Laboratory of ideas

Founder of Nutz and Boltz, Varun, describes the makerspace as " a public library where people rent out stuff and pay for only what they use"

How did you start? Tell us the story.

At the age of 10 when other children used to play with toys and games, I used to curiously open every nut and bolt to see its making. I learned most of the science concepts through my exploration drive (though I was ignorant of the technical terms). In the meanwhile I decided to apply the knowledge I have constructed so far. So, I started collecting things, which my parents thought were trash, and used to make things out of it. My inquisitiveness led to my decision of taking Science in my higher classes and Engineering at college level. During my college days I participated in many State and National Level Robotics Design Championships These competitions taught me the skill to solve man-made problems by making small automated robots.Making was always in my habit.

After completion of my college I started working as a Researcher in a startup company. My job was to create Robots and Physical Computing Products which involved Arduino, RaspberryPi and other open source platforms. After one year of extensive learning and sleepless nights I found my Bachelors degree to be limited.

Curiosity begets curiosity. So I decided to leave my job for higher studies in Robotics. During my preparation period I started working as a freelancer to earn bread and butter. I met a few enthusiastic people who were trying hard to create an impact in education through their Education Technology Startup. I worked as a Technology Advisor with them and assisted them to create wonderful Ed-Tech Products (mostly based on aero-modelling) for kids.

During my preparation period I also met a few enthusiastic people from Indian Air Force who created beautiful flying machines and started working with them. Simultaneously I also built a small lab at my place. In my quest to learn more I used to frequently visit my favourite Chandni Chowk Market in Delhi to purchase chinese toys and electronic items to create some Exceptional stuff in my lab.

Every time I visited this market I observed many students having plethora of unusual ideas, asking for assistance from local shop vendors. It happened once when I saw a kid (a 7th Standard student) purchasing a bluetooth module, a microcontroller and some sensors from a shop, I asked him “What are you planning to make?” With a confused face he explained his idea of creating some kind of home automation gadget. “Do you really know how to use these things” I asked smilingly.

He said he does not know how to make it, but he will learn from internet. On his innocence I offered him some of my knowledge and told him how to start building up this project. He took my contact number and almost every second day used to call me asking for assistance. It’s stirring to to see a young talent talking about building up such gadgets. Since my childhood the problem of learning and collaborating have been pertinent. I could sense the same issues upsurging with him as well. I met many enthusiasts sailing in the same boat.

Internet was not an option when I was a child and I realized, internet is not the panacea. It is not a sufficient source to form learning. To add to the worries of such enthusiasts even a commercial industry does not entertain low volume orders, some of them even do but at a very high cost which was a bigger challenge for any individual to afford.

A place where an individual can have freedom to think, to try something new; a place to take risks, to share knowledge, to get access to tools, gadgets and machines; a physical place which can offer possibilities to any individual to think beyond their ideas and can assist them making it real is what is required.

With these thoughts floating in my head I started my search of finding a solution. In my journey I met many people, read and researched fanatically. The eureka moment finally arrived. It was a breathtaking night when I wrote almost 100 pages about such a place. Then it was just a concept akin to a public library where people pay for what they use. I had no idea of how to make it a sustainable model.

Amidst all this I got selected in MS as well, but I did not take it up. My decision of starting a MAKERSPACE to assist people in learning new things, building drones, robots, automation devices and much more was steadfast.

In the meanwhile, on May 2014 I got a call from a London based company regarding a job interview. I visited the place to know more about the offering and I met Saurabh Ahuja, owner of that company and a corporate giant. He offered me an opportunity to work in collaboration with Aldebran Robotics Japan. During the discussion I mentioned about my plans of starting a makerspace. It was a lucky day. We decided to meet again in Mocha’s, a cafe and bar in Civil Lines Delhi, and discuss at length about my project.

After a long brainstorming discussion we decided to collaborate on setting up a fully fledged makerspace i.e. NUTS AND BOLTZ Delhi. Within a fortnight we planned and designed everything.

The work started immediately from June 2014. We rented out a 2000 sq feet space near “Netaji Subhash Place” Delhi, purchased best quality tools, 3D Printers, CNC Routers, Mini Laythe and Milling machine, and every possible tool that is required to make varied things. We worked day and night to build up the space- building up tables, stools, hanging lights, electrical fittings and all the paraphernalias required for the space. We even built some prototypes of awesome robots which has potential to provide a cheap alternative to expensive commercial robots.

While the physical space was on its journey of getting transformed we were lucky enough to find some prodigious minds who were willing to be a part of the makerspace movement. We gradually built a team of like-minded people and eventually after 6 months of sheer hard work our makerspace was ready.

Drone Build Workshop (1)_1Tell us about your team?
Currently we are a team of four core members who hold the quality and workflow of Nuts and Boltz. More than that, we have advisors and mentors who keeps us boosting in all our future executions.
Varun Heta has been an engineering entrepreneur, researcher, educator, photographer and most of all a lifetime maker, a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Institute of Management Studies. From disassembling his toys as a child, to building robots and producing new methods to generate energy, an emergency fully autonomous drone network, he is excited to be a driving force behind Nuts & Boltz Makerspace. He got an industry experience of more than 5 years as a researcher and has contributed in premier institutes like IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras and NIT Jalandar.
Varun is looking forward to develop an advanced educational and innovation laboratory for the community and believe that one day this community will produce next generation entrepreneurs.
A serial entrepreneur, Saurabh Ahuja is the founder and chairman of London-based telecom carrier service Verscom-Voice and owner of the Hong Kong based Telefone Media Ltd. He is an active investor and regularly appears on talk shows; having experience of more than 10 years in entrepreneurship he is looking forward to start more and more companies. As strategy consultant, he consulted more than 50 companies over the globe. He is always passionate for living life on the edge, take risks and support entrepreneurship. He is thrilled to add his personal and professional experience with Nuts & Boltz Makerspace and transform it as one of the top makerspace.
Palla Raghunath has been involved with microprocessors since their introduction. Over the course of his career in Silicon Valley he worked with a number of global semiconductor leaders to define, design and market chips powering the microprocessor revolution. Along the way he also served as professor in some premier institutes where he shared his knowledge with youth.
Currently Raghu is working with IC and system platforms focused on the emerging ‘Internet of Things’. He envisions NB MakerSpace as a home for ‘hands-on’ creativity and entrepreneurship.
Manish Sasmal is a software engineer by profession. While currently employed at
Telefone Media Ltd. Hong Kong, he has worked in nearly every corner of India in
places ranging from Kolkata, Dehradun and New Delhi. Meeting people, traveling, exploring different cultures, and establishing life-long relationships are his passion. His quest for knowledge and personal growth mixed with his love for collaborating, building, and desire to invent solutions for modern day problems makes Nuts & Boltz Makerspace a perfect fit in his life.

Tell us about one interesting thing that was made at
the space.

What’s the most popular machine/tool?
3D Printer and Dremel.

What do you like breaking?
Defined methods to do things.

What do you guys do for fun?
Party at Mocha’s.

Future Plans
Makerspace can play a major role in education from kindergarten to college level. It has the capacity to re-shape and re-imagine education such that it becomes available for all. Skill development being the foremost forte of maker space children can actually get a platform to showcase and facilitate skills required for better life and work. Concepts written in the textbooks can actually be seen alive many a times. Maker space due to its unique platform can really change the face of education.


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