bubble-blowing happy face that brightens up the office with his bubbles every time somebody tweets about the office.

 

 

 

 

During these 4 weeks I learnt and did many things:
I wrote the javascript code for a simple node.js server to enable long polling on the requests made by the Arduinos in the WhereDials.
I debugged the HTML/Javascript page that displays the events on the door of the office.
I used tinkercad.com and the 3d printer to print all the desks and furniture that were missing on the 3d model of the office.
I updated the code running on the arduino of the WhereDial to make it use 5 small LEDs to alert the user if there are any errors during the acquisition and parsing of the information from the server.

Birthday cakes

And, since last week was Does Liverpool’s first anniversary I also used the laser cutter to make some of these little cakes to celebrate it.

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed the days spent at DoES Liverpool, always making something new with tools like the 3d printer that I’ve never used before.
It was also a first for me to see the “making of” of a product. I always thought it was a difficult and long process, but with a laser cutter and an Arduino, prototyping something becomes easier and fun. So if you have an idea for something but don’t know how to make it you should definitely come here and try to make it.

 

Nicolò Pretto

 

Happy Birthday To Me!

DoES Liverpool will be celebrating its first anniversary in the next week! We’re putting on a few activities to celebrate and we’d love you to come along.

Friday 13th July Daytime – lucky for you as we’ll be offering a day of free Hot Desking. Come down and try out the space, use our laser cutter, maybe even 3D print something without paying a penny. You don’t even need to bring cake (though we won’t complain if you do)! A great opportunity to get some work done while meeting up with other freelancers and laptop workers.

Friday 13th July Evening – the luck continues as we’ll have a few drinks to celebrate the success of DoES over the past year. We’re still making plans but at there very least there’ll be alcohol and the opportunity to look around our existing space as well as the new room we’ll be taking over in the next few weeks.

Saturday 14th July Daytime – an extra special Maker Day, celebrate a year of making, by making! Bring your projects or bring yourself and get involved in someone else’s projects. We may even have some projects to enable us to hack DoES Liverpool itself!

Saturday 11th August Daytime – another special Maker Day for the grand opening of our new workshop space, come along to see our new space and find out how you can get access to and make use of it. Or bring your projects and get making, again we’ll probably have some projects on the go to hack DoES too.

(Click on the links to head over to lanyrd and let us know you’re coming, that’s optional but is a great help to know who’s coming)

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported DoES Liverpool over the past year, we couldn’t do it without you, literally. DoES Liverpool’s services are paid for solely from people paying for our services, our running costs are not subsidised at all. So thanks to all of you friends, hot deskers, permies, workshop members, event sponsors, interns and everyone who has been involved in our events over the past year; here’s to great things in the future and hope to see you in DoES Liverpool soon!


For the fact fiends: DoES Liverpool CIC was incorporated on 10th June 2011, so by that date we’ve already missed our birthday! Worry not though as we didn’t really do anything until the 8th July when we moved into our space in the Gostins building, after that we didn’t actually open to the public until the 18th July. With all these dates it’s difficult to pick one so we simply chose an appropriate Friday which just so happened to correlate with Maker Day!


(If you want to make one, you can find the design for the laser cut cake over on thingiverse)

Work/experience in DoES Liverpool

Over the past month we’ve had two Italian students at DoES Liverpool on an internship, we asked them to write a blog post about their experience and here it is:


DoES Liverpool is a working-environment where a lot of things are built and designed.

In this our month of work experience we were able to transform our theoretical knowledge learned at school, into practical skills, thanks to the possibility of using sophisticated machines and tools of creation.

In the first week we worked with the Arduino and the Arduino Ethernet, helping John with his project, the WhereDial.  Afterwards we worked with Adrian on a kind of clock, that takes information from the Google Weather’s server, moves a servo and can show you the atmospheric conditions in a specified location, selected in the Arduino’s code. The main structure of these projects is built using a sophisticated machine, the LaserCutter, that can, using the picture created in InkScape, design wooden shapes with high precision.

We have also learned how to use the 3D printer, and with it, we have built a lot of models, designed with TinkerCad and printed with ReplicatorG, to put on the wooden floor plan, that we have designed with inkScape.

Here, in DoES Liverpool, the objects aren’t made only using wood or ABS plastic, but also with the fantasy and intelligence of the people who work here. In fact, recently we saw the creation of little objects made using sugar and the laserCutter, exploiting the phenomenon that everyone knows as sintering!

So if you want to make something great, come here to DoES Liverpool and make it real.

Enjoy

Ahmed Kouza & Edoardo Bastianetto

 

DoES wants to Do Even More Epic *cough*

Over the last year, DoES has hosted events like Barcamp, Google Developer Breakfasts, and groups like Makernight, Lean Startups, the SpecFic Writing Group and Liverpool Sewing Club. We’ve also welcomed many guests, from occasional hotdeskers to permanent residents – techies, entrepreneurs, and artists.

We’re in great shape to carry on doing all this and more… but sometimes it feels like there is Too Much Awesome to hold within our 4 walls. We’ve got a great opportunity to expand next door into what we call the “Dinky” room.

Here’s what we could do with the room:

  • It has plumbing for a kitchen!
  • Move the current workshop tables into a dedicated space in Dinky
  • This would free up desks and clutter in the main space to have more capacity for desk workers
  • We’d also be able to move the laser-cutter into Dinky, freeing up the central room to be entirely a shared meeting space.

But of course, we need money for this: it would normally cost around ÂŁ650/month, but we could currently take it on for ÂŁ325. It looks like at the moment we could almost afford it. As DoES has always been very careful with managing our money well, we don’t want to take on something without being sure it will work out.

So:

  • If you were thinking of taking a permanent desk, or a workshop membership at DoES, this would be the perfect time!
  • If you know someone who is looking for a desk or workshop, why not point them in our direction?
  • And if you’re like to support DoES, but don’t need a desk, why not think about becoming a Friend who DoES?

Become a Friend who Does Epic, er, Stuff.

Sad Puppy
CC-BY-SA Martin Cathrae http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/3047183157/

Would you like to support your friendly local co-working and hackspace, but don’t need a regular desk or workshop access? That’s the problem that Francis Irving from ScraperWiki had. And when he looked at us sadly with his adorable puppy eyes, we knew we had to help him out! [1]

So, you can now become a Friend who Does Epic ShiStuff (allegedly) for a mere £9 a month. You’ll get your very own laser-cut membership card, and a host of membership benefits, currently mostly consisting of a warm glow and the eternal love of everyone here at DoES [2].

[1] an alternative explanation of events is given in Francis’s post on being our first DoES Friend

[2] however we are considering many options for the future, such as: money-off vouchers! Free kittens! Sparkly stickers!

GEC 2012 Round-up and Thanks to ScraperWiki

Well GEC2012 was such a great week it’s taken us a long time to recover!

Before GEC week even started we had some great coverage in the Liverpool Daily Post. Monday featured talks by Peter Bond and Ian Scott talking about invention and innovation. We had attendees from Canada, Spain and New Zealand who all seemed to enjoy the talks. In the evening the Knowledge Cafe 101 event was well attended and we had some interesting attendees to the Open Evening coming to see what DoES Liverpool was about.

Tuesday’s Lean Liverpool went well and we very much appreciated Mark Holmes not only giving a talk about The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steven Gary Blank but also donating a copy! Maker Night again saw new people being introduced to DoES Liverpool and discussing the interesting projects they want to work on, unusually there was a bit of a software bias to some of the ideas but the 3D printer and laser cutter were both active throughout the night as well!

The Open Source Entrepreuneurship talk went down really well and Adrian has done a great write-up and linked to the video over on his blog.

Finally Ignite returned to Liverpool for the 9th time with a fitting 9 great talks, including me (John McKerrell) talking about the birth of DoES Liverpool and giving instructions for how to set up your own amazing co-working maker space. See that link for the slides to my talk and see the videos of the talks on the UStream channel.

We also have to thank ScraperWiki for stepping in at the last minute to help sponsor the events we held in DoES meaning we could offer free tea, coffee and beer throughout. It’s great to have support from people like ScraperWiki and ACME meaning we can put on some great events!