Tinkerspace at KG campus: Why you should come & play!  

Back in the day, people took woodwork, needlework, metalwork, and cooking subjects at school. While these classes were often gendered (girls did needlework, and boys did woodwork) they were still useful, and the skills could be applied in everyday life. Over recent years, it has become easier to buy something new and readymade to replace something that’s broken. Fast fashion means it’s cheaper to buy new clothes than make them yourself or mend them. But this is changing again, and there is now a growing culture of making in society.  

The skills you need to mend and repair are transferable to other areas. Tinkering and making teaches you to problem solve, and figure things out using the resources at hand. It can spark creativity and innovation through this problem solving and resourcefulness process. You learn persistence and resilience through the trial-and-error approach that tinkering requires. And most importantly, you learn to understand systems and processes – how things are connected to achieve a specific function, and in what order things need to happen.  

What is a ‘makerspace’?  

Many universities offer makerspaces. Makerspaces provide tangible resources like space, tools and infrastructure, and intangible ones like assistance, training, advice, and collaboration opportunities. Makerspaces allow ideation, prototyping, and experimenting in enjoyable and playful ways, where failing is part of the learning process.  

If you’re studying Engineering or Creative Industries, you may have access to one of our university’s five Makerspaces. However, you’re only able to use these in relation to the courses you are doing, as they are faculty funded.  

QUT Tinkerspace 

But what if you want to explore your creativity unrelated to your degree? What if you didn’t learn to make things at school or have family or friends who can teach you to sew, cook, 3D print, crochet, knit, or build a bed from a set of pallets? What if you’ve got a great idea that you’d like to prototype? How can you learn these skills in your own time, and at minimal cost?  

In the spirit of entrepreneurship, and particularly Professor Howard Stevenson’s definition of entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunities beyond resources controlled”, QUT Entrepreneurship has created a ‘Tinkerspace’ – our version of a Makerspace.  

The QUT Tinkerspace is open to all QUT students, staff, and alumni. And you can use it free of charge – you only have to pay for your raw materials at cost. The Tinkerspace is located in the Foundry on Kelvin Grove campus – R224 – just near the Library and HiQ.  

What does the Tinkerspace offer?  

The Tinkerspace currently has: 
– 7 x 3D printers,  
– 2 x domestic sewing machines,  
– a cover-stitch machine,  
– an industrial overlocker, and  
– a Cricut Maker3 cutting machine.  

QUT Entrepreneurship offers a range of workshops, including in 3D modelling and 3D printing, basic sewing skills, working with microcontrollers, upcycling, and Wellbeing Printing workshops. All the workshops are student-led, offering a great opportunity for skills transfer.   

Covey Middleton presenting a 3D modelling workshop. Image provided by QUT Entrepreneurship.

How can you access the Tinkerspace?  

If you’re wanting to use the Tinkerspace, the process is simple:  
1. Attend the specific workshop you’re interested in (search Tinkerspace in the events section of QUT UniHub) 
2. Add yourself to our Canvas site and do the online general induction  
3. Do the online and face-to-face induction for the specific equipment you’ll be using   
4. Book to use the equipment during bookable hours – you’ll need to scroll down on this UniHub form until you find the equipment/task you’re after.  

You may be required to pay for the resources you use, like 3D printing filament. There are instructions in the Tinkerspace and in the induction materials on how to do this through QUT Pay.  

So, what are you waiting for? 

Sign up and attend one or more of the Tinkerspace workshops and learn a new transferable skill.  Let us know if you have a skill that you’d like to teach others – we’d love to hear from you.    

Join in the QUT Tinkering community where creativity and innovation happen in a safe and welcoming space.  

If you have questions about the Tinkerspace, please contact us at entrepreneurship@qut.edu.au

QUT Entrepreneurship
QUT Entrepreneurship
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