New platform to bring together do-it-yourself enthusiasts

New platform to bring together do-it-yourself enthusiasts
Mr William Hooi, founder and director of the SG Makers Association, pictured with a laser cutter that is used to cut materials like plywood or thin pieces of metal.

Whether it be inventing gadgets, woodworking, 3D printing or leathercrafting, maker culture is on the rise in Singapore.

Now, tinkerers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts have their own common platform where they can come together to share ideas.

The SG Makers Association was officially registered as a non-profit organisation last month.

Founder and director William Hooi, 41, said the association's members are people who create or tinker with things, either to solve a need they see, or simply because they enjoy experimenting and playing.

The association has its roots in the informal group Singapore Makers, which Mr Hooi set up two years ago.

As its numbers grew, Mr Hooi realised there was a need to have a proper organisation in which makers can better connect and co-operate.

He said: "When we first started having meet-ups in January 2013, there were about 25 people who turned up.

"Now, we have about 300. If they're not connected, a lot of knowledge that can be tapped (by other members) will be lost."

The association currently has about 25 members, who are in the process of planning an awareness campaign leading to its official launch in June.

Its first event will be "Arduino Day" this Saturday - a workshop for those interested in learning how to programme a simple circuit board so it acts like a sensor or alarm.

A key function of the association will be to offer both social and business networking opportunities for its members . "For example, a company looking for a freelancer for a technical project can come to us, and we will try to connect it with one of our makers," said Mr Hooi.

He added that the details of membership fees are still being worked out, but they will be similar to the fees of existing clubs such as the Singapore Computer Society, which is about $140 per year.

Members can expect workshops and classes, which will also be open to the public as part of the association's outreach efforts.

Mr Veerappan Swaminathan, 29, co-founder of maker group Sustainable Living Lab, jumped on the chance to be a founding member.

He said: "I hope that the association will be able to raise the profile of makers and making in Singapore, so that makers can make a living from their work."



This article was first published on March 25, 2015.
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