From ‘vuvulisers’ (a vuvuzela breathalyser) to building a tunnel for toads (don’t ask), finding ways to bring the wild and innovative to life is what gets Emile Dippenaar and Daniel Carstens up in the mornings.

Ideamongery’s award-winning Vuvuliser (a vuvuzela breathalyser)

Emile grew up in Newcastle and decided to become a graphic designer after matriculating, but after being stuck in the advertising rat race for seven years and fast losing the motivation to get up and go to work every day, he decided to go back to studying.

And that’s where he met Dan, who, from as early as he can remember, was taking things apart to fix them – even when they were not broken, much to the dismay of his parents.

The pair studied together at the University Johannesburg, and while in their final year, they decided to start Ideamongery, an industrial design consultancy that turns concepts into physical products.

“We started Ideamongery working out of my lapa but very quickly outgrew the little space. Although we have our own premises now in Strydom Park, it’s still a bit limiting,” says Dan. “We really got on our landlord’s nerves when we had to angle-grind the burglar bars off to get our Cadbury’s Wrapper Flapper machine out the door. This is what led us towards a space like Made In Workshop.”

The Cadbury Wrapper Flapper activation (a machine that created a mini-whirlwind filled with Cadbury wrappers)

Like a surgeon needs an operating table and a scalpel, industrial designers need CNC routers, laser cutters and lathes – just to name a few. But with the Ideamongery workspace being on the first floor, getting any bulky machinery in and out of the space is a logistical nightmare. Never mind the cost to purchase big boy machines.

“For us to invest in the equipment, the machines need to be running all of the time for them to pay themselves off, and because we make a huge variety of things, it’s just not viable at this point,” says Emile. “But with Made In Workshop, we have access to machines without needing to finance them.”

Emile and Dan say that Made In Workshop has added value to Ideamongery as a whole, because being affiliated to the makerspace gives their company more credibility.

“We appear larger, with access to a lot bigger machinery and it really does work out quite well,” adds Dan.

Something that Emile and Dan didn’t expect – but really appreciate – is the community that comes with a Made In Workshop membership. There is a mix of disciplines in the makerspace, from carpenters to mechanical engineers, and everyone bounces ideas off each other.

“Some are more creative, some are more technical, and it creates such a rich community of different people who are like-minded, which also allows us to approach problems in different ways, and from different viewpoints,” explains Dan.

“It’s what makes Made In Workshop unique, and so much fun,” adds Emile.

Current workspace too cramped? Don’t angle-grind anything off – call Made In Workshop on 087 701 4156 or pop by at 65 Maria Street, Fontainebleau.