Makerspace to the rescue!

As well as the Scarecrow Festival, last weekend saw Brockhampton Primary School’s summer fayre. I was helping out with the raffle, so I was up there early to help set up.

When I arrived, there was a bit of an issue – La Bonbonera’s gazebo was missing a four-way connector (pictured). It was about to rain (which was bad enough), but even if the rain blew over, you can’t have sweets sitting in the hot sun – they’ll melt. They needed that gazebo.

Make:Bromyard to the rescue!

I knew I could make a replacement part, so with the help of Thomas (whose mum Charlotte owns La Bonbonera) we grabbed the four appropriate poles and one of the connectors and headed to the space.

We had been sent some InstaMorph by Instructables to use for build nights in May, and we had some left over- it was the perfect stuff to use. It’s moldable plastic which comes in the form of granules. We put it in hot water and used it to mould a ‘sleeve’ around the end of each pole. Once all four were done and had hardened (it hardens as it cools) we used more InstaMorph to put them all together.

If we’d had more time we could have made it prettier, but we cared more about it doing the job than looking nice.

While it was still slightly warm and soft we went back to the field – the plan was to put up the gazebo so that the connector could harden in place (thereby ensuring all the angles were correct). We had a minor problem when, under strain from four different directions, one of the ‘sleeves’ pulled out of its socket. However, it didn’t matter. InstaMorph is amazing stuff! We got a container of boiling water from the people manning the tea and coffee table, and dunked the connector in. That allowed the plastic to soften just enough for us to pinch and push it together and make the bonds stronger. After that, we put the gazebo up and it held for the whole fayre (even when it got windy!). By the end it was fully hardened and now La Bonbonera have a connector for their gazebo they’ll be able to use again and again.

Click on the images below to enlarge and see more info about how we did it:

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