3. Maker Spaces: Using open resources

(This video can be downloaded from Media Hopper Create.)

Is using uCreate free?

As with most Maker Spaces, uCreate uses a membership model, for them that means that anyone within the University of Edinburgh community can become a member. Most Maker Spaces charge a joining fee or an annual fee. At uCreate they are aiming for a free and open source model. This means that anyone within the University of Edinburgh community can use the space for free provided that they are happy to share their designs, and instructions for making things online, so that other people can use them.

uCreate also uses a self-service model, which means that people are granted access only after they have had training to use the equipment and to use it safely. As with most Maker Spaces there will be staff on-hand to help and provide advice and support, however it will be a do-it-yourself environment.

What are the conditions for using uCreate Studio?

As with most Maker Spaces there are conditions of use.  First, it is a membership model, for them that means that anyone within the University of Edinburgh can use the space. Most Maker Spaces have some kind of joining fee or annual membership fee. uCreate focuses on a free and open source model, so as long as people are happy to share the things they make or the results of objects they scan completely free online for other people to use the space is free for them to use too.

uCreate is also a self-service space. So people must have a safety induction on the equipment they have before they are free to make use of the equipment themselves.

What are the common types of license used for designs and instructables?

We have already talked about websites like Thingiverse, and Instructables. Most of the objects on these websites are licensed through Creative Commons.

These Creative Commons licenses allow you to download, make use of, edit and rework designs by other creators. They tend to have four elements that need to be considered. Some of them reference all four elements, others only use one or two.

The first element is “Attribution”. This means that if you use a design you must provide an attribution to the original creator. The second element is “non-commercial”. These licenses mean that you are free to use them provided you are not intending to make any money out of the product. “No Derivatives” is another common element and means that you can use the original designs but you are not allowed to edit it or make any changes to it. The last element is “Share-Alike”. This means that any changes or adaptations that are made to the works or license must be released under the same or a similar license to the original.

What are the Pros and Cons of these licenses?

You really need to think carefully about what you are using the designs and instructables for. If it is just for yourself, or if it is for non-profit making use you usually don’t need to worry too much as you only need to provide an attribution.  

If you are thinking of making something commercial, then you really need to look at the license carefully and in detail. You must make sure it will work for you and perhaps contact the original creator if you need to seek some clarification. Most Creative Commons designs will have an attribution. This means that the original creators details are usually easy to find alongside the designs.


Consider the project you have been thinking of in the previous exercises.

  1. How is the object you found for Activity 3 licensed?
  2. What conditions does the license have?
  3. Do these conditions suit you?
  4. If not, what license would be most suitable for your needs?
  5. What license will you consider using when you share your designs and instructions back to the community?

If the license for the designs you found is not suitable for your needs, see if you can find another instructable or object in Thingiverse.  Alternatively, contact the designer to ask if you can use the designs in the way that you intend.

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