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From Flying Wheelchairs to Smart Bands, DIY & Build Your Own Tech at This ‘Asylum’

From Flying Wheelchairs to Smart Bands, DIY & Build Your Own Tech at This ‘Asylum’

"We make, we break, we create! Its a human thing!" says Vaibhav, whose Maker’s Asylum is building an army of innovators who think out-of-the-box. Forging a smarter and stronger India indeed! #Innovation

This article has been sponsored by MG Motor India

Imagine a space where you can find an engineer, a carpenter, an artist, a doctor, a photographer, an architect, a hobbyist and a designer, all coming together to do a single task—To Create.

Though they may have varied backgrounds and skill-sets, yet in this space, they all have one identity. They are all problem solvers. Here, they bend their brains, let their creative juices flow freely and create the most unique items of beauty and innovation.

Want to learn how to make your own drone? How about 3D Printing? Learn these, and much more at Maker’s Asylum workshops. Book your slots here!

This is the freedom that can be found at Maker’s Asylum, a makerspace located in the Industrial centre of Andheri, Mumbai.

According to the founder, Vaibhav Chhabra, who started Maker’s Asylum in 2014, the primary motivation to start the makerspace was nothing but the love for learning and making new things. What began in a 100-square-foot space in the backroom of his previous office, is now a constructive movement, gaining popularity among people of all ages and backgrounds.

“Making is a primal instinct. We love learning new things, whether it’s pottery, carpentry, welding, making an aircraft or jewellery. And when we make together, it’s even more fun. I love the feeling of making stuff, and that is what motivated us to start,” shares Vaibhav.

Be it a gamified guide for upcycling waste, a flying wheelchair, DIY prosthetics, or cycles that can turn kinetic energy to electric energy — Maker’s Asylum provides the space, the guidance and a vast range of equipment to help you materialise the craziest of your ideas into something substantial.

It’s inception, however, dates back to 2013, when the ceiling of Vaibhav’s previous office in Mumbai fell and broke all the furniture.

Vaibhav was always passionate about carpentry, and so reached out on social media looking for like-minded individuals who could help him rebuild the tables for his office space. His quest led to eight DIY enthusiasts turning up at the office on November 7, 2013. Together, they made three tables on the first day.

This eventually became a regular activity when the group decided to meet every Sunday to build something new and fun. The small group slowly became a community of makers as the multiplying members began to volunteer their tools and expertise in exchange for the joy of making things together. It was their world, their safe space where imagination and innovation could run wild, as they indulged in the act of creation.

The small room thus got its name, Asylum.

Then, in 2014, thanks to the offer of one of the co-founders of Asylum, they rediscovered a new spot for their creative exploits, in a small garage in Bandra. This garage would then become the first official address of Maker’s Asylum.

Open through the week; this was India’s first open makerspace, with only one mission—to break and create!

From the 250-sq-ft area of the Bandra garage, the Maker’s Asylum has now two centres, one 2,000-sq-feet space in New Delhi, and another 6,000-sq feet space in Mumbai.

MG Motor India and The Better India present MGChangemakers Season 2, with stories like that of Vaibhav, which prove that when individuals curate meaningful experiences, large scale social change can be triggered.

Check out the inspiring story of Maker’s Asylum here:

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Want to learn how to make your own drone? How about 3D Printing? Learn these, and much more at Maker’s Asylum workshops. Book your slots here!

But, beyond space, there was another crucial problem that Vaibhav and many other passionate makers had to face in the initial stages. That of expenditure and expertise — be it the cost of the elaborate tools or even the lack of guidance. However, these issues in the path of making were soon resolved with the support of the community.

This space, which is now a productive ecosystem of ideas and prototypes, is a true haven for the makers.

“We have a fully-functional woodworking shop, a metal workshop, a 3D printing and laser cutting lab, and all sorts of tools that are available for people from all over the world to come and make stuff,” informs Vaibhav.

Beyond making, Maker’s Asylum has opened up doors to an ocean of stakeholders, including governments, businesses, incubators/accelerators, investors and subject matter experts. The various labs located within the space facilitate the process of prototyping ideas as well.

This resulted in Maker’s Asylum collaborating with the French Embassy, to launch its third workspace in 2018 at Jaipur. Called the Jaipur Textile Lab for Women, it is created to support the women artisans in and around Jaipur. The lab focuses on research on smart textiles, sustainable textiles, natural/organic dyes and integration of digital fabrication tools in traditional processes.

Taking this a step ahead, they launched the annual flagship program, STEAM School, which is a project-based learning program in collaboration with its French partners, the Center of Research & Interdisciplinarity, and the French Embassy. Since 2016, the program focuses on bringing together various stakeholders like entrepreneurs, students, universities and corporates to work on solving problems that are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

With plans to build an army of innovators who think out-of-the-box, Maker’s Asylum is forging a new and stronger India. In a country brimming with talent, problems are nothing but doors to solutions, and Maker’s Asylum is making sure of this with a simple formula-

We make, We break, We create! It’s a human thing!

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