Studio Series: DoES Liverpool

This week we visit Adrian McEwen at DoES Liverpool, a co-working space with a difference, tucked away on Hanover Street…

Please describe your space. DoES Liverpool is a shared co-working space, workshop and studio. We’re the nearest Liverpool has got to a hackspace – the’yre dotted around the world, for people who want to tinker with electronics and software (like making a felt-tip drawing robot, pictured above). ‘Hacking’ in the original computing sense, as in doing cool things, rather than cracking … We’ve just taken over a bit more space on the 4th floor of the Gostins Building on Hanover Street, so we have something like 1.500 sq ft now. It’s four rooms in total – a little meeting room, desk space, a workshop with tools and loads of interesting equipment; a laser cutter, a CNC mill, two 3D printers, soldering for electronics …

What work do you do here? A few of us base our businesses out of DoES, there are about nine of us with a permanent desk, and then hotdesking for freelances who want to get out of the house. A group of us got together to encourage more making in the city (Adrian McEwen, John McKerrell, Hakim Cassimally, Paul Freeman, Andy Goodwin and Ross Jones, who have been running Maker Nights and sharing a smaller office since summer 2010). It’s almost a FABLAB (or fabrication laboratory, a fully kitted out workshop which gives everyone in the community the capability to turn their ideas and concepts into reality, linked up all over the world). We run Maker Days at the Art & Design Academy (LJMU), and we’ve got our free culture ‘unconference’ Oggcamp coming up this Saturday, and Barcamp in October.

How many hours a week do you spend in the space? These days I’m spending a lot more hours at DoES. Up until really recently I was working two days a week at a science park rather than down here, making interesting things with electronics and software … Soldering things … Making Arduino boards … I’m now here almost everyday and a lot of evenings as well … Probably 40 or 50 hours a week.

What helps you work? All of the tools are really useful! The internet in general – there’s loads of people sharing ideas on what they’ve made, there’s a massive maker community. Maker faires are really popular all around the world; there was a mini one recently in Manchester, and you get people taking along things that they’ve made to share with other people … Make Magazine (US) has got loads of ‘how-to’s’ online, like tshirt canons made out of pvc piping and compressed air … maker faires in the US are more crazy usually than the UK. The one I always remember was a carousel made out of bikes that would whirl round the outside, with a jet propeller strapped onto the back of each bike! Being around other makers in Liverpool is inspiring. The guys at the Kazimier are making really interesting things with electronics and laser cutting.

What are your three favourite possessions in the studio? Bubblino (a Twitter-monitoring, bubble-blowing Arduino-bot) has got to be one of them – he’s done very well for promoting my cause! Everyone knows him rather than me. Probably my soldering iron. And the coffee pot – that was the first bit of equipment we bought when we moved in. We use Bold Street Coffee – we don’t stock anything else.

If your studio could speak, what would it say? Our studio does speak! It says: ‘Welcome to DoES Liverpool. Please see John to be inducted.’ If you haven’t been to the space before, that is. If you have, it just sings you a little song. It also says: ‘Thankyou and goodbye’ and whatever your name is. So it does speak.

If there was one piece of important advice that you could share with other makers, what would that be? Come along to maker day or maker night and experiment with things! Come along and join the community, get inspired, help other people, get them to help you, fire off new ideas, and then we make Liverpool more awesome.

Posted on 15/08/2012 by thedoublenegative