The WDC visits the Institute of Making

The UCL Women's Dining Club held its Autumn Buffet Supper on Tuesday 26 November. This was preceded by a fascinating visit to the Institute of Making, which the UCL Department of Engineering opened in March 2013. This innovative and interesting Institute is a multidisciplinary research club for those interested in materials and the made world from makers of molecules to makers of buildings.

Zoe Laughlin, one of the enthusiastic founders, showed 24 of us around the Institute’s building in Malet Place .We first saw the Materials Library, which is a repository of some extraordinary materials gathered from sheds to laboratories. Zoe invited us to feel and lift some of the objects.

The second part of the visit was to the MakeSpace Workshop where members can make or design using traditional tools and state of the art equipment such as high tech 3D printers. She also showed us some of the things than hade been made in the space; specifically a bust of Darwin machined from a high density foam using a robotic system from the original laser scan of the bust in the Grant Museum so that people can make their own Darwin bust of any size as part of competition they are running.

Zoe gave us examples of the ways in which the multidisciplinary ethos of the space can be helpful; in one instance a cardiac surgeon who was trying to design a new heart valve replacement was sitting next to someone stitching whose father was a tailor and who showed him a useful stitch which solved a problem.

As well as offering membership to UCL staff and students, the Institute of Making also has a public programme and hosts masterclasses, workshops and open days.

We were all enthralled by the Institute and Zoe's enthusiasm which made the visit so successful.

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