The well-equipped fabrication lab on Belmont Street offers inexpensive access to the latest 3D printers, laser cutters, 3D scanners, vinyl cutters, design and CAD software and even a digital embroidery machine. Better yet, the staff at MAKE are genuinely friendly, enormously helpful and really know what they are doing. There’s a good community vibe about the place, with people happy to share their ideas and experience.
MAKE is a charity venture run by Peacock Visual Arts, with backing from Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland and is open to everyone in the region. It’s the city’s creative hub for personal manufacturing and shares premises with gallery space Seventeen.
You don’t need to be a computer genius or fully-fledged engineer to make something you’ve always wanted, as MAKE’s Iain Gildea explained, ‘People can come in with a sketch on the back of an envelope and we can help them take their ideas and realise them. It’s incredibly satisfying to make something yourself – especially when you think it’s too difficult or you don’t have the skills to get started.
‘You can also download designs straight from the internet, then customise them or just use them as they are; it’s a good way to discover the capabilities of the equipment we have. Once people have made their first object, whether it’s a piece of jewellery or a Spiderman mask, they suddenly realise that the possibilities are exciting and almost infinite and it’s great to see people so enthused about the technology and so many ideas generated.
‘Some members have used the laser cutter to create paper cut wedding invitations and stationery, others have produced custom wooden iPhone cases, or cut out the parts to sew into leather slippers. The laser cutter works with wood, acrylic, leather or paper and card, so just about anything is possible. Architecture students use them to build models, and some people make cosplay accessories or use the printer for gadget prototypes that make life easier. One of my own favourites was a three-storey Victorian doll’s house, which had ramps instead of stairs to each level. It’s probably the world’s most creative home for a tortoise!
As well as students, creative professionals and hobbyists, MAKE’s facilities also attract small businesses, oil and engineering companies keen to prototype new ideas. It’s simple to become a member, with annual subscriptions for students costing £72, normal members £144 and small businesses £432. This gives you unlimited access to the shared workspace, personal training on the equipment, and advice on design, fabrication and trade price materials.
If you’d rather use the lab on a one-off basis it’s £20 a session, with additional charges for machine time and materials. It’s maybe a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but you could make some fabulous and unique gifts.
MAKE is open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Wednesdays from 1pm till 8pm. There are regular workshops on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons, which can be booked in advance by phone. The team hopes to add further workshops in the coming months.
It’s a brilliantly supportive way to learn how to use the latest personal manufacturing technologies in a welcoming and helpful environment.
What will you make? The only limit is your imagination.
17 Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JR Tel: 07525123423 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.make-aberdeen.com