ACTION - Tinkerers Corner, Workspace Modification


Tinkerers Corner


“Tinkerers Corners” can be created by modifying preexisting workspaces for students. The emphasis lies on sharing both knowledge and ressources. These workspaces can be used for repairing, tinkering and project related tasks.

This project was created during a Hackathon-Workshop held at HFG-Schwäbisch Gmünd supervised by Lars Zimmermann and Sammy Schuckert

Created by: Marleen, Betti and Vince


Universities and colleges with a technical orientation tend to supply their students with workspaces and tools to enable them to solve all sorts of technical problems with which they will inevitably be confronted with sooner or later in their studies and/or personal life. However those workspaces are rarely used for their intended purpose, if they are used at all. This is in part due to the fact, that students lack the confidence to solve problems on their own. Improving the accessability of useful information while also providing useful materials in a circular fashion may help motivating students to put their ingenuity to good use.

#You Need For It

  • some people
  • preexisting workspace (e.g. workbenches) with whatever equipment available
  • atleast one computer or any device capable of utilizing facebook
  • cardboard
  • box cutters
  • tape


##Step 1 - Assess the Preexisting Workspace
Gain a general idea of the ressources available at the workspace you’d like to modify. Find out what tools and materials can be used. A complete inventory is not entirely necessary though might prove advantageous. Also check for free spaces in shelfes or drawers because they can later be used to situate an organization system for useful “trash”. Document your findings.

##Step 2 - Set Up a Facebook Group
To incentivise people to share their knowledge some sort of exchange plattform is needed. A quick and easy way to establish such a plattform is by utilizing the Facebook group feature. Every other forum works too but it’s important to use a service which is accesable for everyone, meaning its users should’nt be required to go through an annoying account creation process first.
Finally place a clearly visible sign reading something like “In this (insert link) Facebook group you can find useful information and tipps for your project, please consider sharing what you did.” somewhere arround the workspace.

Start a facebook group and name it (eg. HFG - Tinkerers Corner).
Add a fitting description to it.

"eg. this is a group for HFG-Students who use the workbenches in the medialab for repairing stuff, building stuff or just to tinker arround a little.

Here you can share what you build or what you repaired and most importantly how you did it so that the ones coming after you can bathe themselves in your wisdom."

##Step 3 - Build or Repair Something at the Workspace
To kickstart the Facebook group you’ll have to share some of your knowledge. If you don’t have any practical knowledge you’ll need to accumulate some. The best way to do this is by finding something you can fix for example. Then go ahead and fix it using whatever ressources you have available. Document what you do and take pictures.

##Step 4 - Post in the Group
Create a post in your Facebook group explaining what you did in Step 3. Use the pictures you took to support your explanation. If you found some crative ways of doing something make sure to include them too.

##Step 5 - Plan a sorting System
The second part of the ACTION is about crating an environment wich allowes students to access a wide variety of different materials. The basic concept is a recycling station where people can drop all kinds of scrap. Many used parts, broken devices and leftover materials can potentially be used again. If you can, find some elektronic trash and scrap first. Then start figuring out how it can be sorted appropriately. In our case it proved reasonable to seperate the scrap in the following six categories:

  • metal parts
    • small parts
    • big parts
  • plastic
  • conductors
    • mainly copper cords and copper coils
  • circuits
  • components
    • gears
    • electronic components
    • screws
    • springs
  • unprocessed broken devices

##Step 6 - Build a sorting System
Essentially you will need at least a few labeled boxes so that people know where to put what they find and also so they can find what they are looking for.
The categories you came up with in Step 5 are a good indication of how many boxes you will need.
In our case we build six boxes of different sizes depending on the size of scrap they had to contain.
For some of those we also build seperators to be able to fit the subcategories mentioned in Step 5. All of those boxes where build out of cardboard. We cut out cube nets in appropriate dimensions foldet them and taped everything together.

DOCUMENTATION of the Context Hackathon

Event Documentation - Open Labs: Circular Cities - DIF & OSCEdays 11/2016
OPEN COLLECTION – The Circular City