This tour of MADE Makerspace in Barcelona, Spain was my last stop of jet setting through Europe to learn about HW startup culture there. Watch the video below to take the tour with me, or read on for details! I’d like to give a big thank-you to Oriol Fernandez of “MAking props” for taking the time to be our excellent guide.
This makerspace was one of the bigger ones I’ve toured. They boast 600 sq. meters of space (which is almost 6,500 sq. ft. of space if you speak American). Inside this endless maze, you’ll find all the basic tools, fascinating projects and HW nerds you’d expect.
One of the first things you see when you enter is a menagerie of 3D printers on display:
There was also a rack of 3D printers in the process of being modified for who knows what!
This electronics workbench is available in the front of the makerspace.
There is a separate laser room with 2 laser machines inside.
Power tools like a CNC, drills, saw, etc. were all tucked away in the dungeon-looking bit of the makerspace. This is one of the sections that will be reformed due to the very low ceilings.
There were several construction projects about to take place when I visited. Some of them aim to better utilize the massive amount of space available. Others were to reduce the inconvenience of strange architecture such as spots with super-low ceilings or sloping floors.
However, even after the renovations are finished, there will be plenty of room available. That includes private workspaces available for rent where you can leave your projects and supplies.
There was so much space, a startup could even camp-out there. Say, for example, PunchLab. This company is building an app to measure the duration and power delivered per punch to a punching bag.
I was surprised when we came upon this quiet computer work area. It almost looked like it could be the office space of a high tech startup. There are huge ceilings, lots of light with comfy chairs and desk space. There are even plants! And they’re alive! I’m amazed.
I got the feeling the community was very welcoming, friendly and helpful here. There were a lot of opportunities for people from the community to dip a toe into making with event invites, classes, and the weekly open-door tour. Plus, it looked like a lot of the current members already do a fair amount of collaboration with each other. On the MADE Makerspace Barcelona website, you can find This Link to member projects for more examples of what members are up to there.
The typical training classes you’d expect are available for power tools to ensure members don’t lose appendages. Members can also run their own workshops to teach skills or with a specific project in mind. Those can be free or for-profit. The for-profit workshops just require leaders to donate a small sum to the makerspace for each person in attendance.
One fun workshop example described here is called “Demolition Zone”. In this one, attendees rip apart old machines to scavenge for parts and simultaneously learn about how they work. Sign me up!
Below are the events advertised on MADE’s calendar on the homepage as of the writing of this article. These are subject to change. So, of course, if you’re interested in scoping any out, check the latest calendar before you go.
Mondays: Open Tour of MADE, aka “Puertas Abiertas“
This was the tour I took for the video above, and I was the only lucky visitor taking it. I took the term “open door” literally, and got a little freaked out when I couldn’t actually open the door. So then I walked around for a silly amount of time to see if there was a different main entrance. For reference: no, there’s not. This is the door you need to enter. Just hit the buzzer if it’s locked.
Tuesdays: Arduino Playground
This one is not a formal class; it’s advertised more like loosely-guided playtime with Arduinos. There’s also a variety of sensors to choose from to connect up with your Arduino.
Wednesdays: Digital Luthiers
When I originally asked to shoot a video of this space for SolidSmack, I was told I needed to check out this event, in particular. Sadly, I was flying out before a Wednesday that week and missed it. Multiple people told me it’s a fun, lively event with a lot of MADE makers in attendance. There’s also beer, so, yes.
It’s basically a weekly party with maker-made, electronic musical instruments plus old-fashioned regular instruments. I’m sure it’s fine just to show up for the beer and frivolity, but if you wanted help making your own instrument, there are lots of friends available for brainstorming, too.
Fridays: Cosplay Playground
Our tour guide, Oriol Fernandez, is one of the cosplay prop making experts regularly on-hand at this gathering. Another is Anam of Family of 4 Cosplay. These makers are available to help attendees figure out how to bring their own cosplay creations to life.
Oriol showed off some of his sweet sword props for us, some of which light up. He creates these commissioned pieces at MAking Props. However, there was one example on display that was just his: this wondrous prop filled with dancing LED lights.
Do You Know What I Missed in Barcelona?
I was a bit disappointed in myself for not conducting a better survey of HW startup culture in Barcelona, as I had with the other European cities I visited. On the other hand, I was only there for a few days, half of which I spent being held hostage waiting for the luggage the airline lost to arrive. *Shakes fist at invisible airplane in the sky.* I guess all things considered, I did pretty OK. Still, I’m sure I missed a lot of good events, spaces, organizations, HW VC’s, etc.
Do you know of any? If so, please drop a comment below to tell me what I missed. I’d love a good (tax deductable) excuse to come back to Barcelona!