These past few days I've been trying to distill my ideas for an urban communal engineering workshop. I've uncovered a little bit more information regarding the Maker scene in the UK and while it's not exactly as burgeoning as that in the US, it's certainly established. My web wanderings first lead me to the Make forums where I became quickly impressed and then rapidly jealous of the stateside Maker Faires. These events bring together like minded people for home brew technology demos, workshops, and exhibitions in an informal fun setting - a fairground! Why can't there be something like this in the UK? Well it turns out there is...
In one particular Make forum thread there was two year year long gripe by UK Makers about the lack of UK based meetings like the stateside Maker Faires. This was the first indication that there are UK Makers out there. But more importantly one of the posts referred to the London branch of dorkbot as a possible alternative. I had heard of dorkbot many years ago - probably when I was reading NTK which I believe is an affiliate. The group states that if consists of 'People doing strange things with electricity' and brings together artists, engineers, and geeks for creative endeavours. The group seems to have been running for seven years now and they've had over 55 meetings - so I feel particularly foolish for not getting involved earlier on.
Aside for the monthly city meets dorkbotlondon is this year holding DorkCamp2008 - that seems to be a small scale event similar to a Maker Faire - at a campsite in Dorking (hehe). This is the third year the camp has been running and the initial schedule looks pretty cool. However, due to prior commitments I won't be able to attend this year :-(
Anyway, I've been reasonably encouraged by my findings and will certainly try to make it along to the next dorkbotlondon meet in August. Hopefully this means that there will be some other London based individuals who might like to get together to use a London based shared engineering workshop - like TechShop but on a [much] smaller scale.