Access Makeathon 2017

We’ve kicked off the New Year in high gear with a 48-hour makeathon this past weekend!

MakerMobile crew member Bobby Malone

Neil Squire Society organized the event which took place in the ‘Hangar’ building at the Centre for Digital Media here in Vancouver. Local makers pre-registered and were then organized into teams and matched with a disabled client. Each client outlined a challenge they face in their daily lives and their team attempted to innovate a solution and produce a working prototype of a device that helped them to overcome that challenge. The weekend started with presentations and pizza on Friday evening and wound up on Sunday afternoon with teams showcasing their designs in front of a panel of judges.

MakerMobile was absolutely delighted when Neil Squire invited us to provide the on-site workshop facilities for the event. At the venue we stationed ourselves immediately outside the back door and provided a self-contained and heated mini-hackspace where people could come and do things they couldn’t do inside, like soldering circuit boards and fabricating metal parts. We also gave a lot of feedback and design suggestions and helped teams to troubleshoot their circuitry. Last but not least we brought along a huge selection of parts, from fasteners to electronic components, and gave participants whatever they needed, saving them precious time that would otherwise be spent on trips further afield in search of a nut, bolt, IC or capacitor.

On top of all the usual hand tools and handheld power tools, we brought a drill press as well as two extra 3D printers to supplement those inside. The parts we dished out included batteries, battery holders, resistors, capacitors, integrated circuits, LEDs, reed switches, pin headers, microphones, wire, heatshrink, proto board, teflon tape, nuts, bolts, washers and metal bar.

Here is what one participant had to say:

Thanks for being here during the Access Makeathon! You’ve got an awesome setup there, and having your tools, parts and expertise was a huge asset during the development process.

— Harry Pigot


For those needing a break, or wanting to refresh their soldering skills, we ran a class where people could make one of these really cool little robot badges. The LEDs are multicoloured and have pre-programmed into them various different flashing modes which they cycle through. They are quite mesmerizing!

It was wonderful to see the majority of participants were engineering students, and mostly female students, too.

It’s hard to describe the sustained buzz of positive energy that permeated this whole weekend. It really was a very nice, friendly and creative scene and we had a lot of great connections with people. Now we just need to dream up an excuse for another makeathon, so if you have an idea, please get in touch with us (‘team’) here at!

Simon puts his precious caliper away!

End of day 1 - see you tomorrow!


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