Progress Update

DIY FabLab Doorway

  • Check this out! Many thanks are due to Tim, Jonathan, Theo, Sully, Andy, David, Patrick and everyone else who helped out. Was bashing through the wall fun? Of course it was!

  • We're now installing palette racking and a mezzanine floor level.
  • The racking is going in in two sections and we now need wood for mezzanine floors and shelves. We need:
    • 14 x 3.5m 5”x2” joists. (Mixing metric and imperial? Are you mad? That's how everyone refers to this stuff.)
    • 16 x 18mm 8'x4' plywood sheets (see what I mean?)
    • Two fabricated steel supports for the stairway. We have an example design for this, (two diagonal steels support angle iron which holds wooden treads) but extra marks will be awarded for making the supports out of gridbeams.
  • Later, for the second mezzanine we'll need a second stairway and roughly the same amount of material again - except we'll need fewer, longer joists (around 5.5m) and a few more sheets of ply.
  • We're taking actions to develop two posts through the “Future Jobs Fund” as DIY-FabLab setup technicians. These two roles will support our crowd of volunteers, and should be able to handle some longer-term setup tasks that are less suited to blitzing.
  • We're looking towards an opening party some time around December. By that stage we intend to have mezzanines and a stairwell installed, workbenches and some initial tools. We'd like to make the workbenches with Gridbeams - so we'll have started our initial DIY FabLab project by that stage.


  • We've now (August 18th) completed the doorway through from Access Space.
  • Immediate issues include repositioning a light switch (done!), checking electrical installations(done!) and replacing cracked and damaged sockets (one more to finish.) Can anyone who's a qualified electrician help us out here?
  • We've competed an initial risk assessment for the DIY FabLab, and it's clear we need a rock-solid health and safety induction for participants. We'll need to get people to sign off that they've completed this. We're generating this paperwork right now(done!).


  • We submitted an outline bid to a major charitable foundation, asking them to support core staffing and a project programme for the FabLab for two years. :-( Unfortunately, our application was rejected - the fund was hugely over-subscribed, with more than 750 applications for only 20 or so opportunities. Gutted! Nonetheless, we will persist and are seeking new funders right now.
  • We talked with our insurers, NFU Mutual, about the DIY FabLab. They were surprisingly positive, though initially suggested an sixfold increase in our premiums. After some detailed investigation of costs, and removing cover on peripheral items, we've managed to reduce this to a threefold increase. This is the price of innovation!
  • We gained access to the unit to start preparations in June 2010 (just 11 months late!) and immediately started filling it with trash technology!
  • Our friends at Sheffield Arduino Hackers Network had their last meeting at Access Space, and are enthusiastic to meet here regularly. Let's hope we get a chance to show some physical progress on the lab infrastructure soon!
  • We've just been donated a huge Roland DPX-3300 Pen Plotter by Access Space trustee Scott Hawkins. Nice One, Scott! :-) Shacknetters and others will realise that this can be adapted as an accurate bladed or laser cutter, by replacing the pens. Scott has already done some knife cutting experiments.
  • We've submitted a registration of interest to the Technology Strategy Board to finance some infrastructure work, and some initial research actions in the FabLab. Let's hope this works! Regrettably, the Technology Strategy Board process was simply too onerous for us to continue with. In order to build up momentum, we need some initial seed resource accessible in a non-bureaucratic way.The Technology Strategy Board just weren't accessible enough.
  • Our previously takeover of the space from August 1st proved to be over-optimistic. We're still waiting for the current unofficial users of the space to move out - however, we've been assured that this will only be a short delay. :-/
progress/start.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/12 07:50 by james
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