Machines Room and Solowood Recycling: Cheap Maker's resources in Croydon and East London

How do you make a giant game of operation cheaply with an incredibly low budget? This week, we were very lucky to come across two incredible maker’s communities in London, both of which have super supportive staff who do what they can to give back.

If you’re ever stuck on a project, we would always recommend these folks…

Solowood Recycling

Solowood Recycling is a pay-what-you-can wood store and social enterprise. It’s run by Peter, Mark and Chris who work with interior designers, builders and hobbyists to save wood which would otherwise be going to landfill. They also hold classes for children and vulnerable adults to teach woodworking skills.

You can choose to donate as much as you can to Solowood and take a pick from their ever-changing supply of woods and donated furniture - definitely a bit of a treasure trove!

We managed to find a vintage suitcase which had a wooden frame inside and a couple of planks of wood. We started cleaning up the leather, taking out loose screws and polishing up the metal. Then we built a wooden frame to make the base for our game.

Machines Room

Machines Room is a wonderful makerspace based in Containerville, Shoreditch. It’s currently being run by Josie, a super talented and friendly technician who looks like she’s stepped out of an alternative version of the 80s!

Machines Room believe strongly in making DIY projects accessible to everyone, and have a volunteer scheme where you can volunteer time serving the space in excahnge for machine time. We volunteered 6 hours in which we helped them set up a plastic kitchen where they recycle old plastics. They support lots of projects with a social cause and it’s really reflected in the community of makers there.

They have a huge variety of tools in their workspace and we were so lucky to be able to use a Mayku Vaccuform machine, 3D Printers, Laser and Vinyl Cutters and lots of wood working tools!

Josie helped us to develop a gameplan in order to get the game made quickly, and gave us tips on how to polish up our shoddy woodwork on a budget. We really loved our time at Machines Room and will return there for many more projects to come.

The final product…

In taking on this project in such a short amount of time, we were opened up to such amazing communities of people wanting to make big change in the world. If you’re stuck on deciding whether to start a project - just go for it! Finished is better than perfect and you will learn so much along the way, and hopefully make new friends in the process.

To find out more about the

Final operation game from birds eye view
Sophia Luu