Author Archive

Maker Culture Part3: And to you.

We are in what is called the Maker Culture, a DIY rich environment where almost everyone can and have access to the materials to make their ideas come to fruition. Makers can range from engineering scientists to the average man with a free weekend. Thanks to the creation of modular programming and modular robots, such as the Arduino series of modular boards, anyone with access to the internet can learn the basic skill sets to create an idea they have. The Maker Culture is heavily based on the community work from one to the other, in a chain of people helping each other achieve their ideas. Not only the community helps, this is such a profitable area, that we have business revolving around helping those people achieve their ideas:
Funding your idea, pitching with you to fully unravel how possible your idea is, the objects you would need, the public you would attend to with your idea and helping you achieve the knowledge you would need to put your idea in practice. Those are known as Incubator Enterprises. One Toronto example would be the Studio Y



Credit: Google Images

The 3DPhactory logo

Building your ideas, creating the shapes and cutting the materials you need in the shape you desire to perfectly fit your designs, getting the most cost-efficient for you to be able to develop it further and prototype it faster. Those facilities are known as 3D-print and Lazercutting Labs, much like 3D-Phactory is.





Discussing your idea, helping you maximize the output of it, improve it and helping you learn the necessary skills in a collaborative environment together with other people that have the same goals as you: develop their new ideas. Those friendly spaces are known as Hacklabs, much like HackLab and Site 3 are, both located in Toronto.



credit: Google Images

indieGoGo logo

credit: Google Images

KickStarter logo

Advertising your idea, getting the public to know it, helping your idea receive the popularity it needs to soar high into the skies and acquire the popularity it needs to rocket off to the market. Those spaces are essential for you to be able to actually make money out of your idea, since you cannot have a product selling only to two or three people and getting it to be popular without much help can be harder than expected. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are great companies, IndieGoGo having a branch in Toronto and Kickstarter in NewYork.


With those companies extending their doors and hands to you, the public, one can be able to produce their ideas with much more ease than before, all one needs is the starting impulse to go forward and try their ideas. But wait, people can still be too shy to show their ideas, correct? They do not want to be shot down, and many don’t even give their ideas a chance. That’s where the Do it With Others communities take part. They are focused on helping their fellow DIY makers to achieve and enhance their inventions, all thanks to the internet database and anonymity, piles and piles of information can be shared around the globe to better help and provide more satisfactory results to the Maker.

Maker Culture Part2: To the present…


Credit: Google Images

Manchester Mark 1, one of the fist computers

From our last post, let’s advance a bit further in time. While “computer” machines have been around even as early as 100BC, they have evolved in tandem with the scientific world and their advances. From the General Purpose computing device of Charles Babbage to the Hypothetical device of Turing Machine, created by Alan Turing in 1936 that pretty much dictates the definition of computers today, we have evolved the computers to be more efficient and faster ever since, to the point in time, where thanks to  Nikolas Tesla Alternate Current, whose main characteristic is being able to be send for long distances and another invention, the Morse Code, by Samuel Morse, Joseph Henry and Alfred Val in 1836, the idea of a interconnected network was born.



Credit: Google Images

The ARPANET starting network

In 1960, the US government created the first intercommunicating network, the ARPANET and not much later, in 1980, the World Wide Web. Ever since, the internet has been growing exponentially each passing day, each time faster and faster thanks to new programs that allow people with less knowledge of programming and web-based code to create their own web-pages. The internet is already having theories of being compared to be a living organism and its astonishing creation of information is already surpassing the information we created ever since the first invention of “writing”.



Nowadays, inventors don’t have the same halts the old ones had thanks to those already having broken the ground and paved the way with their inventions. Now, one is free to propose and try their hands at creating anything they want as long as it is in the realms of reality, and some inventions, such as the levitating super conductor magnets and brain-wave reading headbands already tap the realms of what we could have called magic a few decades ago.


Credit: Google Images

ARduino, one of the cornerstones of DIY projects

Now, thanks to the internet’s connection and storage of information, as well as the invention of many “facilitator” machines, almost everyone with an idea can create it and patent it. Ideas no also don’t necessarily limit to physical realm as well, we have whole ideas and market for fully digital ideas, called software’s. That is the so-called Maker Culture, full of Do It Yourself kits(DIY), DIY  oriented communities that help explore and enhance those very same kits and even create new inventions that doesn’t necessarily use a DIY kit. the Maker Culture has a heavy “open source” policy, meaning anyone that creates a new invention or comes with a nice and interesting solution to a problem will most likely post instructions on how they achieved so or will sell for an affordable price the items they produced.




Source: internet is alive) magnets)

Maker Culture Part1: From the past…


Credit: Google Images

Pythagoras Bust

Credit: Google Images

Socrates Bust

At the beginning of time, there wasn’t much to invent. Homo Sapiens had just become aware of the dangerous world it lived in and that he would need tools to survive the land. The very first inventions where the wheel, fire and “writing”, which by the time was just drawings that represented something. With the passing of time, Humans made weapons, boats and wooden houses. Many of those ideas weren’t assigned to a inventor until the time of Greece, when philosophers would record their contributions in books and other manuscripts. As it turns out, inventions pave the way so more inventions can be made faster or easier, such as Pythagoras(570/495 BC) many contributions to mathematics and Socrates(470/469 BC) vast contributions to the fields of science. Though, you may also have noticed that many of those scientists were pursued at the time for their “heretic” findings.




Credit: Google Images

Leonardo Da Vinci

If we flash forward a couple centuries, we are now at 1450/1519 with a fellow named Leonardo Da Vinci, widely known artist for his many paintings and inventions that preceded his time in hundreds of years. What is also known, is that his inventions were many times taken as idiotic or simply too stupid to work, for the sheer fact they couldn’t test them at the time. He also contributed to many other fields of science, including natural science, mathematical studies and engineering. Now, we just have to leap a couple years to 1856/1943 to find another genius called Nikolas Tesla, a notable inventor, especially in the area of electricity and engineering, creating the Alternate Current, radio-controlled remote vehicles , induction motors and other advances.



Please take notice, that the further we go forward in time, the more advanced the discoveries become and the faster they occur. While we started with the Greek philosophers at around 500 BC, we had to make quite big leaps to effectively create other inventions, but when we come to 1000 AC forward, they start appearing in most fields at a much faster rate. This is due to how the writing, inventions and discoveries pile up from the past to the future creating a staircase where the new inventors can thread with more ease to reach for higher places.

Sources of part1:

HackLab visit


The workshop where most of the tools are


The open space reserved for activities

HackLab was a wonderful visit! it has a friendly vibe of partnership much like Site3. They started in 2008, which makes them younger than Site3, in fact, they were one of the very first in the Americas, though the idea of a hackerspace being alreayd a heavy thing around Germany for a longer while. Differently from Site3, they are much mroe about digital and programming work, since Hacklab, from its namesake, started wiht a laboratory for programmes who enjoyed hacking and changing softwares and such. With the passing of time, they moved around to places that could fit their machines better.
Now, they have a Workshop room, full of tools and a air-controlling ducts scheme to help them work on a enclosed space without health problems. Paired with their 3d printer and lazercutting machine, they even go as far as using those tools to make tools to make it easier to create certain things. They also sport a kicthen, and oddly, it actually serves many purposes, such as biological laboratory, to experiment with certain things, a well as a place to unwind and prepare food inside the own place, so the people there would not need to run out and back every dinner and lunch hour, saving them time and gas/fare.
They also sport a absurdly bigger area for classes, parties, workshops, etc.


1)How does the membership works?
R: By 50 dollars a month, you are abe to use all tools and get a key to the door, acessing the shop between its openign and closing times, as well as having acess to the workshops given in there.

2)What is the background of the people that are members here?
R: Well mostly designers and programmers, I for example make these light jewelry, i prefer workin on small scales, while some of us make exclusively software work, and some of us are here to learn a bit of everything!

3)Isn’t this space too small for all of these activities you guys have?
R: Thansk to how we set everything up, we can make the best of the smallest spaces, we have been able to have a sewing station, a biological test area and even a Photography revelation dark room! Its quite a feat to be able to fit all of those things in one palce really.

Xspace visit

IMG_20150324_171513[1] IMG_20150324_171618[1]

Xspace is a community artspace with a OCAD partnership. It is a art gallery available for emerging artists and designers to showcase their work without worrying a lot about the expending money into it. In fact, they give the artist a small fee so they can pay for their art to enter bigger at galleries, helping them receive a kickstart towards their future. At each month, they add new art galleries, according to a theme  they chose for the year. The theme can be chosen from any from proposals made by students and members of the community. They money they take to keep alive and help the art students come from OCAD students tuition fees, allowing for that expense to effectively come back to the students(at least a part of it).

They also offer many wrkshops, from teaching the artist student to set up their art in a gallery, as well as to picth ideas, sell their own art and to learn how to get “out there”. Xspace also hires students for various purposes, from web designing to graphic design for their annual collection portfolios, those internships being paid and allowing the students to receive experience and help them with their tuitions fees.


1)Most of your arts in gallery ight now are static, how well equipped are you to receive interactive art?
R:We do have a healthy space for interactive installations. The student is even shown techniques to better utilize a smaller space to its fullest if it can be the case.
2)And what about games and virtual art? Would it have space in your gallery?
R: Of course! we are starting to make game design shows as well, still this September. All kinds of arts are welcome in our gallery.
3) what if a art piece cannot be shown in your gallery by lack of resources?
R: In that case we rent that resource and use it for that installation. In the end, if many people start requesting things that need that resource, we try to see how to adquire one permanently.

UpVerter visit


a hardware from a CAD design


Two of the members of the company who gave us the tour and explined all to us. Friendly people!


A garage company, created by two friends who noticed a necessity in the field of CAD designs. First because it is a really hard thing to understand, second because the ones available at the time were absurdly expensive. So, after woking as engineers for a while, they noticed how aiming for this field was more lucrative and more enjoyable to them.
Using of videochat and  other online meeting devices, they have a more closer relation to their client as they create and develop the CAD design, which allows them to save a lot of time and prototype versions.

By aiming to make CAd designing simpler, they allow the client to notice properly what they want, as well as being cheaper than the adversaries. Lately, they also have been starting to work in a partnership with OCAD to help and teach CAD designing, which is a really interesting idea, after all, it allows the students to have more experience in this area before entering the market

1) Why is it so expensive to create such products?
R: Mainly because it is a highly specific field, so the competition is fierce, and there are not many in there, so prices dont “drop” as much, as well as these CAd designings being used for thigns that can potentially cost millions of dollars if they fail.

2)How do you market to your clients? Who are your clients?
R: Our client are most of the time, Hardware engineers and big companies, so it is not exactly easy to market to our targeted audience, but we are also trying to make more public designs so we can raise the awareness of the public and market to possibly more people.

3)How important is the relation between client and you?
R: Absolutely important. When developing hardware CAd designs, they can get really confusing and hard to explain ifthe client and the maker arent completely understanding each other. And the least time we spend in one prototype and least amount of prototypes we need, the better.

Self conduct visits.

Site 3 Visit+interview:

Site3 begun when the two founders, Jacob and Matt, five years ago noticed that Toronto’s makerspaces didnt had the most robust machinery nor a space for people to create their ideas themselves. Sure they could place an order, but at Site3, they can be hands on their project through the full process. So, with that in mind, they funded and put together the machines they had before to make the start of the Site3 place. With the passing of time, more people would join, and often they would bring something to add, such like tools, machines or even their own skills, to the makerspace. This created a incredibly friendly atmosphere, as well as inclusive and malleable schedule. It in many ways assimilate much more to a group of friends getting together to help each other than a company.

Site 3 differentiates itself from other makerspaces in toronto for its sheer diversity and malleability in its rules. With a membership system of 3 tiers, the first tier are “free-users”, people that come at thurday nights on their open house time to work on some of the simpler machinery they have. AS long as they do not exceed a certain level of noise or do not operate any dangerous machine, they can work from 7:00 until 10:00pm. The second tier is the “member” tier. For 40 dollars a month, you can visit the shop at any time a member with “full membership” status is currently on and use the other high-end tools as long as there is a supervisor. The last tier, is full membership tier, and this is where things get more interesting. The full membership tier allows you to not only be a full time member, with key to visit the shop at any time, it also allows you to teach the classes there. Most of its classes are taught by members of the community, and they go from glass blowing to Arduino lessons.

Some of their projects have already been displayed on events such as Burning man and charcarcade. Since it has such a malleable structure, it’s hard to keep track of all projects they have helped make real, but it is a really prolific community. They also believe that with their ideal, it is possible to create a much more healthy community for the creators an designers, to meet, share ideas and actually make them real by their own hands.

I can say that by far, this was my favorite place to visit. Not only are they a very friendly bunch, their policy of “all helps all” is wonderful. For only 40 a month, you can use some of the tools that would have cost you definitely much more than that. It is a healthy community, relatively new, and it only grows stronger as the time passes. It is possible, and i sure hope so, they can get a bigger warehouse where they can work or expand on the next years. It’s a place that i definitely recommend visiting for yourself.

Those were the 3 questions i had made to them:
1)What differentiates you from another Toronto Makerspace?
2)The Site3 has tons of courses. Are they taught by community members for the community or does the Site3 has professionals they hired themselves for that job?
3)What would you say has been the biggest achievement of Site3 for toronto community?

To learn more about the Site3, visit , or visit them at thursdays, which would be really much better for you.


The Workshop visit:

Unfortunate as it may be, my email to them, as well as my visits did not landed me an interview, but alas, from what I could gather from my visit and researching the website, they try to have the same approach of the Site3, be a friendly space for designers to learn and work on their projects, though they are more limited towards sewing, patchwork, dyeing and such. The main building is in a shop, quite a calm place to visit with sewing tables across the room.

The 3 questions I had for them were about their community, how they would differentiate from other makerspaces and again, their biggest contribution to toronto. Unfortunately, I did not had direct answers to these questions.

From studying their website, most I can gather of it is that their main difference is the richness to how they teach so many different sewing and cloth-work related classes they have, as well as a huge array of specialty and level on their courses. While Site3 have very spaced classes, some being 3 months apart, The WorkRoom has courses that are much like a school one, with a fixed schedule and a instructor. The community seems to be more “teacher-student” oriented and for their contributions to toronto, they have plenty of events and competitions between sewing works.

For more information, visit:

this is where most of the digital work happens, with a shelf for small materials as well as many other gadgets to tamper and test with.

this is where most of the digital work happens, with a shelf for small materials as well as many other gadgets to tamper and test with.

IMG_20150319_203127[1] IMG_20150319_203529[1] IMG_20150321_154409[1] IMG_20150319_115850[1] IMG_20150319_115859[1] IMG_20150319_115919[1]

As the visit was nearing an end, one of the members comes in and makes a moose barbecue, inviting everyone, including me and two other visitors that came in that day. Best meat ever.

As the visit was nearing an end, one of the members comes in and makes a moose barbecue, inviting everyone, including me and two other visitors that came in that day.
Best meat ever.

There was just so much to see and talk about, me and Jacob got really excited talking about the place, to the point it was both hard to write it all down and i would often forget to write down!

There was just so much to see and talk about, me and Jacob got really excited talking about the place, to the point it was both hard to write it all down and i would often forget to write down!

Just one of the many shelves filled with different handcrafts tools

Just one of the many shelves filled with different handcrafts tools

People would come in and use those for a while,  i figure they have been members visiting, but they are also used in the sewing classes. Reminds me of the old times where people would gather in big sewing halls and talk with each other while sewing.

People would come in and use those for a while, i figure they have been members visiting, but they are also used in the sewing classes. Reminds me of the old times where people would gather in big sewing halls and talk with each other while sewing.

I must admit i missed the place a few times, it looked awfuly like a shop to me.

I must admit i missed the place a few times, it looked awfuly like a shop to me.

HotPop Factory: 3DPrinting and You

This Tuesday we visited HotPop Factory, a enterprise about 3d printing and whose work has been quite ground-breaking in this scenario so far.

As we visited, the two co-founders, Bi-Ying Miao and Matt Compeau showed us a presentation, showing the story of the enterprise. They had a major in architeture, and from their experiences with AutoCad and other digital “building” programs, came the idea of organic buildings, fruit of their work in Rome, that tries to praise both tradition and futuristic design. As the presentation progressed, we were shown just how their interest for 3D printing started. With something simple as earrings to more complex things, such as art pieces, a prototype Human Hive, etc. They use together what they call the “holy trinity” of 3d printing, which is: Lazer cutting, 3D printers and 3D model software. With a mastery of those 3, anyone can build somethign marvelous wiht minimal effort. Though HotPot Factory works to make it much simpler, so anyone can set their imagination free and build their projects, even creating an App so that people could create their own 3d models from “finger painting” a digital canvas.

After the presentation though, we were allowed questions. I had three in my head, though i didnt asked them directly, since others had the same doubts.

1: Doesnt 3d printing creates quite a amount of garbage material? After all, since it makes people creating small projects easier, it also makes these people create more “trash” once they grow bore of those projects and eventually dispose of it.

R: Even though it does create plastic trash, wich is one of the worst to decompose, the amount of it so far is negligible if compared ot other sources such as plastic bags and other pollution methods, also the average man still doesnt have enought adquisitive power to have a 3d printer on their house to create that much trash material.


2: What exactly feeds a 3d printer? It do creates thign with plastic, but said material must be specific to feed it right? It’s not like it can be fed molten plastic in a cartridge.

R: What feeds a 3D printer turns out to be rolls of plastic in string form, much like what you would find in a roll of copper wire. It comes in different widths and colors.


3:What are the greatest limitations of 3D printing?

R: For one, it still is quite expensive, it costs per hour and has a starting fee quite high. Second of all, it has great limitations in how thin a piece can be and on the types of archives it can be fed. Not every modelling program creates a acceptable 3d file for it, which makes the task of remodeling or creating a model for it quite tasking.


From all those answrs and the insight of it, i actually think that more than creating trash, if we develop a way to recycle the plastic of the 3d modeled figures into new string rolls of plastic with relative easeness, it could come to actuallly be a beneficial and “green” process. Imagine if you build a plastic duck, you paid for the material and the hour to build it, but after growing bored of your plastic duck, you can return it for “plastic credit” which would be able to redeem for cheaper next model? And nto only with 3d modeled plastic, if possible, even plastic bags and cups and cuterly could be used to redeem “plastic credit”. That would make people more conscious of the importance of recycling while allowing them more immediate benefits.

All in all, the HotPot factory is a wonderful place, quite interesting indeed. Full of potential and brimming with oportunities for people to put into the world their ideas.

(their first project in 3d: jewelry)

(the human hive mentioned, it uses both 3Dprinting, Lazer cutting and 3D modeling to create a very organic “house”)

(the program they developed so people can create their designs easily)

Use of this service is governed by the IT Acceptable Use and Web Technologies policies.
Privacy Notice: It is possible for your name, e-mail address, and/or student/staff/faculty UserID to be publicly revealed if you choose to use OCAD University Blogs.