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3D Printing

The Manchester Science Festival 2016

By | 3D design, 3D Printing, Raspberry Pi, Road Trips, robotics, Science, Technology | No Comments

Every now and again the Wavemaker team go on a ‘learning day’, and this week we had one of those days. Last time it was Liverpool, and this time it was another northern powerhouse, the city of Manchester. From the 20th-30th October, Manchester hosted its very own Science Festival. Situated at venues right across the city, it boasts conferences, workshops, family activities and exhibitions covering all the various and wonderful forms of Science.

With only one day allocated to seeing what the Festival had to offer, we had a tight schedule to work with, to ensure we got to see as much as possible. Travelling into Manchester by train, we likened it to the school outings of our youth, turning round and talking through the gap in the chair, full of anticipation and nervous excitement. It’s safe to say the Wavemaker team needs to get out more, but none the less we were looking forward to a day filled with everything science.

First stop on our tour was the Manchester School of Art. A fabulous, modern building situated off the bustling Oxford Street, the Benzie Building was hosting an exhibition titled Mesh. This exhibition, covering the third floor and the mezzanine levels in between, showcased artists creating and experimenting using 3D printers and 3D design. As a space that offers 3D printing, we were intrigued to see what had been created, how far 3D printing can be used in order to make interesting exhibits. The products and creations were simply beautiful, a real mesh of ideas and materials, bring technology well and truly into art.

Our next stop was just up the road at the Manchester Museum, to watch a piece of hand painted stop motion animation called Ocular Bionica, exploring the use of technology in medical advances. This particular piece focused on sight loss, and the ability to regain sight using a microchip placed in the retina. It was a really thought provoking short film, and really showed the possibilities that technology offers in improving our health and quality of life. The museum itself is also fascinating in its own right. For anyone that has never visited, you should. It is a building packed with Egyptian artifacts, fossils and even the skeleton of a T-Rex. With plenty of activities on offer for children, and all for free, it is definitely worth a day spent exploring.

We then trundled to Deansgate, jumped on the Metro and hot footed it down to MediaCity, located on Salford Quays. We were there to see the Silent Signal exhibition, within the University of Salford building. Again a series of shorts and animations, and again there was a continued focus on science, the formation of cells, insomnia, and the beauty of helix. These shorts definitely veered towards the abstract and the arts, but it was great to see the two combined and delve into the art within science.

Back on the tram to Deansgate, we made the short journey to the Museum of Science and Industry, the main hub of the Science Festival. The museum was a hive of activity, with many a half term bee, buzzing from one exhibition stand to the next. We explored space, the catalytic qualities of gold, renewable water systems and even coded our own train signal using the BBC Micro:Bit. The Museum had stalls from all over the country, rooms filled with science professionals and enthusiasts. You could have easily spent hours there, trying out each experiment and learning amazing new things. The Manchester Science Festival had been a hit, and by the time Wavemaker departed, like true festival goers we were exhausted but jubilant. If you’d like any more information about what we saw, or would like to suggest similar activities Wavemaker could host, then get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

#StokedonTech: Week 2

By | 3D design, 3D Printing, artists, coding, Craft, digital, Laser cutting, Minecarft, Raspberry Pi, Science, sewing, sewing machine, stoke, summer, Technology | No Comments

 

Two weeks in and our Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 is in full flow. A handmade Minecraft Steve cushion adorns our sofa…and a creeper that we made to keep him company. Our first BIG Make, a retro games arcade using RetroPi, stands proudly in the break out area, Doom flashing invitingly at our visitors. It’s a welcome addition to our video and photo booth, again masterminded by the brilliantly creative and talented Alex of the Wavemaker team.

The first session of our Stoked-on-Tech Summer, kicked off with a two hour session in Minecraft, which still continues to attract fans across all ages. Our enthusiasts turn up, rocking Minecraft t-shirts of every kind and spend two hours flying through our very own Wavemaker World, helping each other build the most amazing structures and generally just having a ball.

To continue with the theme of Minecraft we also decided to put on a Make your own Minecraft Steve cushion. Now, some people may think that sewing is hardly exciting, but I’ll have you know that it’s a skill that will always be important. Teaching children to mend and create from scratch is so important to us. The pride you get from creating something from nothing is what we get up for in the morning. In a society that is slowly turning its back on the ‘throw away’ culture, the ability to mend and sew is more necessary than ever. Everyone has that one toy or teddy that was loved to death as a child and had to mended multiple times. And there was no greater gift that receiving said toy back, all limbs in tact….even if a little wonky.

Our budding sewers did a fantastic job, the patience that is required is sometimes something that puts people off activities like sewing, but these guys had the patience of saints. They were going to sew that Steve cushion, no matter how many times they lost their thread or struggled with their needle. At the end of the two hours they all left with their cushions, made from determination, commitment and a love of everything Minecraft. We’ve since been told that Steve is being very well looked after at home, and a creeper of their very own making has also joined him. It’s good to know that he’s settled.

In week one we also hosted our first BIG Make and we had a week of building, wiring, sawing and drilling. The guys who came to help were fantastic! They jumped head first into the challenge, and at the end of Friday afternoon everyone stepped back in wonder. We’d done it. Then ensued the fraught ‘taking of turns’, it’s a surprise we’re not still all stood there now waiting for our go.

Friday rolled around and it was the turn of our Wanne be a YouTuber workshop. This workshop was set up in response to a number of young people, whose love of vloggers and online commentators encouraged them to have a go themselves. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em I guess! The session covered everything from setting up, to internet safety, editing and creating their first online video. Parents even attended the session, intrigued as to what was involved, eager to get all the information required to ensure their mini YouTuber was happy and also safe.

Week two the activities continued with Rubbish Accessories, following on this theme of making from nothing, and make we did! Coin purses from drinks cartons to be exact. Simple yet very effective. One attendee even runs her own crafting group for kids and said the activity was a great idea for her own class. It’s always good to spread crafting knowledge beyond the walls of Wavemaker HQ and we hope the group get the same fabulous results ours did.

Our BIG Makes have continued, this week with Recycled to Regal fashion creation. An opportunity for budding designers to get involved in creating a haute couture costume made entirely of recycled rubbish. The finished item will put Karl Lagerfield to shame no doubt.

So that’s nearly it for another week! Customise Me is half an hour away from finishing and I can’t wait to get in there and see the decals that have been created this morning. Bedroom walls, laptops, any available flat surface will be getting a facelift this afternoon that’s for sure!

We still have four weeks left of what has so far been a great success, long may it continue until the end of the holiday and beyond. It’s safe to say that the Wavemaker team and its visitors are truly Stoked-on-Tech this summer.

bus-banner-education

Half Term Wavemaking Workshops

By | 3D design, 3D Printing, coding, Craft, digital, minecraft, Python, Raspberry Pi, robotics, Science | No Comments

For anyone who has ever watched the late 80’s film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner the phrase, ‘Build it and they will come,’ will be a familiar one. That is exactly how we felt here at Wavemaker when we decided to organise a half term activity programme, which took place last week here at the Mitchell Arts Centre. Okay, we weren’t building a baseball pitch for the deceased baseball legends of the past but the goal seemed at times just as far fetched. This was our first real foray into the world of workshops and offering the people of the city the opportunity to learn new and exciting skills.

 

The week was packed with range of different activities from Metal Embossing with the brilliant local artist Belinda Latimer, Robotics with Kai Longshaw one of our regular makers to computer coding using Python and Raspberry Pi, run by two contributors and coding wizards, Rich Steele and Sam Freeman. We even had Birmingham City University student and past Holden Lane pupil Liam Witham leading his first 3D Design workshop, using skills that he has honed during his study of Architecture.

 

To our delight all the workshops were received fantastically well, Mr. Costner knows best after all. We had a range of ages participate across the week, with parents even getting involved in the workshops, learning new skills alongside their children, which was brilliant to see.

 

The young people that attended were a pleasure to work with, and some even taught us new skills and techniques! Some who attended the morning introductory workshops even decided to stay on for the more advanced afternoon sessions, which was a true testament to the talent of the workshop leaders and interest they generated around their activity.

 

All in all in was a week of fun and learning for all involved, especially the Wavemaker team! Individually we learnt how to code using Raspberry Pi, how to assemble a robotic arm and how dangerous yet amusing TNT can be in a game of Minecraft.

 

As we start to evaluate the feedback from our half term week, we will endeavour to use this to structure our next holiday workshops sessions at Easter.

The popularity of some workshops, especially the group building in Minecraft, has prompted us to think about hosting more regular sessions throughout term time, including weekends so get your Minecraft t-shirts washed and ironed for that! Full information on this can be found on our website and Facebook as soon as they are announced in a few weeks time.

 

We built it and people came, what more could we have asked for. Massive thank you to everyone that was able to attend, we had a great time and hope you did too. And if you don’t want to take our word for it, Edwin a 7 year-old Minecraft Wizard who attended some of our workshops said it was ‘Epic, awesome and brilliant’, we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. We hope to see you all again very soon.