Power and Production Weekend – Aug 13+14

If you’re in London this summer then head to the Southbank Centre on August 13 & 14 for a weekend of free hands on workshops, cutting edge manufacturing, debates and film screenings on the theme of Power and Production. P&P was one of the original themes of the Festival of Britain and BCA and the SBC wanted the nation to reconnect with the idea of making, even if for just a weekend.

BCA Power and Production Weekend John Richards Dirty Electronics
Soldering workshop by John Richards

The packed weekend include: workshops by John Richards Dirty Electronics teaching the art of soldering, under the bonnet sessions with the AA and hands-on advice on basic car repairs and maintenance, Mag Culture + Stack’s newsdesk publishes an independent magazine dedicated to the themes of the festival, a create your own app workshop with textextext_,  our own Home Factory will open up a world of DIY design and projects; plus on display across the Southbank Centre site will be a large scale model of the Skylon Rocket by Reaction Engines, a Fuel Cell Black Cab, the original FoB bus that toured the country in 1951, the 3D printed EADS Airbike… plus other workshops and events across the site. Phewww!

If  that’s not enought, one of the highlights of the weekend will be on saturday night when Evan Davies, presenter of BBC’s Made in Britain series, hosts a panel discussion on the future of production and manufacturing in Britain, alongside Brompton’s Will Butler-Adams and Vitsoe’s Mark Adams. The evening will end with a film screening of Peter Sellar’s I’m alright Jack in Magnificent Revolution’s Cycle-in-Cinema powered only by the thigh muscle and sweat of members of the audience!

What links them all? A glimpse into the factory floor of the future where people can make, mend, move things themselves. Hope to see you there and bring family and friends!

BCA Power and Production Weekend MR Cycle in Cinema

Magnificent Revolution’s Cycle-in-Cinema


Production Line – The Film

Watch the full film here! Produced by BCA, in collaboration with Visitor Studio, the film features Blists Hill Iron Foundry, automated Lost Wax Casting and Dr Adrian Bowyer talking about the future of manufacturing at home.  Production Line is being projected onto an external stairwell of the Hayward Gallery as part of the Festival of Britain from now until September.

Thriving communities and great inspirations from SF

We have seen so many cool projects happening in San Francisco the past two days.

We came across La Cocina in the Mission, a space to encourage entrepreneurship in food. They rent out affordable professional kitchen spaces to people, with an emphasis on encouraging ethnic women into running their own businesses.

We also met a bunch of great people working on the next generation of social media websites in San Francisco and at the Founder Showcase. One great idea was MediaShare, which plans to sell media companies’ shares (like Nascar) directly to the company’s fan base. We heard Elon Musk, a co-founder of  Paypal and now CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, talk about the risks and rewards of backing what at first seem insane ideas with one’s own money.

Another great inspiration for us has been the Crucible, an art-industry-student training workshop across the bay in West Oakland. On the morning we visited, there were over 200 children in the workshops doing summer camp classes. These ranged from casting and welding to glass blowing to mudslinging (also known as pottery). It’s all about inspiring people of all ages to take an interest in industrial production and manufacturing – students have gone on to do apprecentiships in the docks just down the road from the Crucible.

Techshop in Silicon Valley

Visited Techshop yesterday, where they have all the machinery and equipment a designer or inventor could ever want to use!

We had expected a lot of high tech machines – and those they have including a CNC plasma cutter and plastic injection moulding press – but they also have good old fashioned metal punches and wood lathes. We took a course on running CNC machines to see if it’s something BCA might get for its workshop in the future.

It was fascinating meeting the people working there, some of whom had been involved in manufacturing since the early 70’s. They can chart the history of the machines and processes we now use – one guy told us about the early days of CNC when it was just called NC (numerical control) because there were no computers and codes had to be punched onto cards.

It was also fun to see all the inspiring and out-there projects being made at Techshop. On their noticeboard we saw a group making a mobile solar power station, and another group working on the SpaceX Lunar Lander Challenge. It’s exciting times for new projects and ideas to happen.

The Makerbot Mothership !

A huge part of how BCA will be able to get up and running is down to the guys at Makerbot making affordable 3D printers for all. So we were very excited to make the pilgrimage to their HQ in Brooklyn and see what they were up to.

Zach showed us all sorts of cool things that they’re developing for their 3D printers. We even got a souvenir – England may not have won the World Cup but that little world cup trophy to Zach’s left, it’s officially ours!