My Day As A Volunteer Maker

The last time I designed and physically built something out of materials (other than IKEA furniture) was way back in CDT (Craft Design Technology) lessons in high school. That all changed today as I became a volunteer maker for the day!

Welcome to MakeFest 2018

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) runs an event called “MakeFest”, for details on the 2018 event see . Little Inventors ( took part in the event and were looking for makers to take part and help turn young peoples ideas into cardboard prototypes.

So for my first attempt at being a Maker.

The day started with a introduction (or reintroduction) into how fun cardboard can be. Remember when you were a kid and a cardboard box could be anything (a spaceship, a boat, a fort, etc…)? Well making with cardboard brings all that fun back.

First up was an introduction to the work of William Alexander (Twitter: @icecreamvanman) followed by a warm up exercise, making an ice cream cone. Check it out, mine even had a flake.

Ice Cream anyone?

Little Inventors brought several ideas/designs with them to the event, and they were all very awesome. Young people have great ideas about what could change the world and being given the opportunity to make one into a prototype is brilliant.

I chose “The Dog Machine” by Cameron (Age 8), it is a machine to fire balls for dogs. I went with this design choice as I wanted to start off easy.

The Dog Machine

After collecting some cardboard I sat down and started to imagine how the idea might be implemented. I thought about the pull back mechanism on pin ball machines, and K9 from Doctor Who. Imagine a model dog, where you pull the tail, let go and it fires a ball for a real dog to fetch!

My doodle design

What followed was several hours of craft knifing, gluing, taping and using cardboard to make a prototype whilst in full view of the public, interacting with the public and answering questions about making.

With some inspiration I even got to make a (in my case, poor) cardboard spring!

Cardboard spring

I had a great time. Thanks to Little Inventors for letting me be a maker for the day.

The excellent MadLab Code Club is looking to work with Little Inventors and the always cool MadLab in the future to turn a design into a product.