I took some grief from a former teaching partner and avid tinkerer about the design and material choices for our Tinkering Table. “Ross,” he said, “where are the tools? Where is the heavy machinery?” This is a guy who rebuilds a vintage racing Porsche every spring for fun and whose idea of a weekend project is building a 12’ x 12’ shed from the ground up. Yes, tools are fantastic in a maker space, but as with any new endeavor—you need to consider audience and situation.
We designed the Project Zero Tinkering Table to work in the shared public space of our office. A band saw might be a bit loud for the adjoining meeting spaces. We made the choice to begin with a material that our audience is very comfortable with: paper. PZ researchers, our audience, are quite comfortable with several phases of the design process. There is a lot of brainstorming and prototyping that occurs naturally during our work. The thing is—this is almost exclusively done two dimensionally. So this week we made the shift to 3-D. We hope to use the tinkering space and materials to encourage exploration with three-dimensional prototyping.
Once we see a shift from 2-D to 3-D work habits around our offices, we’ll consider asking for a band saw—along with the appropriate hearing protection.