One of the key features of both stationary and mobile makerspaces is the availability of a catalog of project-based learning formats rooted in open source hardware documentation, which can be implemented locally. While access to tools, technologies, and materials is part of enabling people to realize their creative ideas, knowledge and skills are equally indispensable.
Beyond hosting hands-on capacity development workshops ourselves, we want to strengthen local makerspaces by training trainers, so that they are able to enhance their workshop curricula focused on engineering, design, electronics, programming, and other STEAM-related subjects. A curriculum of learning workshops facilitated by local makers can increase the visibility and attractiveness of the makerspaces and also provide new approaches to local value creation for makerspaces and freelancing trainers, e.g. in collaboration with vocational schools and training centers.
Learning in open source hardware is based on open source repositories of project documentations, including source files of designs and instructions. The documentations can be remixed and adapted to meet specific needs. Progress in the field of making is created through these adaptations. Despite numerous projects being documented across various platforms and repositories, only a handful of them have been adapted to cater to local needs in Ukraine – considering language, entry level, and adaptability to diverse skill levels. As we conceptualized the Tolocar project, our primary goal was to establish an online learning platform for future making focusing on self-hosted learning.
However, in the initial months of the project, it became evident that deficiencies in digital and technical skills were a significant obstacle to the effective implementation of the Tolocar program on the ground. We then decided to pivot and adopt a more introductory approach to the development of technological literacy.
To address this introductory approach, we are crafting a project-based curriculum centered around the construction of open source computer-controlled machines, ranging in complexity and capabilities. These are low-cost projects that are aimed at building the audience’s confidence with digital fabrication toolchains. Additionally, they foster skills such as basic machine troubleshooting, familiarization with microcontroller programming, digital communication protocols, data formats, and similar competencies.
Current Draft Curriculum[edit | edit source]
Level 0[edit | edit source]
Introduction to 3D printing: Creating keychains in TinkerCAD
Level 1[edit | edit source]
CAD modeling and 3D printing
Level 2[edit | edit source]
3D printing and basic electronics: EggBot-style build
Level 3[edit | edit source]
Basic Microcontroller programming, basic robotics and precision mechanics: AxiDraw-style pen plotter build
Level 4[edit | edit source]
Extending microcontroller programming and advancing path planning: Drawbot wall-mounted plotter build
Level 5[edit | edit source]
Advanced robotics and CNC control: MaslowCNC build
These are all projects that have been extensively documented in western English-speaking maker communities, but can be challenging to implement in the Ukrainian context due to the shortage of specific electronic or electromechanical components and the lack of well-structured documentation in the Ukrainian language.
We proceed with our iterative approach in developing and delivering such workshops by building a network of partners that is already established.
A special case in the area of Fab Lab and Maker communities is the Maslow CNC milling machine. The Maslow CNC is a project based on open source hardware and software. Its special feature is its structure: The plate to be machined does not lie flat and horizontal, but almost vertical, slightly angled. This makes the machine particularly space-saving. A hand-operated router is used as the centerpiece. This sits in a housing that hangs from two chains that are lengthened and shortened under motor control so that the router can move left, right, up and down over the panel. In addition, the Z-direction of the router is controlled, i.e. the vertical plunge into the slab.
The Maslow CNC machine stands at a slight angle, almost vertically, which makes it extremely space-saving. A router that can be used for manual operation hanging from two chains that are lengthened and shortened by motors – controlling the movement of the router.