Making in Bangkok 2014-2015

January 4, 2015 Happy New Year everyone. 2015 looks to be a very promising time. Just in the past few months several makerspaces have opened up in Bangkok and are already up to some very interesting things. 2015 will be the first full year Bangkok has makerspaces open and working on projects.

The first we came across was Gravitech's Home of Maker. Located on the fourth floor of Fortune IT Mall next to Amorn Electronics, it features a store front for Gravitech as well as a makerspace with a variety of hand-tools, power-tools, and a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer we have personally put to the test.

Many may not know this, but the Arduino Nano was created by Gravitech US, which was started by a Thai who has now brought Gravitech back to Thailand along with some bits and pieces of the growing maker culture. Home of Maker is looking to ignite the maker community here in Thailand and has many plans this year to do so. One includes a mini Maker Faire.

If you are anywhere along the MRT, stop by Rama 9 station and check it out. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and Fortune IT Mall itself is a haven for tech-geeks. A two-year membership is affordable and allows you access to discounted rates both for purchasing hardware and for using the makerspace and hardware like their 3D printer (currently 2 baht/minute with membership, 5 baht/minute without).

Visit their website here, or follow them on Facebook here

Next we visited Maker Zoo. Located about a 10 minute's walk from BTS station Ekkamai, Maker Zoo is still working out exactly what model it will use. For now, if you drop by on Maker Sunday, you will see it is more or less a maker's co-working space. It has at least 4 3D printers including 2 MakerBot Replicator 2's, a Delta 3D printer good for doing organic-shaped projects, and another smaller printer out front.

The managing director, Max, uses the space for workshops to teach people tools such as 3D printing and Arduino microcontrollers. One workshop features a downloaded Arduino holder you can 3D print -- but the workshop itself involves incorporating the holder into a walking robot (which is also 3D printed).

The space is also used for R&D and prototyping for clients. When we stopped by there was a very interesting project unfolding. We're not sure if we can write about it, but if we can, perhaps it will appear in a future feature story.

Max and his team are friendly, knowledgeable, and have a lot of energy and ambition to contribute toward Thailand's maker community. If anyone is capable of making it happen, it is people like them.

Visit their website here, or follow them on Facebook here.   

Technically not a makerspace, but we have to mention it anyway, since it's BIT Magazine's own design studio -- Helios Labs. We have many tools here, and friends are invited to work on their projects here, but we instead much prefer to work with everyone around the maker community. Design work and assembly and even testing is done here, but 3D printing, collaboration, and other activities are done anywhere and everywhere makers gather.

We have been practicing interior and industrial design for several years for clients in Bangkok, London, and Singapore. We have also done some work for an LED light manufacturer based in China.

Our passion though is building the maker community and enjoying all the benefits a community like this has to offer. Design is so essential to making, and we believe it will be one day as important to be "design literate" as it is today to be "computer literate" especially with that advent of 3D printing.

Visit our website here, or follow us on Facebook here.

Other makerspaces in Thailand? Sure! We just haven't made our way there yet. When we do, we will cover them. Next on our list is FabCafe Bangkok. There was also Bangkok Makerspace located at BTS station Bang Chak, but has for now closed its doors.

The survival and thriving of Thailand's maker community depends on those trying to foster the movement, finding what works and ways to draw in people to this movement. It is also up to founding members to find ways to sustain the maker community when member fees aren't enough. The larger it gets the easier it will be to not only grow our individual makerspaces, but to grow many more. When open source and collaboration is your ethos, the more involved the better.

BIT Magazine is a bi-lingual platform for Thailand's maker movement to connect, grow, and collaborate with maker communities abroad. Follow us on Twitter here or on Facebook here.
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