This month we a finding out about all things Geo.Ply and Mike Addington. Resident maker here at EOW, Mike’s inquisitive and problem-solving mind has led him in to the forever progressing world of CNC’ing (read on to find out what that is). Making everything from innovative bike storage, to plant propagating stations and elegant furniture – he aims to address those everyday living niggles. Forever with wise and funny words, we thought we would delve into what Geo.Ply is all about.
Can you describe Geo-Ply in one sentence?
Geo-Ply utilises the CNC to produce innovative, geometric design-based products, from birch plywood.
CNC machines are electro-mechanical devices that manipulate machine shop tools using computer programming inputs. The name “CNC” actually stands for Computer Numerical Control. It represents one of two standard methods (3D printing technology like SLA, SLS/SLM, and FDM being the other) to generate prototypes from a digital software file. Engineering and prototyping companies can use CNC machines to mill and process various materials, including wood, metals, and plastics.
What is unique about your products?
I aim to use my engineering background to solve problems I encounter in my own life.
For example, we have bikes littered around the house, taking up lots of room. Keeping bikes in storage spaces (especially if they are communal) usually comes with an array of problems, the most annoying being accessibility. The last thing you want after a long cycle or even a commute, is to struggle with your bike to get it secure.
Solving this problem in an efficient, yet beautiful way, has been my aim since joining EOW. I parked the idea for a while because I couldn’t work out how to solve the problem, but I think I’ve come up with a good idea (It only took me 12 months). It is a free-standing, up-right bike storage, which is ergonomic, stylish and means no intrusive fixtures have to be used (great if you live in rented accommodation).
I’ll be adding storage solutions for all your cycling essentials (helmet, shoes, water bottles, gloves, etc).
What was your journey into starting the business ?
I got made redundant from a desk/sales job that I really didn’t enjoy. I didn’t just want to go and do the same job at a different company, so thought it was the right time for a career change. I’ve always enjoyed doing hands on tasks and getting the sense of satisfaction when you finish a job.
What makers are inspiring you?
There’re some really good makers out there doing some amazing things! I spend a lot of time on YouTube. Favourites are currently Foureyes Furniture, JSK-koubou, Michael Alm & Squarerule Furniture. I also really enjoy following @petesquared23 on Instagram, he’s doing some really innovative things with the CNC and 3D printer.
What is your vision for Geo- Ply ?
In an ideal world, I’d love to keep designing products to solve problems, it’s what I really enjoy. A friend recently asked for a solution for storing his bike in the stairwell of his tenement flat. After a few days of thinking, I managed to come up with a design that he’s really happy with (renderings attached). The modelling part of the work is where I see my strengths, so I’d love to spend more time on that part of the business.
What made you choose EOW as your maker space ?
I’d been to visit EOW a few years back, with a friend who was considering taking on a space. I’d loved the vibe of the place then, so when I decided upon a change of career, I didn’t consider anywhere else. Thankfully it’s lived up to my initial impressions!
If you could collaborate with a maker, who would that be and why?
Since joining EOW, James Birbeck has been overly generous with his time and knowledge. He achieves an amazing finish on his products. I could learn a lot more from James, so it would be good to work with him.
What are you listening to and reading at the moment ?
I’m mainly listening to podcasts while doing hours of oiling/sanding. Feel Better Live More, How I built This and Hidden Brain are a few favourites. I just binged the audio version of Mark Cavendish’s latest book. And I’m loving Bonobo, Bicep and Bon Iver in terms of music – any artist that begins with a B!
Where / how can we buy your products ?
Some of my products are in my Etsy store, you can get there through Instagram – @geo.ply. But it’s best to just drop me a message either through Instagram or email – [email protected]. I’m open to bespoke commissions or variations of products in my store.