New Equipment!

Our equipment list seems to be ever growing and evolving to suit the needs of our community!
Our newest pieces of equipment are:

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Zortrax 3D Extruder Printer

This 3D printer is very user friendly, reliable and produces high quality prints! Plus it’s super slick looking.
It’s living in the hackerspace (separate from the other 3D printers which are with the laser cutter in the digital fabrication room). Sign up for the Extruder 3D Printer 101 training to get started printing!

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Vacuum Former

This machine uses a vacuum to form heated sheets of plastic into complex shapes. It can do a lot more than create packaging and protective covers, it can make  detailed molds, armor, masks and tons of other neat things! Come check it out, learn how to use it, and get working on your project!

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SawStop Table Saw

This is a regular table saw but with a very special feature! It has a patented automatic braking system that drops (stops) the saw blade within milliseconds of the blade coming in contact with the operator’s finger, body part or anything with electrical conductivity (say, a hot dog for example). Got project ideas but are afraid of fast spinning blades? Well you can ease your fears knowing that this stop saw has got your back! Get trained and get started!

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Thank you CanNor for providing funding to improve to our facilities!

Meet the Makers: Amy

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the awesome folks who are building our makerspace. Amy is an active member and Director who you will frequently spot working on her latest project in the wood shop. Read on to find out about her experience serving on the Board and what keeps her so involved in the making the makerspace awesome.
 

Amy, what’s your role at YuKonstruct?
I am the Secretary of the Board, I attend CORE meetings, and I organise some of our event programming – like the Make it Wild series of workshops. I also help to teach the Wood Shop Orientation sessions.

How did you get involved with YuKonstruct?
Since I first saw the buzz about YuKonstruct, I was completely intrigued. I’ve always loved to make things and a community space dedicated to doing just that is totally up my alley. It took me a little while to get involved to the extent that I wanted to, but showing up to volunteer at community events like the parade float building as well as coming to CORE meetings sure paid off.

On YuKonstruct’s float in the 2015 Pride Parade.

What has been your experience on the Board this past year?
I decided to volunteer for the board as I have policy experience so I thought I could contribute in a positive way to this up-and-coming organisation. It has been an eventful year! I have had the pleasure of contributing to some pretty exciting times at YuKonstruct:

  • (co)space got up and running – a great adventure and a huge success thanks to so many volunteers.
  • We hired the lovely and capable Adria to join our staff team with awesome Logan.
  • We worked on documenting some of our policies in the ongoing effort of the policy wiki (doesn’t sound sexy, but to a policy nerd this is excellent stuff).
  • We took on strategic planning to really dig into our governance model and planning for the next three years.

If I can quote our fearless and excellent board president, John – being on the board helps to break down barriers so that Makers and Entrepreneurs can do what they do best. I like to feel that I contribute to this excellent community in a meaningful way so, although not without its frustrations, being on the Board has been a rewarding experience.

What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?
Come out, join in! There are so many way to contribute to the community, and you get as much as you give.

We have awesome events for members to take part in, our volunteer duties can meet any interest, and did I mention that being a board member is rewarding? Because it is.

What are you working on now?
For my own projects – oh, have I got plans! The Van Slam gave me all sorts of ideas that I want to improve on Goldie – my Rav4 camping car – like installing an expandable kitchen table on rollers. I want to continue learning to use the wood lathe. And I just became an auntie to two more little nephews, so my wooden toy building game really needs to step up. I could go on, but I’ll likely be posting my progress on my instructables account soon.

I’m also really excited to move forward with the holacracy model that we are exploring as a governance structure for YuKonstruct. I love this organisation for its openness and community feeling, so I’m excited to see where we can go in the next few years after all the input we got into our strategic planning process.

Work Bees

The last two open houses were buzzing with activity at YuKonstruct’s “Work Bees” as people took the opportunity to learn about Yukon’s native bees and use a variety of tools to build shelters for solitary cavity nesting bees. The work place was alive with tools, led by the drills and followed by hammers, screwdrivers, and staple guns. All of the drills were in full operation in order to complete the labour-intensive first step of boring 1,800 6-inch deep holes!

In a quieter corner, participants savoured a few snacks, chatted about bees, and looked through a variety of displays. Most guests were able to pick out the one non-bee species among the twelve specimens. There were different styles of bee houses on exhibit, ranging from a simple bundle of hollow stems to a more complex tiered “hotel” designed for easy viewing of developing bee larvae. People took home skills and information sheets to build their own bee houses. The bee houses built at this event are being installed at various locations in the Yukon. I am installing some at local farms growing berries to find out what solitary bees are pollinating the crops. With the help of citizen scientists, bee houses will be installed in other parts of the territory to gather information on Yukon’s native solitary cavity nesting bees.

Thank you to the Yukon Environmental Awareness Fund and everyone involved in making this a freely accessible, well-attended, and enjoyable event.

Van Slam 2016

Building on the success of last year’s Van Slam at the end of the season, YuKonstruct decided to kick start the 2016 camping season with the second edition; and what a kick start it was! With a sunny 22 degree backdrop, Van Slam 2016 was another great success. Over 80 people came out to see 10 vehicles, ranging in size from a dodge caravan to an ambulance, a RAV4 to a lifted monster of an overlander.

Lots of great ideas and innovations were discussed and shown off and it might be safe to say that everyone attending was able to learn a little bit about the DIY world of campers, conversions and 4x4s.
From how to create a customized mosquito net to fit onto a car window, to the variety of customized awnings and bed systems, lots of great ideas and innovations were discussed and shown off. Not only was there a tour of the vehicles, but we were able to get some new faces into the doors of YuKonstruct and show off the space and equipment available to members, some of which has been used for the very same conversions.

A big thank you to all the vehicle owners and the volunteers that helped plan and organize the event, as well as all the people coming out for the tours.

Feeling inspired? Here are some links that can get you started out on the right track to either getting yourself a vehicle or basic foundations on converting a van from scratch (even for beginners!)
Some auction sites to find your own van or ambulance: bcauction.ca govdeals.com gcsurplus.ca
Great blog posts and purchasable ebook: http://vandogtraveller.com/
Plans for Allison and Chris’ cargo van bed: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Bed-in-the-Back-of-your-Van/
All Smith Overland’s blog: http://www.allsmith-overland.ca/the-ground-truth-blog

Finally, now that you won’t be using hotels on your next road trip, you might enjoy Andrew’s tips for the best places to find showers on the road: http://www.instructables.com/id/Finding-a-good-shower-while-on-a-road-trip/ 

Strategic Plan – Draft plan ready

We now have a draft Strategic Plan!

For your reference, you may also view all the notes from the focus groups.

As mentioned in the last Strategic Planning Process blog post, the draft Strategic Plan is the result of efforts put in by the Working Group.

It is a draft and we are seeking member feedback (details below).

Important note: the Objectives section (Years and Lead) is intentionally left blank for now.

GOVERNANCE

A key component of this process was digging into our governance structure. We landed on the principles of an approach called ‘Holacracy’. While we aren’t recommending a complete adoption at this point, we believe it is best suited to match who we are and our need for a clear decision-making structure. We recommend the following two short videos to give you a flavour:

Holacracy is what we recommend moving towards at the pace and in the form that makes sense for us. It is new and new can be scary. We can try it and adapt as needed. Let’s be clear that the status quo is not an option. We need a new governance structure and believe this is an excellent model.

MEMBER FEEDBACK AND NEXT STEPS

Type of feedback:

We are seeking member feedback on the principles and would request avoiding word-smithing (unless absolutely necessary).

Who / what incorporates member feedback and how:

The Working Group to continue being the architect of the draft plan until it goes to the Board for final approval. The WG will consider all member input and decide if / how the feedback influences or changes the plan. If someone makes a recommendation that the WG decides not to put in the plan, the WG will explain why.

The WG will then develop a Recommended Strategic Plan for the Board to consider. The Board will then present the Strategic Plan at the AGM for members to accept or reject.

How will the Working Group accept comments and for how long:

Members are invited to provide comment until 12 noon Monday May 16th. The Board is meeting that evening and will discuss the Plan then.

If you have any question, please contact John: 689 5269 or [email protected]

A quick tour of the Toronto Tool Library

Staff member- Adria, was visiting Toronto on her travels and stopped in to check out another makerspace that’s a bit different from YuKonstruct:

The Toronto Tool Library has a few locations in the city and one of them is a full library of things called the Sharing Depot! Members can take equipment and supplies out from the space and keep them for a few days or up to a week! They have everything from camping equipment to party supplies, from tools to sporting goods, from kids toys to board games…and the list goes on! And to take this stuff out from the library, all that is needed is a membership pass (ranging from $25-$100/year).

This place also had a makerspace section where members can work on projects and use tools and equipment. This was neat to see because it’s in the heart of the city and yet in the midst of limited space, members still had access to big pieces of equipment and tools to be able to work on bigger projects. Seeing this space did give me a better appreciation for just how awesome we have it in the Yukon! We have a makerspace with so much space! We have a big wood shop, a metal shop (which didn’t exist at this makerspace) and lots of room for several members to be working at the same time! Also- the yard! We have a yard at YuKonstruct where pets and projects and vehicles can all fit!

The sharing aspect of the Toronto Tool Libary is what (I think) makes this makerspace/sharing depot so wonderful! My appreciation for the sharing economy grew tremendously when I was visiting the space. Seeing members sharing more than just ideas and offering more than just training allows others to experience new things with the necessary equipment and supplies!

So I urge members to visit the Toronto Tool Library and other makerspaces outside of YuKonstruct. Thanks Toronto for the great visit, and thanks Toronto Tool Library for being awesome!

 

Meet the Makers: Chris

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our makerspace. Volunteer Chris’ unique hairstyle and tall stature make him easy to spot around YuKonstruct. 

Chris, what’s your role at YuKonstruct?
I am a volunteer site moderator and a workshop instructor. I’m one of the instructor’s for Stereolithographic 3D Printer 101 and Induction Forge 101. I also teach SketchUp and CorelDRAW workshops.

Why did you join YuKonstruct?
Before moving to the Yukon, I was really interested in joining a makerspace but never had the opportunity. When I heard about YuKonstruct starting up in Whitehorse, I wanted to be involved to help make sure it got off the ground. I’ve been volunteering since before the makerspace even opened.

Why do you think other people should become members?
There’s several reasons! If you’re into making things, at YuKonstruct you get exposed to a fantastic community that is very encouraging and helpful. Personally, I really like the social aspect and the diversity of projects that I am exposed to. Plus there’s all the tools.

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Chris assembling an airplane he designed

What do you like to make?
A little bit of everything. Predominately, I do digital fabrication projects, but I’m no stranger to working with metal and wood.

What has been your favourite project so far?
I’m torn between the cardboard airplanes we made for a Winterval parade or the yeti effigy I designed for Burning Away the Winter Blues. But there’s rarely a project that I complete that I didn’t enjoy.

Do you have any advice for other makers in the Yukon?
Join YuKonstruct! It is a great place to grow as a maker. I believe that continually learning is the key to sucess.

Also, if you burn yourself while blacksmithing, don’t pack snow on the burn. Frostbite on a second degree burn is about as fun as it sounds.

What are you working on these days?
Right now I’m working on a Plinko board and a mobile, and I’m looking forward to building YuKonstruct’s float for this summer’s parades.

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Chris working on a laser cutter project

 

Chris’ awesome feature photo was taken by Alistair Maitland at (co)space’s Rock a Headshot event.