The Machynlleth Mini Maker Faire – Q&A with the Organisers

What is a ‘Maker Faire’?

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.
Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.
The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, California and in 2013 it celebrated its eighth annual show with some 900 makers and 120,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in three years to 500+ makers and 55,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Newcastle (UK), Rome, and Tokyo are the home of “featured” 2013 Maker Faires (200+ makers), and community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced around the world including right here in Machynlleth!

What is MAKE Magazine?

MAKE is the first magazine devoted entirely to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technology projects. MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.

Why have you decided to put on a Maker Faire in Machynlleth?
bloc wanted to bring the Maker Faire to the heart of rural Wales to attract Makers from right across the country and to promote the burgeoning DIY culture in the countryside.
The innovative concept is to celebrate creative technology within a rural context. There are urban-focused creative technology faires and festivals throughout the world though few are located in the countryside where there is a burgeoning DIY technology culture.

What can visitors expect from the event?
The Faire brings together Makers and Inventors from across Wales and beyond for a family friendly, interactive and inspirational day out. There will be loads of stalls in a village fete type setting, packed with hands on creations.

Learn about 3D printers







Learn how to:

  • Build your own Satellite!
  • Upcycle old floppy disks into something useful!
  • Make your own sequencer!
  • Bring inanimate objects to life with stop motion animation!



  • The Restart Party brings a community Self Repair event to the heart of Wales
  • Paul Granjon presents the infamous Biting Machine and the cute Mofo humanoid
  • Trystan Lea showcases Wales’ own OpenEnergyMonitor
  • Andy Noyes invites us to meet Agnes Robotknit, a knitting robot.


What else is happening around the Faire?

A number of other fun and inspirational events are happening:

Reinventing Rural Services Workshop in Machynlleth – Friday 27th September, 10:30am – 4pm

Presented by Inventorium, in association with bloc. For full details and to book visit the website.

Idea Clinic at CAT – Saturday 28th September, 11:30am – 1:30pm

Get advice, support and direction on your ideas from the experts. A fantastic panel of innovation development organisations working in Wales are coming together to offer individuals and/or organisations a unique opportunity to gain advice, input and potential support for your ideas.
Participants are invited to present your ideas to the panel with a 5 minute pitch and get a 5 min response from the panelists in terms of quality and potential support.
To register and book an appointment please contact and provide your name, project title, a project overview (no more than 30 words) and contact details.

The Restart Party – Bring Your Broken Technology! – Saturday 28th September, 10am – 4pm
The Restart Party is a community self repair event. We are inviting you to come along, bring your broken technology and get it mended for FREE!
To find out more visit

What are the aims of Bloc?
Bloc is a Wales based organisation and international hub of creators, producers, makers and thinkers supporting creative uses of technology. For over 12 years, we have been leading advocates of creative technology in Wales, producing a series of ground-breaking festivals, commissions, events, and research projects. We challenge and investigate innovative forms of artistic, business and social innovation that are enabled by technology and work with a wide variety of partner organisations to do this.
With Machynlleth Mini Maker Faire bloc aims to:

  • Inspire and celebrate a maker/DIY culture in relation to technology.
  • Trial a new creative technology festival concept within a rural context.
  • Explore the implications of DIY technology and creativity on society, education, culture and business by looking at the potential of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths).
  • Explore the social implications of self-reliance and collaboration towards a sustainable future.
  • Get Wales making again by inspiring people to create and share best practice in terms of technology.


Sign up for our monthly ebulletin at, make friends with us on facebook at bloc:Creative Technology Wales, follow @blocuk on Twitter and tweet #MakerFaireMach.

A knitting robot

Why is this event special?
Machynlleth Mini Maker Faire is the only Maker Faire in Wales. It brings together a unique programme of Makers, inventors and creative technologists to the heart of rural Wales and offers us an insight into an alternative future.
It will be a unique, hands on event that champions DIY culture in the countryside. The digital, to date, has been far more prevalent in urban environments with most activity and debate centred on the city.
Forget technology as expensive. This Faire is going to explore accessibility, reuseability and freeware. It will inspire people to get their hands dirty with technology in order to be self-reliant and celebrate art as a part of the new wave of the internet of things.

Why did you decide to hold the Faire at CAT?
There is no better place than CAT, to host an event that promotes an alternative future for Wales. bloc chose to site the festival at CAT not only because of it’s stunning landscape overlooking the scenic hills of Southern Snowdonia, but also because we share a common ethos concerned with the search for a positive and alternative view of the future. CAT’s search for a globally sustainable, whole and ecologically sound technologies and ways of life is shared by bloc and many of the Makers on show who have strong ‘eco’ credentials. For example, bring your broken technology to be repaired at The Restart Party , a community self-repair party and find out more about OpenEnergyMonitor, Wales’ own new opensource platform that monitors your energy use .

What does it cost?
Buy your Advance Faire tickets now and gain FREE entry to the Centre for Alternative Technology. £5 per adult, Children under 16 FREE or normal CAT entrance fees apply on the day. Book online now.


Growing in the Gardens

CAT is currently recruiting for some lovely long-term volunteers to join us here in mid-Wales. Are you looking to gain experience in woodland management, horticulture or marketing? CAT has five or six-month placements in these areas and we are recruiting in a rolling basis. We’re taking a closer look at the different roles over the next few days. If you are interested in applying then check out our volunteering website.

Yesterday we looked at the Water and Natural Resources Volunteers. Today:

Gardens Volunteer

Tending to the flowers planted to help support the bees and butterflies

Why volunteer in CAT’s gardens? Well first and foremost, because they’re one of the most important aspects of CAT. According to Roger, CAT’s main gardener, it’s the best place to be for a volunteer! By coming just before the harvesting season the new volunteer will be in time to reap the benefits of the spring and summer plantings.

Former gardens volunteer Drew had this to say about his time at CAT:

I came to CAT with very little knowledge of gardening, but with an enthusiasm to learn as much as possible. Some would say that’s a great attitude to have, but ask Roger, our Head Gardener, after a whole day of being barraged by questions from his wide-eyed, hungry for knowledge volunteers on all things horticultural and you may get a different response. He is a dedicated and passionate gardener and has been a joy to learn all things green fingered from.

As a long term volunteer you get the opportunity to immerse yourself in a way of living that is quite alien to many. The feeling of community within the surroundings of CAT and the local areas we find ourselves living in is a joy to be a part of. From sowing seeds to swing dancing, weeding in wellies to learning Welsh, pruning grapevines to preparing pot-luck dinners, it has been an incredible journey that has left me wanting more of the same. So much so that I have actually decided to lay some roots (excuse the terrible gardening pun) in Machynlleth and find work locally so that I can keep helping and learning from Roger on my days off. I also hope to get involved in a local Community Garden Project, something I would never have thought about before coming to CAT.

Visit the volunteering website for more information about this placement.

Trustee Recruitment

Fancy becoming a Trustee?

We are seeking to appoint new Trustees with expertise and experience in fundraising, marketing and finance to complement and enhance the skills-base of the existing Trustee body of the Centre for Alternative Technology Charity Ltd.

Trustees attend regular Board meetings (at least quarterly) at the Centre and some are also involved in specialist sub-groups.

This is a voluntary unpaid role (as with all Trustees), but all reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

For further information or to register an initial expression of interest, please contact Rick Dance, Company Secretary, CAT, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ / Tel: 01654 705951 / email:

Awydd bod yn Ymddiriedolwr?

Rydym yn awyddus i apwyntio ymddiriedolwyr newydd profiadol mewn codi arian, marchnata a materion ariannol i ychwanegu at a gwella sylfen galluoedd bwrdd ymdiredolwyr presennol Elusen y Ganolfan Dechnoleg Amgen Cyf.

Mae ymddiriedolwyr yn mynychu cyfarfodydd bwrdd yn rheolaidd (o leia yn chwarterol) yn y Ganolfan ac mae rhai yn ymgymryd â gwaith gyda is-grwpiau arbenigol.

Swydd ddi-dâl wirfoddol yw hon (fel i’r holl ymddiriedolwyr), ond ad-dalir unrhyw gostau rhesymol.

Am wybodaeth pellach neu i nodi diddordeb, cysyllter â Rick Dance, Ysgrifennydd y Cwmni, CAT, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ / Tel: 01654 705951 / e-bost:

The Dyfi Valley

Here at CAT we’re part of the Dyfi Biosphere – an area recognised by UNESCO as being particularly environmentally conscious, whilst also encouraging sustainable economic development.

As we slowly move into spring, complete with April showers in May, it’s easy to see why this part of Wales has been recognised as being rather special. CAT is privileged to both play a part in, and be part of, the Dyfi Biosphere.

You can find out more about the Dyfi Biosphere here.

The Dyfi Valley - photo by Burhan Saeed


Cwrdd yn y Canol/Meet in the Middle


[Scroll down for English]

Lleoliad cynadledda cynaliadwy yng nghalon Canolbarth Cymru

Mae WISE yn ganolfan sydd wedi ennill gwobrau lawer, ac mae yma gyfleusterau modern, trawiadol, a chynaliadwy ar gyfer cynnal cynadleddau, cyfarfodydd, sesiynau hyfforddi a digwyddiadau unigol. Mae’r lleoliad yn nyffryn hardd Dulas yng nghanolbarth Cymru ac yn hawdd cyrraedd ato ar hyd y ffordd fawr ynghyd â gwasanaethau trên rheolaidd i Fachynlleth gerllaw.

Mae WISE yn cynnig profiad cynadledda unigryw, lleoliad gyda theatr ddarlithio o 200 sedd wedi’i wneud o ddaear gywasgedig. Mae nifer o stafelloedd llai ar gyfer grwpiau o wahanol faint a digwyddiadau llai. Mae WISE hefyd yn cynnig llety en suite ar gyfer hyd at 48 o bobl a gwasanaeth arlwyo hyd at 200 o bobl.

Mae WISE wedi’i leoli ar safle canolfan eco fwya blaenllaw Ewrop, sef y Ganolfan Dechnoleg Amgen sy’n defnyddio pŵer trydan adnewyddol. Mae WISE yn rhoi naws gwahanol i ddigwyddiadau.Rydyn ni ar hyn o bryd yn cynnig gostyngiad o 20% ar bob archeb tan ddiwedd Ebrill. Os gwelwch yn dda, a wnewch chi gyfeirio at yr hysbyseb hwn wrth ymateb?The WISE building

Cysylltwch â Sarah ar 01654  704973 neu e-bostiwch

Meet in the Middle
Sustainable conference venue in the heart of Mid- Wales

WISE is an award winning venue, with impressive, modern and sustainable facilities for successful conferences, meetings, training sessions and one-off events. Nestled in the stunning Dulas valley in mid-Wales and easily accessible by road, with regular rail services to nearby Machynlleth, WISE offers a unique conference experience. The venue features a 200 seat rammed earth lecture theatre and a number of smaller rooms that can cater for different size groups and smaller events. WISE also offers en suite accommodation  for up to 48 delegates  and catering facilities for up to  200  delegates.

Situtated at the site of Europe’s leading eco centre, the Centre for Alternative Technology and powered by renewable electricity,  WISE inspires events with a difference.

We are now offering a 20% discount on all bookings until the end of April. Please mention this email when responding.

Please contact Sarah on 01654  704973 or email

A WISE use for Local Charities

The Centre for Alternative Technology is offering local charities the opportunity to use meeting rooms at its educational and conference centre, the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE), for free. If you work or volunteer for a charity in the SY20 area and are looking for a special place to hold meetings, then the WISE building could be the place for you. Situated in the stunning Dulas valley in mid-Wales, WISE has impressive facilities that can deliver successful conferences, meetings, training sessions or one-off events.

“ The WISE building is a tremendous resource, with its state of the art  facilities and outstanding sustainability credentials, CAT would like to be able to share that with the many organisations in our local area who are doing important work” Kim Bryan, CAT spokesperson.

The WISE building opened in 2012 and has won several national awards for its ecological credentials. Based at CAT’s site near Machynlleth, the building hosts several meeting rooms, workshop space and a 200 seater lecture theatre. En-suite accommodation and catering can also be arranged for delegates.The offer is open to all charities in the SY20 area, six times per year and is available for meeting rooms only. Please contact Sarah at or on 01654 704973 for reservations and more information.

Get involved with CAT’s oral history project

The Centre for Alternative Technology will be 40 years old next year. To commemorate, celebrate and investigate its history we are looking for up to 10 local volunteers to help create the CAT Oral History project. Each volunteer will receive oral history training from the British Library (given at CAT) and will interview at least four people. In total the oral histories of at least 80 people will be recorded and then delivered to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, where they will be made available to the public. Oral history projects are very rewarding experiences for interviewees and interviewers; they provide participants with a unique connection to the past. All the oral histories we record during the project will contribute to a history book and during the project we hope to explore possible future projects to bring CAT’s past to life, perhaps through local events and performance. Join us in this unique project. Contact me at The CAT oral history project is supported by GLASU.



Summer Conservation Weekend


This weekend: Come and enjoy a Summer conservation day at CAT. Get active in our 15 acre woodland, Coed Gwern.

Learn about sustainable woodland management, bash some rhododendron and help make some rustic benches.

Meet at 10:30 in the CAT carpark, we’ll be finished by 4. Soup lunch and refreshments provided. Please get in touch with Adam to book a place: