The AMP makers collective has run over 35 workshops to date around the theme of transforming the Agbogbloshie scrap and recycling ecosystem into a network for distributed manufacturing and digital fabrication.
Here is a list of the main events held as part of the AMP series of informal maker workshops to build the future of Agbogbloshie:
Mild steel angle bar is liable to twist or bend before the truss is triangulated; to ensure that each octet truss you make is straight (±1 mm) use a straight and square metal jig with wood board forming welding bed (will burn over time, flip over before replacing). Use clamps to secure 2d truss frame to jig, and push metal against wood plate of jig with a nonconductive pipe or wood stick.
Welding: Tack weld first throughout to assemble octet truss, then complete full weld once all metal elements are held in contact. Usually a small amount of grinding required to clear sharp edges. Apply hardener coat to seal and spray 3-6 coats of automotive paint. Paint damage possible (e.g. scratches) during transport and assembly; paint touch-up work may be done after assembly.
For many designers across the globe, language (words) form the bedrock of design thinking: “Words are tools for architectural design; for the development of design intent or strategy, as well as construct the ideas that drive its creation” (Eckler, 2012) .
The Agbogbloshie makerspace, is essentially, a community “toolbox” for Agbogbloshie. It was conceived as a spacecraft. This choice of a word served both as a starting point and driver for the design. With AMP co-pi DK Osseo-Asare as the lead on the design team, the AMP spacecraft was designed with mobility in mind, as are other crafts like an air craft, or even space faring vehicles (spacecrafts). As a community kiosk with hand tools, the idea of crafting (making with ones hands) was pivotal in addition to the fact that, these tools enable the spacecraft to replicate itself. Hence it can be read as a place where space is crafted.
Beyond these, the influence of space travel is relevant to the Agbogbloshie makerspace. Here, the toxic electronic landscape which is unfavourable for human habitation is likened to an extra-terrestrial planetary body. Hence, the arrival of a spacecraft could imply the commencement of a process of terraforming–the hypothetical notion that, in order to be habitable and/or conducive for human habitation, atmospheres and ecology of other planets can be modified. From this point of view, the arrival of the AMP spacecraft in Agbogbloshie is the commencement of a process of spatial change or transformation, a notion which is itself deeply related to crafts (vehicles).
In summary, the spacecraft is:
Mobile and is like other crafts
A place for making (crafting)
A workshop for crafting space due to its self replicating ability
And a first step towards the spatial transformation of the Agbogbloshie landscape
In terms of the structure, the AMP spacecraft is modular and has a frame consisting of 12 octet trusses per module. (See video here). Each octet truss is made up of steel angle bars, flat plates and rods, which form a series of half octahedra all welded together into a singular structural unit. The intention is to fill in the structural frame with materials sourced from within the Agbogbloshie landscape such as old refrigerator doors, which will constitute composite “precast” insulated panels.
For the past three weeks week as part of AMPQAMP, the process of crafting the first module of the spacecraft continued starting in Hub Accra with theorizing and brainstorming about the spacecrafts systems and components, and ending in Kokrobite with the fabriacation of the first full scale octet truss, after several prototypes and mockups. It was a long tedious and yet highly exciting process where our desire for high level of precision and accuracy meant cutting and re-cutting, measuring and re-measuring, until we arrived at fairly satisfactory results.
Thanks to master welder Badu and his assistant, we had a fruitful learning experience. Their process was particularly interesting to us because, they used a grinder that was itself “e-waste” sourced from Agbogbloshie. As a space of convergence, the spacecraft which is a place for interaction and sharing (and will exist both as a tangible place, and a fully functional virtual platform) will soon land in Agbogbloshie. Stay tuned!!!
1. Eckler, F.J 2012, “Language of Space and Form: Generative Terms for Architecture”, John Wiley and Sons, New Jersey, page 1.
#ampqamp14 ran June through August, 2014 at the Kokrobitey Institute, Hub Accra (now Impact Hub Accra) and the Agbogbloshie scrapyard, in collaboration with Togo’s Wɔɛlab. #ampqamp14 focused on M&D (Makers & Development, a practical hands-on approach to R&D) for the spacecraft, while #ampqamp15 focused on codesign of the AMP app.
This was the first time we welded a complete full-length octet truss. Rudimentary structural tests after fabrication demonstrated good performance/strength but unacceptable dimensional tolerance (i.e. it was strong, but not precise).
Special thanks to Chamil, master maker at the Kokrobitey Institute makerspace, who suggested to develop a 2d truss jig (to hold 1in angle bar frame straight and square while welding) and square pyramid jig (to enable standardized production welding of square pyramids, as a component for full octet truss).
Here are a few pictures from the first qamp, held yesterday under an “abrofo nkatie” (tropical almond) tree in Community 18, Tema. We discussed several projects that relate to teaching and learning about the environment in informal contexts.
Rene Neblett, Founding Director of the Kokrobitey Institute presented the flash card-based curriculum on environmental education that she has developed as supplement to her initiative Ghana School Bags, which recycles billboards and other waste plastic materials into locally-made backpacks for school children in Ghana. “P is for pollution…..”
Dr. Victor Atiemo-Obeng, a chemical engineer who recently opened the Ghana office of Dow Chemical Company, where until recently he served at the rank of Dow Fellow, gave an introduction to the concept of turbidity – a measure of the number of particles suspended in a given fluid, an important aspect of water quality – and how to measure it. We took samples of water from various sources – but have to wait 48 hours to observe the results. He also explained the science behind bio-sand filters such as Hydraid, a low-cost water filter available locally in Ghana.
The science behind water quality is critical to understanding the e-waste ecosystem. Bio-sand water filters can eliminate pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and spores but not contaminates like heavy metals which can be found in e-waste dump sites like Agbogbloshie.
Hassan Salih gave an update on Accratopia (also a Facebook group), a collaboration of architects, artists, illustrators, photographers, poets and other creatives to explore the potentials of Accra’s urban future as utopia. What can a remade Agbogbloshie look like after its post-apocalyptic present?