Published: 09 Sep 2016
Name: Ben Durack
Job: Studio Manager
Having never been a morning person, coffee plays a big role in my morning routine and I recently converted to a manual espresso machine. The process of sourcing roasted coffee beans, grinding, tamping, pouring espresso and creating an Americano has become slightly sacred as a means for kick-starting my day and is almost meditative.
Living with a dietician, I am guaranteed to leave the house having had a substantial breakfast. It is important for me to be at the cutting edge of the latest tech news and creative practices so breakfast is also a chance to catch up on the latest articles and blogs.
I then have a short 20-minute walk to MAKE, located at 17 Belmont Street, which is ideal for catching up on the latest podcasts and clearing my head before the day begins. Podcasts are a great means for engaging in niche non mainstream subjects as well as high quality, curated entertainment and are greatly underrated.
I normally arrive for 9.15am which gives me time to catch up on e-mails and determine a work plan for the day before opening at 10am.
No two days are the same, so having the opportunity to prepare a plan for the day is crucial in order to ensure commercial projects run to schedule, workshops and events are kept on top of, and enquiries responded to.
For example, today I started by preparing the silicon tools we have produced from a high resolution 3D print designed at MAKE for a commercial project we are working on. We are capable of delivering batch produced products designed in house and this is exactly what I am doing today. This process allows us to deliver high quality end use parts at low cost. Once I have cast the first set of the day I meet with a local business founder to discuss a potential project. I take the customer through the design process and explain how we would take their idea from the back of a napkin to batch production and how we would go about quoting for the project.
I normally have a working lunch, making good use of the local sandwich shops that surround the area, which is a real treat. If MAKE isn’t overly busy during lunch, I tend to use this time to work on projects. Today I decide to plan how we will install our new solid wood worktop to take the load off the worktop as well as optimise usage.
After lunch, I take the opportunity to respond to e-mails.
On this particular day a few members come in after lunch – an artist and a young professional. The artist is fairly self-sufficient, having already had relevant inductions on the equipment they are looking to use and so begins to use the laser cutter. Every now and again the artist will ask for some design or technical advice, which is offered to encourage collaboration.
MAKE has a lot of talented members and we like to encourage skill sharing so that the space becomes more vibrant and self-sufficient.
The young professional is a regular and is currently making a 4m long seaworthy rowboat made entirely from laser-cut ply. MAKE has worked collaboratively with this member to develop and iterate this design and we are currently proofing the laser cut panels before assembly.
We encourage the public to use the studio and equipment to work on any project – however large. In between helping members I begin to design an award we have been commissioned to produce by Aberdeen City Council as well as plan two workshops we will be running at TechFest in the coming weeks.
We close at 5pm most days so once we close for the day I begin a clear up in preparation for the next day and change my focus to personal projects I am working on to showcase the potential of MAKE. For the past few weeks I have been building a 3D printed drone with custom electronics which will be capable of autonomous flight – because who doesn’t want an autonomous drone?
I might also use this time to update the social media accounts to show our current members and the public what is happening at the studio, which is an important part of developing the brand.
To unwind I either head out for a game of squash or spend my evening in the kitchen. I love to cook and find the process relaxing and immediately rewarding.
5 reasons why I am happy at work
1. I get to do something I am genuinely passionate about.
2. The cutting-edge technology and kit – we will soon be adding to our already impressive equipment, with a metal 3D printer and 4-axis CNC.
3. The gratitude I receive for helping members and clients.
4. The enthusiasm of everyone involved with MAKE at Robert Gordon University (RGU), which runs the facility
5. The potential MAKE has to become a creative hub within Aberdeen and a centre for innovation