MakerSpaces in Ottawa

There’s been a veritable explosion of “MakerSpaces” in Ottawa this year. The affordability of prototyping tools and excitement around ‘innovation’ has made it possible to open up all kinds of otherwise unused space as sweet maker labs.
A quick survey of the Ottawa labs I know about:

Centerpointe Imaginespace : Open to the public!

ArtEngine Modlab : Open to the public on Wednesdays, and available to private members throughout the week.

uOttawa Makerspace : Open to the public on Sundays – open to uOttawa students the rest of the week.

Carleton University Discovery Center : 3D Printing on demand.

Gatineau Sustainable Makerspace : Seems focused on building ‘green’ projects.

MakerSpace North : Opening soon – looks like a membership-based shared lab.

Bayview Innovation Center : Huge public maker space coming in 2016.


Some of you may remember this from physics class – but here’s a cool trick. Grab a light source (led and battery in this case), a tiny image, and a magnifying glass.


Line them up just right (the ratio of distances is equal to the magnification of the lens) and SHAZAM! You are a projector! 🙂 I have an idea in mind involving projections – I have to find some affordable super-bright LEDs.

Sand Mandala

Prototype for a sand mandala generator. I finally have an excuse to work a bit more on this! I was really fascinated by some monks who came to Winnipeg ages ago and produced a sand mandala on the floor of a neighbourhood art gallery. Gorgeous, colourful, temporary work.

In this version of the tool, I create a bunch of “Ants” who walk around leaving sand everywhere, each a different colour. I’m working on giving the ants different “personalities”, one ant will love spirals, and the next will be really drunk, some ants will only walk straight lines. Here’s the collective work of a bunch of wibbly-wobbly ants coming back from the pub. 😉

The circular and radially symmetric forms naturally emerge, because I’m cloning the ants in quadrants and they can’t help but sometimes walk radially. (Some of them will preferentially do this in the final version.) This is fun to see in action – there’s a lot going on when you get 40 of them walking around.


Circle Packing

Why is circle packing sooooo hard? I feel like I’d need a PHD in Rocket Math to fully understand this stuff. I get that specialized knowledge requires highly specialized language, but how awesome would it be if Google Translate could convert from Differential Geometry to English. “Discretizations of holomorphic functions.” Auugh!

I figured out enough to do this, though!