A Visit to Liverpool MakeFest

alifeee and Nik volunteered at Liverpool MakeFest… this is what they found, thought, and found wonder about within!

See below for a small gallery of pictures

What is Liverpool MakeFest?

It’s a festival for makers! It was started after a maker festival in Newcastle stopped, and a group from Liverpool and elsewhere started Liverpool MakeFest. This year was the 9th year, and everyone there was so excited and enthusiastic to get involved and help it happen.

What did you see?

alifeee: electronics! crafts! daleks! LEDs! enthusiastic people! lots and lots of wonder.

Nik: Yep, generally there was a lot of 3D print / laser cut / electronics stuff, and it was refreshing to see some hand crafts and other less expected fare. There were also some cool talks by Ignite Liverpool but I missed most of them, caught some poetry at the end by Saint Vespaluus that was great though.

Who did you talk to?

alifeee: The people with the maker stalls were super interesting (and so interested in what they were doing). All the other volunteers and organisers had lots to say, and it was fascinating, wonderful, and inspiring getting to talk to them all.

Nik: Agree, everyone was up to something fascinating. I think the Quantum Tech Club were probably my favourite group at the entire event, they had great projects but what I found even more amazing was their comradery. They all work together on their projects, their origin story was fascinating (not wanting to stay in a confined definition of an amateur radio club only, so they broke out and made their own group) they have various social functions, a tight knit think tank of geniuses. I was drawn in by their giant LED Hexagon project, which is 2.5 meters tall, and Im not sure if i’m more impressed with the electronics/hardware or the underlying software that drives it. They had it visualised with opengl and were controlling the leds with a distance function of a plane intersection, the whole thing was parametrically designed, I could go on, it was just amazing, their tech could totally be used for live events / immersive experiences / film industry.

It was also really cool to chat with Niel Lambeth, who is a legend from Robot Wars back in 1995!! He had some great projects to show, teaching kids to program robots. Also he had a really cool 2D solenoid array which was driven by a BBC Microbit, I had no idea that the microbit has its own radio communication protocol for wireless coms between other microbits!!!!

What are you inspired to make?

alifeee: I’d really like to try rag rugs, probably on Wednesday’s craft night. I think I’m going to try and find some rag rug tools in some antique shops. I also found out about https://www.freese-works.com/ which is a neat tool for making craft grids.

Nik: One project that caught my attention was the plotter stall on the 4th floor, Forge & Craft. They had a little plotter on display that couldn’t have cost more than £10 to make, it was a microcontroller, 3 cheap servos and 2 lollypop sticks, using an IK mechanism to draw, 2 motors for the joints and one to raise/lower the pen, so cool. The project is called BrachioGraph https://about-brachiograph.glitch.me/ and I am determined to put the time into making one. I also got a planisphere cutout kit from the liverpool astronomical society, which I hadn’t heard of before, can’t wait to try it out.

What was unexpected?

alifeee: I spent a lot of time talking to people who were making rugs, both rag rugs and patterned rugs. They were very impressive and optimistic, and talked extremely inclusively in that it was a skill gainable by anyone.

Nik: I was kind of surprised to see a financial advice and planning stall, Talk About Money, but that ended up being extremely interesting and engaging, I need to look into Open Banking!

How was volunteering?

alifeee: Great! The organisers were very nice to us and it felt really nice to be a friendly face to help the makers.

Nik: I was originally worried I wouldnt have time to see all the stalls and makers but there was ample time, and it felt good to help them all aside from getting to know them, the get out at the end was a good workout for me too hehe. Also, all the volunteers go to DoES Liverpool afterwards to hang out and have some drinks, their space is amazing, very well equipped and huge. I had a pretty amazing conversation with the creator of Museum in a Box, what a great project!

Will you go again?

alifeee: Next year is the 10th anniversary, so they want to make it bigger than ever. So… definitely!

Nik: I’m so happy you shared the event with the shef hackspace alifeee, otherwise I wouldnt have even known about it, and it was my first time ever in Liverpool! Def plan to next year for the anniversary.