Tag Archives: wood working

What does the kampung spirit of the Singapore Mini Maker Faire reminds you of?

If you had come for the inaugural Singapore Mini Maker Faire last year, it is unlikely that you would miss the biggest curated area by the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2).

Artistically decorated with the “kampung” feel, the booths of the SL2 showcased many treasures to our first Singapore Mini Maker Faire, bringing awesome surprises for many of us. The cardboard fire engine transformer stole the limelight, transforming itself into a popular photo spot. There were lots of hands-on booths for visitors to try their hands on, eg. painting on an elephant figurine, weight-lifting using DIY weights, urban farming methods and of course, the ever popular flying water rocket. There were simply so much things you can see, touch and experience.

Since their success last year, SL2 had been busy with several of their own events. We are glad that they are still able to take part at the upcoming second Singapore Mini Maker Faire, and are excited to learn what they have in store for us, and what learning points they would like to share with new makers. Read on to find out what we found out through an interview with Veera and Ibnur, founders of the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2)!

Conceptualisation > Preparation > Execution

When asked about their experience curating their own space, Veera and Ibnur shared that the Singapore Mini Maker Faire was an opportunity for them to bring their existing maker community together and create a common shared experience. It started with bouncing of ideas almost 2 months before the Faire, settling on the “Kampung Innovation” theme which celebrates the inventiveness and resourcefulness of the Kampung, and weeks of intensive sessions of development and iteration of the prototypes to bring them to their final form.

Non-visitors would not know this, but we noticed that SL2 had a debrief session at the end of the day. When asked about it, we were told that those are reflection sessions, and they are part of their internal culture at the SL2, enabling their makers to think about how their day went, and to share their gratitude and thanks to each other for the support they had received from each other. Doesn’t your heart warm at this? Personally, I think such practices are great for any community. Reflections are useful because they aid in the process of personal growth and development. SL2 really treasures their makers. :)

Kampung_Makers small

What have SL2 been doing?

For those who followed us since last year, you probably would have also followed SL2 and their activities during the past year. They shared that they had been inspired by the large turnout at the last Faire and the interest in their activities, and have started conducting “Woodworking and Innovation” classes for families, students and adults. They have also started developing their product lines with the cardboard furniture, Jigusuo rapid assembly furniture (exciting concept and interesting design!) and cardboard building blocks. Along the way, they also organised a bunch of makethons – their version of hackathons in which physical prototypes are a must!

If you are curious about SL2, find out more at their website here.

New plans

This year, SL2 shared that they hope to have a sharper focus on sustainability and demonstrate various ways in which we can all be more gentle with the Earth. They said that we can expect more earthworks, home urban farming systems, traditional crafts and quirky upcycled products. There might even be some interesting smart furniture and humanitarian devices on display!

Words of advice

Veera and Ibnur’s suggestion for newcomers at this year’s Mini Maker Faire would be for them to spend time on creating a positive and memorable experience for those visiting their booths.

Simple, but it is probably one of the most important things makers should take heed when planning for your booth at the upcoming Singapore Mini Maker Faire.

Are you ready? Stay tuned for more news coming your way and block your calendar for 27 & 28 Jul 2013!

Come experience being a Kampung Maker!

Sixteen makers and 6 discovery zones with an interesting myriad of hands-on activities! – This is my brief introduction of the booths of the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2) at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012.

Looking forward to see the cool stuffs that the SL2 makers are going to showcase? Come check it out with me for a sneak preview now!

About Sustainable Living Lab (SL2)

The Sustainable Living Lab (SL2) is Singapore’s first semi-outdoor kampung (village) lab and prototyping facility that enables local innovators, organisations and students to serve their communities and the bottom-of-the-pyramid better. SL2 is located at the Sustainable Living Kampung, a space created by Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), a non-profit community in Bottle Tree Park in Yishun.

Meet the Makers

Ibnur – SL2’s co-founder. A community-oriented innovator at GUI, Ibnur believes in the kampung spirit of ground-up innovation to solve sustainability challenges. He had been a maker/inventor since a tender age, having been influenced by his grandparents and parents whom he cited as “amazing individuals [who] have been the fountains from which [his] ideas flow from and also reminders for [him] to serve greater purposes in life”. His engineering education also provided the opportunities for several of his inventing and prototyping experiences such as antennas, sensors, filters, food dryers, bio-chips and ‘invisibility cloaks’ (Urgh, don’t we all think of Harry Potter when we hear “invisibility cloaks”?) 

Ibnur, together with Veera (below), had worked on projects that tackled issues in rural India, winning him UNESCO-Daimler Mondialogo Engineering Awards. Striving to nurture innovation across villages, he now co-leads the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2).

Veera – SL2’s co-founder. Veera has been making knickknacks and doodads for as along as he can remember. A kampung tinkerer at Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), his maker journey started with Meccano and Lego kits. Taking up Design & Technology as an O Level subject, he had ample opportunities to hone his skills in wood and metal working which served him well as a Mechanical Engineer in the National University of Singapore (NUS) where he designed and built solar pond dryers, flying wind turbines and miniature toothpick furniture.  Like Ibnur, Veera spent some time in the Silicon Valley gaining him valuable exposure to the overseas “garage culture”. On returning to Singapore, he co-founded the Sustainable Living Lab with like-minded maker buddies to develop the kampung culture of innovation in Singapore.

Huei Ming – SL2’s co-founder. Huei Ming is also presently a teaching assistant for the Engineering Science Programme at NUS where he is implementing a new design project for engineering students to construct their own low cost scanning tunnelling microscopes and guiding students on existing engineering design projects involving the fabrication of microfluidic devices and constructing wi-fi antennas.

There are 13 other makers (Zi Jing, Eugene, Yoga, Lianhan, Bart, Robin, Poh Hong, Melanie, Sullivan, Sid, Joyce, Natalie and Leonard) who all have a nice profile each created under the SL2 website (http://www.sl2square.org/category/news/singapore-mini-maker-faire/). Do check them out and see if you can spot them during the Faire this weekend!

What are they showcasing?

SL2 will be bringing some of the coolest stuff made by their kampung innovators out from their lab in Yishun. This includes bamboo amplifiers for the iPhone (which had an interesting name of iBam and iBam2), keychains & luggage tags made from decommissioned fire hoses, awesome cardboard sculptures put together by their cardboard designer extraordinaire, Bartholomew Ting, cool flatpacked cardboard furniture, cardboard building blocks, home brew kampung fitness equipment, water rockets and even PET bottle gardens and novel home gardening systems. You can even try out some tools and equipment at their mini wood working shop.

“MAKE” Cardboard Sculpture (Photo credit: SL2 Facebook page)

 SL2 is also promising interesting workshops to make your own play-dough, catapult, mini building blocks, water rockets, compost and cardboard sculptures which will engage your mind, body and soul!And that is not the end, as SL2 brings in games that would incorporate these DIY toys. I can already visualise lots of excited children!

Advice

SL2’s founding team was very humble when we asked them for advice for budding makers. They felt that their team is still young, and they do not have much wisdom yet to share as they are still walking the Maker path.

However, they shared 3 maxims which they live by and practised in one form or another at the Sustainable Living Lab (SL2):

Firstly, “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t right.” Secondly, “No prototype, no talk.” And, lastly, “Don’t just make your product, make your story.”

Maker Scene in Singapore

On the maker scene in Singapore, they would like to believe that there are many others in Singapore who share similar aspirations, as they felt that Singapore is in dire need of makers who are creative, hands-on and take risks, so as to build a Singapore that is vibrant, dynamic yet responsible and sustainable. The Maker scene is still young, so they do not know of many yet. They hope that through the involvement in the Singapore Mini Maker Faire, they could get to know more amazing ground-up innovators.

They added that our local maker scene can be likened to a baby Pheonix hatchling. It is not something new in Singapore, but more as something lost in our present young generation that is now in revival. They felt that it is important to rebuild the hands-on culture which was common in the days of our grandparents, where the kampong spirit prevails, where people spend more time together outdoor doing meaningful stuffs together.

To stay tuned to the SL2 stories, check out their Facebook pages on: www.facebook.com/sl2square and www.facebook.com/groundupinitiative. But first and foremost, come by the Singapore Mini Maker Faire at Science Centre Singapore this weekend (4 & 5 August).