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RC3 2021 Workshop Notes

(see attachment in left top location of this page)

Notes regarding Sea Foam: Latin name is "teloxis aristata", seeds are available, e.g.

Abstract Backup:

Model Railroad Makerspaces

A workshop on hacker culture, model railroading and how makerspaces can help ease access to a versatile hobby, widen and diversify its audience.

Miniatures have some kind of magic in them, which attracts attention from a wide audience. Despite that, modeling hobbys suffer from a somewhat declining community, model railroading nonwithstanding (although there was some regain in interest during the pandemic). Technical and artistic skills have been significantly refined over the past decades, which has boosted realism, but also led to a signifiantly higher entry barrier. With makerspaces offering various possibilities for laser cutting, plotting, 3d printing, and so on, everyone can create his/her own models with fine details using computer programs. Although operating machinery and computer aided design comes with an additional barrier, preparing templates and base models, providing tools and assisting with operation and servicing as well as offering workshops may be a significant help for entering modelling without acquiring a large variety of classic craftsmanship techniques (particularly carpentry and hand-making models with a huge amount of time and patience). On one hand, modeling has many intersections with other communities. For instance, electronics and computer programming have a vast range of applications in operation, control and creating moving and interactive features. Actually, hacker culture can be regarded to have one of its origins in the MIT Tech Model Railroad Club, where enthusiasts used computer and telephone systems for controlling a model railroad and established a creative culture of using equipment for a different purpose than it was originally built for. Also, lots of terminology (e.g., "hack") originated from this club. On the other hand, model railroading can be considered a piece of art. Modeling structures and scenery is a tremendously creative work, which may or may not be prototypical, may represent the past, the present or even the future. Thus, there are many connections with artists and architects and common techniques used for model building.
Our goal is to establish best practices, build templates and tools as well as setup workshops to enable many makerspace users to access model (railroad) building and operation with a significantly lower barrier, notably smaller budget (commercial models and kits have become quite pricey), suitable for people with few space, and to establish a more diverse community. Finally, building modular setups allows to socially interact and to build and play with other people.