#MakerKT @ the Kathmandu Mini Maker Faire 2016

Our preparation and activities in the #MakerKT stall  in the
Kathmandu Mini Maker Faire 2016

When we decided to have a stall in the Kathmandu Mini Maker Faire, we weren’t quite sure what to have in the stall. There were no display pieces to exhibit from our past workshops because, everything the girls make, they get to take home! And what “#MakerKT” type skill can you teach in only a few minutes?

So instead, #MakerKT and our alums, decided to have a live demonstration stall where we would be welding together something. But what should we weld…? Definitely it should be something useful… maybe a cupboard? How about a chair? In the end, for simplicity’s sake we decided on a hanger, inspired by IKEA’s Tjusig hanger.

To get a sense of proportions and determine correct measurements, a prototype was made out of MDF board and a glue gun. This also helped finalise where the ‘branches’ of the hanger would go, how to “hang” it on the wall and helped estimate the amount of metal that would be needed for the final project.

So… now we had a plan and a prototype. The only thing left to do was learn how to weld! 🙂

Manisha Bhandari, who runs a metal workshopin the Patan Industrial Area, agreed to teach us all the basics of metal welding, grinding and cutting. One afternoon, under her patience guidance, and under the amused gaze of her male workers, a few of us got the basic skills that would allow us to weld together our project. The remainder of the week, we practised and shared our knowledge with other girls.

[It is important to mention here the attitude of the male workers. As mentioned above, they were highly amused that a bunch of girls were coming to learn welding. For them, we were an entertaining spectacle and they watched us the whole time, forming a semi-circle around us. Some of them even filmed us. Often they would interject while Manisha was teaching us to show how they felt it was really done, sometimes snatching the tools from her. While few of the men and their comments were genuinely helpful, most of them were just trying to talk over Manisha and trying to take over the situation]

Then came the Kathmandu Mini Maker Faire weekend!

We had a stall across Karkhana’s KidZone, under the avocado and guava trees. The stall was setup and we began to mark our metals to cut them. Cutting those thick slabs with our cutter proved tricky, so we used the tools from ‘Builders Without Borders’ and ‘Robotics Association of Nepal’ to get it cut (Thank you!).

We then grinded the edges smooth and began welding them together! But then it rained and rained and rained and, because our stall was at the bottom of the incline, soon there was a pond where our stall should have been! Everything got drenched and the power lines were cut out to prevent any harm/damage.

Hours later, when the water subsided and power resumed, we set up a mini platform from leftover cement blocks that we found and started welding again. The next day was mostly spent finishing up the welding and grinding smooth the bumps and edges of our hanger. Over the holidays, we will probably fully smooth our hangers and give them a nice coat of paint 🙂

A lot of Maker Ketis (#MakerKT alums) came to the stall either to weld/grind or to just hang out and so did our families. It was fun to have so many Maker Ketis together from different workshops just hanging out! Some future Maker Ketis also came by and tried their hand at grinding. One of them, Sophiya, has written about her experience.

Priya, the Director of #MakerKT, also gave a talk about her journey from Poop Detective to #MakerKT. Thank you Rupa Joshi for filming it with such steady hands! It was important to share how #MakerKT started, why it remained and why this by-nepali-women-for-nepali-women movement is so essential.

Below are some photos and a bonus video! Thank you Robic, Jyotsana, Rupa, Sunoj and Priya for the photos!

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