For decades Asia, and India in particular has been known for its rigid and unwavering opinions on career choices. If you were to stray beyond the golden trifecta of doctor, lawyer or engineer things were bound to get complicated. That short-sighted approach is by no means extinct but it’s definitely fading into the minority. Creative and artistic values are on the rise and people who support these endeavors are working hard to make them a permanent fixture.
The best example of that progress can be seen in the rise of Maker Culture. Internationally and in India, Maker Culture emphasises the ability to share resources and knowledge to advance individual learning. From technology to art every domain is covered and dedicated Makerspaces are where innovators and creators can gather to work as a community towards their goal.
In India maker culture began as a word of mouth process with people in the know hooking up their friends with the right creative minds to get the job done. Now it’s evolved into a legitimate economic space with fairs like MakerMela catering solely to the collective heads in the maker movement. Across the country spaces are popping up with specialised skills and we’ve picked a few of our favourites so you know where to go when the creative bug takes hold.
I. Curiosity Gym - Mumbai
What they do: The Curiousity Gym welcomes members of all ages, the only prerequisite…curiousity! This shared space specialises in workshops and fun projects which combine learning with self discovery.
What they have: The place has to be well-stocked to keep up with their diverse workshop schedule. They have a full robotics set-up, including facilities to learn Arduino (Open-source electronic prototyping platform which enables users to create interactive electronic objects). A computer lab for those looking to explore coding and programming. As well as 3D printers for projects that are both scientific and artistic.
Find out more on their Website.
II. FABLAB Kerala
What we do: Literally, a Fabrication Laboratory, this is a technical prototyping platform which began as an outreach program from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) which today has grown into a national and international network for collaboration.
What they have: Their range of machinery is downright intimidating. Facilities for laser printing, precision milling, CNC Milling, digital sewing, vinyl cutting and countless more can be found here. We could go into more detail but the list of names is daunting. They are more academically minded than some of the names on this list but are definitely open to novices, their workshops and classes teach students the basics of digital creation and from here, projects can be shared with collaborators across the world.
III. Maker’s Asylum - Mumbai
What they do: They bring together anyone from engineers and architects to designers and artistes in an interdisciplinary festival of learning and innovation.
What they have: Any machine you could imagine, they have. Laser cutters, CNC machines, 3D Printers among electronics. They have facilities for woodworking and bicycle repair under the same roof as robotic equipment. Because they provide all materials on site there is no limit to what you can create. This is a truly an all-emcompassing space. They have regular, affordable classes hosted by local makers which focus either on creating a product or learning new skills and they even have monthly memberships for people who know they’ll be coming back.
IV. JMoon Makerspace - Delhi
What we do: Moon Makerspace is well-known in the world of cosplay as the go-to guys for wearable electronics. With their background in robotics, they can create anything from an Iron Man suit to a Batmobile (well, maybe not but they’d definitely give it a go)
What they have: You can always rent out their space to tinker on your own projects or get their guidance, but if you have something heavy duty underway you can even enlist their services. For 3D printing, robotic and wearable prototypes, coding services they can do it all. As they have a penchant for cosplay their skills stretch further than the electronic aspect though, they also have a woodworking studio where you could build your own authentic Groot if the mood strikes you.
V. Workbench Projects - Bangalore
Who they are: It’s fitting that India’s entrepreneurial hub holds the very first makerspace around. This co-working Bangalore space was reclaimed from the government and given to the innovators and entrepreneurs of the city.
What they have: This super modern industrial space has everything you need to get a project up and running. They’re open all week so you’ll always have access to their arsenal of power tools, CNC’s, 3D printers, sewing machine, welding kit and hand tools. There’s a backyard cafe and shower facilities to make sure you’re always refreshed, no one should be handling drills on an empty stomach! They also curate workshops in areas like model creation, programming and digital fabrication so even if you aren’t working on a project of your own you can always drop in and hone your skills.
VI. Maker’s Loft - Kolkata
What we do: This is a makerspace that is all about youth. The studio has been designed so that children can engage in a hands-on learning environment. Children are encouraged to explore and build their knowledge of science and technology, all under the watchful eyes of their sensei.
What they have: Because they’re trying to make learning fun, Makers Loft has focused more on the basics to engage children. They have LEGO and Google Cardboard (VR software) for tactile play as well as an electronics lab where kids can design, fabricate and 3D print their own toys. They also appreciate the visual arts and host workshops in things like heritage block printing to ensure that kids have equal exposure to all forms of creativity.
Find out more on their Website.
VII. Nutz & Boltz - New Delhi
What they do: Nuts and Boltz is a community generated makerspace where people with different minds come and work on different disciplines and present their ideas and innovations and exchange their knowledge on everything from aeuronatics to fashion technology.
What they have: Their 1,800 square foot space has all the comforts you need to get down to a long term project. Workstations, conference rooms, display galleries, dining areas they have it all but aside from the luxuries they have the essentials too. You can buy or rent all electronic supplies, tools, hardware and software facilities on site so there’s no need for supply runs. The highlight of this space is its diversity, at NutzandBoltz you can have engineers and filmmakers hard at work on the same project, every opinion is valued and every skill is put to use.
Find out more on their Website.
VIII. Vigyan Ashram - Pune
What they do: Vigyan Ashram was started in 1983 by the late Dr. S.S.Kalbag, an educationalist who wanted to find solutions for the problems in education. He proposed that most of the things we learn aren’t from reading or writing about them but by actually doing them. Today, the Vigyan Ashram is a village-based voluntary organization with a focus on work-centric education and the development of rural technology. It has support from the Department of Science and Technology as well as Technology Resource Centre of CAPART.
What they have: They have a solid inventory of machines including a laser cutter, Roland Milling machine, 3D printer, oscilloscope and soldering equipment but their real forte lies in their free programs. They teach people from all walks of life useful skills like tractor maintenance and ferro cement dome construction, this enables them to go out into the world and find gainful living in fields which they would not have ever had access to otherwise.
Featured image courtesy FabLab Kerala