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SparkTruck, how to put a makerspace on four wheels

SparkTruckWhat happens when a group of Stanford students decide it is time to give vent to their maker side? The answer that you least expect is of a tour on the road across the United States. It’s called SparkTruck and is a digital manufacturing workshop on four wheels equipped to build (almost) anything.

The idea was initially named SparkLab, a project of six students working on their dissertation, who found a low-cost solution to bring makers tools into any school. How did they achieve that? Easy, through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where they collected $ 31,275. Enough to buy a pickup truck, equip it with 3D printers and laser cutters and arrange the first tour in 2012. If schools do not go to the makerspace, the makerspace goes to the schools.

sparktruck robot arm

So that’s how SparkTruck started, and it was instantly a huge success. The first tour in the summer of 2012 covered more than 15,000 miles through 33 states, meeting over 2,700 students in more than 70 towns. The children’s response – and also of the adults who went along – was full of enthusiasm, which made the Stanford guys arrange another tour for 2013.

SparkTruck was also parked at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. In this video you can find out more about its background and why its mission can work all over the world. Often, the easiest way to convince people to unleash their imagination is to make them see how rewarding it is to build something with their own hands. In this digital age it takes a little old hardware.

Don’t forget to browse through the jam-packed Sparktruck photo album on Flickr.
Our thanks to Luigi Centenaro for his tweet.

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