One Year of the HIVE

THE HIVEOne year ago we opened our first makerspace, The HIVE, in Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub. It has been a very interesting and very busy year, even with all the interruptions that we have had.  In this post I will try and take you through a few of the things we have learnt, some of the cool things that have been made, and where we are going for the future.

First a few fun stats for all of you. In the last year:

  • 3500+ people have visited the HIVE
  • We have done 529 individual 3D Print jobs. This equates to over 40kg of filament (or 4 big bags of potatoes)
  • 139 full sheets of laser cutting, plus another ~100 jobs completed on offcuts.
  • 300 bookings for Tūhura HIVE Studio

We have also had a drop in use of our sewing machines, CAD machines, Looms and 3D Scanner.

What have we learnt this past year? I am going to give you three out of the hundreds things we have learnt.  We have learnt how to arrange models so that they will 3D Print nicely, and that getting them to print nicely is only half of the battle! We also need to print them in such a way that the rafting and support structures are easy to remove.  On a personal note, I have also learnt that 3D printers are very simple to rebuild!

Another learning, Laser cutters will be more popular than you think. We really underestimated how many people would want to try their hand at cutting, and then go on to bigger and better projects. The cutter we have is a domestic one and has really been put through its paces and then some.

The final of the big three, trial and error is king. The best way of learning how to do something new is to try, and if it goes a little wrong, that is okay!! We have lost count of the number of times we have had things go wonky when we are trying to learn new machines, new techniques, using new materials, or software, but we always end up learning far more from those errors than if it went perfectly first time. We even have a “Shelf of Failure” in the HIVE that shows a few of the pieces that have failed in the line of duty, plus we have a few of the more spectacular failed models in the display case.

Now onto the fun stuff! Cool things we have made.

Saturn V Rockets

The first is a Saturn V rocket. I am very proud of this. It was started during the first COVID level 2 that we had and finished during the second. It took roughly a week to print (including the failures!), and then 3 days of painting. Believe it or not, it isn’t quite finished. I am planning on making a display shelf for it. Watch this space.

ClockThe second is our clock. Not much story behind it really; we needed a clock, so I made one. The mechanism came from spotlight, and the face and numbers were laser cut in our laser cutter.

The third cool thing, is a sausage roll. We were asked if we could make a 3D printed sausage roll. Believe it or not, no such thing existed, so what did we do? Went up toSausage roll the café, purchased one, 3D scanned it (then ate it), then printed it and had it painted. We created timelapse of the whole thing here.

Where to for the future?
Well, I am happy to announce that we have a new laser cutter. It arrived in March and is a semi-industrial machine. This year I would like for us to really start using all our robotics and coding equipment to the fullest.  We have a suite of Arduino and BBCmicro bits that are rearing to go, we just have to get confident with them. The final things are getting our 3D modelling software up to scratch and having a bit more wood working happening. But these are long term goals.

Anyway, thank you for reading this brain dump of the last year. I look forward to seeing you in the HIVE at some point soon!!

The HIVE in Isolation: The Faceshield Production Line

Greetings all, to the first of many blog posts about the HIVE, our Makerspace at the new Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub. Our Makerspace team have been busy working from home during the lockdown – have a read of what they’ve been up to below!

Before lockdown, we were fortunate enough to rescue some of the gear and take it home (specifically the 3D Printers Kryten & Holly), and really put them through their paces. We thought it would be a good idea to show you what they have been up to.

On day two or three of lockdown, we got put in touch with a group called ‘Project Faceshield New Zealand’, for people with 3D printers to help make personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers. Kryten and Holly spent Headbandsthe first week or so throwing out faceshield headbands — 34 to be exact — so they have really been doing their part. Since then, we have been told to stand down as overseas supplies have been incoming, but we are ready to restart the production line if needed.

Burnt nozzleWe were also able to test a new type of filament in Kryten — polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified, or PETg. A lot of customers had been asking about using it (we usually use PLA), and I can tell you the test was a complete failure! Such it is with what we do, sometimes things go to plan beautifully, and sometimes not so much… this one, not so much. We ended up burning up a hotend and ruining a nozzle (hopefully a good acetone soak should fix it). Lesson learnt!
However, there has been some good come from this failure — We are now very proficient in where every single little setting for the 3D printers can be found, and what they do!


Since we have been stood down for faceshield making for the moment, we have been busy trying to create things that could potentially be used around the HIVE, or even in other parts of the library. Of course, the temptation to just play around making cool stuff has occasionally proven too strong – but hey, we need to test those settings, right? Stay tuned for the next ‘HIVE in Isolation’ to learn more about what we’ve been doing since libraries closed.