Big 3D Printer: An Exercise in Experimentation

Design, experiment, innovate! That’s the attitude of our resident Maker Matt Wilson and the inspiration behind his Big 3D Printer Project.


When Matt first canvased his idea of wanting to create a big, cheap 3D printer, he was met with resistance. The two most common responses were;“you can’t make a 3D printer under $100 and you certainly can’t make a big one!” To that his response was “get stuffed”.


Over the course of the last few months Matt has prototyped a 5 cubic metre 3D printer made of three strings, an effector (printing head) and a small stepper motor.


To-date Matt has experimented with some materials, including an oil + flour + water mix, extruded through a syringe effector- however these have not proved particularly fruitful.


The next challenge according to Matt is “to get an effector that will do something useful!”


Staying true to his original purpose which was to use “a material that is recyclable and cheap” Matt has decided “to use paper” in order to “make paper sheets”.


At the moment accuracy is low and speed is low, but it works and is viable.


We will keenly follow Matt’s story as he takes his prototype to it’s next phase of development!


In the meantime you can follow Matt’s methodology at



Current Projects List

A big part of Makers Place is providing and supporting members with their projects. Below is a list of the current community projects that are underway. If you'd like to help out on any of these please let us know!

1. Big 3D Printer led by Matt W. 

2. In Moov Robot led by Conroy 

3. Experimental prosthetics/orthotics, led by Johan

4. Circular Knitting Machine, led by Conroy

5. Geodisic Domes, led by Conroy 

6. Puzzle 3D Printed Chair, led by Conroy

7. Lithophane, led by Geoff

8. Mobile Solar Battery System, led by Lean and Conroy

9. Mentor + Member Wall, led Mel 

10. Sustainable Materials Wall, led by Mel and Manon

11. Badge System, led by Ade and Mel 

12. Door Entry Door System, led by Miklos

13. Planter Wall, led by Lean

To express interest contact us via email!


To get regular updates follow us on Facebook:

2nd place for Ability Maker!

August 2015 - Makers Place, Ability Mate & Three Farm entered into a worldwide competition to win a Gigabot 3D Printer. We had to create a video that articulated how our initiative creates positive social impact. Lucile our Parisian designer in residence did a really fantastic job of directing and editing the video.  

The competition was based on 20% votes and 80 % judging panel. The competition was fierce but we are proud to say we came away with 2nd place. A mighty achievement for an initiative that has only been going for 3 months.

Ability Make -a -thons are monthly events held at Makers Place where we gather many great minds. Designers, Engineers, Project Managers, Medical Professionals work with people who have a disability to improve their assistive devices. We aim to create products that are more customised, funkier and affordable! 

Here is our video:

Here is the video of other competitors:


Each month Maker's Place hosts a group called Electrocraft. This group is lead my Joy Suliman and followed by woman and girls who are experts or novices in electronics. Its a great place to start but also one of the only places for female electronic engineers to share knowledge with other chicks. 

At the June meetup the group had lots of new faces which was great to see. A new member brought along some fairy lights which had stopped working practically as they were taken from their box. Ade and Carla took on the challenge to fix them! After an hour or so of trouble shooting... who would have thunk it - they were repaired!

These groups happe monthly and you can subscribe to their events via Facebook

Maker Spotlight: MIKLOS the RFID Wizard!

Our RFDI system, created and installed by Maker Miklos in April, is a great addition to the functionality of the space. Amazed by his DIY RFID system, we decided to find out a little bit more about the project and the man behind it!

What’s your name and your background ?

Hi, my name is Miklos and I am a maker.

How did you get involved in Makers Place?

I spotted the Makers Place while I visited the library and got very excited immediately. We live in a small apartment and no way I can store all the tools and devices I want to work with, so I really liked the idea of sharing tools and ideas.

How did the RFID project commence?

I always wanted to do something with RFID, but there were no suitable projects. When Mel mentioned that she was looking for someone to make this system I knew it was the perfect opportunity!

Please fill me in, what is the RFID?

RFDI stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. RFID is an umbrella term- there are several different frequencies and implementation.  We wanted to use it to let people scan in to Makers Place when they wanted to.

How did you build it?

There were several iterations as with most making projects.

First of all I wanted to make something that really is online and can easily scale to multiple locations. There are some products and solution out there that claim to be online, but they need a local server or other additional tools to work. This was the point I decided to build something from scratch.

I decided to have a client-server setup with local caching. There is an online database that stores which card should open the door and whenever there is a request coming in it answers if the card is valid or not. If the reader can’t connect to the online database it has a local copy that will be used.

I also wanted to make sure members can use existing cards if they are compatible with the reader, so other RFID cards, such as your GoGet card can be used.

What materials were used?

The base system is a Raspberry Pi. On the top of it there is a PiFace extension that can handle the power requirements of the lock. The RFID reader is a USB one, it works just like a keyboard. And there is the lock of course with all the cabling.

What does it mean in terms of functionality for the space?

As for now it can enable keyless, logged access. In the future we can add readers to any device, so we can limit the time a potentially dangerous device has power. For example: after a swipe on a reader located next to the big saw the saw will have power for 10 minutes.

Technical deep dive:


  • Raspberry Pi (v1)
  • PiFace (v1)
  • USB RFID reader
  • WLAN adapter
  • Electric lock
  • Cabling


Client side:

  • OS: Raspbian
  • Code: Python

Server side:

  • Google AppEngine / Python

I’m working on to open source the software I wrote!





First NOTICE to Design and Innovate!

As humans, we ignore a lot of things- things we think are irrelevant or a hindrance to our ability to survive. It’s a natural, automatic process that our nervous system employs to ‘free up’ conscious processing- this generally takes the form of habit formation, known as habituation or sensitisation. For survival, these processes are fantastic (!), but they’re not so great for creative process. Complacency is the enemy of creativity! In this great chat, Tony Fadell points out that making a point of ‘noticing things’ is the first step in the creative process- finding opportunities for creativity, design and innovation. 


Future Artifacts Workshop with Home Schoolers group

On Friday 5th June had a group of homeschooled students come in for our "Future Artifacts Workshop". Students were challenged to create an object that future discoverer’s could use to tell a tale about our time. Students used the design thinking process to develop their concepts. The group then got stuck into CAD design and 3D printing to make their idea come to life! Check out some of their project below. 


Wall Mural for Makers Place Leichhardt

One fine Saturday in May - Artistic friends of Makers Place,  Roberto Rivadeneira U_R_K_U & YT popped on in to pimp out our boring grey wall.

They worked their magic over several hours. The theme is THINK / MAKE / TEST / PLAY - see if you can find the hidden words within this colorful & playful mural?

Thanks Alice McMurtrie for your professional photography.

Circular Economy Australia: Upskill to Upcycle VIVID


‘Upskill to Upcycle’ is a philosophy close to our hearts; we were therefore thrilled to be part of Circular Economy Australia’s Vivid event by the same name at the Museum of Contemporary Art on May 23.


Vivid Sydney Circular Economy 1

Circular economy is a global movement that seeks to ensure biological and technical resources (materials, skills, products) are used responsibly and continuously; re-used and re-purposed to reduce our dependency on sourcing new materials and discarding old ones.


The event was focused on advocating this model, envisioning waste as beautiful, re-workable resource!


Vivid Sydney Circular Economy 2

 A panel of leading thinkers and doers, including our own co-founder Mel, discussed problems associated with our current waste models. The other speakers were James MoodyRonnie Kahn, Anna Minns, and Ben Moir

Design and innovation were proposed as important forces for social change, necessary in creating a prosperous and responsible future.


Over the course of two hours, over 150 eager participants listened to different forms of innovation currently in use and strategies for change into the future. They then had the opportunity to engage in a speed design challenge that aimed at identifying a waste problem and solving it using design and business principles.


Vivid Sydney Circular Economy 3

Solutions to current waste management issues included the construction of scalable, co-living spaces; apps for food distribution; reusable bottles and accessible education tools (for full profiles head over to Circular Economy Australia).


Vivid Sydney Circular Economy 4

We had a ball. It was great to see so many enthusiastic change makers sharing their ideas and skills.


The event prompted us to think innovatively, design consciously, and act responsibly! 

BlueLab Creative Industries Symposium 2015

Last week we had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Blue Lab Symposium for the Creative Industries held by the Blue Mountains Creative Industries Cluster in Katoomba.

makers workshop sydney

The event was teeming with artistry, ideas and opportunities.  We were overwhelmed by the vibrancy and diversity of Mountains Makers! 


Over the course of two days we participated in presentations and discussions that challenged existing models of production, reimagined the capacity of resources and positioned creativity as a strong commodity within an economic framework.

Discussion topics and panels ranged from marketing in a digital age, to environmental consciousness across production cycles, to profiling artists and the economics of industry.


bluelab makers workshop katoomba

Mel Fuller, our co-founder, spoke on a panel of wonderful women in a discussion forum titled “Think. Make. Do”. They focused on profiling the makers’ movement and the importance of design thinking in creativity and beyond. We were prompted to think about waste management, the potential for shared resources and collaborative consumption. It was a great chance to envision a bright social and economic future driven by innovation and creativity.

We then had a wonderful afternoon showing some of the fantastic things Makers Place Leichhardt has to offer to a curious and receptive group of creatives.  We were once again overwhelmed by the positive community response and the eagerness of attendees to become founding members of a Blue Mountains Makers Place!

The creation of such a space would drive community engagement, increase creative yield and drive innovation.

maker workshop blue mountains

It was wonderful to see the extent of interest areas and emerging ideas covered in the Symposium. The atmosphere was one of eagerness for challenge, change and creative emergence. We look forward to next year!  

Maker Spotlight: MATT WILSON Interviewed by Stephanie Valle

Nothing is ever final, it can always be improved. It’s true for writing, and for 3D designs. You stop improving when the benefit is deemed to be not worth the effort and cost.”

— M. Wilson

Stephanie: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into 3D printing?

Matt: I’m retired. I've always had a hobby of electronics. I like fixing things. I’ve always liked making things work-- preferably making them work better than ever. If I can’t fix it, then I disassemble it for any useful parts. I got into 3D printing by playing with arduinos. I got my own 3D printer kit after I had spent a couple of years attempting to build one from scrap stuff (I'll finish it one day, maybe). 

Stephanie: What do you generally make with your 3D printer?

Matt: I make replacement parts, generally made with improvements, to fix things. Usually the original part broke because it has a design deficiency. Sometimes I draw from existing designs, however, this often tests the limits of what my printer, and the printers at Makers Place, can do. For example, I printed a complete replacement extruder for my printer using a design from Thingiverse; it worked, but it took a couple of iterations to get the printer settings good enough.

I also make new designs. Some are new tools, such as a shredder for scrap plastic, as part of recycling waste (still a work-in-progress). Some others are things I'll call trinkets, such as name snowflakes for Christmas gifts.

Stephanie: What do you like most about the technology? 

Matt: I enjoy 'solving the puzzle'; how can I make what is needed? A 3D printer gives me that opportunity. For example, over Christmas, my mother-in-law mentioned she had a music box with a Santa in a rocking sleigh, but it didn't work any more. She said she'd lost the key, so I offered to have a look to see if it was repairable.

The music box was one of the wind-up type, with a wooden stick in a slot to start and stop it. I pulled out the wooden stick and it chimed out about 4 or 5 notes before it stopped. Where the key to wind it up should be was just a threaded shaft sticking out. It seemed to be OK, except for the key.

So, one morning a day or so later, I typed in a simple script into OpenSCAD to create a new key. A couple of clicks later, I had an STL file. It only took a few minutes to create the GCODE file ready to print in my printer. I printed the key. It took longer to heat up and change the filament than it took to print! It screwed straight on. After winding up the music box, it worked perfectly.

My mother-in-law was very pleased with my morning's effort. Even her arthritis-affected fingers could wind up the music box. The music box was on display for this Christmas, and is now stored away until next.

Stephanie: What do 3D printers signify to you?

Matt: To me, 3D printers are a tool, rather than an end in themselves. A 3D printer is a very versatile tool, but the lower end machines can be very frustrating to use; lots of trials and many errors. However, even the very low-end 3D printing machines can produce some very useful and interesting items.

Stephanie: How does Makers Place fit in with your interests?

Matt: Doing something for others is a key component of being part of a community. This is common feature shared by 3D printing, and Makers Place. If what I do has value for others, then that is a win-win for all concerned. Its about solving a problem, servicing a need. I get supply for doing something I enjoy, and others gain value from what I produce, and hopefully, they enjoy that too.

Maker Spotlight: JOY SULIMAN Interview by Stephanie Valle

Creativity + Technology = Opportunity. The three words that make everything work in my life.”

— Joy Suliman

Joy is a spirited, no-nonsense individual with a passion for creative digital media and electronics. Her personal mission is to improve community access to these kinds of technologies in order to create opportunity, particularly for children and young people. This mission is reflected in her professional pursuits, which include being a youth worker for Save the Children and running her own business, Irresistible Learning. Joy was one of the first Makers to join Makers Place, Leichhardt. To Joy, this co-working space represents a grass-roots community movement that is geared towards social good. Makers Place has helped further her personal and professional projects by providing access to tools and introducing her to a vibrant and diverse community of people. We recently sat down with Joy to explore her work further, and discuss the role Makers Place has had in supporting her. 

Stephanie: What do you see yourself as being in a professional sense?

Joy: I do a lot under different banners. Broadly, I work to increase community engagement in the field of creative digital media and electronics. I do that mainly through workshop facilitation with children and young people. My CV for the last 20 years has had some kind of community engagement and audience empowerment. I like to share skills and knowledge. 

Currently, my main role is as a youth worker for Save the Children. I work in the Mobile Youth Van Project ( This is a project that focuses on giving young people across the state the skills and access to creative digital technology. We go out and work in public spaces and community centres. 

I also recently started Irresistible Learning  (, an organisation that builds on this idea of access and equity by running workshops to turn consumers into creators. I do this by helping people understand and engage with the processes that make our world. Our motto is “Creativity + Tech = Opportunity”- these three words make everything work in my life. When you teach a person advanced image making techniques, or how to write basic code, even if it doesn't lead to anything else, it opens up their mind to what makes up the world around them.  

That’s what my business is about: active engagement. I want to engage people with technology in a simple, hands-on way. It’s not necessary to be an expert to convey to someone the excitement and possibility inherent in technology. I consider myself to be a learner and I try and take that into the work that I do. We're on a journey together. 

Stephanie: How does Makers Place fit into your life? 

  Joy's kit of electronic essentials

Joy's kit of electronic essentials

Joy's kit of electronic essentials

Joy: Makers Place is a really great space for me to be a Maker. It encompasses the same idea as my business, the idea that we're on a journey together. I've been here a few months now, and it’s been great. It’s given me access to the technology, skills and support I need to create. 

Joy's upcycled tin can microphone!

  Joy's upcycled tin can microphone!

Joy's upcycled tin can microphone!

I've been making microphones as a hobby- it’s not part of my business, I just like playing with things. I live in a small apartment. It’s not easy for me to work in my home. It’s very time consuming to unpack and repack my equipment. Recently, I took all my electronics to MakersPlace. This has improved my capacity to make things and it’s made my projects better as I’ve had immediate access to other tools and people- that helps me solve problems fast. 

Makers Place is amazing for both collaboration and inspiration. I've met some great people. It’s a really important space for that, for gaining an audience and creating a community. For example, I run a meet-up for women and girls that make electronics called ElectroCraft ( Women range from PhD electrical engineering students to artists that want to integrate electronics into their projects.  Our meetups are at MakersPlace. There’s something about this kind of movement that people really love. It caters to all kinds of people and I want to enable that. 

As a result, Irresistible learning and Makers Place are now collaborating to hold events to discuss and further this movement- it’s called Making Community. We both have a strong interest in working with library and community organisations. Making Community will be an opportunity for these organisations to hear from leaders in this field about the kinds of practices that will help to integrate the forefront of technology with community engagement to better equity and access. 

Joy talking about Makerspaces and Hands On Engagement at Making Community event March 2015

Stephanie: What’s next for you? 

  Joy talking about Makerspaces and Hands On Engagement at Making Community event March 2015

Joy talking about Makerspaces and Hands On Engagement at Making Community event March 2015

Joy: I’m going to continue working on my projects and dedicate myself to bettering the causes I'm passionate about. The next step is sharing my skills and expertise with my colleagues in the cultural and library sectors- MakersPlace will have a role to play in this also. 

You can find out more about Joy’s work via the links below, or meet her at MakersPlace Show and Tell on March 14th 2015



Irresistible Learning:

Recent Projects

Hi Folks, Check out what the amazing members of Makers Place Leichhardt have been creating!

 The project wall - this is where members find groups to join in with to learn and create collaboratively

The project wall - this is where members find groups to join in with to learn and create collaboratively

This is Albert, he created himself an ipad holder made from a pair of 3D Printed feet with attached with molding wire. This was Albert's first dabble in Open SCAD (open source CAD) and 3D Printing. Click here to download Alberts source code for Open SCAD.

This is Matt. C the founder and maker at Me3D Printers. He created a sleek filament spool holder for their exhibit at the easter show. The parts where laser cut and assemble with accrylic adhesive.

This is Manon, she is a product designer that focuses on sustainability. Manon's creation is the Open Materials Library. This project is an extremely useful resource for our members. It is a work in progress currently undergoing the first phase of user experience testing. Stay tuned for more updates and the launch of this initiative 

Members Yasmin and Mel were commissioned by Leichhardt Council to activate an empty space on Norton Street. The girls went into full production mode by designing and making this oversize Twister board game. The Twister game can be found at 161 Norton St.

Interview with Diffusion Radio, for lovers of science!

There is a one stop shop for scientific inspiration... Diffusion Radio!

If you like a good, broad mix of Science - new science, hard science, pop science, historical science and very silly science this site is your you.

Ian Woolf is Diffusion radio's busiest broadcaster and recently he conducted an interview with Makers Place co-founder Mel Fuller. 

     WARNING! If you're a podcast kinda person you gonna get hooked to Ian's content!


WARNING! If you're a podcast kinda person you gonna get hooked to Ian's content!

About Ian Woolf

Ian Woolf lives in Sydney, has a degree in Applied Science, worked as a solar astronomer, software engineer, systems programmer, webmaster, Networking tutor, Computational Theory lecturer and subject coordinator, and Physics lab demonstrator; while changing his career to professional writing and broadcasting Ian has 1000's of listeners from all over the world.



A Beautiful Solution To Ocean Plastic!

Did you know that enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times?

Around the world we currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce?

Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute. 

Studio Swine are a UK based design studio that are educating, raising awareness and innovating in beautiful ways. Their mission is not to depress us about the horrific impact humans have on our seas and oceans, but to inspire us to do something about it.

The Studio Swine team are really looked up to by Makers Place, so much so that we have added them to our inspiration blog! At Makers Place our first step to reduce plastic impact is to collect all our 3D printing waste. Once we have enough, we plan to create one of Studio Swine's open source machines so we can turn our plastic into beautiful products.

For more information about plastic the worlds impact, check out The 5 Gyers Project

For more information on Studio Swine, check out their website and Kickstarter Campaign

Precious Plastic

Here at Makers Place we are very conscious about the amount of 3D printing filament that is getting used, and how we can truly close the loop on this stuff. The 2 types of filament we use is ABS and PLA. ABS comes from crude oil and PLA coming from corn starch or other 'natural" raw materials. The way these materials are harvested is unsustainable to say the least. We see this waste as having true economic value $$$ if dealt with in a smart way. If not dealt with, lets face it - the plastic will probably end up in our oceans.

 3D Printing Filament Waste from Makers Place

3D Printing Filament Waste from Makers Place

Through our journey of researching clever ways we could closed the loop on this material we came across the Precious Plastic project.

Inventor Dave Hakkens takes us through how easy it is to recycle plastic. All you need to do is sort it and have a tool to turn it into new things. This is where his open-source machine comes into play.

Dave Hakkens called on the global community to help his dream come to fruition. 

See and hear about his story here: